Justin Bieber: The Crushing Power Of Fame

ImageRecently Justin Bieber was charged with drinking and driving, resisting arrest and drag racing in the streets of Miami. He was also accused of illegal drug use. These are just the latest of his recent antics that seem to show the pop star spiraling out of control.

“He’s only just turned 19 and he’s still learning to cope with the pressures of fame. But it’s worrying.” His grandmother Kathy Bieber has been quoted saying in a past interview.

There is a lot of pressure of fame that not everyone knows how to handle, especially a 19 year old that’s been pretty much raised his whole life to not only think that he is special, but that he is somehow above the rules and laws that “normal” people have to abide by.

This is something that happens with lots of celebrities as they feel the stress and pressure of the spotlight and began to think of themselves as “special” and begin to lose their sense of self-awareness.

There is a tremendous amount of stress that comes along with fame, when people are always watching you and expecting you to be in character every time you are in public. Fame can turn into a lonely, isolating and mistrustful place where losing yourself happens very quickly.

The people these celebrities typically surround themselves with are usually so eager to be close to fame that when they should be telling these people “You need to slow down. You need to watch what you are doing.”, they typically don’t. Instead, they become “yes” men and women. We’ve seen this over and over again with celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

Psychologist Robert Millman created a theory called “acquired situational narcissism” to try to explain what happens when people acquire fame.

The theory basically states that when the world and the people closes to the famous person start to over praise that person and do not accurately reflect reality back to them, the celebrity stops knowing how to be in the world with other people because they are so used to being looked at that the celebrity stops learning how to be in the world with other people. They are used to everybody looking at them that they forget how to be in relationship and share equal responsibility. They become disconnected from reality, a form of narcissism where they believe they are extra “special”.

When you are surrounded by people who are willing to give you any and everything you want and not say “no” to you, it’s hard to learn how to restrain yourself. And when you have dozens if not more people around you everyday telling you how special you are, it’s hard to not start believing that. The constant praise and ability to get away with things creates a sense of entitlement that leads to worse and more extreme behaviors as these celebrities push the envelope to see just how “special” they really are.

These celebrities also tend to surround themselves with bad influences. “Yes” people who won’t tell them to stop, but will encourage their bad behavior. It is rumored that Justin Biebers dad helped block off the street in Miami so his son could drag race. If this is the case, his dad, wanting to share in the fame and fortune of his son is not likely to truly be a great parental influence out of fear that his son would push him away, which means instead of giving good fatherly advice, he is more likely to go with the flow even if the flow is against the law.

Some have asked if Justin Bieber is committing career suicide. I would say no to that. As long as he is rich and famous there are going to be fans who want to see him, even when he is doing outrageous antics. However, I’m more worried about Justin Bieber as a person. If he doesn’t start taking responsibility for himself and surrounding himself with people who aren’t afraid to reflect reality accurately back to him, he could end up in rehab, behind bars for a long time or worse.

He can definitely end up being the male version of Linsday Lohan and Britney Spears. At 19, he’s young enough to turn this whole thing around or throw it all away. I just hope out of his entire entourage there are at least some people who are grounded enough to be honest with him and that he is not too conceited or out of touch to actually listen and want to make the changes necessary to save not only his career, but his life.



Preteen Sex: Do We Really Need To Have This Conversation?

A lot of times we like to think that sexual activity and behavior doesn’t become a topic for discussion until kids reach their teenage years.

As a matter of fact, I found it frustratingly difficult while doing research on this topic, to find good scholarly information, demonstrating the lack of attention this topic receives.

However, from personal experience as a counselor, I know that preteens as early as 9 years of age are engaging in sexual or precursors to sexual behavior in ways that either often go unnoticed or are overlooked as normal play and socialization.

Preteens at times can be just as curious to what it means to be in a relationship, mature, or desired, as their older peers.

They are often exposed to a host of sexual behaviors either through watching their parents, older siblings, older teens or of course, the media and unfortunately, sexual molestation, usually at the hands of a family member, older teen or adult.

They are often curious about themselves and each other, especially the opposite sex. They often sit, fondle or cuddle in ways that may seem harmless, but are at times precursors to future sexual behaviors.

A lot of preteens I’ve worked with are already “making out” with boys and sexting, two very good predictors to early sexual activity. I’ve met preteens that have already voluntarily engaged in oral and even vaginal sex by the time they were 12 years of age.

Early dating, overly strict parenting as well as lack of parenting are all predictors of early sexual behavior.

Here’s another tip: preteen girls who have a lot of male friends are more likely to be exposed to drugs and alcohol and are much more likely to engage in sexual behaviors.

Also, men 18 and over are responsible for 50% of the babies born to girls 17 and under.

Sure many of these teens grow up in unstable houses, have poor self esteem and are looking for acceptance when they stumble into the world of sexual behavior, but many of them also are just curious, precocious children that have no clue what they are really doing.

Preteens, just like teens, are much more likely to not use any type of sexual protection, so they are at higher risks of being exposed to STDs and pregnancy.

Yes, some preteens can get pregnant. Puberty can happen as early as 9 in “normal” girls and as early as 6 in girls born with abnormalities that cause them to go through puberty extremely early.  In my research, girls as young as 6, 7, 8 and 9 have given birth to children, usually after being molested by a family member.

Parents of preteens and teens need to be proactive and honest with their children about sex. Educate your child and take the mystery out of sex, puberty and love.

Having this sort of talk with your preteen may be uncomfortable, but it’s better to have this educational, proactive talk now than to have it when it’s a little too late and you discover that your child is either pregnant, has an STD or is engaged in sexual behavior, much earlier than you ever expected.

Try to be the type of parent that gives your children all the answers they could ever ask, as detailed and as often as needed, so that they will always get the best advice (at least as much as you have educated yourself) and they don’t have to learn it from their peers or by making huge mistakes.

No parent is perfect, and neither is either child, but through communication you’ll be more likely to help your child make wise and healthy decisions today and for the rest of their lives.