Talking with Our Kids About Demi

So sad… the word is already out that “Sonny with a Chance” star Demi Lovato just checked into rehab for emotional issues, possibly for self mutilation and an eating disorder.

Demi is a huge name with kids, tweens, and even teens. Both of my own girls (13 and 15) have talked about her and seen her show countless times. This news will be a huge blow to kids across the world– yet another Disney Star/role model in rehab.

New York Daily News reports:

Teen Disney star Demi Lovato stunned fans when it was announced that the star had dropped out of her Jonas Brothers tour gig to seek help treatment for “emotional and physical issues,” according to her representatives.

The “Sonny With a Chance” and the “Camp Rock” star has struggled with eating disorders and cutting herself in the past, according to the Associated Press, although it’s unclear if those are the reasons why she left the tour.

Click here for the entire article.

The timing of this is interesting– young people are really struggling with self esteem right now. David’s Youth Culture Window article released just two days ago, The End of Their Rope, an article about bullying-related suicides, was a heart wrenching read. So many young people are looking for belonging and acting out in harmful ways. David offers some great advice about dialoguing with kids regarding bullying, teasing and suicidal thoughts.

As parents or youth workers, we might want to use this news about Demi to talk about self esteem with our young people.

Some resources to talk about this:

We’re in the process of writing up a MUSIC DISCUSSION using Crowder’s song “Everything Glorious” (I talked a little bit about how those lyrics can launch a powerful discussion about self esteem here). We have talked about the subject before– “How do we respond when bad things happen?”  On our MUSIC DISCUSSION page we used The Fray song “You Found Me” to talk about how we can find God in the midst of tragedies. On the same MUSIC DISCUSSION page we also used a song from the artist Ferras, “Hollywood’s Not America,” to talk about the search for fulfillment. Years ago we used a clip from the film “Mean Girls” to talk about self esteem as well, using I Peter chapter 3. January 2009 we talked about girls drinking their problems away. We even discussed that using Pink’s song “So What” here. In that song, Pink reacted in anger and self destruction.

Keep Demi and her family in prayer through this tough time.

(ht to Trazy for sending me the article)

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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4 Responses to Talking with Our Kids About Demi

  1. Tom Bilderback says:

    Wow another red flag showing us that we put our students under great stress and pressure to perform without nurturing who they are.

  2. Alex says:

    Just to be clear: despite the article proclaiming in its headline that Demi Lovato is going to treatment for self-mutilation and an eating disorder, it later goes on to say that it is unclear whether those are truly the reasons for her seeking treatment.

    I’m sure the truth will be revealed soon, and Demi may actually be seeking treatment for these specific problems, but until we know for sure I think you should be careful what you are reporting (since at this point it is basically gossip).

    It’s always a fine line to walk when using the personal life of a celebrity as an illustration, but we should always make we have all the facts before we do it.

  3. Jonathan McKee says:

    Alex, I appreciate your desire for authenticity. We feel the same, that’s why we always link the source.

    If you take a look around the web today you’ll find the Washington post and a ton of other newspapers are running the story. Many of these sources are all quoting People magazine who interviewed an “an unnamed source close to Lovato’s family” who said, “She fought through eating disorders and has struggled with cutting.”

    Yes, the official spokesperson said this: “Demi has decided to take personal responsibility for her actions and seek help. She is doing just that,” a representative of hers said.”

    Regardless of why she’s in rehab, she could use our prayers.

  4. Randi says:

    Regardless of the reason why she went to a rehab facility – the fact remains that she DID go and that it is incredibly sad. Teenage celebrities are not immune to the everyday insecurities of “normal” teens, no matter how famous they might be. In fact, I would imagine that those insecurities become magnified under the unforgiving microscope of a Hollywood lifestyle. The entire celebrity lifestyle is a lot for anyone, let alone a teenager who is still trying to define themselves.

    Also, Alex – if your post included a link to anything, it automatically gets flagged and deleted because there is a “no links” policy on the blog. It happened to mine a few weeks ago. When I re-posted without the link, I was able to post it just fine.