There have been some bad days parenting my four sons over the past 20 years, but at least I can say the President of the United States has never been petitioned by nearly 200,000 of my neighbors to step in and co-parent. Justin Bieber’s folks, on the other hand, are waiting to see if President Obama will deport their 19-year-old son for his rampant misbehavior.
Don’t get me wrong, I am shaking my head in awe over the fact that the leader of the free world is being petitioned to take time out of his busy schedule to parent a wayward teen.
However, isn’t that what every good parent does in between talking to our spouses about the state of our union and coping with the economic downturn, we also try and weed out the bad influences in our environment.
Mr. Obama is simply looking at the same issue every parent eventually faces, how to deal with that one kid in your child’s social circle who’s the “cool kid,” who makes bad choices, gets too wild, breaks things just for a laugh, ignores the rules, and generally makes parents a nervous wreck.
According to The White House’s "We the People" platform 188,945 Americans (and counting) say Bieber, 19, is that kid and have signed a petition asking the Obama administration to revoke Bieber's green card to kick him out.
The petition reads: “We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.”
While the charges against Bieber are only misdemeanors he is on a collision course with national and international disaster, trashing America’s image (his foster parent nation) as he goes.
He tagged Brazil last month, defacing buildings with spray paint and making international headlines. He was arrested last week in Miami Beach, Fla., and charged with drunken driving, resisting arrest, and driving without a valid license during an illicit drag race. Also, in California he faces charges for splattering a neighbor’s house with eggs. And he is expected in court on March 10 to face charges for assaulting a limousine driver on December 30.
I think President Obama has a responsibility to respond to this particular petition, as both a father and leader.
Parents know that there’s always that one kid in the social group who is the straw that stirs the shake.
As our kids get older and more social, forming groups of friends, we worry about how the behavior of those friends will influence our own kid’s decision making.
We don’t want our kids in with the wrong crowd because it tarnishes their image and can bring them down.
Of course, the best-case scenario is when your own child comes to you and says they don’t want to hang out with that kid anymore. Then you can be proud.
But they may need your help to make that happen.
I always tell my sons that they aren’t using all their strength until they have asked their parents to help them out. Once we are on board, they are using all they have at their disposal to get the problem solved.
That’s essentially what is happening right now with the deportation petition.
“We the people,” parents included, have asked the current representing “father figure” of our nation, Barack Obama, to help us use all our strength to send the message that our village can’t have this kind of child in it anymore.
Bieber and those exhibiting the same behavior from the streets to the world stage are bringing us down.
Young adults like Bieber who are not famous are a problem on a small scale, but as a national influencer of teen and young adult culture representing America overseas, he’s a bad apple in our cultural barrel.
When this happens in our own homes, the problem child is usually the kid who entertains everyone in the group with his or her antics, making your own child hesitant to cut ties.
CNN.com contributor Ruben Navarrette made a great point when he said Bieber’s wealth and status might be getting him special treatment.
"Bieber has an estimated net worth of about $130 million," Mr. Navarrette wrote. "I bet that, right about now, many of those Mexican immigrants who were deported because they came to the attention of local police officers for a burned-out taillight, or for not making a complete stop at an intersection, are wishing that they had been a rich, white kid with marginal music ability and too much money. If so, things might have gone differently for them."
A huge part of parenting is being fair and the President needs to think hard on that when looking at this situation.
At some point, the parent hosting the wild child must make a command decision to either call the other parent, or parent the child themselves.
My guess is that Obama can’t pick up the phone and call Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to say, “Uh, look, Steve, I hate to bother you, but we have a little situation here with Justin and I’d appreciate if you’d handle it.”
And I don’t see Mr. Harper recalling Bieber and revoking his travel privileges. Although, that would be absolutely brilliant.
Perhaps the compromise, while we are busy soliciting the president for his help, is for Obama to make a very stern phone call to Justin’s mom and dad.
I’m sure any parent would much prefer a call from the President of the United States to invite them over to praise their child than to tell them off for bad parenting.
If I ever got that call for one of my sons, they would be in for a world of parenting.