Role Model

I turned Lindsay Lohan’s latest step in her rapid descent into a teaching moment for the kids tonight.

They know her mainly from The Parent Trap.


Now, after watching her reaction in court today, they also see her as an example of what can happen when you get into drugs. I hope that parents around the country are pointing out this example for their children because she is a role model – like it or not. It’s just that some role models are in a role you don’t want to find yourself in.

But, even as we discussed this with the kids at the dinner table, it is still not totally fair. As much as some want to wag their fingers and not feel sorry for the rich girl, she certainly didn’t get where she is today (or where she will end up in two weeks) by herself.

By having parents that appear to be almost complete nutjobs (especially her attention addicted father), she grew up unprotected from all of the pressures of fame and money. And, she was forced to be the main breadwinner for her family since she was 12 years old. She’s been followed around for years by paparazzi that seem to be immune to the law and she is probably one of the most photographed and harassed people on Earth. Imagine trying to just go to McDonalds with 100 people following you. Now, do that 24 hours a day for 6 years and think about how it must feel.

Consider all of the money she has made all of these “media outlets” like TMZ and the tabloids (and not to mention the mainstream networks who gladly jump on the bandwagon to cash in every chance they get). These people want her to be a walking mess because that’s what sells magazines and drives up internet traffic. TMZ wasn’t running a live stream from the courtroom out of concern for Lindsay Lohan or to educate America on the perils of drugs. They do it because they are making money off of the fact that America has a sick desire to watch people flame out.

Plenty of people have cracked under less pressure and plenty of people have succumbed to addictions with less access to drugs. Why should we expect her to rise above it and save herself when she is surrounded by enablers? Today, this judge took a step to save a life. Only time will tell if that is successful.

For my kids, I think watching what happened to Lindsay Lohan today was more powerful for them than anything I could say on the subject. For us, as parents, we’ll continue to work to be the parents to our kids that she was not fortunate enough to have.