Let's be Realistic about this Reality Show

We have been having private discussions about this blog, and we wanted to share some of our thoughts.

MomOf:

The Gosselin kids are most likely going have some major psychological/emotional issues. Each of those kids will have their own set of issues unique to that particular kid based on that child's own internal damage. And some of the emotional issues will overlap and be shared by all of the kids. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about that, nor is it our place to do anything about that. Many, many children grow up with bad parenting. We aren't the bad parenting police. It's a shame that the Gosselin children have the parents they have. But, that's life! It will be up to each of them to overcome the bad parenting on their own, in their own way. Some will overcome and others will be unsuccessful fighting their own internal demons. Just because we get to see this bad parenting on a weekly basis on TV does not mean it is anyone's job (beyond private family members, a teacher's input, or perhaps their minister) to intervene. It's not right, it's not fair, but it is the way it is. Although my heart breaks for them, it's not my place to do anything beyond shaking my head in despair while witnessing these things and hoping and praying that each and every one of the kids will find a way to overcome and be as emotionally balanced and successful as they can be as adults.

Sunshine:

We aren't going to be able to force an intervention. We aren't going to find the magic answer to force Kate to willingly undergo therapy and extract that very sharp organic stick from her ass.

But we're planting the seeds. Just as growing plants takes time and patience, it is the same for showing people the truth. They don't want to know the truth - -but Jon and Kate are becoming so painfully hard to watch, that the viewers can't not see that something is wrong. And instead of wondering "am I the only one who thinks something is wrong?" they're saying "Um, the people at GWoP have a point." And while we do this, we do need to remember to keep ourselves balanced with our own personal lives. The Gosselin kids have a crazy mother and a lazy father -- but they don't need us to obsess over their welfare every waking moment. So let's keep plugging on. Speak up about the nudity and lack of privacy if you choose to. But also --take care of yourself.

Dew:

Is their childhood dysfunctional? Of course. Is it awful they are having every minute filmed? Absolutely. Is there a clear and present risk? No. The channel to go through here to get anything done is through Child Labor Laws, NOT CPS. (watchoverthem: The minimum standard of care for a CPS removal in this country is very low.)

Not to be sentimental, but I kind of see our blog as sort of a fine representation of why freedom of speech is such a great thing. In many countries, you're not allowed to say bad things about people in "power" even if it's true. And by not exposing anything negative about people, that's how really horrendous things happen, like genocide. In other countries, no one speaks up for the children, and they end up working in places like sweat shops. If the government is taxing the poor to give to the rich, the right to speak up about it is essential. If children are being mistreated, people must speak up. The Gosselins aren't the government, but they are in effect stealing from the poor to give to themselves, the rich, and committing a fraud on everyone. And we're exposing it, one day at a time.

Again, not to be sentimental. But we're doing a brave thing, honestly.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who said anything about notifying CPS?
However, I will not sit by and "enable" this horrendous behavior on the part of these "crazy and lazy" parents. Great description, Serena!
What I will do is NOT watch the show any longer, NOT patronize the sponsors, continue to support this GREAT blog, and continue to "pray" for the best outcome for these kids.
By the way, hasn't ANTONE noticed that this show has become one long irritating ear-splitting crying jag? The children seldon communicate with language and actions; every desire is met only after looooong and loud screeching. In the case of Joel, eerie silence.
As someone noted earlier (in addition to Kate), look at the difference between the twins at four and the other kids at four - the parallels are non-existent.
I chose not to put these very sad and upsetting images in to my brain any longer. Life is too short to focus entirely on the "sad".

Anonymous said...

"Just because we get to see this bad parenting on a weekly basis on TV does not mean it is anyone's job (beyond private family members, a teacher's input, or perhaps their minister) to intervene."

Yes, I see your point and I agree with you. I want to know where are the people named in parenthesis - private family members/teacher/minister - Are private family members intervening? Are Mady and Cara's teachers noticing issues with them at school that may be indicative of their dysfunctional home life and mentally ill mother? Is he/she intervening? As to the minister - well, he's probably a sheeple. I think these people should take responsibility and at least attempt to intervene. They are all those children have to change their situation even in some small way.

