My Teenage Daughter's Obsessed with a Celebrity
Harry Styles, Rosalia, Bad Bunny, and Billie Eilish are some of the favorite celebrities among teenagers and young people today. Millions of young fans around the world listen to their music with absolute enjoyment and enthusiasm. Many of them are even interested in the private lives of their idols and keep up to date with the latest news on the websites, as well as checking the artist’s social networks several times a day. In some cases, they even become obsessed with a celebrity.
Admiration for well-known artists or athletes is a frequent and expected feeling during adolescence. However, sometimes it seems to go beyond what’s considered healthy. In the following article, we’ll tell you what you need to know.
Fanaticism in adolescence
Celebrities have become important references for centennials. Musical artists, actors, fictional characters, YouTubers, and influencers occupy a more than significant place in the daily life of adolescents and the construction of their identity.
In addition, being a member of a fandom (a group that shares a liking for an artist or fictional character) has a relevant transcendence in the adolescent stage. It’s at this time that the subjects need to reaffirm their identity and they rely on their idols, who are their example to follow, to do so. At the same time, this group experience fosters a sense of belonging.
The media, such as television and social networks, feed the idolization of nationally or internationally recognized people, to the point of perceiving them as extraordinary and superior. In fact, many teenagers come out to defend their favorite artist when they receive criticism or are involved in a media conflict. The support is unconditional.
When admiration for a celebrity turns into obsession
The fervor that adolescents feel for a celebrity can go beyond certain limits. When this happens, concern arises. In this regard, it’s essential to be alert to the behavior of our children and know how to distinguish a simple admiration from an excessive veneration or obsession. Let us clarify that when we talk about being obsessed with a celebrity, we’re referring to an idea, belief, or mental image that invades the person’s consciousness repeatedly and compromises their capacity for self-control.
The so-called Celebrity Cult Syndrome refers to a type of obsessive disorder that involves the excessive interest that a person may have in the details of the personal and professional life of their idol. Research conducted by John Maltby and his team has differentiated three independent levels of celebrity worship:
- Social entertainment: In this case, we’re referring to individuals who are merely attracted to a celebrity and entertain themselves with their art or content.
- Intense-personal dimension: This refers to the group of individuals who have intense and compulsive feelings towards a celebrity.
- Borderline-pathological dimension: This last dimension refers to individuals who show uncontrollable behaviors and fantasies linked to a celebrity.
The study concluded that those who admired celebrities for social reasons were happier and more optimistic while worship held for personal reasons were more depressed and anxious.
Warning signs that your teen may be obsessed with a celebrity
As we can see, there are different ways to bond with the celebrity world. The different ways produce varying effects on the psychic and emotional plane of the person. An adolescent who feels obsessed with a celebrity comes to believe that they’re in love because they experience the feelings in a passionate and intense way. They think about that person and read information about them constantly.
The most visible manifestations that could indicate that an adolescent is obsessed with a celebrity are the following:
- They talk permanently about the person or character and in their speech, a deep adoration is perceived.
- They isolate themselves from their friends in order to keep watching and reading content related to the artist.
- They get upset easily when someone criticizes the celebrity.
- They feel disproportionate restlessness and anxiety when they’re far away from the object of obsession.
- They unconditionally follow this celebrity and interpret their values and opinions as absolute truths.
How to help my daughter who’s obsessed with a celebrity
Having differentiated admiration from obsession, you can now assess the degree of commitment your daughter has in regard to her favorite celebrity. If you feel that her love for him or her has gotten out of hand, it’s important that you intervene to help reverse this unhealthy situation. The first recommendation is to consult with a mental health professional to determine the severity of the issue and find a way to reduce this dysfunctional dynamic.
In addition, you can talk to her and encourage her to pursue new activities that aren’t related to the artist in question. To listen to other music, watch other movies, and attend gatherings with people who don’t share the same interest in the celebrity. She may be reluctant at first to accept that she thinks about the artist obsessively and needs to broaden her interests. It’s critical that she doesn’t feel judged by what’s happening. Empathy and fluid communication are two of the essential elements to effectively address this issue.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Maltby, J., Giles, DC., Barber, L. y McCutcheon, LE (2005). Culto a personalidades intensas e imagen corporal: evidencia de un vínculo entre las adolescentes. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10 (1), 17-32.
- Vargas Álvarez, L. A., Palacios Cruz, L., González Thompson, G., & De la Peña Olvera, F. (2008). Trastorno obsesivo compulsivo en niños y adolescentes: una actualización. Primera parte. Salud mental, 31(3), 173-179.