This Blog Is Probably Your Fault

I can’t stand finger-pointing, especially when the blame is directed away from the real problem. 

The latest blame to be cast on everything but the root of the problem is Billy Ray Cyrus blaming the decline of his daughter (a lightly successful child star) on Hollywood and its influence.

Now, to get my lack of credentials in good standing order, let me preface the following blog by saying I am not a parent nor inexplicably famous like Mr. Cyrus is.  However, I am a child, and being a child and having parents, I can tell you I believe the overwhelming influence on what a child does and does not do comes down to the parents’ input and behavior; plain and simple.

If you teach your kids to be responsible, they will be.  If you read with them, they’ll want to read.  If you teach them to be friendly and respectful to people, they will be.  If you drink and smoke, odds are they will too, regardless of what you say.  If you tell the child they’ll end up in jail one day, studies have proven they most likely will.  Parents set the standard for the lives of their children, from financial habits to relationships to diet.  That is the core of what children grow up believing, regardless of what their friends say and what song lyrics “tell them” to do.

Here’s a lame example.  My mother makes meatloaf on occasion, but it isn’t her meatloaf.  It’s my grandmother’s meatloaf recipe, so it’s really my grandmother’s meatloaf.  My mother has no meatloaf until she decides to change the recipe.  Until that day, we’ll eat my grandmother’s meatloaf.  Then again, I don’t know where my grandmother got the recipe, so maybe it’s not her meatloaf either.  Not that I care.  It’s not that good anyway.  Whatever.  I told you it was a lame example.

Getting back to blame, when it comes to pointing a finger, people in our society love to shift the blame from their shoulders to someone else’s whenever possible, if not all the time.  To paraphrase the infinitely wise George Carlin, when a kid commits suicide, heavy metal gets the blame.  When it’s murder, rap gets the blame.  It’s never the parents.  How could it be?  Parents don’t have control over their children anymore so it’s easy for them to wash their hands of all blame.

Truthfully, having to handle insane success at a young age is no doubt very difficult.  Hell, it can be difficult for anybody at any age.  Susan Boyle could barely handle insane success at age 48.  Christina Aguilera just decided to lose it at age 30.  This Cyrus kid was barely a teenager when her face was plastered all over posters and shirts.  That’s a lot to handle.  There is certainly no shortage of people who couldn’t handle fame when they had a lack of parental guidance (hi, Lindsay) but there are also some who make it to adulthood without going off the rails.  Justin Timberlake has managed to stay out of rehab.  Will Smith has yet to be seen carrying 30 extra pounds on the beach.  Are fame and Hollywood to thank for that?  Hell no, and they’re not to blame for the people who have gone astray either.

If any of these stars had family and friends who cared about them and kept their best interests at heart rather than whoring them out to whatever paid the most money that week, there would be far fewer “Where Are They Now?” specials and police blotter submissions.  Then again, without all this, People Magazine and TMZ would have no “news” to fill our lives with.

But more on that next week…