Hilary Duff: Growing up we didn’t have those distractions, we had to entertain ourselves

Hilary Duff’s spinoff series, How I Met Your Father is doing well enough that it has been renewed for a second season. I barely watched the Mother version, but I thought what I did watch was funny. The Father show is not doing it for me. I’m bummed because I love Christopher Lowell and want him to be in something great. Kim Cattrall is wasted in it too. But the show is doing well enough that Hilary is doing the In Her Shoes podcast to promote it. They talked a lot about the non-starter Lizzie McGuire reboot which is still a source of grievance for everyone, apparently. Hilary also spoke about social media and growing up with today’s technological advances and exposure. I found her thoughts on this interesting because she has such a unique perspective having grown up as a child star. Hilary laments that kids today have too many distractions. She claims that her generation didn’t have those luxuries and learned to entertain themselves. As the generation before Hilary, I don’t know that I totally agree with her.

Would she be able to navigate social media as a kid: I ask myself that question often. If I would’ve felt it would’ve been easier to navigate if social media would have been a thing when I was 18 or 25 even? Well, I guess maybe Twitter and stuff were coming out when I was 25… I feel so old. Because then I would’ve had a platform to expose who I was at that time, instead of how a magazine wrote an article about me. And then the other side is, it’s so scary. And I’m so scared for my kids to get on social media that I’m like, maybe it was for the best. I don’t know the answer to that.

On kids attention spans today: I’ve always had a crazy good work ethic. I don’t know if that’s being trained by Disney Channel, but I don’t even think so. I remember when I was little I wanted to learn how to do a cartwheel, a perfect cartwheel. And my mom said for two weeks straight, every single night for three hours in our living room, I was just doing a cartwheel, trying to do a cartwheel, cartwheel, cartwheel. So focused. Kids don’t have that focus anymore.

When Luca wants to do something, he’s five minutes practicing and then he’ll be like, “Can I get on my iPad?” There are just so many distractions. I feel like it’s just different times. When we were growing up we didn’t have all those distractions, we had to entertain ourselves. And then that goes into the whole work ethic thing of I was coming off this big show, then I didn’t want to be Lizzie McGuire forever. So then I started working on music and I wasn’t a natural singer. I knew I could carry a tune and I knew I had something to say. And then it was like, okay, I have to work hard to get anybody to take me seriously in music now. And then after that, I’m like, I’m not getting the roles I want, I got to audition for them. But I don’t know, I just made it all happen. And I think a huge testament to that is having such a strong fan base, obviously, that was built with Lizzie McGuire. But I felt so many different ways about it. I had so much responsibility to be a role model. And that was a lot of weight, and it was perfectly fine for a little while until it wasn’t.

On the pressure of growing up in the spotlight: I remember I was maybe 18 or 19 on tour and this mother came up to me after a meet and greet and she was like, “Whatever you do, don’t change. Just stay the same.” It was so intense. And she was holding my arms and looking in my face, almost begging me. And I was nice to her face and then I remember going into my dressing room and being like, “Don’t change? Don’t ever change? I’m 18, I’m doing nothing but changing. I’m different.”

This crazy feeling of what if I never change, and everybody just wants me to be the same. It was wild. And it wasn’t shortly after that I decided to stop touring. I took a huge break. I learned how to live alone. And I think taking that break and fucking up, but trying to be private about my life, helped me so much. It helped me find my footing again when my whole life was scheduled for me, and I couldn’t go anywhere alone. And it was very isolating. And like I said, it was cool for a little while and then it was not.

[From The Cut]

I agree that social media is a heavy distraction for kids. I think I would’ve struggled with it. If there was some drama unfolding with my friends or something going on that I had been left out of, I would be glued to my phone. I just did not have the self-esteem for social media as a youth. But I’m not on the same page as Hilary with electronics as distractions. I didn’t have an iPad but I had a TV and that was a distraction. My parents set the same limitations for me as I gave my kids on their devices. I also think the kid determines what they get distracted by. Those who are visually motivated prefer games and interactive electronic things while tactile kids prefer things they can grab with their hands. Taking Hilary’s cartwheel example, I understand her point, but I’m sure she’s heard Luca elated to have passed a game level. That takes determination and concentration too. I’m not bagging on Hilary. I used to freak out about electronics, but I’ve seen my kids and their friends grow around them and as long as everything is monitored, it seems to work out.

I was disturbed by that story Hilary told about the mother grabbing her wrists on tour. My gawd, can you imagine? She was only a teenager and already had studios, agents, and managers telling her to what to do. The press was criticizing her every move and on top of all that, her fans demanded she never put a foot out of place? It’s amazing any of these kid stars get out alive. And that they are willing to continue to share their lives with us. Hilary gets a lot of guff on social media for just about everything she does. She’s not perfect, I know. Her response to the whole car seat incident with Banks was so bad, she should have just kept her mouth shut. But I’m starting to realize that Hilary must have thick skin to have survived in the business as long as she has.

