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Justin Bieber's mom: I hope I'm still a respected voice in his ear

The Associated Press, Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 7:37am (PDT)
  • NEW YORK (AP) -- Justin Bieber's mom, Pattie Mallette, has left out some of the rougher details of her early life for a new teen edition of her memoir, "Nowhere But Up, Teen Edition: The Story of Justin Bieber's Mom."

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    Out Tuesday from the inspirational publisher Revell, the book includes advice, statistics and hotline numbers for young people on depression, pregnancy, bullying and unwanted sexual advances.

    Mallette, who gave birth to Bieber at age 18, faced all of those problems, and more, growing up in Canada. She now lives in Los Angeles, and recently shared her story with young people in the Watts projects, hoping her struggles and turn to Christianity can offer hope.

    "There was this one young man. He was probably late teens, early 20s. He said, 'You know, who knew that your story could relate so much with me and that I would have so many similarities with the things that you went through,'" Mallette recalled in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. "I mean, his sister's been shot, but he's been through so many similar emotions and so many similar circumstances."

    For Mallette, those circumstances began with the painful divorce of her parents when she was 2. Sex abuse at the hands of a series of tormenters began at 3. She was left with a feeling of worthlessness that led her to drinking, drugging and a suicide attempt by age 17.

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    "A lot of teenagers are feeling really discouraged at their circumstances," said Mallette, whose memoir, co-written with A.J. Gregory, came out last year.

    And what of her own son? Mallette was tightlipped about Bieber's lower moments of late.

    There have been reports of speeding in his Calabasas, Calif., neighborhood, run-ins with paparazzi, boos at the Billboard Awards and a pet monkey relinquished in Germany.

    While she talks to her son regularly, Mallette said Wednesday he prefers she not speak publicly about recent controversies.

    "He wants me to continue to respect his boundaries and my relationship with him," Mallette said. "Everybody has their own opinion, and everybody wants to sensationalize everything."

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    Parenting a teen isn't easy for anybody, let alone a pop star with millions of dedicated fans and followers on Twitter and Instagram.

  • "You have to sort of let them make some of their own decisions," she said. "Me, personally, I would love to be with him all the time and to be able to ground him and deal with his problems and do all of that stuff, but at some point the parenting style changes. I hope to still be a respected voice in his ear."

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