A cry for attention - Semaj says celebrity parents and their kids should seek help to resolve family issues
In recent times, there has been an increase in the number of celebrity children who have taken private issues between them and their famous parents into the public sphere.
Davianah (daughter of Tony Rebel), Markus Myrie (son of Buju Banton), Desha Ravers (daughter of Beenie Man), Ele Trunk (son of Elephant Man) and Tanzania Barrett (daughter of Queen Ifrica) have all taken to social media over the past few years to voice their grouse with their parents. This has led to growing concern among some social media users, who have been urging the parties to come to some form of resolution as the parent versus child 'war' does not reflect well on the family.
Speaking with THE STAR about the issue, noted psychologist Dr Leachim Semaj said that while the social media outbursts cast a negative shadow on the family, it should also be viewed as a 'cry for attention' from the children of these celebrities.
"Parenting is hard. It's the hardest thing we grapple with as adults, and the life as a musician/artiste makes that role even harder. The life of an entertainer requires them to be away from their children, especially during their formative years. They have then missed a lot of birthdays and other important points in a child's life. The way children spell love is T.I.M.E., and they will perceive themselves as not being loved as a function of the time that their parents have not spent with them," he explained.
"Having heard some of the issues these children have made reference to in their rants, it only proves that children have a greater need for your 'presence' than your 'presents'. Being a celebrity or a big star will afford you the ability to buy your children a lot of things, but what they want is attention from their parents."
Semaj added that although social media was not the place to air their family's 'dirty laundry', the off springs of these celebrities may have seen that as their only option.
"When you don't get the attention you require as a child, it leaves some voids. And once you get to the adolescent stage, the cracks start to show up. These cracks show up even more as the children enter into early adulthood, and the absence of a network within which to resolve these things causes things to escalate in the public's eye," he said.
"It's a cry for attention, and often times, these children may have tried all the other options, including talking to their parents (even though that may have been hard to do). Often times nothing happens or nothing happens to their satisfaction or it happens for a period of time before going back to the same old. These children who are lashing out seem to have years of pent up anger."
To that end, Semaj suggests counselling for all parties.
"All parties need counselling. It will be very difficult to sit with a child who's very angry, but it's necessary. It will require the services of a trained, knowledgeable person who can handle these kinds of disputes to help arrive at some form of resolution," he said.
Despite the issues faced by these celebrities and their kids, Semaj is advising the parents to refrain from using social media to address the matter.
"The worst thing that the parent can do is take back to social media to engage in a tracing match with their child. It's bad enough that the child did it, but as the adult in the situation, you should never resort to the same method as your children. What all parties need to understand is that once you put something out there, you can never take it back. When you go public, you invite people into your homes and you invite all their opinions and comments," he told THE STAR.