"Stunted Emotions"

On Sunday, October 5, the following comment by Carolyn Hax appeared in The Washington Post. The comment was made in response to a letter from a grandmother who was being kept out of her grandchildren's lives. The grandmother complained that her daughter-in-law was practically going out of her way to keep her out of their lives. Hax gave her ideas on what she could do to react to the situation. Although the letter was specifically about a grandmother, the response can be applied to any loving person in a child's life. She prefaced her response with the following:

"Controlling people are dangerous, especially to children, because they block the flow of normal information to their victims -- which then gives the victims a distorted emotional view. To oversimplify it: Mommy limits her kids' exposure to love from other sources, so they become dependent on Mommy, so they grow up uniquely ill-equipped to view Mommy objectively, so they enter the world (as friends, colleagues, spouses, parents) not only stunted but unable to recognize how stunted they are and why. Thanks Ma."

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I also read this and IMMEDIATELY thought about Kate.
How funny it ended up here too.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Throw Jon's awesome parenting skills in the mix and you got eight great kids that will grow up real emotionally happy someday!

Anonymous said...

Ugh. As a mother who, along with my husband, chose to restrict his parents' access to our child, I am deeply offended by this response from the Washington Post.

Is my child "emotionally stunted" because we've chosen to keep her from passive aggressive people who are verbally and emotionally abusive? From people who saw nothing wrong with belittling, controlling, and slapping around their own children? Am I "harming" my child by choosing not to expose her to people who hate - yes HATE - me and have verbally attacked me in her presence?

I don't know the circumstances surrounding Jon and Kate's decision to cut off family (aside from what Julie and Jodi have publicly stated), but DO NOT assume that everyone who cuts off a relative is doing so just to be mean or that the children are harmed by those actions. We did what we did to PROTECT ourselves, our marriage, and our child.

Anonymous said...

i read it also and thought of Kate and my own mother. I just hope that J&K have set aside thousands of dollars for the kids therapy down the road, say about starting in the teenager years and through adult life.

Anonymous said...

Just because someone is family, doesn't make them a good, positive influence in children's lives. I cringe everytime I read, on this website, that the children need to have family in their lives. I don't know their family but I have seen Aunt Jodi and she seems great. But, the overall rule that all family is good is simply wrong. Many people struggle with the decision to keep family out of their lives. There are very painful decisions and consequences in that choice. Sometimes, its better for the children and it can be the safer decision. I can not speak for the G's, but the generalization is incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Kate Gosselin is a nut, it is only a matter of time before the sponsors become more privy and cut funding.

Just type her name into google and look at the suggestions. I typed the following query, "Kate Gosselin is"

The suggestions were as follows:

"Kate Gosselin is mean"
"Kate Gosseln is annoying"
"Kate Gosselin is annoying"
"Kate Gosselin is a liar"

Funny, not one suggestion suggesting that Kate is nice, a good mother, or anything positive.

Too bad all of these google suggestions are true. I hope she is stopped before it is too late for the children, I will do my part and write the sponsors.

Anonymous said...

Here is video of Kate giving tips for getting ready for the holidays. She is promoting KMart and their layaway plan (which she claims to use).

http://www.showcaseminnesota.com/show/client_article.aspx?storyid=526163

Anonymous said...

hahaha! Kate shops at KMart - yeah right! I think that lady at the end had her pegged perfectly! Kate looked so thrilled! Did anyone count how many times she said UM.

Anonymous said...

Was that filmed in their basement? I can't tell. I doubt it's in New York like it said with the twins bday tomorrow. I noticed in the People mag article it said they lived in Reading. Maybe they're trying to be more discreet with where their home location is now.

Anonymous said...

We have also burned bridges with one side of our family out of protection of our children. This is called responsible parenting - and SANITY. I applaud anyone who takes a stand to protect their children.

We don't know the REAL reasons why KON has cut off ties with family. I believe Kate said in a couch interview her family doesn't completely "understand their life" (translation: family tried to scream some truth at them, KON only saw $$, so down the hatchet went cutting off all ties).

Kate is driving this train. She's absolutely controlling. And those poor children are being denied relationships from people who genuinely LOVE THEM.

iluveeyore said...

This comment is not just about grandmothers or relatives. Does anyone really think that ALL of Jon's and Kate's relatives are toxic? That would be an amazing coincidence. Jon's mother lives too far away to be involved in their lives? In 3 - 4 seasons we've NEVER seen her! She must live in Timbuktu.

Kate has isolated her kids from many people who cared about them -- including Beth. They seem to have new "helpers" all the time. When they went to the Outer Banks, Kate said they "finally gave in" and got a "helper." At the Birmingham talk, Kate said the kids were with a "babysitter." Which is it? These people seem to come and go.

Did you notice how Mady is always hugging any woman who pays her the slightest bit of attention? How sad/warped is that? When was the last time you saw Kate (or Jon) hug Mady?

