Talking with Your Kids about Celebrities Behaving Badly

celebrities-behaving-badlyCelebrities behave badly on a regular basis. The media broadcasts their indiscretions so that it is difficult to hide the knowledge from our kids. Last month, a local professional athlete was arrested for assault and my children heard about it.

 How do you talk to your kids about celebrities they looked up to who have fallen off their pedestal?

 1. It’s an opportunity to talk with your children about second chances, righting wrongs, and forgiveness. People make bad decisions and do bad things; that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad people.  Discuss what the celebrity has done, or should do, to make things right.

 2. Have a conversation about the celebrity’s behaviors. If he broke the law, talk about the consequences. Use his behavior as a cautionary tale. Our family had a candid discussion about dating and domestic violence after the incident with a local athlete. It was age appropriate and timely. While you can’t always be totally forthcoming depending on your children’s ages, you can still make this a teachable moment.

 3. Talk about what makes someone a good role model. Why does your child look up to certain adults? Are there behaviors they want to emulate? Why? This could be a revealing discussion.

 4. Finally, a celebrity behaving badly provides a unique opportunity to discuss how your actions have an impact on how others view you. Your child will one day participate in social media, if she doesn’t already. Photos and videos posted on the Internet never go away, and it is crucial that we teach our kids how to navigate the web safely and responsibly. Use a celebrity screw-up as an example of how one action can be magnified under the watch of millions of eyes. Remind your child that people will make assumptions about her based on the way she represents herself on social media. And as ordinary people, we don’t have a public relations team to repair any damage we may do to our reputations.

My kids lost respect for the arrested athlete last month. But they were able to process their disappointment and confusion through open and honest conversation with their father and me. And if we did our job well, they gained a better perspective of what it means to live morally and responsibly.

Dana is the moderately snarky, and occasionally witty author of Kiss my List. She’s a planner, project doer, mom and wife, (and therefore) coffee drinker and chocolate eater.———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
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  1. Miley Cyrus was a difficult one for us. My daughter really looked up to her, and she does not anymore.

  2. I’m sure that’s the case for so many girls – Miley has certainly strayed far from her Hannah Montana days.

  3. it is a good way to show children that celebrities are people, everyone makes mistakes, and that your behavior affects others

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