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Don't Be Britany's Dad


Fine. I’m Team #FreeBritany.

I had no idea what was happening with Britany Spears until I saw my friends on Facebook using the hashtag #FreeBritany. Oddly, she’s one of the few celebrities I might recognize from her picture, but I couldn’t tell you any of the songs she’s ever recorded.

Here’s the short version of the #FreeBritany movement as I understand from the two articles I read: Britany had some mental health and maybe addiction issues twelve years ago. She landed in a hospital and rehab. Her father Jamie Spears was appointed the conservator of her life because she was unfit to make her own decisions. Over the last decade, she’s continued to tour and appears to be capable of making her own decisions. Her father, however, has continued to control her life.

It’s possible, even probably, that if given control over her life and finances Britany Spears will make some poor decisions. She is human, after all.

But in what world should a father control his nearly 40-year-old daughter’s life?

I realize it’s not so much about her life as about her money, no matter what he says.

The more I read about the situation, the more I realize it’s helicopter parenting taken to the extreme. Her father is so afraid she might make a mistake that will cost her the career she’s worked her whole life to build that he’s willing to take away her ability to live that life. He’s determined to control every aspect of her life including who she spends time with, how many children she has, and what health decisions she makes, in addition to how she spends her money.

Before I cast too many stones or point fingers, I’ll confess, I’m guilty of wanting to control my kids’ lives too. They are much younger than Britany and don’t have the career or fortune she has amassed. Regardless, I still have Jamie Spears's concerns that my children will make poor life choices they will one day regret.

Making poor choices and learning from them is part of life. As a parent, it’s one of the hardest things to accept, but one day I have to let my kids stand on their own two feet. And they won’t be able to if I’m propping them up now.

Check back into the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve messed up the entire world forever, and God let them make that choice. He had to know what they were going to do. He knew their decision would one day cost Jesus’ life. And he allowed them to make their mistakes.

It doesn’t mean we don’t hurt with them. It doesn’t mean we don’t discipline our children when they do wrong, or allow them to suffer the consequences of bad choices. But at some point, we have to allow our kids to live their lives, mistakes and all.

So maybe if #FreeBritany wins, she spends all her money on designer shoes and vacations and yachts. Maybe she wakes up one day with nothing left. Maybe she ends up having to find a job outside of the entertainment world. Maybe she learns what it means to be responsible for herself, something denied to her all these years.

And yes, maybe she spends it all on drugs, and it costs her life. I don’t want to be naive. I know that’s a big part of the entertainment world. Losing her life would be tragic for everyone. I don’t want to discount that possibility. Maybe that’s the real concern that has kept her in a conservatorship all these years. If that's the case, and the real concern is over her life then maybe the conservatorship is for the best. I can’t help but believe that if she really wanted that lifestyle she’d find a way to live it. Just like our kids will.

It makes the training we do now, the dinner table conversations, the listening to their concerns and worries, the investigating when something just doesn’t seem right, even more important. So that one day they are strong enough to manage their own life, and we don’t have to be Britany’s dad.


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