Dillan DiGiovanni believes Bieber may have everything he wants, except boundaries.
The truth is, I don’t know the first thing about super-stardom and what it takes to create a celebrity. I don’t really care. I can tell you what I do know: Justin Bieber isn’t a spoiled brat. He isn’t “losing it”. He is being a normal teenager. The problem he’s having seems to be the same as what has happened to all the other child/teen celebrities who unravel at the seams. He’s been cheated out of the thing every child/teenager needs to thrive: good role models with healthy boundaries. Justin Bieber is a mess right now because the people who manage him haven’t realized they were qualified to build a pop star but don’t know the first thing about how to raise a child.
I am not a parent who gave birth at 18, like Justin’s mother did.
I am not a media mogul/former party promoter hellbent on franchising the shit out of a talented kid, like Scooter Braun is doing.
I am, however, about the same age as both Bieber’s mother, father and Scooter Braun, his agent/manager. And here’s what I am and what I do know: I am a former middle school teacher. I am a former youth advisor. I am a health coach. I know a thing or two about teenagers and their developmental needs and I see a teenager crying out for help, begging for someone in his life who isn’t too busy ballin’ it up on his dollars to provide the guidance and boundaries teens need to form a healthy sense of self, maturity and morality.
From his first documentary, Never Say Never, I’ve seen Justin surrounded by inept young adults, people incredibly qualified at their jobs and painfully lacking in the awareness and expertise that is required to raise a healthy, confident and mature young adult.
To me, Justin Bieber’s behavior isn’t the result of having too much money or fame. From where I sit it is the result of one thing: lack of boundaries. I wonder if people notice the lack of experience both Scooter Braun
and Justin’s own parents have at actually being parental role models. Justin has literally grown up surrounded by a bunch of (barely) older people who are acting like kids themselves. Pattie Malette was 18 years old when she had Justin and from the photos I’ve seen (because goodness knows I really don’t know anything real about this woman), she seems to be living out the youth and teenage years she didn’t really get to have when she was busy being a mother.
I don’t know what it’s like to have a 19 year-old son when you’re 37. I can only guess it was extremely difficult to give birth to him and have his father leave a few years later. My mom walked that same path but she was much older and she still struggled.
From what I’ve read about Scooter, he’s just your average 31 year-old dude. Nowhere in his job experience did I see much about him studying child psychology or knowing the first thing about adolescent developmental needs.
It’s painfully obvious that merely being a guy doesn’t really make you qualified to be a male role model for someone in the celebrity spotlight. Justin’s behavior seems to be the direct result of being raised by wolves, essentially. He’s been left to his own devices because the adults in his life are neither old enough or experienced enough to draw clear boundaries for him. I doubt they even know how or why they should. They didn’t consider maybe a child counselor would have made a good addition to the “entourage”.
You may be wondering why I care so much about this. It’s pretty simple: I spent most of my career working with youth and I feel like I know enough to see this whole thing from a different perspective. I think teenagers are awesome and largely misunderstood, including Justin. If more people realized this, they might stop attacking the 19-year-old kid and put their focus on the adults who have been in charge of him since the inception of his career. I think we should hold them responsible for what they took on and their failure to adequately guide and support Justin’s development.
Stop picking apart this kid and start demanding more from the people who should be spending less time filling their pockets with his profits and more time getting skills to support this kid before he self-destructs.