Is Bieber Fever in kids a problem, or just a natural part of growing up? AboutKidsHealth reports on this widespread phenomenon.
The house lights dim and the curtains draw open. Making his way to centre stage, a sea of adoring fans, overcome with excitement, emotion, and genuine adoration, celebrate his entrance with a collective cacophony of shrieks and roars. Near pandemonium breaks out as he launches into his repertoire of hits.
A typical Justin Bieber show at a big city sports arena circa 2011? No. Instead, it’s a scene that aptly depicts a typical a performance by Franz Liszt at the Italian Opera House in Berlin circa 1842.
Nine-year-old Dominique Greyvenstein, along with millions of other young girls and some boys, is a ‘Belieber’ – a devout fan of Canadian pop sensation, Justin Bieber. “I love him,” says Dominique. “I’m his number one fan.”
When she’s not listening to his records or watching his videos on TV, Dominique and her friends regularly meet to talk about one thing: Justin. “We have our own Justin Bieber club,” she says. “But they don”t like him as much as I do.”
But is there a price to pay for this kind of devotion?
“As kids individualize themselves from their parents, which is a natural part of development and growing up, they try to establish psychological and emotional independence,” says Dr. Alan Ravitz, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Child Mind Institute in New York City. “No matter the culture, they need somebody to look to, aside from their parents, for guidance and a model for becoming an adult. In our culture, this is often a sports figure, an actor, or a pop star.”
This phenomenon has been the impetus behind many studies that have set out to understand why adolescents are prone to idolatry. One in particular, Adolescent Idolization of Pop Singers: Causes, Expressions, and Reliance, concluded that idolization is, in fact, a required element of youth culture: “Idolization of pop stars has unique characteristics for adolescents. It provides a basis for self-expression, the construction of self-identity, and the achievement of independence.”
“These sorts of crushes are necessary for, and directed by, a young person’s development,” says Dr. Ravitz. “By definition, they have nothing to do with parents — they are about getting away from parents. So don’t encourage, do keep track, and be prepared to intervene if your child has a major change in mood or behaviour.”
Intervening can be as simple as sitting down with your child and showing a genuine interest in the artists and music they like. Not only will this process provide a parent with the opportunity to get to know their child a little better, it may even strengthen a much needed bond at such a pivotal time in their child’s life.
“Monitor your child. Know your child. And love your child. Even though this part of development is about separation, you are still a parent — it’s all about being there for your kid.”
Originally written by:
AboutKidsHealth is the leading Canadian online source for trusted child health information, and has a scope and scale that is unique in the world. Developed by SickKids Learning Institute in collaboration with over 300 paediatric health specialists, the site provides parents, children, and community health care providers with evidence-based information about everyday parenting information, health and complex medical conditions, from bystanders in bullying, to Bieber Fever in adolescence. AboutKidsHealth adheres to rigorous quality standards for the creation and review of health information.
Please visit AboutKidsHealth for additional education and children’s health resources or for the original Bieber fever article, go to:
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For more information, please contact:
Sue Mackay, Communications
The Hospital for Sick Children
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