Dad All Day: What Chicago parents can learn from Miley Cyrus

Great advice for teens from … Miley Cyrus?

I know, I can’t believe it either. What’s next, public speaking lessons from Richard Sherman (that’s a football reference)?

Stick with DAD for a minute, there is a point to be made and Miley will take you there.

If you read DAD, then you know I am not a fan of Miley, Billy Ray or their antics. However last week while Miley was in New York she was asked if she had any advice for Justin Bieber and the train wreck his life has become.

Paraphrasing the ‘wisdom that is Miley Cyrus:’ “He has a lot of money, he should pay people to protect him, keep him safe and out of trouble.”

Jaw dropping brilliance. Stay with me.

I have a teenage daughter and we have had to have a lot of talks the older she gets: Sex, drinking, texting, drugs, etc. Part of parenting is having the hard or awkward conversations to make sure there are no misunderstandings on your belief system and expectations.

I am a child of hippies, my parents were pretty open minded and at times enjoyed “stuff.” They shared the same advice with me about drinking and drugs that I shared with my daughter and in a rough translation it was what Miley was sharing with the Beeb.

“I am not naive enough to think you are not going to drink or experiment with drugs. It’s my hope that you don’t do drugs, but if you do, make sure you are with people you trust, people who can take care of you if you lose control or need help. If you do need help, no matter where you are or what time it is, I am here, always, no questions asked, I will come get you.”

Your kids may not have drivers and bouncers like the Beeb, but they do have you. Letting them know that you are there for them, in a clear manner, could be the matter between life and death or worse becoming the Beeb!

When I turned 16, I signed a MAAD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) contract with my parents. I swore to them if I was drunk and needed a ride, I would call them. They swore not to kill me (something like that). I kept to my promise, a lot!

To my parents’ credit, they never got mad or yelled at me that night. I did get woken up early a lot to do awful chores and we had plenty of talks, but they were calm, caring and full of advice. These talks always ended the same way “thank you for trusting us and sticking to your word, we love you.”

By keeping their end of the bargain, I understood that I could trust my parents no matter what was happening in my life, from a break-up to a bad quarters game, they were there for me.

I’m not condoning underage drinking, drugs or alcoholism. I am for communication, though. It may not be easy, it may not be fun, but it does work and just may make your life with your teenagers a little smoother.

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