Friday, October 17, 2008

We Are All Different People.

Submitted for post by “A Mom-ynous.

There is much criticism on the internet about the Gosselin Family. Specifically, it is geared towards Jon and Kate Gosselin. The criticism involves their choice to broadcast the lives of their children from the most intimate moments to everyday events. It seems as though the cameras are there all the time.

But I don’t want to talk about whether or not what they are doing is appropriate. It certainly isn’t something I would do, but then again I don’t take too well from being criticized by total strangers. It would bother me too much. So much so that I wouldn’t even consider it for my kids in that manner. Reality TV is just not for me. I know I have flaws and know that they can and would be edited to favor or disfavor me. But I digress.

This article is sparked by some hostile articles towards the Gosselin’s parenting style. That is the best way that I can word that. The gist is—the Gosselins have 8 kids, life is hard, Kate is too mean, they don’t love their kids, they need to get a clue. The article was written by a single mother who obviously understands what it is like to deal with parenting in a difficult circumstance. She is of the opinion that despite twins and sextuplets, that the Gosselin’s should just deal like everyone else does even though they are speculated to have help that some of us can only dream of. In fact they should be able to deal with it better.


I think the G's are fine in general and let me tell you why.


We are all different people.

I don't wake up and wonder how I will split my attention among my children. They share me. They all love me. I love and enjoy them all differently. I don't concentrate on the quantity but rather the quality. For me to criticize the G’s for not being able to spread the love around to my satisfaction is just unfair to them. Some parents are touchy feely, some are not. Some families hug, hug, and hug some more all day every day. Some do not. There are introverts and extroverts, those with issues and those without issues, those who are OCD and those who pretend they are. We are just all different. To use my paradigm to judge the Gosselins just isn’t fair to my family or to their family.

Complaining and griping with this hostility is not about child advocacy in my opinion. This level of criticism has nothing to do with child exploitation in film and television. I cannot find one current law that deals with children employed in film and television that instructs the parents on how they should parent.

Everyone parents differently and while this family is certainly up to criticism since they do opt to share their lives (no matter how scripted the show is becoming)--bashing them for the sake of bashing because they “don’t have a clue of what it really means to love and care and parent their children” or that Kate’s hair looks like an ungroomed rooster. What in the world does that have to do with Child Labor Law?

It is just hostility. And from a Dr. Phil standpoint, how does this affect you? Does bashing them make you feel good about your parenting? Does hiding under the guise of child welfare really validate your need to be hostile?

All I know is--Casey Anthony, Susan Smith, Scott Peterson...and countless other supposed parents have done much more vile things at the expense of their kids. I mean—Jon and Kate may travel to all of their gigs and leave the kids with babysitters unknown to us. But is that the same as partying with friends and lying about employment while your child is supposedly kidnapped? Are you for real? I ask because I have seen someone actually post that Kate is the second worse mother only after Casey Anthony. Wow, we must really worry for the kids then because even Susan Smith was a better mother and she drove her children into a lake and then lied about it. Shocking, but so is making Kate out to be a worse mother than convicted murderers of their children.

Jon and Kate aren't like these parents and don't even come close.

Perhaps they do not parent as I would or you would--but does that truly give you the right to judge their parenting? Does that really help the case of protecting the Gosselin children from “exploitation”?

Let’s evaluate if your response can stand up to logic.

Since you opt to watch, aren't you just as guilty as they are? Okay, so maybe you gave up the show. But do you read the recaps? And even if you don't watch, don't you read the humorous episode recaps? Do you post on blogs. Do you comment on the show. Do you comment about any part of the Gosselins show? Then you are guilty of contributing to the so called exploitation of these kids.

Are the children suffering? I seriously doubt it. They aren't suffering any more than Dakota Fanning or the cast of high school musical except that maybe they deserve more of a paycheck. But per child split, they would make less than their parents because the parents do more work on the show. By the time you divvy up the presumed $40,000 per week pay: $8,000 per each parent, $3,000 per each child as just a ballpark estimate. They’d still make less than Dakota or Ashley. But they’d still be doing the same show.

I believe they are entitled to portions of the proceeds. They should not do the show for “free”. But we don’t know how the parents have divided the money. I am in favor that the children be individually drafted their own checks to their own accounts. I firmly believe they are entitled to that. And in the past, laws went in place to make sure that parents did not waste all that money that their children earned. That is fair for the kids.

