Expert: Miley Cyrus Let Us Down

Celebuzz asked Dr. Wendy Walsh, noted psychologist, to weigh in on the recent Miley controversy. Dr. Walsh has a private psychotherapy practice in Los Angeles.

Dr. Wendy Walsh:  Most people with a TV or Internet connection have now seen the video made by a fiendish friend of giggling, hallucinating teen star Miley Cyrus, on a drug trip. Sure Miley’s bong contained a legal hallucinogen (probably because the FDA hasn’t gotten around to that one yet) and yes, Miley just turned 18, the legal age to make decisions for yourself, and yes, she’s finished her stint as Disney princess, Hannah Montana.


We should be worried for Miss Cyrus for a couple reasons. First, she is having her first chance to self-regulate, and isn’t doing such a good job. Child performers who become international stars are very much like victims of child slave labor. The economics are different but the psychology is very similar. Long, forced work days and little time to play and develop as a normal child. Instead they are slammed into an adult world and exposed to adult themes way beyond their emotional readiness. Child slave labor is most often reinforced through punishment and child performer labor is reinforced through rewards by parents, publicists and studios. This can be very confusing to a child. Adolescents feel safe with boundaries and parental power, but when a teen holds financial power, it can cause chaos inside.

Then at the age of 18, victims of child performer labor are suddenly emancipated. Miley turned 18 on November 23rd and just weeks later she’s on a drug trip seen around the world. Though it may be a legal herb, it is often a gateway drug. What Miley, and all child stars need, is a halfway house where they learn to self-regulate under supervision.

The second reason we should worry is how this behavior will impact our culture. Already sales of that herb (which will go unnamed here) are reported to have tripled! Miley is a role model and her behavior can have dangerous for our youth. Being a role model is a social responsibility. The gifts of celebrity include private jets, mansions, designer clothes and fan scrutiny. Being a role model comes with the territory of fame. We may not have voted for Miley as our political representative, but we voted with our dollars for a cultural representative. And, sadly, Miley has let parents everywhere down. Parenting cannot be undertaken alone. We depend on an important village to help shape the minds of our kids. That village includes extended family, churches, schools, and our media. Miley is an influencial teacher in our kids’ media. When she became famous, she co-signed a pledge to our youth.

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Tags: Miley Cyrus