Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Mick Jagger's lesson on parenting

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor
updated 12:59 PM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
The young band pose for a portrait in a boat, 1964. From left to right are: Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Brian Jones, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman. Bassist Wyman joined the Stones in 1962 before leaving in 1993. The young band pose for a portrait in a boat, 1964. From left to right are: Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Brian Jones, Keith Richards and Bill Wyman. Bassist Wyman joined the Stones in 1962 before leaving in 1993.
HIDE CAPTION
50 years of the Rolling Stones
50 years of the Rolling Stones
50 years of the Rolling Stones
50 years of the Rolling Stones
50 years of the Rolling Stones
50 years of the Rolling Stones
50 years of the Rolling Stones
50 years of the Rolling Stones
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • According to the Daily Mail, Mick Jagger's ex-wife asked him to buy houses for their kids
  • Ruben Navarrette: Jagger is right to be wary of such "parental housing subsidies"
  • He says being a good parent is teaching adult children to stand on their own two feet
  • Navarrette: If kids grow up to be dependent on their parents, then we have failed them

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

San Diego (CNN) -- Here are six words I thought I'd never hear myself say: "I can relate to Mick Jagger."

You might think that there wouldn't be much common ground between a 69-year-old British rock 'n' roll icon and a 45-year-old Mexican-American columnist. But there is. Apparently, our philosophies on raising kids without spoiling them with parental handouts are quite similar.

This information comes courtesy of Jagger's chatty ex-wife, Jerry Hall. According to the British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail, Hall said she has been pressuring Jagger -- unsuccessfully, I might add -- to dip into his fortune (estimated at about $300 million) and buy houses for three of his kids who are in their 20s.

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Become a fan of CNNOpinion
Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.



Yes, that's right. I said houses. Not cars or clothes or jet skis.

Hall is going for broke and asking Jagger to purchase houses for the three children -- Lizzie, 29, James, 27, and Georgia, 21. The daughters are models, and the son is a musician. The couple has a fourth child, Gabriel, 15, but he still lives at home with his mom.

The way that Jerry sees it, Mick can easily afford the purchase. The multimillionaire reportedly has five homes of his own. So what's the problem?

The problem, according to the tabloid newspaper, is that Jagger, who is known to be "famously careful with his pennies," is firmly opposed to these types of "parental housing subsidies." According to the newspaper, the Jagger thinks that his children have already enjoyed many advantages in life and that setting them up in their own homes will do more harm than good.

Those who know Jagger well -- including his oldest daughter, Jade, who is the only child of his marriage to ex-wife Bianca -- say that he strongly believes that children ought not think themselves entitled to their parents' money and that they have to make their own way in life.

Jade, who has her own jewelry store, told the newspaper: "I was never a trust-fund child. Dad's got a healthy attitude toward work. You have to look after yourself."

Bravo. Americans really need to hear that message. And not just our kids; all of us should get an earful. At a time when runaway entitlement spending and a national debt of more than $16 trillion threaten the economic future of the United States, the national motto has become "Where's mine?"

Now more than ever, Americans need to understand that part of being a good parent is teaching their adult children to stand on their own two feet.

As a parent of three young children, I can imagine that this isn't easy to do. My kids know that I'm an easy mark. And I struggle daily with saying no -- or, in some cases, with making them do chores and save their allowances to buy things on their own.

But I understand where Jagger is coming from, and I applaud him. He's on the right track, and a lot of other people are on the wrong one.

Rolling Stones: Never-before-seen photos

Somewhere, in the vast universe of parenting, we lost our way. We've convinced ourselves that loving our kids also means supporting them more than we need to. That is not so. Caring for our children is one thing, but making them dependent on us well into adulthood is another. The former is the sign of a good parent; the latter is a recipe for trouble.

Billionaire Warren Buffet refers to it as the "lottery of the womb" -- this sense that some people have that they are entitled to their parents' money through inheritance or lavish gifts.

Sexual exploits of Mick Jagger revealed
Jagger gives Wiig 'SNL' send-off

In writing about parenting over the years, and talking about it with other parents, I've become convinced that a lot of parents with young children worry more that they're giving their kids too much rather than too little. The concern is that in trying to keep their kids from struggling, they're making their lives too comfy. At the very least, most of us are probably giving our kids much more than what we were given by our parents when we were growing up. We need to ask: What harm is this doing?

These days, when you're raising kids, materialism doesn't merely knock on your door. It busts through. Ten-year-olds are asking for cell phones.

When our kids want something and ask us for it, we might ask ourselves three questions: Is it a good price? Can we afford it? Do they deserve it?

But those are the wrong questions. We need ask ourselves only one question: Will buying my child this item teach him positive values or negative ones?

You see, it doesn't matter how much money Mick Jagger has or what he can afford. That is not the issue. The issue is that he's trying to teach his children some values, something that isn't always easy to do when you're one of the megawealthy.

Like the saying goes, you want to leave your kids enough money so they can do something with their lives -- but not so much that they can do nothing.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ruben Navarrette.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:26 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
updated 6:42 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Jeff Yang says the tech sector's diversity numbers are embarrassing and the big players need to do more.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
updated 4:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Ed Bark says in this Emmy year, broadcasters CBS, ABC and PBS can all say they matched or exceeded HBO. These days that's no small feat
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
updated 11:58 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
updated 3:50 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
updated 12:29 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider say a YouTube video apparently posted by ISIS seems to show that the group has a surveillance drone, highlighting a new reality: Terrorist groups have technology once only used by states
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Mon August 25, 2014
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
updated 5:45 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
John Bare says the Ice Bucket Challenge signals a new kind of activism and peer-to-peer fund-raising.
updated 8:31 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
updated 9:05 PM EDT, Sat August 23, 2014
As the inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown continues, critics question the prosecutor's impartiality.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Newt Gingrich says it's troubling that a vicious group like ISIS can recruit so many young men from Britain.
updated 10:50 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
updated 8:23 AM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
updated 1:42 PM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
updated 11:38 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
updated 8:00 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
updated 6:03 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
updated 1:27 PM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT