When Loving Your Child Seems Like Hate

Boy, do I ever hate my nine-year-old son. Hate him! How do I know this?

little girl boxing

Boy, do I ever hate my nine-year-old son. Hate him! How do I know this? Because he told me so over and over last night after his mother and I took away his portable game device. Thus did a mild-mannered, middle-aged, pot-bellied small town dad become the Worst Person In The World.

That’s fine. We’ve all been there – and if we haven’t been, we’re not doing something right. Like many boys his age, our sweet Lucas has a problem limiting his screen time. He has even more trouble being told that he can’t have something that he wants. So we have these meltdowns every couple of days in our house. They aren’t pleasant, but then again, parenting isn’t always about birthday cakes and Christmas presents.

Miley Cyrus, America’s most prominent child-star train wreck, made headlines recently for her obscene performance on the MTV Video Music Awards. There were many harsh and correct things said about the vulgar display, but none quite as apt as Danielle Berrin’s remark in JewishJournal.com:


“What Miley Cyrus really wants is a spanking.”

That is, says Berrin, the 20-year-old pop tart is expressing “a child’s deep and desperate need for discipline and boundaries.” Cyrus’s showbiz father, Billy Ray Cyrus, and wife Tish turned their young teenager over to the Disney starmaking machine at age 14, and guided her to the heights of Hollywood stardom. Dear old dad even appeared with his 15-year-old daughter in a revolting, sexually exploitive Vanity Fair photo shoot.

Years later, when the younger Cyrus began to go badly off the rails, her father disavowed any responsibility for the lurid embarrassment his daughter had become, blaming her Hollywood handlers.

Nonsense. Miley Cyrus didn’t take herself to Hannah Montana tryouts. When that child needed parents, she found enablers. It’s easy to judge the Cyruses for bad parenting, given that their daughter and her antics are so prominent. The truth is, many of us have more in common with Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus than we like to think. We want so badly to be our children’s friends, to bolster their self-esteem, and to fulfill their desires, that we’re turning them into dysfunctional young adults.

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