Family attorneys in Pasadena know that the breakup of a family is challenging for children regardless of economic background or the careers of their parents. But for famous children whose parents are divorcing, the dissolution of the family brings on a whole separate slew of complicated issues. Lately, we've seen kids from the world of entertainment come to grips with their divorcing parents in front of millions of people.
17-year-old Miley Cyrus may be a show business veteran thanks in part to her long-running hit television show Hannah Montana, but in the end Cyrus is a teenager whose parents are breaking up. KidsHealth.org says that teens in particular react strongly to divorce. The site says teens caught in the crossfire of divorce often feel "abandoned, afraid, worried or guilty" in addition to being angry and emotional over the situation. Cyrus has come under fire since her parents broke up and many gossip columnists are worried if the star is headed toward a breakdown. Sources close to the teenager say she is exhausted by pretending her life is normal.
"Miley is trying to be strong going through her parents' breakup and she loves them both," a friend recently told Hollywoodlife.com. "Everyone is reading into each of her every moves, like when she goes out with her mom and no one sees her dad. It's pushing her buttons."
Family therapists like Karen Mengle say rebellion or feelings of anger and confusion are to be expected by teens whose parents have broken up.
"I think we expect already emotional teenagers to react strongly to divorce, so for somebody like Miley whose whole life is chronicled in the tabloids the issue comes with its own set of challenges unique to famous kids," Mengle says.
Instead of dealing with it in private, kids like Miley are forced to answer questions about it from the media and this can be particularly stressful. She adds that it is important for teenagers, famous or otherwise, "to able to have safe places to express their feelings about the divorce."