A vast difference exists between your teen looking up news on a celebrity and becoming obsessed with a celebrity. Unfortunately, in the U.S. celebrity-worship culture and thanks to their accessibility through social media, it's easy for your teen to get caught up in the obsession with someone famous. By pointing your teen toward healthy influences and explaining the differences between real and staged emotions and traits, you can give your teen a better perspective on celebrities.
We live in a culture where celebrities are revered, so it's only natural for teens to see celebrities as people to look up to. Unfortunately, teens don't always know the line between admiration and obsession. And, according to an article at Psychologytoday.com, teens who feel lonely or out-of-place are even more likely to latch onto and worship a celebrity. Teens have three basic types of celebrity worship. The first is a personal connection -- your teen is obsessed with a star because she feels that celebrity understands or is like her. The second type is purely social and entertainment-based; your teen likes a celebrity because of her abilities. Finally, a pathological connection -- where your teen entertains fantasies involving a star -- can be one of the most dangerous.
While a mild fascination with a particular celeb is probably harmless, when your teen starts obsessing over or worshiping someone famous, it can get out of hand. If your teen has fantasies where he meets and forms a relationship with a certain celebrity, it can hurt his ego and self-esteem when that fantasy never happens. What's more, a teen can start emulating a celebrity's behavior, which might not be acceptable in your eyes. Of course, a severe occupation with checking up on a celebrity -- reading magazines, checking Twitter feeds, catching up on Instagram -- can all reduce or even replace your teen's time for actual social activities. Body image can also be called into question if your teen obsesses over the looks of a certain celebrity.
If you don't want to deal with celebrity obsession as a parent, talk to your teen. If you notice that she has posters in her room or she's poring over a magazine, ask why she chose that particular celebrity to read about or hang over her bed. Ask what she admires about that star and you'll be able talk about the smoke and mirrors behind celebrity life. If she loves the way her favorite singer looks, talk about photo editing and the work that goes behind looking that way. Remind your teen that celebrities are normal people and help her focus on the positive traits of the celebrity, like one that has a history of animal activism or an actress who speaks out against eating disorders.
How to Deal
If your teen already nurses a full-fledged obsession with a specific star, he might be looking for role models in his life. Finding a mentor might be able to redirect your teen's path. Another way to help him get past his obsession is to help your teen choose a new way to occupy his time, according to DrPhil.com. Without the time devoted to reading magazines, Internet articles and status updates, your teen might find a way to be fulfilled without his celebrity obsession.
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