My Son Wants to Be Like Justin Bieber
My son is seven years old. When he was six, I let him watch the Justin Bieber movie, Never Say Never. It was on Netflix and he thought the picture looked cool. I need to teach him about not judging books by their covers, or in this case, movies by their pictures. And let me say, before I go deeper into my issues: My son calls him Justin Beaver. I didn't sway his pronunciation because I'm an asshole Mom who happens to loathe Justin Bieber; the kid speaks what he hears. He called helicopters "hopper toppers" until he was five. Motorcycles were "cyclebikes." It's cute. It's the last smidgen of baby boy left in his rapidly growing body. We're sticking with Beaver.
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When he saw the movie, he was in absolute awe. He wanted to dance like him, play the drums like him, even wear his hair like him. Lucky for me, my son had his head shaved at the time. But, the moment his hair grew out, he wanted the Justin Bieber bangs that could flip and flop and annoy the shit out of me. I wanted to take scissors to them so I could see my baby's big blue eyes.
I allowed him to purchase a few of the Bieb's songs. He watched the movie a few more times before it disappeared from Netflix. He occasionally referred to the clothes he wanted to "be like Justin Beaver's." I refused to let him wear his pants so low you could see his underwear. I grew up in Los Angeles. When I was a kid, guys who wore their pants that low were all gang members. I will not let my son, who lives in a quiet town in Maine, wear his pants like a gang banger. I don't know how much truth there is to the story that wearing your pants below your butt started in prison and meant you were ready for the hot prison sex, but I can believe it, and my seven-year-old is not signaling anyone for a sexual encounter.
My son was a mini-Bieliber. I was once a New Kids On the Block fanatic, so I wasn't going to give him too hard of a time about his new found fandom. As the past year or two has moved along, the young Mr. Bieber has become somewhat of, well, a little asshole. I know the media loves to rip into those famous kids and turn them all into drug addicted sex monsters who are spinning down a shame spiral descending into child star hell, also known as a lifetime career in and out of rehab. But there is something about that fella that makes me "bielieb" that there is some truth his prickery.
Money, fame, little girls throwing underwear at you, a large crew of people catering to your every want and need can turn you into a grade-A mega-dick. And that is exactly who he is to me. The more I see him smoke pot, pee in a bucket, spit on fans, wear really stupid tight yet low in the ass pants, rub a fans iPhone against his junk, well... he makes me want to smack his ungrateful face. It also makes me cringe when my seven-year-old son comments on how he wants to wear his hat just like Justin Beaver's.
As a parent, what do you do? Do you try and explain the pitfalls of fame to your seven-year-old and how you don't think he should continue to idolize him? I can only imagine what the parents of young girls are struggling with. He is exactly who every parent prays to the Baby Jesus their daughter will never be interested in. But, shit happens. And here we all are, taking a ride on the Justin Bieber Princess Cruise and the power has gone out and everyone is coming down with dysentery.
So, I will continue to let my son listen to his Justin Beaver songs on his iPod and make his occasional references to his clothes and dance moves. I'm lucky that my son is young enough and not connected to the interwebs enough to know what's happening to this guy, and I have no intention to tell him. Let him idolize the kid he saw in the movie. The kid who came from nothing, who found quick fame on YouTube and became a singing sensation. It's a good-hearted story for him to know that if you work hard you can get somewhere. But I swear if my son thinks acting like a douche nozzle is how you get somewhere in life, then I think I have the right to ship him to Justin Bieber's house when I can't handle it anymore.