06/17/2010 01:59 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Mother's Advice to Smiley Miley

Dear Miley:

How are you doing, sweetheart? Been a rough couple months, hasn't it, what with boyfriends and living on your own and the wrapping of your Hannah Montana alter ego? Heck, throw in the concerts and travel and interviews and awards shows and it's a wonder you're not having your very first nervous breakdown.

I must say, however, that as my daughter, who has watched Hannah Montana for the last 4 of her 9 years, called me to the computer to watch a video clip of you performing one of your new songs, and together we watched you grab your breast onstage and passionately kiss a backup singer (the fact that it was another woman was a non-issue, compared to the fact of it happening at all), I couldn't help thinking that maybe you are. Having a breakdown, I mean. Because otherwise your behavior just boggles the mind.

You claim you never wanted to be a role model, yet you worked for a network that essentially defines many of the role models for kids today. By signing on with Disney, with "Hannah Montana," you did choose to be a role model. I can't understand, then, why in the space of a few short months you can now choose to so intentionally and totally alienate the audience of pre-teen girls who have made you the star that you are.

And trust me on this one, sweetie -- you are alienating them, because you're alienating us. The parents. The ones who actually give those little girls money to go to your movies, to buy your CDs and blond wigs and Halloween costumes and jewelry and accessories and writing journals and wall stickers.

And speaking of parents, I almost wish I were your mother for a day or two, so I could tell you the one thing that you don't seem to understand: growing up is a process. It is not an event. I'm glad you're seventeen and finding yourself and trying to make it as an adult in the music business, but why do you need to do it overnight? The headline yesterday was "Miley Cyrus: I'm Not Trying To Be Slutty!" That was not an easy conversation with my daughter, I don't mind saying. What happens at 18, nude movie roles and sex tapes?

This is just unsolicited advice from the mommy of a girl who used to adore you, because by breaking her heart, you're breaking mine. Slow it down a bit. If you want to wean yourself away from the little girls, do it a little more gradually, with a little more class and style and a little less defiance, and maybe they'll still adore you and hope to see you again when they're a little older.

By simply dismissing them -- disrespecting them, even -- with your inappropriate behavior, you're losing at least one of those little girls for good. That may not matter to you, but it matters a lot to that little girl's mother.


Sophie's Mom