Justin Bieber and your kids

In case you missed it, Justin Bieber is in hot water. Speculations about the singer’s troubles have been reported ad nauseum in the past few weeks. It’s hard to decipher fact from fiction when it comes to a figure publically scrutinized as Justin Bieber. Here’s what we know for sure: last week, he was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs. A week before that, police, investigating reports of vandalism, found drug contraband in his home that is being connected to those in his inner circle.

It’s clear the 19-year-old is in something of a tailspin. But the more important question should be: how is this affecting your kids? Bieber’s popularity can’t be denied. Since his discovery on Youtube, he’s amassed a veritable army of teen and pre-tween fans (nearly 50 million followers on Twitter alone) who look to him not just as a singer, but as an idol.  And if you don’t believe me, check out these real tweets from self-proclaimed “Beliebers”:

It’s natural for young and impressionable children to look up to celebrities and idolize what the public image they give off. It’s when a glimpse into the celebrity’s real life turmoil is made public that the real trouble occurs.

                                   Justin Bieber's mugshot. Image credit: kmov.com

There’s a great article from CNN talking about how different parents have taken the latest Justin Bieber news and made it a teachable moment for their kids. A common theme is the idea of “conversation”, meaning a two-way dialogue between parent and child and not a lecture. One technique I particularly liked was how a parent and teacher would ask her young students about what defines “greatness” to them. Is greatness defined as making a lot of money and driving fast cars? Or is greatness, perhaps, something more? Thought provoking questions like these can go a long way in maintaining an open and honest dialogue with your children.

However you decide to go about it, it’s extremely important when it comes to a viral story like this that parents touch base with their kids. It’s nearly impossible for them not to have seen it online, on TV, or have spoken about it with their friends. Parents need to be aware of what they’re thinking. They need to let their kids know their values when it comes to substance abuse. Most of all, parents need to be setting a positive example for their kids, so that they are the ones being idolized and not some celebrity, as it should be.

If you aren’t talking to your kids about substance abuse and setting examples worth following, then who is?

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