Photo credit: Instagram

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15 Responses to “Hilary Duff: Growing up we didn’t have those distractions, we had to entertain ourselves”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    Oh lordy. She was born in 1987! She’s 5 years younger than me and shes talking like the 90s were the good old days. I mean they were 30 years ago (shhhhh, don’t like to talk about that) but even so lol. I’m more of an 80s baby/kid than she was obviously and I still remember all the distractions. Every new thing is a distraction to a new generation. MTV was a huge distraction! Cable tv was a huge distraction! And then by the time on demand became a big thing, that was another huge deal (we had TiVo around 2005 lol) because you could watch whatever you wanted, when you wanted. And socialization on the internet has been around since the 90s (I was on a Fleetwood Mac message board, I know.)

    all that to say that yes, there are so many more distractions for kids these days but I’m sure every generation feels that way about “kids these days” and so much of it still comes down to parenting. Mine are in 4th and 1st and it wasn’t until about 2 months ago that we started letting them watch a TV show at night before bed on school nights. They only get ipads on the weekends, etc. (and we used to be a lot stricter but then the pandemic happened and screen time rules were useless for those first few months, lol.)

    I just can’t get over someone who was a Disney channel star being like, “we had to entertain ourselves.” You’re famous because kids didn’t have to entertain themselves, lol. They just had to turn on Disney channel.

    • equality says:

      I think the internet was less of a thing with her generation and SM didn’t run wild but other than that, like you say, plenty of distractions. They didn’t have to run out and play stick ball or get a half dollar and orange for Christmas. She’s laying it on a little.

    • Cee says:

      I’m her same age and we did not grow up with the internet and SM. Very few families had dial-up and there was very little on the Internet to even be distracted by LOL
      Our first cellphones were at age 17 and they were black and white, with an antenna. I got my first smartphone at 21 and itbarely did anything! I legit think we were the last generation to have it good. 2000 kids did grow up with plenty distractions, though.

      • Becks1 says:

        Like I said, I’m 5 years older than her and there were still plenty of distractions. Social media wasn’t a thing yet nor were smart phones (I got my first after I was married lol), but for her to act like “oh we had nothing to distract us, we had to entertain ourselves” is just false. There were video games, the internet, cable TV, etc. I mean the Disney channel in itself was a huge distraction (that we never had but I did get to watch it on the free preview weekends, LOL.) I remember spending summer days just flipping back and forth between MTV and VH1 and watching music videos (after chores and swim practice of course, hahaha.)

        Was it the same as it is now? Of course not, but I’m sure my boomer parents looked at us growing up in the 80s and 90s and probably said the same thing she is saying. It just gets tiring. We didn’t grow up in the stone ages.

  2. Elvie says:

    Hillary and I are the same age.
    – TV
    – Nintendo
    – Playstation
    – Xbox
    – Computer games on floppy disks

    Millennials had plenty of “distractions” before iPads.

    • Cee says:

      I liked the one you got to build your own amusement park. Can’t remember the name though.
      I also loved The Magic School Bus.

    • Christine says:

      Plus, she completely loses the plot when she goes on about 3 hours of cartwheels. No, you may not have been on any sort of electronic device, but you did cartwheels for three fucking hours. You focused on cartwheels, other kids were playing Frogger. I was born in 1974, she can’t talk about a time before tech with any authority.

  3. Lukie says:

    Some Milennials stay trying to co-opt GenX experiences and make them all their own 😤

  4. Leskat says:

    I agree with her in a sense. My kids are 5 and 7 and they have absolutely zero focus. They have no idea how to be bored. I find I really have to push them to go explore and find something to entertain themselves. Once they get to that point, they’re fine, but it’s nothing like my 80’s childhood! My mom didn’t sit around entertaining me, she told my sister and I to go play, and we DID. We thought of games to play and we could play them uninterrupted for hours upon hours.

    I know growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s wasn’t without its distractions, but there wasn’t 24 hours a day of input coming in, either.

  5. jferber says:

    I think she finally got those too-big veneers fixed? Good for her.

  6. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m quite sure I’ve said many times, “The good old days,” is nothing but mistaken memories lol. The more anything changes, we’re reminded how precisely everything is exactly the same. Parents limiting the new and boasting about when they were young. It’s old. It’s boring. Get new material. I’m jealous of kids today, and I’m more than happy to jump right in their pool and try everything.

  7. Meep says:

    Good grief. I mean kids these days definitely have more distractions than us millennials did but we still had plenty (TV, videos, video games, computer games) so the “we had to entertain ourselves” comment is a bit rich.

    As for her show, I watched How I Met Your Mother faithfully for 9 freaking years and I loved it…until they completely destroyed it in the finale. Its been 8 years since that BS aired and I’m still pissed about the way they ended things. It’s at least on par with the ending of GOT and might even be worse. So yeah no freaking way am I getting invested in another version.

  8. Jen says:

    I love her. I always have. She just gives me good vibes. Like Kelly Clarkson.

    I completely agree with her. I’m not a parent though but just seeing everything … whew! Btw I can’t believe she has a 10 year old this month. We’re just a few days in our birthdays!

    She seems like the perfect mix of semi strict but mostly fun mom. I really liked her show from what I saw and I really enjoyed Younger too! I know she went through a divorce years ago and I never heard her say one thing bad about her ex. I always admired that. Actually putting the child first not just saying it