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10 Celebrity Parenting Fails and How to Avoid Them

Posted on by Erin | in Nannies

As challenging as it can be to raise a child while hoping to instill good morals, values and behaviors, it can be even more difficult to parent a child in the spotlight. Nevertheless, fame is not an excuse for inappropriate or disturbing parenting fails. See how these celebs have provided a clear-cut example for what not to do as a parent and learn how to avoid making the same mistakes.

1. Royal Car Seat Fail

When Prince George made his first outing while leaving St. Mary’s Hospital on July 25, 2013, new parents William and Kate did not properly secure the royal baby in his car seat, according to reports. The baby was swaddled tightly, making it difficult for his royal parents to buckle him tight enough into the seat. Although mom rode in the backseat with her newborn and the royal couple was escorted by security, the risk posed to the royal baby was evident.

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, when placing an infant in a rear-facing car seat, the harness straps should be placed through the slot that is at or below your child’s shoulders. Harness straps should always lie flat, not twisted, and the chest clip should be tight and snug enough that extra material cannot be pinched at the shoulder. When buckling the chest clip, make sure it is at armpit level.

2. Degrading Your Children

Divorce is never a pleasant experience for couples, but when you involve your child in the bitterness, it can have devastating effects. The infamous 2007 divorce of actors Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger turned even more bitter when a voicemail message from Baldwin degrading his 11-year old daughter Ireland was leaked to the media. The message reveals Baldwin calling his daughter a “rude, thoughtless little pig,” accompanied by a threat to straighten her out.

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: According to Karyl McBride, Colorado-based licensed family and marriage therapist, shaming and humiliating children, publicly or privately, is emotionally abusive. Parents, especially, are expected to provide safety, acceptance, protection and empathy for their children. When a parent is emotionally abusive, the long-term effects can cause children to grow up with little to no self-worth. Instead of lashing out at your child and humiliating him or her with words, step back, regain composure and calmly express your concerns with behavior versus attacking the child’s sense of self.

3. Driving With a Baby in Your Lap

Who can forget the images of Britney Spears driving her SUV with her then 4-month-old son on her lap? Although she claimed to be harassed by paparazzi, the danger she put her child in as she drove away made national news in 2006. In a media release, Spears defended her actions by stating she was “terrified that this time the physically aggressive paparazzi would put both me and my baby in danger.”

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: Although most people are not being chased by the paparazzi on a daily basis, a child’s safety in a vehicle is top priority regardless of the situation. Even if you are driving a short distance, your child must be properly secured in a car seat that is installed and buckled according to the guidelines stipulated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

4. Public Intoxication

One surefire way to traumatize and embarrass your child is to eat a cheeseburger while clearly under the influence and on camera. For David Hasselhoff and teenage daughter Taylor, this nightmare became a reality in 2007 when the then 16-year-old pleaded with her dad to stop drinking. The video was later leaked to the media and Hasselhoff admitted that he asked his daughter to tape him if he relapsed with alcohol addiction.

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, when a parent is visibly intoxicated or exhibiting reckless disregard of the child’s safety and welfare, it is classified as child maltreatment. Asking your child to “parent the parent,” as Hasselhoff requested in 2007, also puts an unnecessary burden on a child. If you are struggling with alcohol or drug use, seek professional help immediately and make secure arrangements for your children to ensure they are in the best care during your treatment. Emphasize to your children that their primary responsibility is to be a child, not a supervising body within your household.

5. Baring it All

Before her 2013 VMA performance where she pranced around on stage suggestively, Miley Cyrus, the once G-rated Disney princess, bared it all with the consent of mom and country singer dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. In a 2008 photo shoot for Vanity Fair, the then 15-year old Cyrus was photographed topless with a thin blanket covering her body. In a press release, Cyrus’ parents admitted that they left their daughter at the shoot to attend an event and were not aware of the plan for the shoot.

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: Whether your child is a pop star sensation jumping from one model shoot to another or a bookworm hanging out in the library, proper supervision is vital to assure his or her safety, according to the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. Your child, whether she is five or 15, does not have the capacity to make life decisions that may affect her well-being or even her career. Although you may not be able to supervise your child 24 hours a day, ensure that a trusted caregiver is on hand to assist in your absence.

