Article About Kids Pay for Parent's Quest for Attention (a little OT allowed)

Kid's Pay for Parent's Quest for Attention

Kids pay for a parent's quest for attention


It’s addicting, disgusting and stupidly popular.

And possibly child abuse.

Fame-hungry, egotistical moms behaving badly on reality TV have us cringing but we tune in, regardless of the scenes of children being exploited by their own parents.

Dance Moms is a recent addition to the frightening cast of poor parenting; Toddlers and Tiaras broadcasts weekly to an audience of more than two million. Kate and her eight are gone but not forgotten… Quints by Surprise replaces Kate cashing in on her kids.

Dance moms squabble, scream, trash one another, cry, rant and rage while studio owner Abby Lee Miller berates and bullies the moms and kids, and the moms let her – all in the name of attention.
These moms have a pathological need to be noticed and admired by others, says Dr. Mark Sichel, author and New York therapist.

“I would definitely call this child abuse and a lack of caring about their children’s well-being and adjustment because their narcissistic needs are so profound that they can distort their behaviour as being good for their children and believe that it makes their children happy,” Sichel says.

Exhibitionism takes centre stage, leaving kids feeling terrible as their needs to be nurtured are neglected, and positive reinforcement for their accomplishments and achievements is non-existent, says Sichel, author of Healing from Family Rifts.

The distorted need to be looked at deprives their children of the joys of childhood.
According to pop culture and media expert Dr. Stuart Fischoff, it’s the “desperation syndrome” in the age of mass media.

“We’re talking about the need - indeed the right - to be a celebrity, to be someone, some one; a need to be cut from the herd of mediocrity and count for something,” says Fischoff, who blogs the Media Zone at

Sichel says these parents use their children to shore-up deficits in their self-esteem and lack judgment about the potential for disastrous experiences for their children.

“Their hunger to be noticed, to create a splash and feel famous is a dysfunctional way to fill their inner emptiness and need for excitement when they feel their lives are unfulfilling,” he says.

Sichel says the mothers who appear on these shows see their children as extensions of themselves and objects to be used to further their need to be noticed and admired.

“They’re devoid of judgment about the consequences of exposing their children to these experiences and rationalize their behaviour as gifts to their children when their behaviour is exploitative and self-aggrandizing,” adds Sichel, of

Welcome to the “Narcissism Zone” where there’s an urgent need to rise above the anonymous masses, says Fischoff. In this zone, it’s all about “my child, my family, myself. They are one. They are me.”

It’s the neurotic personality trait of our time, says Fischoff. Today’s world is a vast greenroom where everyone is waiting for a chance to be called on stage – be it reality TV, a blog, or YouTube or Facebook. Whatever it takes, parents are willing to pay the price.

“If mothers on Toddlers and Tiaras are pimping their children to get that celebrity, that recognition, so be it. If that means traumatizing their children, so be it and so what!” says Fischoff.

“If that means lying to themselves, their family, their friends, that they’re only ‘doing it for their child and some day they’ll thank me,’ shut up and get out of the way.”

Fundamentally, it’s child abuse. Ultimately, “it all depends on the values of a culture and what's ‘acceptable citizen behaviour,’” Fischoff says.

“A culture that precociously sexualizes its daughters may be as destructive as one which demands clitorectomies, no matter how they spin it. There are many ways to wound our children,” says Fischoff.

Meanwhile, when everyone is doing it, then it becomes less bizarre. Fischoff asks just how sensible is it that the measure of the person is their celebrity quotient or status on Facebook, Twitter or reality television?

Assaults on kids’ self-esteem “have them going through life feeling that their worth is dependent on making their mothers happy and to help their mothers get the attention and need to be noticed gratified,” adds Sichel.


Boycott Bad Parents said...

This article says it all! Shame on TLC, for they are the main ones using kids in their reality TV series. In all of these shows, the parents are the ones after fame and fortune, the kids are just plain ABUSED.

Every point that is made clearly depicts Kate Gosselin's persona. I can't believe the judges have not taken a more protective stance of her children, or looked at placing them with Jon now that he seems more settled and past his wild out-burst after the divorce.

Kate is not a good mother, she is not a good person, and she is most certainly not a good actor/entertainer. Everyone should boycott her and all the other parents using their children for self promotion and fame!

Brummygirl said...

Wow, that just about sums it up and what we have all been saying all along.
Hope Kate reads this one!!

Anonymous said...

