Miley Cyrus performance raises questions for parents

This image released by MTV shows Miley Cyrus performing at the MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/MTV, John Shearer)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) –  A controversial performance by Miley Cyrus at MTV’s Video Music Awards Sunday night has left parents cringing.

During the performance, Cyrus stripped down to her underwear and danced provocatively in front of millions of viewers.

“I’m in a place where I feel I can be free with what I’m doing,” Cyrus explained. “I know it was going to be great, because I knew it was going to go viral like that because it’s interesting.”

Indeed, “interesting” is one way to describe the performance.

However, others are calling it vulgar and disgusting.

The performance has caused a number of reactions, but for many parents of children who look up to Cyrus, the question of how to respond to her behavior has been raised.

UAB psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow says it’s definitely not something to ignore.

“[The performance] was so significant, so extreme, and because Miley Cyrus represents somebody who went from a kid’s character to her own person and being, it has to be a discussion,” Klapow said.

He says that discussion is a great opportunity for parents to talk about their own personal values and morals with their children, as well as explain to them the transformation Cyrus has made.

“You have to describe the transition from a 13- or 14-year-old to a 20-year-old and how 13- or 14-year-olds who grow up go in many different directions,” Klapow continued.

That direction can be used as an example for a child not to follow if a parent perceives Cyrus’ actions to be too extreme.

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