Billy Ray — it can’t be easy for Miley or any of your other kids to be dealing with the divorce from your wife of 17 years, Tish, but it will be even harder if you insist on believing that you should be Miley’s best friend, not her “dad”.
You recently told TV Guide magazine that “my goal was always to be her best friend, the person who she wanted to talk to when the chips are down. I wanted to be THAT friend that you can talk to as you go through the journeys of your life.”
I appreciate that you want her to feel comfortable enough to discuss any subject with you, but I got to tell you, Billy Ray, children want their parents to be authority figures — not friends.
Miley has plenty of friends her own age. Friends that she can share with. But she has only ONE set of parents. And children need different things from their parents, critical things, like discipline, that they can’t get from their friends.
Parents are there to give guidance and at times to say “No!” No, as in, “No, you’re 17 and you can’t go out to bars, especially till 4 a.m.” No, as in, “You can’t walk around in a shirt that shows off your breasts and nipples.” No as in, “You shouldn’t be dancing around a stripper’s pole or giving lap dances to older men.” Or “No, you’re 17 and you shouldn’t be groping your breasts or writhing around on your bed in your videos.”
Miley needs a dad who is so concerned with her well-being that he sees her for the 17-year-old child she is and not as a money-making machine that can be exploited.
Parents protect. Friends don’t. Parents drag their daughters out of harms’ way — harm that they have the experience to see, when their same-age friends, do not. Miley needs a parent — especially now that the stability of her family is being shaken. What she doesn’t need is a dad who wants to be her BFF! She needs a dad who will love her by setting boundaries.