Opinion Piece by a Reader

A sociologist has written an opinion piece to USA Today about children in reality TV.

Excerpt: "So what's different when it comes to kids and reality television? These kids are not classified as performers, denying them the protection of Coogan laws. In fact, the children are not even classified as workers, also denying them the protection of child labor laws. Kid reality stars fall through the cracks of the protections crafted by early 20th-century reformers, who likely never imagined that someone would consent to potty-training their children on camera (Season Three, Episode 4 of Jon & Kate Plus Ei8ht)."

32 comments:

BeDoneNow said...

. "These parents are famous for simply being parents in unusual families, a role they could not publicly play without the participation of their kids. They have a vested interest in making sure that five-figure per episode paychecks continue to arrive."... continues the article.

This statement leaves the question, is Kate a mother or does she just play the role on TV? To the public view, she has deliberatly abdicated the role of mother, emotional guardian of her minor children, advocate, teacher and protector. The role she has chosen instead is diva, glam-queen, self-entitlment monger.

So where are the children? Pawns and mere objects to be rented out to finance the new chosen roles of their egg and sperm donors. Yes, Kate completely believes that if she is happy, then the children will be happy. and if plastic surgery stilettos and orange leather skin can get her a better paying gig on "Diva Housewives of Any Old Place" then that is in the best interest of her happines and therefor in the interests of her children.

Not one of us was born knowing how to mother. It is something we aquired a little bit every minute of every day because we wanted to. Kate conquered diaper changing and bottle warming and then she stopped learning. She stopped paying attention. She never developed the insticts to guide, teach by example, love and protect. Nannies and pedis are all she knows now - all she WANTS to know.

Because she continues to finance all of this through her rent-a-child scheme, society in the form of laws simply must step in to do what the parents are not capable of: protect the children from the gawkers and the highest bidders.

Gab2 said...

Not only toilette training, but in an early episode Kate was changing one of the girl's diapers, it showed a lot of her private parts, even though it was shot from the side.

Doesn't she realize there are sick men out there? She fails to protect her kids.

fidosmommy said...

Be Done Now, your post gave me
pause. It made me wonder if Kate would have been able to bond with a
single child, or even another set of twins. Mothers usually bond with their children in utero. But with 6 growing inside of her at once, Kate may have been too emotionally overwhelmed to be able to bond with them as individual children. Six is a lot to feel that special connection with all at once. And, being somewhat self-centered anyway, it may have been emotionally impossible for Kate. They are a lump deal, and they each get 1/6 of the bonding process. That is not enough. She needs to be 100% bonded to each one.

Kate's Nemesis said...

Kate can't bond with her own husband, parents, siblings and in-laws... let alone even one child.

Kate is self-absorbed Kate; no matter how many kids so has. She's not going to wake up one day and stop being herself. She thinks she is "one step ahead of you, you, and YOU!" Funny how people in Reality TV, are so far away from reality in life.

silimom said...

fidosmommy - "Six is a lot to feel that special connection with all at once. "

That's an interesting idea. Playing devil's advocate, however, I just have to say it doesn't appear to be the case with the Dilleys or the McCaugheys.

silimom said...

That was the best article I've read to date on the whole "kids in reality television" issue. Thank you for sharing it.

rural mom said...

Kate and Jake should pair up since they both want fame and fortune and think they can win anything they participate in. The kids have always been pesky little props that Kate has to look after and pretend she wants to be around.

Cry Me A River said...

I think the only one of the tups Khate bonded with was Hannah. She was the first one that she held. By her own admission she failed to bond with Collin because of his "big ole head" and it shows in spite of his valiant efforts to be her "little helper boy." I think she failed to bond with Joel because she had "never seen a baby that looked so much like his father." She failed to bond with Aaden because he was "difficult" and "wiry" and later needed glasses She failed to bond with Alexis because she was "lighter" and looks less Asian. Leah had the projectile vomiting and continued to be "vomitus" for a long time. I think of Leah as the invisible one. There were many episodes where her name was never mentioned and even today most have a hard time distinguishing between Alexis and Leah but not between Leah and Alexis. When describing Leah the best Khate can come up with she is "just cute." Hannah in my opinion holds a special place also because she has the long silky black hair that Khate is envious of as evidenced by her obsession with Hannah's hair on the show.

