Have you heard of Honey Boo Boo?
Child pageant contestant Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson’s show, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, was recently extended. According to TLC, the show
“follows Alana and her family: stay-at-home mom June, chalk-mining dad Sugar Bear, and sisters 12-year-old Lauryn ‘Pumpkin,’ 15-year-old Jessica ‘Chubbs,’ and 17-year-old Anna ‘Chickadee.’ From family outings to loud and crazy family get-togethers, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo takes us off the pageant stage and into the outrageous family life of the Honey Boo Boo clan.”
Knowing the premise, then, it seems as if a recent article from the satirical newspaper The Onion is spot on. Written as if by Honey Boo Boo herself, the article “You Do, Of Course, Realize That This is Going to End Very, Very Badly” foresees a trainwreck of a future, as is the case with many child celebrities.
Due to language use, we’ve intentionally left the article unlinked. Here are some highlights:
I’m glad people are enjoying the show. [...] Just so long, of course, as people are aware that there is no possible scenario in which I will grow up to be a functional human being who is healthy and psychologically well-adjusted. [...] I mean, I’m a 7-year-old girl who regularly consumes a combination of Red Bull and Mountain Dew [...]
Of course people understand implicitly that I am going to one day in the near future develop serious health problems not limited to massive weight gain, type II diabetes, and likely drug addiction as a result of emotional maladjustment and years of unrestricted access to dangerous substances provided by television producers and sponsors. You’d kind of have to be a willfully clueless idiot not to realize that, after all. [...]
In the worst-case scenario, my reckless behavior and destructive lifestyle will entangle dozens of people within an inner circle of handlers, publicists and hangers-on with whom I’m still able to surround myself due to appearances at nightclubs and adult magazines, which will pay just enough money to keep me from insolvency—that is, until I reach an age in which the public inevitably tires of me and I have to resort to pornography or prostitution.
These things may not happen in the immediate future or even within the next few decades, but rest assured that they will more than likely happen sometime during my lifetime, a lifetime that will probably end before age 45, in large part due to years of hard partying, substance abuse, reckless driving, or some combination of those three, if not by outright suicide brought on by years of depression and estrangement from family.
But I hope I haven’t given the wrong impression. By all means, continue watching the show. [...] No one who’s seen me practice a new dance routine for an upcoming pageant can argue that it’s not adorable, especially when I’m dressed up like a sex icon like Madonna or Britney Spears.
It’s easy to condemn Honey Boo Boo’s family for making choices that have a high probability of disastrous consequences, all in the public eye. However, while high-profile, high-stress environments may put children at more risk, average parents have similar opportunities to wreck their child’s future without even the temporary benefits of fleeting fame. Here’s how to wreck your child’s future in five easy steps.
1. Don’t monitor their health.
Most parents wouldn’t feed their child Red Bull and Mountain Dew as a performance enhancer, as is the case with Honey Boo Boo. However, increasing rates of child obesity indicate that parents are faltering in other ways. For instance, are you limiting their time using electronic media, like computers, TV, and video games, allowing them to turn into couch potatoes? Are you providing them with healthier yet fun options instead, such as a family bike ride or Nintendo’s Wii Fit?
Not every child will be an athlete, of course. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t help them find a fun way to stay healthy.
2. Don’t get to know their friends.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” You may be familiar with this concept under another name: “Peer Pressure.” Stereotypically, kids turn to drugs and alcohol because of their friends’ influence, and here at Covenant Eyes, we hear stories all the time of young children being shown pornography by their friends, starting a lifetime struggle. So: are you getting to know your children’s friends? Are you offering yourself as a convenient scapegoat for them to flee peer pressure? And better yet, are you offering your home as a safe haven for your children and their friends?
By the way, be careful about the adults in their lives as well. Several former child celebrities like Corey Feldman have since revealed that they were molested by men with Hollywood connections–men with influence over their lives and careers. Outside of Hollywood, child predation is an issue as well…there are people in local churches who are willing to use your children for their own sick purposes.
3. Don’t monitor their media intake.
If you’ve spent any time reading this blog, you already know how easy it is for kids to find pornography online. Obviously, then, monitoring and filtering their Internet use is a key component for raising healthy adults. But media intake doesn’t stop with the Internet. Watch the shows they watch and listen to the lyrics of the songs they like as well. Your five year old may be adorable when she sings Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” but you probably don’t want her internalizing the song’s lyrics: “I trade my soul for a wish / Pennies and dimes for a kiss.”
4. Emphasize performance over character.
In elementary school, my best friend once sobbed because she got a B on a test and she was convinced her parents wouldn’t love her if she didn’t get straight As. Granted, my friend needed to develop strong study habits early in order to become the successful veterinarian she is today. However, such performance-based love as my friend (falsely) assumed in the 1980s and that so-called tiger moms often exhibit can set children up for lifetime feelings of worthlessness and depression when they inevitably fail.
By the way, if you have a daughter, be careful about undue importance on her appearance. Have her memorize Proverbs 31:30, and remind her that she’s beautiful and that God created her in His image. Otherwise, she may turn to YouTube–or worse–for affirmation.
5. Don’t model your values.
It’s important to tell your kids to do what’s right. It’s also important to remember the truth in the adage “Actions speak louder than words.” Are you telling your kids to eat more veggies at the same time you’re mindlessly eating chips? Do you turn up the volume for Lady Gaga, but tell your kids to change the station? Are you telling them Internet Accountability is important, but not modeling it in your marriage?
If your kids think you’re a hypocrite, they’ll discredit what you say. Or they might start acting as you do…and depending on what you do, that may be worst of all.