Anonymous said...

I agree, none of us intend to sweep in and save the children, but we can do all the things the poster above said, stop watching and stop buying products from any of their sponsers. If some chooses to write letters to TLC and the sponsers, well good for them.

You know the old saying,"It takes a village," well it does, and if we all hit them in the pocket book, which is the only way we have to do anything about this, that is what will matter and that is what will someday change this for those poor kids. We "the villagers" can stop watching and stop buying!

WatchOverThem said...

"Just because we get to see this bad parenting on a weekly basis on TV does not mean it is anyone's job (beyond private family members, a teacher's input, or perhaps their minister) to intervene."

If we have a discussion and debate here, it is out of concern not only for these children but other children to follow in reality TV, that are not protected today as other child actors are with child labor, discreet privacy and financial protection laws in the industry. If we were to never voice or discuss our concerns and ideas in this free country of ours, how would change for the better be prompted and brought forward? Ideas and thoughts can create change, where change may be needed. A common voice and idea is good start in recognizing that this reality TV industry needs some guidelines on behalf of children, as it quickly spins and develops, perhaps out of control. Legislation is more easily changed as the buzz and mindsets of that which we wish to change becomes stronger and more dynamic. Our legislators are busy, they cannot always pay attention to a new idea until there is some strength and research behind it. Here we are, developing material for change, one idea and thought at a time.

If there were camera crews at the day care where some of you send your little children everyday, filming your children in different stages of what should be private and discreet situations, would that be ok? Would law enforcement become involved? Would your children be there tomorrow?

I can also be concerned and voice my concerns for endangered species, global weather issues, without living next to the endangered species or arctic circle. Just one of limitless subjects of interest and possible concern.

Anonymous said...

After the Paul Petersen posts I went on his website and read about other kid actors and kid reality shows. I was shocked to hear that the participants of "kid nation" 's parents had to sign a waiver that basically signed away all the rights of the children, incliding accidental death! And the conditions seem appalling, with minimal compensation, long hours, and no teachers on set etc.

My question is, why are the reality shows not subject to the same requirements as other shows as far as kids are concerned. I mean, this is still america, and all kids here have rights, or they should.

Are there any class action lawsuits happening to change this? To me the reality shows are no different than other shows, they are for our entertainment and money is being made for the people who produce these shows... why are the standards for kids on these shows so appallingly different??

hellokitty said...

watchoverthem:Very well put.

"Just because we get to see this bad parenting on a weekly basis on TV does not mean it is anyone's job (beyond private family members, a teacher's input, or perhaps their minister) to intervene."

Private Family Members-When family does speak up, they are accused of being "jealous" and telling "untruths". Besides, from the get go of this show, the kids had very limited interaction with other family members period.

Teachers-Ideally, teachers would be involved with their students lives, and pick up on strange behavior. But as a "normal" person that attended public schooling, there were a lot of kids that had major behavioral problems and guess what? Teachers look the other way sometimes.

Anonymous said...

A thought just occured to me...
what happens when the gosselin kids read all of the gossip and hurtful words that perfect strangers are writing about their families. I would bet that will be damaging as well...

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought that this blog and the buzz it has created might just entice people to watch the show if they haven't been. Or in my case, cause someone who rarely watched to now watch every time and all the reruns so to experience first hand what every one is talking about.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:50

I think once the kids grow up and view the episodes as well as read the blogs, they will understand that they were dealt a very wierd hand as far as parents go, they will be touched by the support of people who are strangers and cared more about their dignity than their parents did, and they will slowly begin to piece together the fragments of their lost childhoods.

SecretMonkey said...

Anon @ 3:05 Lots of people have made sure to watch the show because of buzz on this site and others. I don't see a problem with people wanting to see it for themselves - I think I'd do the same thing.

WatchOverThem said...

