I know what you are thinking…why in the world would I be writing about JUSTIN BIEBER?? I ask you to hear me out as it does tie into the topic of healthy adolescent development and behavior and the importance of role models and supportive networks. I just recently watched the Roast of Justin Bieber and after all the joking and roasting Justin wrapped up this ceremony promising he will change his ways and become a better human being. Some may see this as a feeble attempt of taking responsibility for his past bad behavior and a weak promise that he will make better life choices and be the person he “really wants to be.” I am fairly certain there quite a few who aren’t “Beliebers”. I believe he does have a chance to turn his life around. However, in order to spark real change and gain the respect he wants he will need to take a real hard look at who is serving his best interests and who is just there to be served. Most importantly he will need to seek out a positive role model and mentor he can aspire to, emulate and learn from. Role models help us strive to achieve such things as career and educational goals, athletic aspirations, overcoming life’s challenges and ultimately becoming the best selves we can be.
I didn’t know much about Justin Bieber other than his superstar status and out-of-control antics that I heard about in the media. It wasn’t until I asked a group of teens in my self-esteem workshop who they would consider a negative role model. Two teens from the group responded with Justin Bieber. Although I agreed to my surprise I found myself defending him, or more so explaining his irresponsible, apathetic behavior. Most of Justin Bieber’s downfall can be attributed to the people surrounding him during this very vulnerable and impressionable stage, adolescence. He was only 12 years old when he was discovered and not prepared for the fame that quickly came upon him. The adults around him did and are not doing him justice but see him as a money-making machine. They are more interested in developing his image rather than his character.
The support and encouragement he was being fed was by those who felt privileged to work with him or be part of his social circle. I am fairly certain nobody in his circle would challenge or question his behavior for fear of being ousted. Most of our learning of what is socially acceptable and what is not is by the feedback we hear from those who are most important to us. If everyone in his entourage just shrugged off or cheered on his antics to is easy to understand why he kept pushing the boundaries. The mindset that you-can-do-no-wrong by an adolescent is not only dangerous to him but also to the general public.
There are some people who may wonder “Where are his parents?” Do they not have any influence? Let’s examine that. First, we must ask ourselves who had the most influence in our lives when we were young bucks? Our peers or friends did. Parents and caregivers no longer have the power and control they once had when their children were little. The only real wielding power most parents have over their teen children is providing them with their wants and needs through financial means. Privileges can be easily taken away or given as rewards. As for Justin, he is the one paying for his parents’ bills and luxurious lifestyles. Second, most child stars have managers or producers who call the shots taking away most of the decision-making from the parent(s). Third, have you seen Justin Bieber’s dad???? He is a far cry from being a positive role model never mind providing love and support for his child. A parent should be able to teach their children integrity, respect, societal rules, social behavior and responsibility. Jeremy Bieber is ill-equipped to assist Justin in turning his life around until he himself makes positive changes. I have seen it time and time again where boys are fighting for the love and approval of a father who has not fully been in their lives. A teen idol or not, Justin is still human with the desire to be accepted and loved by his father.
Would you call me a Justin Bieber sympathizer? Considering all the factors, maybe I am. He isn’t much different than most teens I have worked with other than he is rich and famous. As Justin stated during The Roast of Justin Bieber, “Give a teenager 200 million dollars and what do you expect? He is going to make some mistakes.” This is hard to argue. I surely wouldn’t want to see my 17 year-old handed over a fortune. Certainly not until his brain catches up with the responsibilities that come with it. Now that Justin Bieber has turned 21 years old he has some tough decisions to make in order to become the person he states he wants to be. It is going to have to start with surrounding himself with people who truly love and care for him and with adults who can provide the proper support and guidance he needs to meet that goal. His goal to become a better man, the human being the world can respect and be proud of. He is going to need a positive role model and mentor who is going to challenge him every day to be that person and assist him as he moves into adulthood. Good luck Justin, I hope you choose well.