Is Tough Love the Best Approach for Troubled Children?

The Johnson family reportedly cut off Casey after drug and alcohol problems.

Jan. 6, 2010— -- After ruling out foul play authorities say it may be weeks before they know the cause of death for socialite Casey Johnson, heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune who was found dead in her Los Angeles home on Monday.

The family of Johnson, dubbed the "Band-Aid princess," ranks tenth in Forbes' list of wealthiest families with a fortune estimated at $13 billion.

But the privileged life of the 30-year-old was not as it appeared and Johnson, who was engaged to reality TV star Tila Tequila, battled drug and alcohol addiction, had run-ins with the law and even reportedly struggled financially. The Johnson family reportedly cut her off and their tough love approach has sparked a debate over the best way to handle troubled children.

"I was used to going to Bergdorf's with a personal shopper and charging it to my dad. Growing up, when it was my turn to handle my own money it was a problem," Johnson told in an interview two years ago.

In December Johnson's Porsche was impounded and a nanny service won a $20,000 judgment against her, TMZ reported.

The Johnson family reportedly used a "tough love" approach with Casey and cut her off from the family fortune and took custody of her adoptive daughter.

Other high-profile families, such as Pierce Brosnan and Martin Sheen, have used a tough love tactic with their children. But Terry Real, a family therapist and relationship expert, cautioned families against taking drastic measures.

"If someone has a really bad drug or alcohol problem giving them money is putting bullets in a gun for Russian roulette," Real said on "Good Morning America" this morning.

While the details of what transpired between Johnson and her family are not clear, Real said "shunning" a child and cutting him or her off completely is "barbaric" and "destructive."

"Don't feed the addiction but don't cut off the person," Real said.

Instead Real suggested taking it step-by-step with your son or daughter and continue trying to communicate. Real explained that cutting a child off financially is different than cutting them off emotionally.

"Bring your kid in, but tell them the truth from time to time," Real said. "Don't be afraid of rehab, don't be afraid of long-term treatment after rehab, cut off the addiction, stay connected to your family member," Real added.

In a statement released Tuesday Jesse Derris, a spokesman for the Johnson family, said "The Johnson family wishes to thank everyone who has expressed condolences and support during this trying time. Your thoughts and prayers are deeply appreciated…The family asks for a measure of privacy over the next several days as they mourn their loss. No other information will be released at this time."

Derris said Casey's body would be flown back east and a private funeral service for the immediate family would be held later in the week.

Johnson struggled with Type 1 diabetes and her family asked that people make a donation to the Casey Johnson Memorial at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.

It is not known if the disease played a role in her death.

On Monday Tequila first tweeted that Johnson was in a coma, then later wrote "We will marry when I see you in heaven my wife."

The Associated Press and ABC News' Sarah Netter, Eileen Murphy and Dean Schabner contributed to this report.

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