Erin said...

When I read this I immediately thought of my husband's ex wife. She is constantly trying to control everything about my step children, even when they are at our house (DH has joint custody). My DH's ex wife actually reminds me a lot of Kate- the controlling, bossy, always about HER type of personality. I wonder how long after the tups are off to college it will Jon to kick Kate to the curb!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with PPers. This does not apply in all situations. I do not choose to keep my children from other "sources of love," but that also doesn't mean I'm going to allow toxic people into their lives simnply because they are relatives.

Anonymous said...

I agree with iluveeyore - J&K's family weren't toxic when the twins were young and the tups were babies, why are they now persona-non-grata? Could it be the tv show? It's obvious the tv show was the catalyst in cutting Uncle Kevin & Aunt Jodi from their lives.

And I can't see how their entire family, with grandparents and eight siblings between them would all be harmful to their children.

I do agree that there are situtations where it's best not to expose your children to certain relations but it's extremely odd to cut them off from an entire family who rallied around them when they most needed support.

Anonymous said...

Isolating your children from, "A" destructive or toxic family member would be a healthy decision for a parent to make. Isolating your children from, "ALL" family members is a totally different situation. In the later I'd say J/K are the toxic family members/parents, jmho.

Anonymous said...

I do agree that there are times you have to protect your kids against whacko relatives. Did Jodi seem like that? Did Kevin? And I doubt very much if Jon's mom is disruptive or crazy. More like they are adults and are responsible people who see what they see in Kon and expressed concern over the kids. Kate is the kind of person who says everyone is crazy but me as she's licking the pavement and waving a daisy duck balloon over her head. She hasn't a clue, she has no insight at all.

I know a family that has little girls that react as Mady does to women they like. They glom onto those women because their mother is a self-centered, cold hearted bitch and they crave attention from a REAL grown-up mother figure.

And this is the mother who is thinking of adopting yet another child to ignore? Are you kidding? If that happens there should be such an uproar from people in this country waiting to adopt for years.

ThreeFarmers said...

Ms. Hax didn't write that as a blanket statement. She wrote it as a response to specific situation.

Certainly there are situations where children are better off without certain people in their lives. There are also situations where children can be taught to deal with difficult relatives by having supervised or family visits only.

My Mother was a first class nut who could tear you down with her words. My sisters and I always dealt with her by making sure the kids were never alone with her. She was at every birthday party and holiday and was invited to our homes often enough so that she really didn't notice that we didn't leave her alone with the kids. The kids learned to deal with her and not shun her. They also benefited from her good qualities. (That woman could read story books for hours on end.)

Also, I don't think we've gotten any indication that either Kate's parents or Jon's mother aren't around the kids because there's any sort of abuse going on. They left the twins with Kate's parents when she had the tups.

I think it's important that we read Ms. Hax's statement for what it is and not take it personally. Everyone knows that individual experiences are different.

Anonymous said...

If they werent making such an obscene amount of money off of their children, I would be more sympathetic to Jon and Kate's reasoning about "family members who don't understand them". As it stands, I believe that the family members either didnt provide enough money or services to be seen as "useful" to Kate or else voiced their concern for the kids who to me seem extremely malcontent and acting out like their basic emotional needs are not being met. They seem stressed to me and it will only get worse. Perhaps they reacted to kindness from people other than their parents and Kate got jealous because Kate is not normal not does she have the capacity to be a normal mom to them.

I found it telling that Alexis wanted to name her new alligator Carson, even though Beth is out of the picture. I remmeber Leah asking Jodi if she could garden with her (in the middle of winter) and was so excited when Jodi said yes, but they have to wait until planting season. Jodi and others had the ability to engage the children in normal activities without shouting, yelling or flipping out. I think Kate realized her hold on the kids was weakening in the presence of these maternal, caregiving people. Hence the cutting off. You will never be able to convince me that Jodi and Kevin and Beth were bad influences on the kids.

Anonymous said...

The most important thing in life is FAMILY!

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Anonymous said...

Actually Jon's mom was seen in the tups circus birthday party episode. Hasnt been seen since. How long ago was that?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Here is video of Kate giving tips for getting ready for the holidays. She is promoting KMart and their layaway plan (which she claims to use).

http://www.showcaseminnesota.com/show/client_article.aspx?storyid=526163

10/07/2008 11:11 AM

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Can this link/video of Kate be put under its own category/topic on the blog just like the People Magazine article and Regis and Kelly appearance? It may get lost in this post, where it doesn't really belong? Thanks.

Maggie said...

I think you will find that was Jon's grandmother.

Anonymous said...

Oh, You are right, I am sorry! Thanks for jogging my memory.

PKD-in-Illinois said...

