It’s easy to look at the tabloids pouncing on the Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt split and cluck our collective tongues.
No one likes to see a marriage end. Still, it’s another Hollywood split involving fabulously wealthy people. That’s great media fodder, but little else. Pass the popcorn.
Here’s why parents should be engaged in the story. It’s far more than another celebrity split. It’s an example of how our culture doesn’t always defend parents. Sometimes, it assumes the very worst about their parenting skills.
The Jolie-Pitt split is but a few days old, but we’re already seeing some troubling headlines from the fissure. Case in point: Pitt is being investigated for possible child abuse.
How did this A-list star and Oscar nominee become a target? Apparently, a stranger witnessed him yelling at one of his six children and contacted the authorities.
We’ve never heard anything about Pitt’s temper before. He’s been an upstanding citizen, making impressive movies, donating huge sums of money to charitable causes, and doting on his kids. Now, we never know the true lives behind the celebrity swagger, but given how thoroughly the paparazzi “vet” “Brangelina” there’s been little sign of anger problems.
TMZ reported an investigation was launched after an anonymous caller reported a September 14 incident where Pitt allegedly got “physical” and “verbally abusive” with one of his children. People reported that Jolie and their other five children were present at the time of the alleged incident.
That literally could mean anything, from Pitt truly manhandling one of his children in a dangerous way to him shoving the child in a gruff, but nonthreatening, manner.
Has any father avoided raising his or her voice to his child at some point?
We’re at a point in our culture where anyone can deem us “bad parents” and place a call that will upend our lives. Remember the case of the parent who got arrested for letting her child go to a local park by herself?
It’s different, of course, with a celebrity like Pitt. Anything he does for the next six months, good or bad, will be under the media microscope.
That doesn’t mean average parents have it much easier. Imagine how your life would change if someone called the authorities on your parenting skills. What if that person misinterpreted your actions or only saw part of what happened?
What if you simply blew your fuse and a stranger thought you were going to do something dangerous – even though you’d never, ever lay a finger on your child?
One phone call. That’s all it took for Pitt to become the target of an investigation. He has the money and resources to fight back. Not all parents can say the same.
That makes this very public split more than just another gossip magazine story.