How Old is Too Old for a Parent to Intervene?

Family Matters on 03.29.11
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Image Credit: RICK GIASE/epa/Corbis

My parents are good for so many things. They offer sage advice when asked, provide comfort when I'm hurt, babysit when we need a break, and give love unconditionally, even when I may not deserve it. Along with all of that, they'll also give me a swift kick in the butt when I need it. And I definitely still need it from time to time, even at 31 years old.

For a celebrity, mishaps are front-page fodder and go global in a matter of minutes. Can you imagine your mistakes put on blast like that? You would think the parents would step in and say, "What the hell are you doing? Stop it right this instant." But some parents just don't work that way. Others may feel that their child is an adult and should be able to take care of themselves.

Take Charlie Sheen, for example. He's obviously on the crazy train, and it seems he has no intention of getting off any time soon. His father, Martin, a celebrity in his own right has stayed relatively quiet during this epic bender. The elder Sheen doesn't feel like his help is "welcome." Um, so what Mr. Sheen? You're going to let your son self destruct, in front of billions?  

There are a few other people that could probably use some guidance, too. Chris Brown, Lindsay Lohan, and Christina Aguilera all come to mind. Their antics over the past few years seem to be the proverbial cry for help. Some would even say they're shouting from the highest mountain for someone to hear their pleas. Are their parents listening?

One parent who definitely heard the call and took action was Jamie Spears. Britney was spiraling out of control -- fast. She had more than a few instances of erratic behavior (in front of the paparazzi), and she was hospitalized twice for mental evaluation. But Jamie wasn't going to let her go out like that. He stepped in and took control -- legally -- of her life. Bravo, Dad! Today, she's sober, an active mother to her two boys, and still a beloved entertainer, releasing a new album and announcing a new tour.   

So, the next time your tween (or grown child) rolls her eyes at you for being a good parent, just smile and tell her she'll thank you one day. Even if she never does, you'll know that she's a better person for having you watching out for her, and one day, she'll turn around and do the same for her own children. It will be fun to call my parents one day and tell them that my daughter thinks I'm the most unfair mother in the whole world. They'll get a kick out of it, and I'll know I'm doing something right.

More on Talking to Your Kids
TLC: How to Answer Difficult Questions From Children
TLC: Raising Your Child to Have Good Manners
TLC: Understanding How Children Mature

Tags: How To Grow