My 15 year old daughter, has had three role models in her life: Hannah Montana, Taylor Swift and, now, Lana Del Ray. I say “Hannah Montana” (and not Miley Cyrus) because this was when she was a sweet actress/singer who played a double role similar to the role played by Patty Duke in The Patty Duke Show. She sang songs like “Party in the USA” and “The Climb.” My daughter’s role model, thank goodness, was not the molly–taking, tongue-stuck-out performer who sings “Wrecking Ball.”

So, this was the role model that fell from grace.

She began listening to (and became obsessed) with Taylor Swift at the age of 8. She still listens to her now and has two posters up in her room. (This is in comparison to about ten posters a few years ago.)

Taylor has been every parent’s dream of a role model: clean lyrics, no drugs and always encouraging her fans to think highly of themselves and to “Shake It Off.”

I recently went to my fourth T-Swizzle concert with her at the Time Warner Arena. I am still in shock that she will go with her mother! It may be because I bought VIP tickets and because I am desperate to keep this singer as her role model and to still be included in my daughter’s social life.

With all that being said, my daughter still adores T.S. and hangs on to all her advice about bullying, self-esteem and feminism (even if she does it in secret since it is no longer cool for a Junior in high school).

That brings us to Lana Del Rey. I’m not even sure I am spelling her name correctly (in part because I am in denial). Lana is sweet and innocent looking, but sings songs of cocaine and lady-parts. My daughter has a couple of posters of her as well on her walls. Unfortunately, Lana is smoking a cigarette and wearing a T-shirt with the word “Heroin” on it.

My daughter attended her concert in the same week as she did Taylor Swift. The exception with this outwing was that she went with her best friend instead of her mommy and wore a midriff shirt instead of a sun dress.

With that being said, here are five ways to encourage healthy and positive role models in your child’s life:

  1. Model positive and healthy behaviors. You are your child’s biggest influence.
  2. Get to know your child’s friends. Hanging out with the wrong crowd can put your child at risk for drug use, early sexual experiences, and other risky behaviors.
  3. Talk to your child and have open communication! If your child’s hero falls from grace, explain that everyone makes mistakes, and that you hope the person will get help. Have your child think of alternative activities like going to the movies or bowling with friends.
  4. Get your child involved in extracurricular activities. The more positive experiences she has and the more active she is, the less likely she is to find trouble.
  5. Explain to your child that he does not need to do everything his role model does. He can choose what he likes about the person, but still be himself!

If you need more help with this issue, our team of counselors at Thriveworks Counseling, Charlotte are here to help! Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Children and Role Models. (2011, September 1). Retrieved July 3, 2015, from

Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents (In Brief). (2003). Retrieved July 3, 2015, from