Anon 3:05 said:

"Have you ever thought that this blog and the buzz it has created might just entice people to watch the show if they haven't been. Or in my case, cause someone who rarely watched to now watch every time and all the reruns so to experience first hand what every one is talking about."

People are going to watch the show, I think that's a given. I watch the show, train wreck that it is. Our conversation and debate here may develop into a means of changing how children on these shows are protected, with production requirements that protect them put into place. I'm not saying it will happen today or tomorrow, but it probably will happen.

AireZoe said...

I think this situation truly illustrates how our world has changed. Reality TV meets the power of the Internet.
The momentum gained in the last few weeks clearly is affecting J&K. But as so many have pointed out, it's really the children who are affected by every facet of the issues at hand, which are being discussed in so many blogs and Web sites.
Once, this kind of situation may have only been visible to family, and they may or may not have chosen to act.
But we see family who seem to be powerless to help; although we really don't know what's happening behind the scenes. Because there is that appearance of a vacumn, and because people who care about kids - not jealous, not envious, not hoping to see J&K get their comeuppance - caring people feel they must voice an opinion, can't stand idly by watching a reality show for entertainment when a child's well-being is the thing in the balance.
Am I advocating for the children to be taken from their parents? Not at all. I don't think anyone is.
I don't have an answer for what happens next, or how J&K make their family whole. Only they can make that happen. I only hope they can see past defensiveness - and believe me, what we're seeing now is a lot of defense and next we'll see damage control - to the greater good of their childrens' future.

Anonymous said...

I just finished reading the truth shall set you free blog and I believe every bit of it. I could tell something is wrong with Kate just by the way she treats her husband. She constantly corrects him like he is a child. How can he stand it? I can't hardly stand to watch because of her telling him "don't say that, say this", etc. Jon ought to be feeling humiliated afterwards. It has to be causing problems in their marriage. Which in turn will effect the kids. I feel sorry for all of them!

eponine said...

Hey, did you guys know that when you Google "Gosselins" THIS blog shows up first? Right before the sixgosselins website. LOL. Woo!

iluveeyore said...

eponine! My favorite character in my favorite show.

OT, but welcome!

AmandaT said...

I grew up in an abusive home. On the outside, I showed some subtle signs of the abuse. Definitely things that my teachers noticed, and chose to ignore. To our family, her friends, my teachers, my doctors, my mother just seemed "off." She was brusque, rude, volatile. From 1st - 6th grade she had my teachers switched each year. I had attention problems, and some social issues, but generally functioned well and got decent grades, I was in the gifted programs.
My mother would say things that just didn't add up, overreact to situations, etc. And yet she had a nice side that she showed to others, and plenty of excuses to give to anyone who asked questions. To my teachers, friends' mothers, and doctors (has asthma problems, went frequently) she simply said it was all because I had difficulty when my father was deployed.
When no one was around, it was different. She was physically, verbally, emotionally abusive. She knew how to hurt us without leaving obvious marks, know not to leave bruises where people could see. She had us fearful of telling anyone about what was happening. It got worse and worse until she attempted to strangle my sister and I. Only then did my father figure things out, and we moved away.
I wish dearly that a casual observer had spoken up.

SmartyQ said...

Anon@2:50 I think once the kids grow up and view the episodes as well as read the blogs, they will understand that they were dealt a very wierd hand as far as parents go, they will be touched by the support of people who are strangers and cared more about their dignity than their parents did, and they will slowly begin to piece together the fragments of their lost childhoods.
I hope you're right. In the interim, I hope we continue to tend this garden.

Anonymous said...

I would think that most people that find this blog already have an interest in the Gosselin's and have been watching the show.

I only started watching the show last month after so many times of flipping through the channels and seeing these two people sitting in a chair talking to the camera, and wondering what in the world the show was about.

I found this blog after looking for Gosselin message boards because I was wondering what most people thought of the crazy mom.

I'm already tired of watching Kate and her emotionally abusive behavior, and I do wish there was some law against parents putting their children in reality shows. There is no way this kind of exposure is healthy for children.

minxie said...

