Guest Post: She’s Miley, Not Heroin

March 18, 2014

Imageby Dr. Lynne, The Family Coach

Surely I was the oldest person at the Miley Cyrus concert in Phoenix last week. I was wearing my riding boots, yoga pants and a black dog t-shirt. I looked nothing like the 20K screaming girls with their long polished hair, Michael Jordan Bulls jerseys and red high-top sneakers.

As we left the gym last Thursday my friend said, “Bring the family over for dinner tonight.” My response, “So sorry, we’re busy.” “What are you all doing?” she asked. I leaned in with the secrecy of a sleuth, “I’m driving five teenagers to the Miley Cyrus concert.” She gave me the head cocked chin up look and I knew I was in trouble. “Don’t tell anyone, I’m not sure it’s the right decision, but I’d rather have the girls ask me, ‘Mom will you take us, than say can we go alone with our friends.’”

I had solicited opinions on Facebook and my friends said, “I’d never take my kids to see her,” “It’s like musical pornography.” No one said, “Oh yea, I’m dropping my kids off, going out to dinner with my husband and then picking them up.”

In our kitchen at 5:00 pm as we ate, dressed and discussed the pending ritual, I heard myself say, “Miley’s parents must be having a heart attack.” Then I wondered, how do I know, I don’t really even know what Miley does on stage, yet. The videos online show her grinding and simulating sex but those are the snippets. Now having gone, I observe she danced, she sang, she spoke, the energy was awesome. The music was great.

We used the days leading up to the concert as an opportunity to talk about our teens’ views on sexual expression.

“What about our sexuality do we want to keep private?”

“How open do we need to be?”

“Where is the line between self-confidence and self-exploitation?”

“Do we have to do what others are doing, just ‘cause they are doing it?”

“When your children ask about your 20’s what do you want them to know?”

In the car driving to the concert, I asked the teens “Do you feel fully armed?” “Do you know what you are about to see and are you ready for it?” “What will we learn from this experience that will help us be teenagers who take responsibility for our choices?” As we parked, to an audible sigh of relief I said, “Okay parent education is complete, now let’s go enjoy the music.”

Miley sang everything from cover songs like Jolene to Wrecking Ball. The costumes were tiny.  She wore a beautiful black and white striped flamenco costume that was stunning and a thong we only wish we looked good in. The dancing was simple yet rhythmic. The graphic display at the top of the stage was creative and artistic. The audience loved her.

This concert was not pornography, it was exhibitionism. The fact that Miley had to show us she knows how to gyrate, is a sign of her youth. She is a 21 year-old exploring her sexuality in an era when we hear the F word, the N word and the C word on itunes.  Yeesh. It’s all around us, what we need are teens who are critical thinkers and problem solvers; growing adults who can make informed decisions about keeping control of and respect for their bodies and their hearts.

Elvis was too sexy for our parents. Our parents felt that Madonna was too sexy for us.  There is no sexual revolution going on here. It’s simply youth in development. Use it as a teaching opportunity, not yet another thing to fear.  Most of all, talk with your teens then just enjoy the music.


Lynne Kenney, Psy.D., is a mother of two, a practicing pediatric psychologist in Scottsdale, AZ, and the author of The Family Coach Method. She has advanced fellowship training in forensic psychology and developmental pediatric psychology from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and Harbor-UCLA/UCLA Medical School. Dr. Kenney speaks internationally about enhancing executive function, social and academic skills with motor movement. Her NEW book with Wendy Young Bloom: Helping children blossom is revolutionizing classrooms and homes worldwide. Combining her love for motor movement and brain development, Dr. Lynne’s recent endeavor, Play Math, is helping children ages 6-12 learn their math facts with playground balls and hoola-hoops for better algebraic thinking. For more visit




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