She also did not bathe the children - ever - even as preemies. Bathing, IMO, is vital to the bonding process. She also did very little actual feeding of the babies. The helpers and Jon did that while she sat at the counter and reined over bottle making and list making. Feeding and bathing your babies is a vital part of the bonding process between mother and child.

She did not bond with Mady and Cara as Jon bathed and cared for them also after/before work (as is the tradition in their house - never a home always a house). They were farmed out for long periods of time during the pregnancy and after the babies came home. If I am not mistaken they were not present when the babies came home and missed those early bonding moments between the twins and the babies.

So you have a houseful of people who have not bonded properly in the developmental/formative stages. The one person that was hands on with all the kids is missig from the household and that is their Dad. In my opinion, Khate will forever see her kids only as possessions with prime closet space in her hard heart but little else. That is why her kids are for sale - because they are little more than tools - a means to an end.

It is a sad commentary.

Vanessa said...

@fidosmommy, EXACTLY!
This is why HUMANS do not NATURALLY have LITTERS!

A real mom said...

That was an articulate and very accurate article. I hope that their is a movement toward media discussion of the child-victims of reality TV as opposed to how to dress/decorate with red, white, and blue for the holidays.

Mary said...

hi

Ok I am not a mother and will never be. One thing I will never understand is the water bottle episode. Why no big out cry? where are all these people who intervew her have never called her on it. Is it they think Mady a differcult child? My heart broke watching that. If she took the water and hand it to her but to open it and take a drink from it. I wish Maddy got up and left taking the water with her. Kate is cruel. I hate to think what happens behind closed doors and if those Nanny's staff, camera crew are not reporting the abuse
they should be jailed.

Also I figured out Steve's job before Kate.

He watched the bathrooms when someone who was famous went in. He was on outside preventing anyone from entering

Mary

N.E. Psychologist said...

@ Lucy: . Khate destroyed her ties with her parents, siblings and husband and uses her children to seek attention and her own fame and fortune.
********

And the Licentious channel helped!

Ohio Buckeye said...

Lots of good points coming - a very interesting set of insights.

@BeDoneNow and HBailey: Especially enjoyed your posts. Really enjoyed reading them. Thanks!

I don't see K8G being able to pull herself out of the pit she's declined into. It's been a year now with a year's worth of many and varied opportunities to relate to and win over viewers, but all she has managed to do is push even more viewers away.

With the likes of K8G, familiarty really DOES breed contempt.

Ohio Buckeye said...

@Lucy: IMO you have hit the nail on the head.

And I also agree that K8G seems willing to change only her physical appearance, as if she is blind to the fact that it's not her face and body that create problems in her life.

The problems in her life come from far deeper issues than merely physical appearance.


No amount of tooth veneering, fake nails hair and tan, foobs, no amount of dancing instruction, no amount of coaching on how to spend an interview focusing on the OTHER person is ever going to be enough to even make a dent in helping K8G be a happier, more likable person.

K8G's real problem is that she is K8 and her own personal mirror reflects back to her an image that only K8 sees.

Kate's getting busted said...

It appears that some of the media are starting to go after Kate...I wonder how long before her house of cards falls??

She lies so much, it just confounds me! First, we did the show to make memories, for the film since they didn't have time to do it...then, it was for the trips, things they could never do on their measly salaries...now, it is for their college educations...
looks to me, like it was for wardrobe, $300 shoes, prada purses, tanning, botox, fake boobies, dental improvements...
not every family has to have a million dollar home and attend private school...what an idiot.

fidosmommy said...

silimom said...
fidosmommy - "Six is a lot to feel that special connection with all at once. "

That's an interesting idea. Playing devil's advocate, however, I just have to say it doesn't appear to be the case with the Dilleys or the McCaugheys.


*****

Right. Clearly the Dilleys' and the McCaugheys' parents were less emotionally self absorbed. They
buckled down and thought about the children, taking time with each one. That takes maturity, wisdom
and what's that other thing....
ah yes, mothering.

Lisbeth said...

Thank you for posting this article. Protecting the kids of reality shows needs to be put in place ASAP.

jonandkatewho? said...

