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The Dos and Don'ts of Being a Celebrity Mom

Photograph by Getty Images

Kobe Bryant’s mom is cleaning house. Literally. Pamela Bryant, Kobe’s mom, is in a bitter fight (lawsuits included) with her NBA star son over half a million dollars worth of memorabilia Pamela wants to sell. In a bitter case of “He said, mom said,” Pamela claims the stuff is hers, including Kobe’s high school jerseys, trophies and championship rings. And Kobe claims that his mom (gasp!) stole the goods from him and has no right to sell them.

Now, before you go thinking that Pamela probably needs the money because her stingy son won’t share any of his (zillions) with her, cool it. This simply isn’t true. Kobe has seemingly been very generous with his parents, despite a notoriously strained relationship.

And what if Kobe hadn’t been generous? What if the memorabilia in question is hers to sell? Should she? Isn’t it enough to see your own kid succeed in the big leagues—literally? Is it a mom’s right to profit from it, too?

RELATED: 6 Parenting Rules I Learned From Dina Lohan

At first glance, I wondered why Kobe wouldn’t just let his mom sell the stuff. He’s probably got storage lockers filled with championship rings and autographed basketballs. Pamela stands to make half a million dollars. Kobe’s a very wealthy man, why would he block the sale?

And then I think how I’d feel if my mom sold my Hello Kitty diary that’s filled with my love letters to Andy Gibb as well as the letter to Alf asking if he’d be my pen pal. So embarrassing. Or, what if my mom wrote a book about me and told all my embarrassing stories (like the time I pooped my pants in the middle of the grocery store)? I’d be horrified and angry. But most importantly, I’d be heartbroken knowing that my mom was no longer that safe, nurturing person I could count on to love me unconditionally despite that supermarket incident. Maybe Kobe is no different. Maybe he just wants his mom to be his mom, and not a fan looking to make a profit.

When you start to look at your kid with dollar signs instead of love, there’s a real problem.

I remember years back when Jen Aniston’s mom wrote a tell-all book about her perfectly coiffed kid. I wondered what kind of a mom sells her own kid out to make a buck or two. Or, a billion years ago, when Different Strokes star Gary Coleman had to sue his own parents for the money he’d earned on the show. Sure, I understand wanting a percentage of your kid’s earnings if you have to take time from your career to shuttle the little one to castings and jobs; but when you start to look at your kid with dollar signs instead of love, there’s a real problem.

From Dina Lohan (um, who goes clubbing with their kids? Can someone say creepy?) to Pamela Bryant, these celebs' moms clearly need lessons in manners. And, by the way, even if your kid isn’t famous, these rules do apply.

1. DO accept concert tickets to your famous kid’s show or floor seats to their championship game. DO NOT sell them.

2. DO oversee your child’s blossoming film career. DO NOT oversee your kid’s night at the nearest club.

3. DO help your child write his or her acceptance speech. DO NOT write a tell-all book about your kid. (Just ask Jen A’s mom what happens when you do.)

4. DO make it your job to help the experts guide your child’s career. DO NOT quit your own job. You do have a job, don’t you?

5. DO make sure your kid is always tastefully dressed on the red carpet and in film. DO NOT start dressing like your kid. (Leave that to the fans.)

6. DO be proud from the sidelines of your uber-talented offspring. DON’T sell your kid out by selling his or her stuff.

7. DO remember, your kid is the star. DO NOT act like one, yourself.

Sure, it’s cool to have a celeb in the family. And even cooler to think you, as a parent, helped shape your kid into the talented, poised famous person he or she is. Take credit for what you did. But for god’s sake, get a job and keep it. No matter how famous a kid is, he or she still needs mom to be the person he or she can always count on. And that shouldn’t come with a paycheck.

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