Plenty of moms are obsessed with celebrity culture and many don’t bother to hide it. Tabloid magazines, celebrity web sites and “news” shows often intermingle with the business of diaper changing, housework and even dinner time. Don’t think it’s a big deal? You may want to reconsider the impact a celebrity obsession can have on kids.
Celebrity culture can be so pervasive that many moms behave as if they are close personal friends with the movie stars, socialites and newsmakers that appear in the favorite magazines. It may seem like an innocuous pastime, but you could be negatively impacting your kids with your love of all things celebrity.
How much is too much?
Celebrity culture is everywhere, so it’s actually pretty tough to avoid it. Still, you can definitely go too far with your interest in celebrities. If you’re subscribing to a bunch of tabloids, recording the celebrity “news” shows and talking about celebrities as if they were your friends (especially with your kids), you may have crossed the line.
“It sends the message that people who are famous, but have no great significance in life in general or the lives of their family in particular are important,” says Dr. Jim Taylor, a psychologist and author of three parenting books including Positive Pushing: How to Raise A Successful and Happy Child. “Another message is that fame, wealth, and physical appearance — as most female celebrities these days are beautiful — are a value to mom.”
Your kids are watching
No matter how hard we as parents try to protect our kids, they will definitely be exposed to celebrity culture. The question is, will we reinforce those messages or combat them with our behavior? “We live in a popular culture that is dominated by messages that are, at best, of no value to children and, at worst, truly harmful to children,” says Taylor. “Messages of fame — often without any talent — physical appearance, wealth, and status are totally out of touch with reality for most people. Add in greed, narcissism, win-at-all-costs and humiliation, and you have the some of the worst values out there.”
Why the interest?
If you can’t go a day without reading up on your favorite celebrity, you may want to ask yourself why celebrity culture interests you so much. “Are you not getting sufficient meaning, satisfaction, and joy in your life from substantive relationships and experiences?” asks Taylor. “Do you really want your children to become interested in something, namely, celebrity, that is so obviously of no value to them?” Answering these questions may help you break the habit.
Take a stand
Even if you feel a gravitational pull toward celebrity culture, consider taking a stand for your kids. “At a minimum, don’t do anything celebrity around your children — make it your dirty little secret — and don’t talk to them about celebrity,” says Taylor. “At a maximum, stop your celebrity magazines subscriptions, stop watching celebrity TV, never talk to your children about celebrity again — unless it’s to tell them how truly awful it is!” It may be hard, but think about all of the extra time you’ll have once you wean yourself off of your addiction to celebrity.