Thanks for posting the article. While I agree with the writer I will go a step further and say that I believe child-centered reality shows should not even be allowed. Period. Even with protections in place such as child actors have I don't think it's enough. I think it will give rise to too many unwise or bad parents trying to make a buck off their kids; other issues can arise too such as how far is too far and what should or should not be allowed.

With the G's I believe we are seeing the fulfillment of a desire which Kate deliberately set out to achieve; she did. It could happen over and over and in my opinion there is really no "safe" way to do it. It sets parents at cross purposes with kids' best interests when there is fame and money involved. Some parents might make the right choices but mostly I see no value in shows of this type. Leave the real acting to real trained child actors. Reality has been shown to not be real anyway and the shows are scripted. These children ARE NOT ACTORS and life in later years has been shown to be fraught with difficulty even for some of those who are.

It just is not right and people should really not want to see such shows. Kids might be cute but they are not meant to be born for the entertainment of strangers.

Kate has shown us how vile a person she is and there are undoubtedly others like her out there to whom her lifestyle looks very attractive. I think it's scary and I wish it could just be stopped.

Brummygirl said...

Do you know the really scary thing about Kate? She was single minded about what she wanted years ago and she has achieved it...SO FAR!! Who would have thought someone so *simple* (and I use the term loosely) could have become so complicated?
Are you not glad she is just a reality star and not in a place in power?
Hmmmm.......I will do a Kate-ism and answer my own question....Nope, she hasn't the brains but in her own mind, she can achieve anything!!!

couch potato said...

The article said, "Reality TV parents might be blinded by the lights of fame and tempted by the lure of riches. But they're adults. Their children shouldn't have to risk a lifetime of suffering to fulfill their parents' 15 minutes of fame."

I think Kate was reckless with her fertility procedure, but I really thought she was interesting the first couple times she was on T.V. as the mother of sextuplets. She seemed a little OCD and germ phobic. I really do think it's the continued money and fame that have turned Kate into some kind of a monster mommy.

Yep, these kids never had any chance at normal life. TLC has made a bad situation even worse.

N.E. Psychologist said...

When I went to the Figure 8 website, it included pictures of the staffs' dogs. When the G.'s sent the dogs back, someone e mailed Bill Haye's about that and posted (I THINK on Z's blog) that Mr. Hayes sent a very defensive reply about caring about dogs. Too bad he apparently doesn't give a sh*t about children.

Cry Me A River said...

I have noticed that more and more the reality shows are allowing their children to be filmed with no clothes on. Khate started a trend apparently. I was trying to watch the other sextuplets and they kept getting in and out of the tub naked and running around and I could not watch that. I think it is so wrong. Even my favorite show Tori and Dean are showing footage of especially Liam naked which he is blurred out but that doesn't mean anything, he was running around outside like that just because he wanted to. It is so unnecessary, I mean what does it add to the show. Just turns good people away. Yet they continue to do it, now more than ever. I am all for not giving kids hangups about their bodies and such but in my opinion it is dangerous to do that on TV, in today's world, especially.

On My Soapbox said...

jonandkatewho? (part of longer comment) "It just is not right and people should really not want to see such shows. Kids might be cute but they are not meant to be born for the entertainment of strangers."
***********************************
I appreciate this comment because I've really done some soul-searching during this Gosselin debacle. I never thought about what I was doing when I first tuned into the Jon&Kate reality show...just thought it would be interesting to see what a household is like with eight little ones. I remember as a small child myself, pouring over my mom's LIFE or LOOK magazine at the big, glossy photos of the Fisher quints in I think Aberdeen (one of the Dakotas) and being enthralled with so many baby girls named Mary-something (I think they all had different middle names but, wow, it's hard to recall after all these years). Anyway, in watching the Gosselin babies on TV, I didn't stop to think that maybe this was voyeuristic and not appropriate. Since so much has come to light about lack of privacy for children in this kind of exposure-television...and what are their rights?...and seeing the mess of the Gosselin family from what I thought they once were...I now make a determined decision NOT to watch this kind of stuff on TV anymore and I long, long ago took TLC off my channel line-up, specifically because of the exploitation of the Gosselin kids and the show, Jon & Kate Plus Eight. It now clearly is no different than what the Dionne quints went thru in their glass "cage" for all the public to come and view them. Distasteful, not appropriate, WRONG. Watching just becomes gawking. I continue to read and post on this site, though, because it's like the last stand to somehow advocate for eight little Gosselins and whomever follows them. You've just got to find some way to stand up to this kind of crap, even if you feel powerless to help. If you can't do anything else, at least this is a free country and you can use your "voice." I remember the first time I found GWoP (when I was feeling really uneasy about what I was watching go down with the Gosselins on TLC), finding a lot of my questions and suspicions being similarly articulated here and it was like a floodgate of validation, although it just led to more concern for the Gosselin children being caught in the middle of a media machine and two deluded parents whose behavior, even now, continues to make people's jaws drop. Frankly, I think any fan base the Gosselin adults had is shrinking because there are no rewards for CONTINUED, questionable behaviors and parenting. People will eventually get fed up with even making Jon and Kate the butt of jokes and move on. TLC is probably milking their last dollars out of Jon and Kate. God help the children, though. They just can't climb out of that "middle" yet.