The Gosselins are a perfect storm of dysfunction, caused by the parents and their respective backgrounds and personalities. Kate obviously has some issues from childhood that make her controlling, obsessive, eager for attention and material wealth but rejecting honest criticism. Jon came to the marriage good-natured but passive, immature and with little ambition; he was looking for someone to set him on some sort of path. The twins and tups fulfilled Kate's need for children who would love her unconditionally; Jon went along with it because he is a pleaser and an enabler. Then TLC show gave both Jon and Kate what they needed and wanted--Kate, wealth, attention and control over other people; Jon, freedom from a 9-to-5 job and the means to do what he wants. The problem in all this? The children's needs are taking a back seat to their parents' needs and wants.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work and info

Dj'sMom said...

I would have never known all this was going on in blogs.... if they had not posted their own message ...about people saying stuff about them....on their web page...now Im in the loop-being curious what others have thought about the show...and so on....
I have never blog before...gee thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

There are just so many things wrong with the way these children are treated. There is no interaction where the children are talked to about their parents' perceived view that they are misbehaving. They are little kids.

I am troubled over seeing that Alexis was filmed when she was three sleeping in the basement on a blanket. It was in the segment where they flew to Utah. Kate said that Alexis slept in the basement ALONE because she was getting up in the night and waking the other children up. Does anyone else see anything wrong with a child not sleeping in a bed and being ALONE in the basement at night? I think this constitutes abuse and Kate is often seen taking the easy way out instead of finding a parental solution.

damagedgoods said...

My story is no different from a lot I have read: originally liked the show, found the kids and parents charming, then as time went by felt differently. My AHA! moment was when they showed Collin suffering from constipation and Kate being so dismissive and detached, and then the subsequent episode when she sat on her butt in the chair outside looking miserable and nasty and complaining how tired she was. That was when I was done with her. Oh and did I mention I despised her hitting Jon? On another board people used to write it off as playful. I could never understand that thinking. I could go on and on about all the things I dislike about the Gosselin's parenting and their show, but that has pretty much been covered here. Well.

I wanted to throw something else out instead. As hard as this is to admit (deep breath here), I have had more than my share of "Kate moments." I have two precious, young children whom I adore, but sometimes I worry more about cleaning the house and getting the laundry done than playing with them. I am not proud of that.  I tell myself to just let it go, but there is something inside of me that "needs" it all to be done first. It is as though I can't enjoy myself with them until it's done. 
Additionally (even deeper breath here), I have also had my share of "Gum Gates." What do I mean by that? I mean losing it and yelling or acting irrationally over something as utterly stupid and trivial as gum on a bear. I would be lying if I  didn't say I could identify with Kate's ridiculous reaction. I DO NOT condone what she said to Collin or Jodi, and I frankly don't condone ANY of her behavior. I am just saying that being truthful, I have been there. My hunch is that many of us have.

The thing is, I take full responsibility for my neuroses! I know that the examples I stated above boil down to my own issues. They are not my kids' fault or anyone else's. I try not to beat myself about it either. I know I am a loving, good mother, but I am not perfect. I vow to do better the next day, hour, whatever.  I apologize to my kids when I screw up and yell. I  try to tell myself that hey, the dishes can wait. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don't. 

Looking at Kate I see a woman who can admit no fault and who, for whatever reason, needs total control. Control of: how she looks, her husband looks, her kids' look, what Jon says, what the kids' say and do, what they eat, just to name a few. I was not surprised when I read here that she wanted matching cribs and outfits and turned down those who couldn't provide it. I think her germ and stain phobias boil down to needing to be in control. No wonder this woman is exhausted. Can you imagine how tired you'd be if you held on that tight to everything and tried that hard to stay a step ahead so as to stay in control? She is fighting a losing battle though and damaging herself and her family along the way. I hope she can change but she seems very unwilling and frankly, unable, to look inside herself. If you notice, everything she tries to control is outside of herself. It's all superficial, outward THINGS.  I am not being sarcastic when I say, I can't even imagine what happened to this woman to make her feel so out of control in her life that she now has to have total control of everyTHING in it.

