The Hurried Child" and "All Grown Up and No Place to Go: Teenagers in Crisis." Dr. Elkind spoke with Wendy Schuman, Beliefnet's Family channel producer.Psychologist David Elkind is professor of child development at Tufts University and the author of many books, including "
Why would Jenna Bush have used a fake ID for the second time? She has to have known she'd get caught.
I work with a lot of kids in family court, where I often see the kids of ministers, rabbis, and children of other people in positions of moral authority getting caught doing things that embarrass their parents. It may have been unconscious--but at some level this behavior was not unintentional. Kids with parents in the limelight may think they need to be paragons of virtue, not because it would benefit them, but because it would reflect well on their parents. Some kids take it pretty well, and others rebel at that idea.
So you think she might be getting in trouble on purpose?
It's not totally accidental that she did this twice--she's 19, she knows the consequences of all these things, she's been in public life all these years. I often find that kids feel they're being exploited for the parent's purposes and not being accepted for themselves.
Often they're being asked to be good, to behave, not for their own well-being, but to preserve the parental reputation. Perhaps President Bush wasn't very reflective in terms of how he represented his need for her behavior. She may feel she wasn't accepted for herself. With kids in the public eye, there is a dynamic that isn't true for all parents.
At this point, what do you think her parents can or should do about it?
Barbara Bush said it best--her son is being paid back for his own behavior. He did a lot of stuff as a kid that got his parents upset--and his daughter is paying him back. It's kind of late to do something right now. You can't control her that much--you have to start teaching when kids are in diapers. Somebody needs to sit down with her and talk with her--someone who has some leverage with her, maybe her grandmother. This situation has been set up for years. It's not going to go away.