Parenting so my child does not turn out like Miley Cyrus

If you are like me and watched Miley Cyrus’ “performance” on the Video Music Awards, you cringed inside at the thought of being a mother to a daughter. While watching the performance, I was thinking about her poor mother and how horrified and embarrassed she must feel. But – to my shock – at the end of the performance they panned the camera over to the audience and her mother was giving her a standing ovation. My thoughts then changed from sympathy to WTF.

Miley Cyrus is an example of a child who was never told no. She was never told no because her parents are her friends, not her parents.

Being a Parent, Not a Friend

While there are so many different parenting styles out there, they are all based on the same foundation. It is called parenting not friendship. I am supposed to be my child’s parent. I am not supposed to worry about being her friend. She has friends and will have more as she gets older, but she only has one mother. It is my job to take that duty head on and mold her to be a person that I am proud of.lisey

My husband and I are taking that responsibility seriously. We require please and thank you, we say no frequently and my child is no stranger to time out. While it is not our goal to be mean parents, we do want to maintain limitations and operate with the idea that it is okay if she is mad at us or not happy that she did not get her way. She will get over it, and so will we.

It is not fun to have your child mad at you, but it is part of the job. If parenting was easy then everyone would turn out to be ideal citizens, but if you have checked the news lately, that is clearly not the case.

As she grows, the challenges will of course change, but the role of being a parent will be maintained. I plan to not get involved in tween girl drama or worry if I am a cool parent by giving a really late curfew.

My personal philosophy on this also follows “actions speak louder than words.” For example, we watch what we say to and in front of her. I don’t mean stop dropping the F bomb because you are worried your toddler will pick up on it. I mean be respectful of what you say in front of your child if you want them to show respect to others. Follow the rules if you expect them to. Hold your ground if you want them to listen to you. Kids are smart.

I have no PhD in psychology or parenting; I am actually in PR, which could not be more unrelated. But I have seen examples of what I don’t want us to be as parents and what we don’t want her to be. We all know a child who acts out or doesn’t listen and a parent that does not step in to parent because they are too worried about upsetting the child. This is exactly what I am trying to avoid.

Stay the Course

Parenting is choosing to take the hard road instead of the easy road. It is harder to parent than it would be to just be her friend and make her happy. While at dinner with my family, I have marched her outside of a restaurant and sat her down in time out. While it was not exactly drama free or what I wanted to do, we have rules that she has to listen to, and she was not cooperating. After asking her 500 times to sit down, she was acting like a wild woman, and I had to regain control by enforcing the rules. But while she was having her meltdown and I was feeling like a bad parent, an older couple walked up to me to say thank you. They thanked me for parenting my child. Not because she was interrupting their dinner, but they thanked me for parenting. The lady said to me that I was doing the right thing, and it will pay off. It was exactly the encouragement that I needed. Stay the course; we are doing what we need to.

We do have a very loving household with lots of fun, hugs, kisses and I Love You’s. We have found there is a balance. We created the boundaries, and she has learned them. The expectations have become unspoken.

Annelise has been known to put herself in time out, on her own. I will find her in the hallway in the usual time out spot. When I ask her what she did wrong, she will totally confess and apologize. I secretly pat myself on the back, but tell her that I am proud of her for owning up to it and following the rules. We hug, and she is back in action as a happy two-year-old.

Of course, I am sure there are plenty of things that we are doing wrong, because we have no real idea of what we are doing. But, when her teacher tells me that she is a great listener and a good kid, I feel like we are doing something right.

My fingers are crossed that we are doing a good job creating that mold for her, but who knows; she could totally turn out tattooed, pierced and with a rap sheet. Let’s just hope not.


  1. I agree, however tattoos and piercings do not make you a “Miley” or a bad person! And neither do they mean you will have a rap sheet!

  2. Saying no frequently does not make you a parent. There are ways to parent well without having to use no regularly. And some experts and research claim its better for your child. To each their own, but the insinuation that you have to tell your child no frequently, that they have to be mad at you, and they have to just get over it to be a parent appalls me. If that’s what you choose to do, that is your right, but don’t tell me I’m not a parent because I choose to communicate with my child differently. You make it seem like parenting is a black and white situation where you have a well behaved child if you say no, use time out and “are a parent” or if you dont you are a “friend” and will have a child who acts out and “misbehaves.” I thought this blog was supposed to be supportive of mothers and the many choices and challenges they face.