On My Soapbox said...

I don't know if my previous comment will get posted or not, but I was writing about the Fisher quints and being so mesmerized by them as a small child, as they got quite a lot of press at the time. I made myself curious as to why I never heard about them again so I googled them and, check this out in contrast to the Gosselin parents (vintage photos and article in LIFE magazine): "Born on September 14, 1963 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, the Fischers were America's first surviving set of quintuplets. The children's names are Mary Ann, Mary Catherine, Mary Magdalene, Mary Margaret, and James Andrew. The country was understandably excited for parents Mary Ann and Andrew, but as the quints grew older, the two made the decision to pull the children out of the limelight."

Enough said.

dustilies said...

Hey, I'm back from a long trip to China, and am so happy to see the wit and the wisdom still bubbling along here on GWoP!

Amongst all the excellent insights so far, I'd especially chime in on Cry Me a River's point that bonding comes from the active care of babies and small children, including feeding, bathing, and skin-to-skin contact.

There's an old Native American saying that a mother bear licks her cub into shape as she licks fluids off her newborn. I think this applies to human babies (metaphorically!). And also to human adults. Our actions shape our new parental selves.

KG is an "unlicked cub."

PS: No signs of anything Gosselin in China--I studied many newsstands while waiting for lights to change. Thank goodness---can you imagine what the Chinese would think of us? They are a very child-centered society, and would think KG to be a moral imbecile and social ingrate, I think.

Rose said...

That is a beautifully written article that will hopefully have some real weight as the issues with children and reality television increase. I especially like the observation on how Kate's warped perception leads her to believe that as long as she is happy, the kids are happy. As long as she is free to do as she pleases and be the center of attention, the children will be healthy and happy by extension.

It reminds me of the episode where she was talking about how "I pour the mommy guilt on myself a lot, sometimes a little too much". She then went on to say, "They know I love them. There's no question." In other words, they have nannies to tend to them and pay attention to them while Mommy jets off and does her own thing, and as long as she's satisfied, then there's no need for her to feel worried about the kids. It's easier for her to go with the "they're happy if I'm happy" argument, because then, as always, all she has to focus on is herself.

And the funny thing is, Kate loves to cry and whine about how the public spreads rumors about her and forces her to defend herself constantly, but in truth, it's not the public causing the damage. She does it all on her own, with her own words and actions. The kids are going to eventually have copies of those books in which she complained about their projectile vomiting, their defiant behavior, and the overall struggle she feels while raising them. They're going to see the episodes where she turned up her nose and called Joel "Vomitous Boy" because he dared to get sick with the flu. They'll see the episodes where she referenced Mady's "Oh dear side" (whatever that means), yelled at Aaden to "be a man," and allowed Cara's emotional "explosions" to be filmed. Nothing like taking advantage of a child's pain and gobbling up a couple thousand dollars for each meltdown. There's a reason why families like the McCaugheys shielded their kids from all that, and if Kate could steer away from herself for just one second, maybe she would stop and ask them why they made that choice. But then again, she WANTS to be kept in the dark, because that way, she doesn't have to stop concentrating on her selfish desires.

Hopefully, the Gosselins will be a pitch-perfect example of what can happen to innocent children when we don't protect them. It would be truly tragic, though, if these eight kids had to suffer for the rest of their lives as a result.

