Well, the truth is finally out: Demi Lovato went to rehab for more than just "emotional and physical issues." (Not that they weren't substantial enough to send a girl to rehab -- cutting, bulimia, bipolar disorder.) Lovato now admits that drinking and drug use were among the problems she was treated for last year.
I think it's great that Lovato is telling the truth, but it does put those of us with tween fans of the former Disney star in something of a spot: What do we say to our kids when one of their role models behaves ... well, not very role model-ish?
My daughter isn't a huge Lovato fan -- she went through a brief phase of kind of liking one of her songs, but that ended before the star even went to rehab -- so I don't have to worry about shattering any illusions should the topic come up in conversation.
Still, the fallen role model quandary is one I'll have to face at some point in my career as a parent, so it's worth my consideration (and probably yours, too). And the more I think about it, the more I think it's not such a bad thing for kids to see their idols stumble.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think kids shouldn't have celebrities as role models in the first place. Why would I ever encourage my daughter to look up to a famous actress or singer or model or whatever else? Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus ... none of these girls, lovely and talented though they may be, have more worth as a human being than any other teenager. I mean, to qualify as a role model is a pretty big deal. If every kid's bedroom was plastered with posters of legit role models, there would be a lot of pics of Gandhi and Mother Teresa taped to a lot of walls, you know?
So perhaps the issue isn't one of what to do when some overpaid teen our kid really really likes goes to rehab or gets caught shoplifting or makes a sex tape. Perhaps the issue is one of making sure our kids know the difference between a role model and a pop star from the start.
Do you think celebs make good role models for teens?
Image via rosevega25/Flickr