    • I am sorry that you feel that way. I disagree with you though that I did not say this was the right way, the only way or the correct way. What I chose to write about was a parenting decision that my husband and I made to raise our child. This what we feel is the best way for our family and it is the path we are on. I am aware there are different methods but I wrote about the one that is working for us.

  3. I don’t really use time outs for my kids, but I feel supported and am in agreement that I do not want to just be my child’s friend and give in to her every desire. I don’t think it matters what the teaching/discipline method is, just as long as there is one- at least, that was my takeaway. I hope you can see even though the routes are different, we do support all moms and we have the same goals- raise loving, well adjusted people!

  4. I also have a two year old little girl. I have said since day one that I will never be her friend. I am her Mom. We will always have a special relationship that will include friend like aspects but I agree that drawing that line is important. There must be a balance but being a child’s parent is a role that requires a different level of respect than a friend.

  5. I completely understand what you are trying to say. An entitled spoiled child is not something that I would like to have at all. While I want my child to be happy (as I am sure you do) it is a part of growth to learn how to deal with no and displeasure. It is a hard life for someone that has not been taught that they cannot have EVERYTHING exactly as they want it in life.

    Great post and thank you for sharing!

  6. I respectfully disagree with some of the points in your post. Emphasis on respect. First, I do not think it fair to comment on Ms. Cyrus’ upbringing – we have no idea how her mother raised her. Most of us are not privy to the glitz and glamour of hollywood, the music industry, etc. The Cyrus family made a choice to raise their child at least partially in that environment, and we know nothing about the evolution of their parent-child relationship. For all we know, they had a blowout when Miley turned 18 and threatened to divorce herself from her parents if they didn’t just put on their happy face…who knows. What I believe you are indicating is that you do cannot appreciate how Miley turned out, and that’s your right. You have the right to ban her music, image, etc. from your house.

    I am not a psychologist…but I will be in 2-3 years (I am a fifth year doctoral student). In my field, we discuss equifinality and multifinality – in short, the latter refers to the fact that similar conditions may lead to different outcomes. Parents may raise their kids in a similar way but they may turn out completely different. We can only do what we think is best, as you indicated in your post when you acknowledged that you are not sure whether everything you are doing is right. We have our precious children for a set number of years (typically) and can raise them as we see fit, but also acknowledge that at some point they are exposed to environments outside our home. We hope our lessons, morals, etc. stick, but we just don’t know.

    Given that, I do not think we are in a place to judge anyone’s parenting style. To some, parenting and friendship go hand in hand. I know other moms who prefer not to use the word no too often – they use other forms communication and language to shape behavior. I know from your comments that you were communicating what works for your family, and I respect that. I also do not think it was your intention to judge others (besides the Cyrus family). But I read your post a few times, an felt a bit like you were looking down upon other mom’s choices. The tone of the writing was a little grating, and I think that’s why some commenters have responded the way they did.

  7. Dear Linzy,
    Your humor, sarcasm, and whit are not lost on me. Miley Cyrus is a tramp, and if you can raise a child who doesn’t go on national TV and twerk or do some heavy petting with a foam finger, consider yourself a success! Although I don’t have daughters, I want to make sure my sons know that it’s not acceptable for them to do it, either.

    To anyone who found this article anything more than a sarcastic rant: lighten up, then google the following: Miley Cyrus VMA performance. I’m sure the parenting style of the Cyrus family and their values didn’t include anything shown in her performance.

    • It’s not acceptable for an adult, on an adult show, to do adult things? Miley is playing the media and attracting her fan base. You know the saying any press is good press. She knows what will sell, she has been doing this her whole life. Sex sells.

      The only thing I got out of this article is that you have a well behaved two year old daughter that is in a stuctured enviroment with two loving parents. Ya know.. like the way it is supposed to be. I am a single mother of two toddler boys. Just saying “no” and having time outs don’t work, it goes way harder and way deeper than that.

      If this was satirical in nature…it definitely went over my head. All I felt was judgement and an unrealistic approach to what is ‘acceptable’.

