Opinion: If You Screw Up And Your Parents Are Famous, Blame Them

Filed under: Opinions


Cameron Douglas, left, and his dad Michael Douglas at a Hollywood premiere last year. Credit: Gabriel Bouys, AFP / Getty Images

Caught dealing drugs? Blame Mom and Dad, if they're famous.

That's what Cameron Douglas, son of Michael Douglas, is doing. Or at least, his defense attorneys are.

In January, Cameron pleaded guilty to dealing crystal meth. Last year, while under house arrest after selling several pounds of the stuff to an informant, his girlfriend tried to smuggle 19 bags of heroin to him in an electric toothbrush. It seems safe to say that the guy is a mess. In court this week, lawyers attempted to blame Cameron's dope habits on "notoriety that is not due to any acts of his own but by dint of birth and a difficult upbringing," according to a report in the New York Daily News.

I guess when you're facing 10 years behind bars and trying to cut it down to house arrest, you'll try anything.

According to his lawyers, Cameron "didn't benefit from his celebrity. He was hurt by it in a variety of ways, including ways in this case." The judge didn't buy it, and ordered that he remain in jail until he is sentenced in April.

Blaming Mom and Dad is a cornerstone of many psychological theories. Sigmund Freud created the notion of the Oedipus complex, a theory that states all children want to possess the parent of the opposite sex and eliminate the parent of the same sex. Google the phrase "blaming parents" and you get more than two million matches, with many of the articles arguing against admonishing Mom and Dad for your foibles.

Usually, the devil is in the details. Not all bad parents are created equal. Children who are abused by their parents can carry psychological scars with them for the rest of their lives, especially if that abuse was of a sexual nature.

But what if Mom and Dad didn't beat you? What if they were just ... famous?

When poor people get arrested for dealing drugs, they might try to blame their circumstances. Coming from poverty isn't an excuse either, but in fairness, it's easier to understand why someone who has no money or prospects might see the risky, yet lucrative business of selling drugs as an attractive option.

"I'm so famous that I need to sell crystal meth," is more of a leap.

Dealing drugs is a serious crime that affects people beyond the buyer and seller. No matter what one's circumstances happen to be, slinging crack rock is a very bad idea. That said, which childhood do you think is more to blame for a life of crime -- growing up in the projects with no money or father, or growing up in Beverly Hills with very famous parents?

The reasons people become addicted to drugs are numerous, and often very sad. Cameron Douglas took the next step and started dealing. His attorneys are trying to defend him any way they can, but blaming his family's fame is a bad way to go. Does some of the fault lie with Michael Douglas and his ex-wife, Diandra Morrell Douglas? Perhaps. But in a court of law, that shouldn't make any difference.

Do the crime, do the time -- no matter how many movies your father was in.

Follow Brett Singer on twitter at twitter.com/brettsinger.

Related: Raising an Addict

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.