Duggar Kids & Selena Gomez Both Show How to Parent Your Own Parents

duggar familyHow's this for a set of strange bedfellows? Teen singer/actress Selena Gomez and the kids in the Duggar family have something in common this week. They're shouldering the burden of comforting their parents instead of the other way around.

Like Michelle Duggar, Gomez's mom Mandy Teefey apparently suffered a miscarriage over the weekend, prompting the 19-year-old to cancel her upcoming concerts to rush home to be with her mom and stepdad Brian Teefey. Meanwhile, down in Arkansas, Michelle says she's leaning not just on husband Jim Bob, but her older children. Kind of makes you wonder how much support these kids can really give, doesn't it?

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If you page through the parenting guidebooks, there's no chapter that tells you, "OK, this is when your kids will be old enough to be your support system." And that, as a mom, terrifies me! How can you tell when you're crossing the line between "including the kids" and "being more like your kids' kid than their parent"?

You'd think it would be easier with a teenager than a little kid, but it isn't. Obviously a 19-year-old can handle a heckuva lot more than a 9-year-old, but I swear teenagers can be worse than toddlers with the "I can do it myself" claims. They want to be considered adults so badly that they'll say or do anything to convince you they're really "grown up." If you don't believe me, feel free to revisit any and all of your dumbest teenage mistakes and tell me you didn't think you were sooooo on top of things when you started that whole debacle. Uh huh.

The problem comes when we take them up on the offer. Especially when you're having a hard time -- see also: just had a miscarriage -- and a little more blind than usual to the warning signs that your kids are totally bluffing, you end up shortchanging your kids without even realizing it.

The Duggar kids themselves are grieving, and obviously Gomez is taking it hard. They need their parents' support, and who can blame them? I was in my 20s and a mother when my grandmother died, and I still cried like a baby in my mother's arms. I don't think you ever fully grow out of that (and if you do, please don't tell me, I don't want to imagine the day my daughter won't want me to give her a hug when she's crying ... m'kay?).

But they're tackling the problem from the other side of the coin and seem to be doing a pretty good job of it. The celebrity teens give me hope that I won't totally screw up my kid one day when she says she can handle being my shoulder to cry on!

It feels like the only way you can really make it work is to remember if you're leaning on them, you need to let them lean on you too. As Michelle Duggar told her sobbing daughter Jinger:

I am holding on, and I am going to let the tears go. We can pray, cry, and grieve together in the weeks and days we walk through this.

It sounds like the whole point of family to me -- to go through things "together" instead of one side taking or giving more. Right?

When did you feel like your kids were old enough to really shoulder part of the burden of tough issues in the family? How did it go?

 

Image via TLC

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