Expert: Estranged Dads Have to Try to Make Amends with Celeb Kids

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Celebuzz asked human behavior expert Dr. Wendy Walsh to weigh in on the estranged fathers of celeb kids who comment on their personal lives. Do these absent fathers have the right to publicly comment on their child’s private life? Dr. Walsh has a private psychotherapy practice in Los Angeles.
Dr Wendy Walsh: Let’s face it, most parents want to be good parents. Even if they are selfish narcissistic personalities, on some level, they care about the welfare of their children, if only because kids are an extension of their beloved genes!

But when Dad has been largely absent, does he have a right to step in when a celebrity child is in crisis? Think Michael Lohan, James Spears, or Partrick Lovato (Demi Lovato’s estranged biological dad). Or, consider a doting father like Billy Ray Cyrus, who is now speaking openly about Miley Cyrus’ private life, and re-thinking the wisdom of making her a child star in the first place. Does he have a right to stir the pot now?

Let’s think about this. In terms of human fathers, here’s the dismal truth social scientists are well aware of. Of all the primates, we homo sapiens have the widest range of paternal investment. In plain English that means that on one end of the scale there are dudes who act like a doting “Mrs. Doubtfire” and nurture their kids as well as the best mother. At the other end of the scale, are dudes who contribute no more than a teaspoon of sperm. And there’s everything in between.

The other thing about men is that most are not wired to nurture in the early years. Many men believe deep in their soul that paying child support is perfect parenting. Other men stay on the scene and when that kid is ready to pick up a ball or ride a bike, they are at the ready to be rough and tumble Dads.

So, do all Dads have a right to attempt to parent a teen or an adult child when they haven’t paid their dues as a parent? The answer is simple: They have a right to try. People with a biological interest in a child doing what they think is right, can only be positive. Think about the lengths Britney Spears father had to go to not only become her conservator but to keep the gig when her management kept yanking him back into court to try to grab hold of the reins. Some people believe that his impassioned act as a divorced father saved Britney’s life.

Maybe the question should be, was their absence a catalyst for their daughter’s stardom in the first place? (Have you noticed that, except for Charlie Sheen, few fathers step in to rescue celebrity sons.) The answer is that it’s highly likely. The limelight and Hollywood entourage often serve as desperate surrogates for a early life attachment injury. The codling of a young celebrity becomes the absent parent, a false way to replace feelings of longing. Stardom also serves as a great way to finally get Daddy’s attention. Lawrence Fishburne divorced his daughter Montana’s mother when she was just five and went on to create another family. Nineteen-year-old Montana has now become a porn actress and I’ll bet she’s got A-List Daddy’s attention now!

Do father’s of celebrities fumble and make mistakes? Of course they do. Most of them are not seasoned fathers. At best, they were drop-in Dads. Should they be using the media to effort their cause and impose themselves on their kids lives? Of course not! But they’re guys. They’re doing the best they can.

To learn more about Dr. Wendy Walsh, visit her website at