Britney Mania: Let's Stop Pretending It's About the Kids

I've never paid much attention to Britney Spears. It's been virtually impossible not to know about her recent deterioration, however, upon which the media so gleefully reports. The questions and statements are made: "What's led to Britney's strange behavior?" "Will she lose custody of her kids?"

Mostly I've ignored the hype. To me, she's a kid in trouble struggling with raising kids of her own. To the media, she's gossip, a way to make a buck or two, or more simply put: "entertainment." Today things have been taken to a whole other level and I just can't ignore it anymore because, well, kids are seriously being harmed. Since turning on the news at 5PM I've seen reporting that has been virtually non-stop Britney. Sorry, Barack, but your Iowa caucus success has just been bumped.

If you don't know why there's been so much focus on Britney today, then just turn on the TV or Google her name. You'll get more than enough information as to what happened last night, something to which I do not want to contribute.

What I will contribute is this: stop the Britney madness people ("people" meaning "the media" and all those consuming what is being spewed)! At the very least please understand the seriously negative impact this sort of press is having on our children ("our" meaning children being raised in the United States). Britney may be in emotional trouble. She may have a substance abuse problem. To me it is a chicken and egg question. Is the media merely reporting on her problem, or is the media contributing to it?

I strongly believe that children benefit from having a relationship with both of their parents with the exception of those parents who have physically, sexually, and/or emotionally harmed them. "Emotional abuse" is one of those challenging and subjective concepts parents use when they're angry at each other and they're slinging dirt in both directions. I believe it also actually exists at times but I'm not going to get into that right now. At any rate, in my admittedly limited observations, I have seen no indication that Britney has been abusive to her children in any of the aforementioned ways. Yet her ex, Federline, and his attorneys recently filed to keep Britney from having ANY contact with her children.

Yes, she has made stupid decisions. It appears as though she may need professional help of some kind. Yet threaten to take children away from almost any parent (male or female) and watch the sparks fly. What's going on with her strange behavior? Need that question seriously be asked?

Federline might be a better parent. So be it. I don't know. It's not for me to decide. Yet better or worse, aren't both parents important? I do know this: the kids are losing, over and over again. When will parents get it? It's destructive conflict that destroys all of us in the end.

A custody battle is ugly. A custody battle being broadcast daily across every possible media outlet inflicts irreparable harm not only upon Britney's children, but upon every child over whom parents are fighting in court. Just stop! There are alternatives. Please just stop it already!

By Laura L. Noah
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