Ohio Buckeye said...

Welcome home, Dustilies! "can you imagine what the Chinese would think of us? They are a very child-centered society, and would think KG to be a moral imbecile and social ingrate."

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

And they'd be absolutely correct in their estimation of K8G.

Can't See Sheep said...

@dustilies, great to see you back!

jonandkatewho? (part of longer comment) "It just is not right and people should really not want to see such shows. Kids might be cute but they are not meant to be born for the entertainment of strangers."
----------------

Exactly. Mady & Cara are REAL children, not characters on a cable show. They can't drop their "roll", walk away & go relax at home, they're Mady & Cara 24/7 & that has got to be tough, especially back when the cameras were always there. At times I also find myself wondering if some of the hardcore kook fans understand that these are not characters, but real children. Children are not meant to be a sideshow & that's what katie kreider has turned her family into, complete with them being viewed in their natural habitat out front on the driveway. Makes me think of the Dionnes, how they were kept on display so people could easily see them like zoo animals. Perhaps when there are no more shows kate will start charging admission at the Mc Orphanage.

Nova said...

Can't See Sheep said...

...At times I also find myself wondering if some of the hardcore kook fans understand that these are not characters, but real children. Children are not meant to be a sideshow & that's what katie kreider has turned her family into, complete with them being viewed in their natural habitat out front on the driveway. Makes me think of the Dionnes, how they were kept on display so people could easily see them like zoo animals. Perhaps when there are no more shows kate will start charging admission at the Mc Orphanage.

6/29/2010 3:32 PM

-----------------------------------

Oh, no! I really think that you're on to something. She knows her earliest 'fame' came from being the mother of twins and sextuplets, and that her attempts at more attention and fame all by herself, but in the end she could only parrot her lies about being the loving mother of eight, yes eight!, kids.

When Khate has finally wrung the last bit of notoriety (and attention) out of her current attempt at approval and fame, she'll start thinking up something new. She'll start by whipping those kids into shape as performers for state and county fairs, farming them out for commercials and product endorsements, and she'll make sure that she's front and center as much as possible.

Nova

Save the Gosselin eight

BeDoneNow said...

Nova said...
Oh, no! I really think that you're on to something. She knows her earliest 'fame' came from being the mother of twins and sextuplets, and that her attempts at more attention and fame all by herself, but in the end she could only parrot her lies about being the loving mother of eight, yes eight!, kids.

When Khate has finally wrung the last bit of notoriety (and attention) out of her current attempt at approval and fame, she'll start thinking up something new. She'll start by whipping those kids into shape as performers for state and county fairs, farming them out for commercials and product endorsements, and she'll make sure that she's front and center as much as possible.

Nova

Save the Gosselin eight

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

That would threaten Kate. She wants to be the center of attention at all times. The only reason, other than $$, that she has allowed the children to be noted as much as they have been, is because she had gotten a great deal of attention, sympathy, pity, and praise. ("Oh you poor dear, here let us worship and help you.")

They are a little less in her control now and that will continue. The more she allows unscripted observation of the kids, the more criticism she receives for her atrocious parenting. By putting them out there for proper hire, the focus would be off Kate (and she cant have that!)and there would be too many chances for observation of how messed up the kids are becoming.

JMHO. :)

Brummygirl said...

Welcome back Dustilies>
I am in agreement with you, no one else whom I met abroad, new Kate Gosselin.

concerned wife and mommy said...

Mary said:


Ok I am not a mother and will never be. One thing I will never understand is the water bottle episode. Why no big out cry? where are all these people who intervew her have never called her on it. Is it they think Mady a differcult child?

----------------------------------

What is really sad about that whole situation is when it originally happened, Kate was still the media darling. It was right after the octuplets were born. I remember seeing the interview when it was originally done, and there was a voiceover talking about how Mady was a difficult child. Nothing about WHY she was saying her Mommy was mean, just the clip of her saying that. Fast forward a few months when the Gosselins split up and Kate was no longer "can do no wrong" in the media. THEN, they released the whole thing showing Kate refusing to give Mady water. But before that, they just made Mady look like she was behaving like a brat for no reason, and Kate was so wonderful for dealing with her. They were throwing that poor kid under the bus to protect Kate's image.