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How do I know if my child is vulnerable to celebrity influence?

Michele Borba
Psychology
The truth is not all kids are affected by celebs behaving badly. Which kids are more vulnerable to celebrity influence of those tainted-type heroes, usually depends upon four big factors. No one item is a cause for concern.

- Is your child tween-aged? Those middle school preadolescent years are the turbulent years–especially for girls. It’s the time when girls have more fragile self-esteem, desperately want to “fit in” and are most impressionable to the media blitz. These girls are still forming a sense of self so it’s a more vulnerable age. You certainly can’t change your kid’s age but you can get a bit savvier about tweens.

- Does your child have a weak identity? A kid with a weak sense of self “borrows” or tries out the identities from those celebrities. If a child doesn’t feel good about herself; that celebrity culture of partying, money, and looks can be appealing. But only for so long. After a while the child will outgrows the idol – but the problem is she still hasn’t figured out who she is, so her self-esteem is lower than ever. Downplay appearance, popularity, and fame. Emphasize: “Who you are” or “How well you did that” so your child learns to value herself.

- Does your child have outside interests? Most kids (and adults) idolize celebrities whether it is movie stars, rock bands or soccer players. The problem goes up a notch if the child’s sole compulsion is a Jamie Lynn or a Lindsay Lohan. The child is putting all their value on that entity and when that “ideal image” of that celebrity bursts it can be devastating. Identify your child’s natural strengths, talents, skills and interests. Help your child find her own unique avenues to build confidence. Let her try out a range of new things and build confidence in areas that interest her.

- Do the two of you have a strong relationship? As early as eight or nine our kids start pulling away and confiding in friends more than their mothers. And there goes your opportunity to plant your values and help your kid sort out the world. Find ways to stay connected and involved. You will have to be creative and a bit savvy. Remember, the best antidote for curbing negative influences is an involved parent. Be there!
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.