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July 26, 2007

Daughter Dearest

At the New Republic Online, Sacha Zimmerman says that Lindsay Lohan is "allergic to the word 'no.'" I have a theory as to why she -- and others like her -- are "allergic," but, first, let me address those who think that any time one of us writes about a celebrity or pop culture trend we turn The Point into a "tabloid." Two things:

  1. I disagree.
  2. Tough.

Back to being allergic. Stories like Lohan's bring to mind Roberto's Law of Parenting Number 3: a minor child should never be the principal means of support for a middle-class (or better off) family. It disrupts/distorts/demolishes the parent-child relationship too much.

It's bad enough when parents live vicariously through their kids' academic, artistic or athletic achievements. We've all seen how that can twist people and screw up their kids. Imagine if Tiffany or Jason is paying the bills or is the ticket to a lifestyle they'd only previously dreamed about?

Parents are supposed to take care of their kids, who, in turn, later take care of their parents. I am supposed to be Roberto, the son of Perpetua and Josue -- that is the direction in which identity is supposed to flow.

I cringe every time I read the IMDb bio of an actress (it's nearly always a girl) and it says, "So and so was born in Woonsocket, RI. When she was 11, she and her mother moved to Los Angeles and her father stayed behind . . ."

It isn't only actresses and would-be pop princesses: figure-skaters, gymnasts, just about every way we exploit our minor daughters seems to involve breaking up the family in furtherance of "their dreams."

To paraphrase Peter Augustine Lawler, there isn't anything we would do to make our kids' dreams come true -- except let them be our children.

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I think Asia is even further along than America in this disruption of family. I've spent the last 2+ months in Taiwan and have only met 4 real healthy families. My parents took my education very seriously so they sacrificied a lot to homeschool me, to be personally responsible for it. Over here, if you're serious about your kids education you in essence abandon your child. You board them at the best schools, you send them to cram school in the evening and summer vacation and trips to America and you certainly don't do anything more than pay their tuition and tell them to work harder. It's absolutely tragic.

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