      Also, your title “Parenting so my child doesn’t turn out like Miley Cyrus”…little bit of a reach there wouldn’t you say? I’m glad you are the perfect parent that can make their child turn into whatever you want. That kid who shot up Sandy Hook was raised right as well…what happened there? The only thing we can be is our best and have a SUPPORTIVE network of parents, not degrade them for the act of their children…

      • Thanks for your feedback Kristyn. I agree that adult things on an adult show are ok. But I would agrue that I am not the only one who thought it was a touch in appropriate. I get she is growing up and not a Disney kid. I can even remember Britney Spears getting the same criticism. There is great debate that all press is good press. But, the goal of my post was not about Miley at all. The goal of my post was to talk about what we are doing in my house. We are doing what seems to be working for us. Yes, it could be totally wrong but we are staying the course. Yes, there are many styles to parenting. As a mother of two boys, I am sure your parenting tips are much different than mine.

        My goal in parenting is to make decisions that I think will make her the best little girl she can be. I want her to be happy and independent. And most of all make really good decisions. If my daughter gave that same performance, I don’t think would be proud. But clearly Miley’s mom was. Again, that is a personal opinion.

        The statement that Miley was never told “no”, was a widely circulated topic post performance. I watched several news pieces on it. While it is someone’s opinion, for me it validated that I did not want to be my child’s friend. I want to be her parent.

        To your point, maybe the Sandy Hook mom thought she was doing a good job too. But we don’t know what happened in that house. And there is nothing to argue that any of the parenting style, mine or yours, will result in ending up in that same spot. But we all hope not. I would think we are all raising our kids in the hope that they make good decisions. But there are numerous ways to get there.

        Among the New Orleans Moms Blog team, we all have different parenting styles. Some are pro- “no” and time out, others prefer other techniques. It is not right or wrong.

        I think this post may have been helpful to some and offensive to others. But at the end of the day it is an opinion and parenting choices are individual.

        • I’m not criticizing you parenting methods. Do whatever works, each child is different. I read this comment thinking you were doing some worth while parenting, something new and exciting that no one had ever done…but its pretty basic and probably the number one thing we all start out doing. No no…don’t do that, ok you did that any way, go stand in time out… Just because you put a child in a structured environment doesn’t mean that she won’t turn out that way. I guess my problem with this is how you just assume that your parenting won’t make your daughter turn out like Miley Cyrus. Whats wrong with her? Why is she so bad? Because she is a 20 year old millionaire that’s been in the spot light her entire life? Her performance at the VMA’s was just that, a performance. I can assure you that being judgmental like that is not a trait I would want any one to have…

  8. I totally get what you are saying Linzy! Boundaries are necessary, and as parents, we are the CEO of our family (learned that from Gail Gillespie!) and we have to set the rules of the house. When rules are followed, we should definitely reward in a positive way, but when negativity occurs, we should set boundaries. I love your tongue in cheek way of using Miley as a point of reference.

    I think, as parents, like you said, it is our job to be the CEO and a ROLE MODEL and not just their friend. We need to set authoritative boundaries whether through time out, redirection, or positive reinforcement of good actions to let our children know what is acceptable and what isn’t and hope that they will grow up to be respectful adults.

    I will also add, as a boy mother, I feel like it is our job as mothers and women to teach our sons to respect women and to act like a gentleman no matter what!

    and like Mariann, your wit and sarcasm was not lost on me either! 🙂

  9. Linzy, I totally understand what you’re trying to convey (I think). In essence, you’re not necessarily advocating for the use of the word “no” or telling kids “no” for the sake of it. My interpretation was that it is important for children to have limits and boundaries, and that it is important for the parents to set them (and each parent gets to choose what they are). When boundaries and limitations are NOT set, there’s definitely a danger of kids becoming entitled or spoiled or making poor decisions when they are out on their own. For me, the main goal in all this parenting business is to raise independent thinkers who make GOOD decisions. And I am not sure anyone in this world thinks Miley made a good decision, and many of us as parents would be humiliated by that. However they parented her is up to them, and she’s a free adult who can make her own choices, but I get what you’re saying – you want your daughter to be someone you’re proud of when she starts making her own decisions. I totally agree.


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