Photo Credit: NBC
On Monday, legendary actor Michael Douglas said during an appearance on NBC's Today show that he is partly to blame for the wayward path his son took. Cameron Douglas, 31, started doing drugs at age 13, his father said, and last month he was sentenced to five years in prison for conspiring to sell crystal meth and possessing heroin. The elder Douglas said in addition to saddling Cameron with a family history of substance abuse, he was an absentee father who spent his son’s early years working instead of with his family.
But is being away from home enough to make a child turn to drugs? Is growing up in a famous family so burdensome that the pressure is crippling? Perhaps, but the fact is no one knows for sure what factors will play into the shaping of a child, and even families with every advantage are not immune from producing children who go astray.
If upstanding parents really were that influential, then you wouldn’t have such real-life situations as a police chief’s kid dealing drugs, a politician’s daughter drinking and driving or a doctor’s son committing murder.
You’d also never see people who come from abysmal circumstances surmount overwhelming obstacles like poverty and abuse to lead exemplary lives, but that happens too. Perhaps the most famous example is Oprah Winfrey, who suffered sexual abuse and grew up with no financial advantages, but went on to become one of the richest and most philanthropic (not to mention one of the most influential) people in the world.
All of which isn’t to say parents have zero impact. They most certainly do, but not only for positive outcomes. If parents are going to take credit when their son or daughter does well in school, nabs that high-ranking job, performs some astonishing feat or accomplishes another laudable achievement, then they also must accept accountability when Junior fares poorly.
Douglas should be applauded for at least acknowledging whatever role he might have played in his son’s downfall. Whether or not he truly believes his past addictions or extended absences contributed to Cameron’s troubles, he said he is determined not to make the same mistakes with his youngest children, Dylan, 9, and Carys, 7, with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones. “My priorities have completely changed,” he said. “My marriage and my families come certainly before my career.”
That attitude can only benefit his two little ones. Should they become heroes or hellions, it sounds like they’ll always have Dad on their side.
Do you think Michael Douglas is to blame for his son's drug problems? Chime in below!