On a personal note, yes. We restricted my husband's mother's access to our children. She would openly favor one child over another. She wasn't secretive about it. Right in front of us, she would give one child a gift (for no reason, just because) and give the other two nothing. She sent the one birthday cards and not the other two. The list goes on and on. We felt it wasn't healthy for any of the three girls to deal with that constant mistreatment. Therefore, (very) limited access.

However, that's one family member. Not the whole family. Why Jon & Kate are that way? I have no idea. But from the outside, it seems odd.

Anonymous said...

Restricting one or two toxic family members from your childs life is keeping them safe. When it is your entire immediate family I think you need to look deeper into who and what they problem may be. They bring people in and treat them like family(Beth and Bob) and the kids see them many times a month including overnight trips. Then one day they are gone. They have a very loving Aunt and Uncle just down the street who they don't get to see after they were there for them their entire lives. Kate's parents were involved in the twins lives and took care of them while Kate was pregnant. No wonder the twins resent the sextuplets so much. After they were born Mady and Cara lost family members that had previously been very involved in their lives. That kind of thing is damaging. Jon and Kate are teaching the kids that people are disposable and if you have a disagreement you cut them out of your lives. I predict this will blow up in their face once the kids are older.

Anonymous said...

This is so very true.

Anonymous said...

Chances are very slim that the ENTIRE family AND close friends are suddenly toxic. Of course there are times you have to get someone out of your life. But ALL of them? Whether they live near or far? Something is very wrong there.

As for Jon's mom living too far away - that is bull. They travel all over the country; they can't fit in a visit to Grandma?

ThreeFarmers said...

That wasn't Jon's Mom at the Bday party. It was his Grandmother.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, parents can and do have legit reasons for restricting grandparents and I've never seen grandparents admit to viciously badmouthing a parent, or intentionally and with malice violate the parents rules with the kid to be petty and hateful. I know we're all ragging on Kate but really, there's two sides to a situation and grandparents aren't always gentle sages.

A Mom-ynous (formerly A Mom said...

Regardless of my opinions of anyone keeping a grandparent out of their children's lives for no good reason, I would never endorse any opinion that would obligate parents to allow the contact or relationships nor read any publication that publishes such drivel.

If grandparents are worthy enough of the relationship with the grandkids, then mom and dad will allow it. If something went amiss in the life---well, they may be blood relatives, but they didn't donate the sperm nor the egg so have no such entitlement.

As "altered" as I came out of relationship with certain parental units, I am in the process of severing ties. It has been a long time in the making.

And I am proud to say that my children will be all the better for it.

I don't owe them an explanation. But I've got plenty of documentation and evidence and witnesses should they ever dare to take it to a court of law to ever even suggest that I am depriving my children of anything except a toxic relationship with them.

If that means that the Gosselins get to "get away" with not having a relationship for their children with their grandparents even though maybe they should--so be it.

And I just hope my parentings skills of my kids results in a grandparenthood wear I have earned the privilege of being with my grandkids and not need a court of law to allow me some non-God-given right to offspring that don't belong to me.

scaryskiernewjersey said...

Wasn't Kate trying to sell us on NaNa Janet and some other NaNa that weren't blood but loved her kids so much that blood wasn't important? Wasn't it Kate that told us how much Beth loved her kids and how they went over there every Sunday after church? Isn't that where the one photo shoots was? Didn't Beth take several of the tups in pairs and keep them for a few days? Wasn't her daughter, Tailia, the twin's "best friend"? Weren't we told how Aunt Jodi would take the kids every Friday morning to give Kate a break? Poor Aunt Jodi had to take all the kids when they went on the one on one days and what thanks did she get? A hole in her wall and screamed out by Kate over "gumgate".

Why would all these people be so important and trusted just six months ago and now all of a sudden they are banished? It's because Kate is a controlling, greedy fame whore who wants the spotlight on her and every "Benjamin" in her pocket.

I don't buy that Jon's mother lives to far away. Wouldn't that be a perfect episode? Who wouldn't love to see 8 kids run up and smother Grandmom with love? See Grandmom bake with them or teach them about their family. We can't have that because it is far more important to see J&K get their teeth whitened or go clothes shopping.

I hope one day the grandparents speak up and tell us their side of the story. I am dying to know the real scoop.

Thalia Menninger said...

There's always two sides to every story. We have a hurt such as this in our own family. All that I can say is that, as the alienated party, all we can do is love the children involved with all of our hearts and await the day when they ask for themselves why their dead father's sisters are not allowed to be a part of their lives. And when they seek us out (as they invariably will), we will be there for them. I'm not interested in my brother's widow or what she says or does. There's been enough negativity from her to last a lifetime. I will, however, always always always be there for those kids.

Anonymous said...

Scary --
All that you said is true. Also, don't forget that Kate claimed that Beth was her "bestest friend" and her BFF.
I guess "forever" doesn't last too long for Kate.