Spears: Schoolgirl to Parenting School

By any measure, Britney Spears has had a very difficult year: a public breakdown, rehab and just last week a widely ridiculed performance at an MTV awards show.

Now her parenting skills are under scrutiny, and not for the first time. A new court ruling made clear that, whether you are famous or not, what you do in front of your children can be held against you.

Spears has been warned: When she's watching her two young sons, the court will be watching her.

After she was labeled a "habitual and frequent" drug abuser, the court ordered her to undergo mandatory random twice-weekly drug tests.

Also, neither she nor ex-husband Kevin Federline can "consume alcohol or other nonprescription controlled substances" within 12 hours of taking care of their children, according to court documents.

"It is meant to protect the children," said family law attorney Stacy Phillips.

Spears isn't the first celebrity to get into custodial hot water over drug abuse. Courtney Love lost custody of her daughter for more than a year after overdosing in front of her. And actress Kim Delaney lost custody of her son after he testified about her drunk driving.

There is no celebrity standard here. Any parent with a substance-abuse problem risks facing the same harsh penalties, according to Phillips.

"Most courts in this land are going to do whatever it takes to protect those children," Phillips said.

The court has also ordered Spears "to meet with a parenting coach for a minimum of eight hours each week, in at least two sessions per week."

Parenting coach Jennifer Mangan said that a coach will likely look at her behavior when dealing with her children.

Spears is also alleged to have been nude in front of her two little boys, ages 1 and 2. While that's not illegal, it raises the question: At what age is that no longer appropriate?

"If you are a woman and you have a 16-year-old son that it is not appropriate to walk around naked in front of your 16-year-old son," Phillips said.

Parenting experts say it's best to listen to your children's cues on this, but when a child reaches 5 or 6 and becomes more aware of different body parts and maybe becomes modest, that's when parents should start keeping their robes on.

Mangan said it's important to remember that parenting young children is never easy, regardless of the circumstances.

"I cannot imagine being under that much scrutiny. As parents or as people, we all make mistakes," Mangan said.

Spears' parenting struggles are all the more poignant because of what she said during a 2003 interview with Diane Sawyer.

"I would love to have a family. That would be when I'm the most content. My kids and just, I mean, that's … they become your life. It's not all about you anymore," she said.

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