Dj'sMom said...

I dont understand why the parents did have the little one sleep with them in their room....like normal parents would have...instead of the basement...??

Anonymous said...

A thought just occured to me...
what happens when the gosselin kids read all of the gossip and hurtful words that perfect strangers are writing about their families. I would bet that will be damaging as well...

Actually, having a mother similar to Kate, I think it could very well go the other way and they will feel validated. They will know that it WASN'T them...all the guilt, all the outbursts, all they fighting, all the embarassment, all the confusion...it wasn't their fault. Of course, that probably won't help their relationship with their parents...but that's on them (J&K), for making the choices they are making.

AmandaT said...

Damagedgoods: I agree that we have probably all had our moments where we were out of the box. I think the key is to apologize and use it as a lesson. We're all human after all! And that's a big thing for kids to learn - humility and how to apologize and make things right.
Yes, you can force your kids to hug and kiss after a fight ... but that message doesn't go very far if mom and dad are not also demonstrating how to forgive and make up.

Anon721: I agree. I think that it may go the other way and be a validation.

The 3 year old in the basement thing also raises the hairs on the back of my neck. Kate may play it off as, "Oh, she wanted to," but my gut says it is her punishment for waking the other girls. Their family is well know, it is easy to find their address .... so having a 3 year old girl alone in the basement at night is not a safe choice, especially as it is advertised on national tv.
I realize that we cannot force anyone to be a better parent. However, I agree with Sunshine in that seeds are being planted. It is obvious that J&K scour the internet/other media and respond to what people say ... perhaps something positive will come from that. One can only hope.

Anonymous said...

That is so funny, that most, on here, at first,, adored Jon and Kate,the show, and then there was that moment that you realized, that this is totally uncomfortable to watch anoymore. My moment, well there are quite a few, so moments, are as follows: Gum on Colin's bear, Kate freaking out like a complete Whack-job, The Crayon Factory, and Kara crying because Kate won't let them do anything crafty, INSANE. And then the teeth whitening and hair plug episode. This is when I realized this show, had stopped being about the kids, Kate's organization with sextuplets and more about Jon and Kate's cosmetic adventures. Beyond strange. Who cares.
This show has peaked and now comes the slow decline...it was bound to happen.

laurie said...

For me, I'm not as upset with the "extra help", chef, personal assistant, nannies etc. I think if we were all aware of these things (via the show or someone on the show talking about it) then all of this would be moot. if they were HONEST about all the things handed to them, i think we'd be like, "yeah, I knew that already" etc etc.
What i am upset with is the lying and false advertising of their lives. if they'd just been honest i think i would look at them so differently than i do now.

As someone who was once a HUGE fan (as most of you know I actually created things for KG and her girls) i thought they could do NO wrong. Until my own experience was SO different than what I'd expected, that's when i began looking online for info on them... then i found this blog. what an eye opener that was and how totally stupid i felt for being one of the sheeples. wow.

anyway, i just wish they'd been honest, that's all. what's so wrong with that anyway? isn't honesty always the best policy? too bad they don't think so. (and let's not forget kindness!)

Anonymous said...

I am not being sarcastic when I say, I can't even imagine what happened to this woman to make her feel so out of control in her life that she now has to have total control of everyTHING in it.

Damagedgoods, I can understand completely where you're coming from. I could have written that myself. But to address your question above, I'd like to add my answer to that. I grew up in an authoritarian home where father was supreme dictator and my mother was depressed and slept all the time. I grew up in an abusive home - emotionally, physically, and mentally. I still carry the turmoil of those days still and I try hard every day not to parent my kids like they did but it always comes creeping out at the edges sometimes. And like you, I apologize when I get over the top. As far as the control issue, I had an epiphany a couple years ago because my whole life I've been angry and I didn't know why. I mean, I knew the outward reasons (and I won't go into them) but I forgave my parents for all the hurt but I was still angry. I realized one day that all this anger and control I had was because I had to live under their thumb and I wasn't allowed to be just a child. So I crave order and control as I can get it because being out of control is more scary when you don't know what's going to happen next. I don't know what happened to Kate growing up but I'm sure she grew up in a typical conservative household where "father knows best" and it was "my way or the highway" parenting. I can certainly relate to that, but the narcissism I cannot.