6. Exposure to Domestic Abuse

A string of incidents, from driving under the influence to openly using drugs, have sent Lindsay Lohan’s career on a downward spiral. The childhood star’s demise, though, was recently blamed on her exposure to domestic abuse. In January 2013, Dina Lohan publicly alleged that ex-husband Michael Lohan beat her during their 22-year marriage, which ultimately ended publicly in 2007. During a 2013 interview, Dina Lohan alleged that “Lindsay saw her dad abuse me — that’s why she’s so screwed up.”

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: When children witness violence, it can spark both short-term and long-term consequences, according to the American Family Physician Organization. In fact, the AFP notes that children who witness violence in the home are at greater risk for internalized behaviors, such as fighting, bullying, lying, cheating or anxiety and depression. Get help for your own sake and your child’s sake. Contact a violence prevention hotline or seek help from your local law enforcement agency to secure a safe environment for your family.

7. Promoting Premature Partying

When children are exposed to the “adult life” at a young age, it can severely warp their sense of what is age appropriate behavior. In the wake of a bitter divorce from actor and husband John Barrymore, Jaid Barrymore, mother of child star Drew Barrymore, showed her daughter the party life before she was walking. A regular at Studio 54 as a child, Drew was smoking and drinking by age nine and snorting cocaine at 13. The star eventually got her life back on track after a few stints at rehab and some distance from her parents.

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: Let’s face it – kids should not be in bars or establishments with drunken rowdiness and suggestive dancing. Although you may choose to take your child to a restaurant that doubles as a bar for dinner, when the dinner hour is over, it’s time to pack up and leave. Prolonged exposure to alcohol can significantly increase a child’s risk of drinking, according to The Nemours Foundation.  In addition, “research has linked drinking to many negative consequences, including academic problems, risky sex, addiction to alcohol and other dangerous substances, and deadly motor vehicle accidents,” according to the experts at Nemours.

8. Absentee Parenting

It’s no secret that children need their parents to be active and present in their lives, but many celebrities sacrifice family for fame. According to Sean Stewart, son of singer Rod Stewart, many celebrity children grow up feeling unwanted because their parents spend most of their time on the road or on movie sets. Stewart is one of six children of the famous crooner and has grappled with domestic abuse arrests in past years.

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: Whether you are a superstar crooning out the hits or a working parent trying to provide for your children, the effects of chronic absenteeism can affect your child’s development and well-being, according to “Social Work Today.” Quality time with your child is something he or she needs on a regular basis to feel secure, well-loved and supported. Even with busy schedules, etch out time for some one-on-one time and work to re-prioritize your time so that your children are the number one priority.

9. Social Media Ridicule

Growing up in the public spotlight is not an easy task when your rock-star father committed suicide and your rock-star mother has had a known drug addiction; however, Frances Bean, daughter of Courtney Love and the late Kurt Cobain, has also had to deal with social media ridicule from the one who should be shielding her from harm. In a 2012 rant on Twitter, Courtney Love accused one of Cobain’s former bandmates of putting the moves on her daughter, causing a media frenzy and utter embarrassment for her daughter, who later rebuked the claim and has estranged herself from Love.

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: Publicly ridiculing your child or airing her supposed dirty laundry is not an effective way to resolve a perceived problem or issue you may have with her behavior. Instead of taking to the social media airwaves, embark on a private conversation or discussion with your child to express your concerns. In the end, you will gain more respect and save face, whether you are a celebrity or not.

10. Never Say ‘No’

The word “no” is something Suri Cruise has yet to hear. Parents Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes allege that their parenting choice is to never say no to their daughter. Although the youngest Cruise has led a sheltered life surrounded by body guards and fame, one has to wonder how she will adjust to the word “no” once the reality of real life kicks in.

  • How to Avoid this Parenting Fail: There will be times when your child needs to be told “no.” Setting limits and boundaries and establishing authority are all necessary components of parenting. Teaching your child that she will not always get her way can also better prepare her for the future. The bottom line: No means no and it should be a word your child understands.
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