Reality TV should be taken off the air. Every show where a child is shown should be removed.

Now we have the Duggars expecting their 20th child? What a disgrace, done for $$$, that is what the Duggars are doing.

They have more children than Gosselin or the Octomom and we don't complain? This is some sick stuff.

Her in that American Red Cross blanket and I want to rip it off of her. I was a volunteer for many years with the ARC and those blankets are placed on people fleeing their homes during terrible times, i.e.:fires,floods,etc. and she poses as though she is in Playboy?

Now we have the great Kardashian Family. What a waste. Not one of those people work, not one. Even the son with a degree from USC and 24 has never had a job (he is on DWTS and that is what he said, "I've never had a job") now there is a mother, Kris Jenner who should be crucified for what she has her children doing and what she has certainly orchestrated that great wedding that fell apart ? after 72 days?

Please let us boycott all Reality Shows on any Cable network.

Please, the Gosselins are but the tip of the Iceberg.

Why is she still gaining attention?

I have written to the ARC, Couponcabin, The View and I don't mean e mails. I write letters, post them and mail them. Believe me, mail means more than an e mail when protesting.

Thank you for posting this. But I am furious with anything that hurts children.

Look at Penn State and what is now going on and has been for over a decade. Disgraceful.

O-Hi-O said...

Gosselins, Kardashians, Duggars - they're all the same and this article explains how.

Each has a specific brand targeting a specific market. All claim to have close, loving family bonds yet sell family privacy and dignity.

Babies. Shoulder Duster Earrings. Religion. It's all just crass marketing and these families are absolutely complicit. Yes, Virginia, even the allegedly super religious ones.

Thanks for posting this article.

Debbie H said...

Is there anyway someone can post the link on her "twitter" account? Or even on her blogs, websites or whatever??She will for sure have a better shot of reading it there, I assume...She NEEDS to read this...Someone wrote that article specifically with Kate in mind...NO DOUBT about it...

Anonymous said...

As long as there is an audience, there is money in reality tv shows, there will be a shows like these.

Protect8 said...

This is one of the best, most succint articles I have read regarding the abusive nature of putting children on reality television and the role of the narcissistic parent.

It would be wonderful if Kate read this article and had a moment of self awareness. But as it says in the article, this will never happen. People who are truly narcissists feel that the rest of the world doesn't understand their greatness. Kate would simply call the author of the article a "hater" and go on forcing the sextuplets to wear matching outfits so that everyone will look at her.

There needs to be a law put in place to protect all children who are put on reality television showss by their parents.

RyzandSShyn said...

One of the excellent points made in the article was the last one.
Children who are abused, who lose their self-esteem because of actions taken by their parents, become consumed with making their parent happy. Of course they fail at every attempt because the parent will never be pleased. The result is attention-seeking acting-out behaviors.
I think we have all seen this happen with each Gosselin child at some point.

kidsfirst! said...

“I would definitely call this child abuse and a lack of caring about their children’s well-being and adjustment because their narcissistic needs are so profound that they can distort their behaviour as being good for their children and believe that it makes their children happy,” Sichel says.

this describes it all, profoundly.

Name it, claim it said...

How true and how very sad. The money made by those children being used to further a try for publicity and possibly a job in TV. She does not accept NO. No means yes to her? If Jon were stable, he certainly should try very hard to remove those children from her. All that those children are is a means to further her career. It won't happen and the children will be broke. This marathon and no photos/no film footage is another example of her lying in addition to her cheating. Her children, especially her older girls know their mother is lacking in all maternal skills. Never can I remember Kate, during an interview, talking about anyone other than herself. She will turn the interviewer's questions around to confuse the interviewer also. I agree, she is not a good mother but she is also not a smart mother. She will have, unfortunately, a lot of problems in a few years with her children as they realized that they were, indeed, USED. We have been used by these "false family gatherings" and the language of the Kardashians? Sick.

RONLEE said...


Kateplusmy8 Kate Gosselin
I read my Marathon blog 2my kids@ dinner.They laughed hysterically bc I 'talked2my legs'& called me crazy..if the shoe fits,wear it, right?

Jenny O said...

We already know this -- but whenever Kate talks about her children, it's always in reference to them listening to how her day went, what she did, how her marathon went, or standing outside with signs cheering her on.

When was the last time we've read Kate talking about how she listened to how her children's days went, how she attended an activity of theirs and cheered them on, etc.?