This just in. Rarely does a topic have equal appeal to publicists and parents but I think that I have just stumbled upon one. Hear me out on this one so that you can weigh in.
Celebrities may not be as powerful in the lives of teens as their publicists may think. Likewise, they may not be as powerful as the parents of teens have been led to believe. In fact, studies show that although teens' behavior may be influenced by their celebs of choice -think Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, among others--they are with all due respect not the only important role models in the lives of our impressionable teens.
A survey presented at the 2011 Canadian Pediatric Society's Annual Conference found that among 1,200 teens between the ages of 14-17, the majority named their parents as their primary role models in the area of-get this-SEXUALITY. Next on the list were their peers. Celebrities held sway with only 15% of the teens. They came in third and last.
And how about this? A 2002 study published in the journal Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that among 749 LA teens between the ages of 12 and 17, the majority again listed their parents as their most popular role models. The list was as follows: parents were first followed by, in this order, sports figures, siblings, and finally singers.
Perhaps the takeaway message here is that the real rock stars in teens' lives are their parents. Let's hear some collective applause for the prevailing power of parents!
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Barbara R. Greenberg, Ph.D. is currently a professional consultant on teen issues at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, CT. She also maintains a private practice in Fairfield County, CT.
She served as a clinical administrator on an adolescent inpatient unit at a private psychiatric hospital for 21 years before dedicating herself to private outpatient practice and consultation work.
She and her professional partner, Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, Psy.D, met over a decade ago during an interview for a clinical position. That first introduction resulted in a meeting of the minds. What started as a professional relationship has bloomed into a strong friendship and has served as an even greater support network for each other’s triumphs and challenges.
"From early on in our respective careers we have perceived ourselves as students of adolescent language and behavior. We have listened and learned from the finest of teachers…the hundreds of teens and parents who continue to touch our lives daily."