MESSAGE FROM GRACE THE NANNY :
In January of 1997, Michael Jackson asked me to leave my job as Personnel Director at MJJ Productions and help him take care of a son that would be born a month later. That son was Prince. Little did I know that I would spend the next 12 years of my life helping his raise Prince, Paris and Blanket from the moment we brought them home from the hospital.
Everyone knows that Michael went to great lengths to protect his children from the public eye. While the use of veils and masks was unconventional, it only highlights how important this issue was to him. He understood, probably better than anyone, that growing up as a public figure, especially in the entertainment business, can be a recipe for disaster. We can all probably name several child or young stars who struggled and in some cases failed to move into normal adult lives because of the pressures they faced as children.
The recent drama surrounding Michael’s mother Katherine, the ongoing custody issues and the now public dispute between Paris and Janet is exactly what Michael wanted to protect his children from. These matters have been further complicated by Gladys Knight’s and others recent and well intentioned comments about Paris. I have great respect and admiration for Mrs. Knight. And while I agree with the spirit of her comments, attacking Paris in public is not the answer.
Michael taught his children to respect their elders; Paris and her brothers understand that well. Any parent also knows that children that age will test boundaries and assert themselves in a way that deserves discipline and sometimes an appropriate level of punishment. What Mrs. Knight fails to realize is that Paris is still getting to know her extended family. When Michael was around, the children had very little contact with their aunts and uncles. They did not have the benefit of being raised and disciplined by other family members who loved them. They are now learning to live and exist outside the ‘Michael Jackson bubble.’ There will be growing pains, and the kids, like other kids their age, will make mistakes. They will say and tweet stupid things and even offend the very people trying to protect their best interests. The difference between Paris and all other kids her age is the rest of the world will be watching.
Please, be fair to Paris. Give her the chance to make and learn from her mistakes without demonizing her. She is a spirited, very expressive and dramatic young girl. The traits that made her the apple of her father’s eye are the same traits that she must learn to control as she matures into adulthood. Let’s be careful not to dim her spirit. It breaks my heart to think that Paris and her brothers could become the subject of endless criticism for simply being kids.
Michael loved his children very much. He gave them the tools they will need to become good and decent individuals. I am confident that in time, Paris and her brothers will learn that their family loves and wants what’s best for them. Until then, please take her tweets with a grain of salt. No child should have 700,000 followers on twitter or any other social media platform.