Heroes and Role Models

Heroes and Role Models
Are your kids looking up to the right kinds of role models?
Holly, 9, and her two sisters love Britney Spears. "When I listen to Britney Spears it makes me want to get up and dance," she says.

"I have my hair cut like she used to have it," says Karisa, 11.

Their mother, Sally, doesn't encourage their fascination with the sexy pop star. "When I hear my daughters talking about Britney Spears, I tell them that I don't think she's appropriately dressed and that she doesn't have any respect for herself," she says.

During a recent trip to the grocery store with her daughters, Sally saw a magazine with a photo of Britney and Madonna kissing. "I put myself between them and the magazine," she says.

Turning to Dr. Phil for help, Sally asks, "My husband and I are trying to raise three daughters with good values, but we're up against pop stars like Britney Spears and others. How are we possibly to win?"

Dr. Phil tells Sally, "You know, you didn't invent this problem." He asks her to recall the big pop stars when she was young.

When Sally can't remember the stars that she admired, Dr. Phil uses it as proof that celebrity admiration is often a passing phase.

But Sally is afraid that her girls will start dressing like Britney or start hanging out with the wrong crowd.

"There's only so much that you can keep them from," Dr. Phil reminds her. "If you push too hard, they're going to rebel and go the other way."

Recalling a section from his son Jay's book, Life Strategies for Teens, Dr. Phil says, "You aren't the only influence in your child's' life so you better be the best influence."

Dr. Phil tells Sally, "The number one thing that seems to cause kids to become over-involved in icons like Britney is when they don't have a sense of identity themselves."

Dr. Phil instructs Sally to ask her daughters: "What's special about you?" "What are you really good at?" "What do people admire in you?" "What are the things that you have accomplished that you are most proud of?"

"If you ask your children these questions and they don't have good answers, then they're going to be more vulnerable to identifying with someone external to themselves," Dr. Phil tells her. "You need to start teaching your girls to be able to articulate what makes them special."

He adds, "It's not turning them into egomaniacs. It's a sense that they know who they are and they know what's special about them so they don't need to live vicariously through someone else."

"That's exactly what we want to do," says Sally.