Gosselins and Discipline

There have always been many comments about the Gosselins and how they discipline---or don't discipline---their kids. They have admitted that there are different consequences for bad behavior off-camera that they don't want shown on television. (For the record, I agree with that.) But does that mean that the same consequences for the same bad behavior are used consistently, and certain things are left on the cutting-room floor, or does it mean that different days and different circumstances have diffferent results depending on whether there is a camera present?

I would speculate that they base their method of discipline on whether or not the film crew is there. While this is a good idea for reasons of privacy and dignity---one of the few examples of such with this particular family---I feel that the lack of set, predictable consequences for misbehavior is doing a disservice to the children and contributing to them acting out of control. In fact, I would submit that it's Jon and Kate's overall inconsistency toward discipline that is causing their children, as precious as they are, to behave in ways not fitting for 4 1/2-year-olds and 8-year-olds.

With their lifestyle being what it is, as busy and demanding and chaotic as it can get---especially for small children---it must be adding to the general confusion when expectations and consequences seem to be a random flip of the coin. And the kids all seem like pretty smart cookies; they must be getting to the point where they realize that they can get away with a lot more during certain circumstances: on filming days, in public places, when a helper is in charge, etc.

A few comments were made on the "Leis and Luaus" thread that the Gosselins used to brush off Mady's bad behavior as hunger or dramatics or just her personality, and not really punish for it---but that now, all of a sudden, they are imposing consequences for her "dramatics" by not allowing her to participate in fun vacation activities with the rest of the family. I realize that no parent is perfect, that sometimes it takes awhile to decide to really crack down and enforce standards of behavior, and that it's "better late than never" to require good behavior of your child. But there is still the problem of consistency. Sometimes Mady is punished; other times she is not. Mady is punished for one thing; Cara is not punished for the same thing. One of the sextuplets throws a fit or hits another and it's overlooked; next time it's dealt with. On Monday this behavior will get you put in time out; on Tuesday it's a different punishment, on Wednesday it's simply ignored...all dependent upon the moods of the parents, where they happen to be and what they happen to be doing that particular day, or whether the film crew is there or not.

One thing that child-raising experts have always stressed is consistency of word and deed. The only consistency this family seems to have is that there isn't any. I realize that it's pure speculation for me to say what exactly they do as far as discipline goes and why, but I'm only basing my observations on what has been seen on the show and verbalized by the family in interviews, talks, etc. If Jon and Kate want their kids to grow up to be productive members of society---and to not give them absolute hell during the teen years!---they should start by setting rules, ensuring those rules are followed, and practicing consistent discipline. Even if they change very little else about their lives, unchanging standards of behavior across the board would go a long way toward improving the kids' attitudes and behavior both.

- Contributed by Natasha