Anonymous said...

My AHA moment was the cupcake/birthday ep last month. For some time up to then I have been feeling bad about the show (probably started since the UT trip) but I didn't correlate any dysfunction until that ep. Then I googled Kate and found this awesome site. By the way, I stopped watching the show. It just makes me way to angry to see this darling children used like this. I urge everyone to turn off their TVs when they see this show come on. That will send a message loud and clear that Kate's (& by doing nothing, Jon's, too)behavior is totally unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

For those who are interested, there is an article at www.washingtonpost.com today entitled "On Reality TV, Who's Minding the Kids?" It doesn't mention the Gosselins in the article, but at least the issue is getting some attention.

iluveeyore said...

There have been about 8 comments deleted about "Tori and Dean." I think the reason is obvious.

I have also deleted comments that indicate the commentator does not watch the show... e.g., JoHn did not leave any boy in the dark on a potty.

We are happy to read and publish pertinent comments.

Sad said...

Thank you for the link to the Washington Post article. I emailed the writer and sent the link to this site.
Hopefully she will be interested in doing more articles including Jon & Kate.
It is wonderful to see the word for concern for child reality stars is spreading.

Anonymous said...

I have also deleted comments that indicate the commentator does not watch the show... e.g., JoHn did not leave any boy in the dark on a potty.

I didn't post the original comment, but I could have sworn there is a scene in one of the episodes, presumably during toilet training of the boys, where either Jon or Kate turns out the light and walks out of the room while the child is on the potty - I think before naptime. It was one of those turning moments for me because I thought it was cruel to do that to the child.

Or am I mis-remembering??

Anonymous said...

Damagedgoods: Thank you for being so honest, I know that admitting the things you wrote about is not easy. But you are able to take ownership of your faults, Kate is unfortunately (for her self, her kids and Jon) NOT able to. She views everything negative thing she does is a result of Jon not helping her, not 'protecting' her, etc. Nothing is ever HER fault, she rarely apologizes for her behavior. I'm sure you can see that the difference between you and her is clear....

Anonymous said...

I could have sworn there is a scene in one of the episodes, presumably during toilet training of the boys, where either Jon or Kate turns out the light and walks out of the room while the child is on the potty - I think before naptime. It was one of those turning moments for me because I thought it was cruel to do that to the child.

Or am I mis-remembering??


You remembered right. The episode was on recently. Kate was potty training the boys and left Collin sitting on the potty in the dark because he couldn't "go potty" before naptime.

FIONA said...

ANON 1134

You are right...it was Kate. I think it was Colin on the potty and she told him he could not get up until he peed in the potty...and off went the light and the last scene is a little boy, knees to the chin, sitting in the dark.

Anonymous said...

Damagedgoods. My story is similar, especially with my first son. I have a controlling personality and in the past and occassionally now have to really fight the urge to not be controlling and a perfectionist (in my mind at least). In the early shows I saw some of myself in Kate, although I do not treat my husband that way.

The difference tho, is that I feel awful when I've overreacted and had "gumgate" moments. I mean down on my knees asking for forgiveness awful. I pray that my children will not bear scars from the moments when their mom was too harsh (verbally) for their actions. I hope that my children don't remember these incidents. I can't even imagine what goes through Kates head that she'd want them to remember some of these moments.

It took me some time while watching J&K+8 to realize what they were doing to those kids by filming day in and day out and how it's going to be there for the rest of their lives for them to view.

It's too bad. I love watching the yearly updates of other families with HOM. This family would've likely come off so "real" if they would've done just that. I enjoyed watching Jon and Kate sit on their bed folding clothes after the kids were in bed, grocery shopping, etc... I'd bet a lot more books would've sold and even more speaking engagements.