They probably would most definitely be better off in the absence of cameras I suppose. They are entitled to privacy after all. But is their inherent harm in frequent filming of the child? Does your child watch the Disney channel or any children’s program on TV. Those kids work. Sure it is scripted and not their own private moments. But you watch it and enjoy it. So if the kids are filmed at a barbecue, a theme park or wherever. It is not inherently different. Privacy matters—but I don’t think it is possible to legislate where in the home the parents are permitted and not permitted to film.

But are they really "suffering". That is hard to say. Unless someone has a crystal ball, you just do not know. Would Mady and Cara be any more happy that they have laws that guarantee breaks and school time and limited filming time. Probably not. They'd still have to be on TV and subject to any ridicule by their friends at school. Bullying rules and regulations are supposed to protect them from that.

Much like the little boy from Jerry Maguire. Did you know he was subject to ridicule in school even though he was protected from labor exploitation.

Would labor laws really save them from this show? Not really.

All the child labor laws do is to protect the child to make sure they are not overworked (i.e. reasonable work day—for children under age 12 in British Columbia, that would be an 8 hour work day), they do not miss school (either tutored, or via homeschooling pertaining to state law--they can take breaks to accommodate filming, I know of a famous actress whose mom did this with her. School is not part of the work day), and that they are compensated accordingly (parents can take a percentage of pay that is reasonable and commensurate with their tasks--i.e. 10% for acting as their manager.)

Child labors do not and never will protect them from parents who might parent differently than you. It just doesn't. Never never never ever!

Kate can still yell and lose her temper, she can still have her kids on TV, she can still accept freebies--she can still do most of the same things she does every day and always. You cannot legislate personality.

She can have a film crew in her home, she can have lighting in her home--b/c it is HER home (well her and Jon's).

No law for child labor will ever PREVENT this show from ever concluding. It will never ever prevent J&K from placing their kids on TV. Think about it.

This to me speaks volumes as to who is truly advocating for these kids if they truly understand HOW these kids can be advocated for.

There are limitations even in the law as far as what it can do.

The parents are entitled to make choices for their family even if it is a choice you or I would not make
.
Do I find faults with Kate? Absolutely.

Will a child labor law protect these kids from these faults? Absolutely not.

So then you have to ask yourself, what purpose does a rant on their parenting skills serve other than to attack. Parenting cannot be legislated regardless of how much we would like it to.

No child labor law will ever force this family to apologize to Aunt Jody and Beth and permit them back into their lives. No exploitation law will ever force the family to interact with the grandparents.

Criticizing the family lifestyle, parenting, hairstyles, and choices has nothing to do with child advocacy and it never will. You cannot force me to parent in the way that you would like me to and the Gosselins are owed that same courtesy.

26 comments:

vivaironlady said...

Wow. This is a great piece.
It's so good that I think it should shut up the illogical tripe argued by some naysayers. Though of course, it wouldn't be enough. Still, this article leaves me flabbergasted. It made several good points that I've never even considered before. Just wonderful.

I do find it hilarious that there are some who believe they aren't contributing to the supposed exploitation of J&K's children even though they watch the show because apparently, they don't have a Nielsen box. Like a Nielsen box was made to measure child exploitation and/or hypocrisy.

MommyZinger said...

Yes, I agree. Great post.

It has always bugged me when people project their parenting styles onto others.

I agree that implementation of child labor laws probably won't stop the show and has no effect on how one parents. I'd never considered that before, so thanks for pointing it out.

And I've decided a long time ago that the "advocates" complain because somehow (and sadly) it makes them feel better. I don't even take them seriously anymore.

Ductape said...

You cannot force me to parent in the way that you would like me to and the Gosselins are owed that same courtesy.

No one can force anyone to do anything. Although, the Gosselins can not expect to be exempt from criticism when they choose to expose their lives on television. If they can accept people calling them "inspirational", they have to accept the comments that are not so complimentary as well. You can not have one without the other.

petfish said...

I just don't understand why a lot of posters on this site seem to reference posts/comments on GWOP--i think the original poster reference an article about a single mother that was really a post on GWOP--not any kind of article. The reality is that people like to talk about other people--especially celebrities--i.e E tv or the tabloids. Is it right? No. Does it make some miserable people probably feel better about their lives to talk about others? maybe. Maybe those people want to comment on Kate's funny hairdo or whatever, so what? Maybe they want to use child advocacy as a reason to all get together and gripe. We are all different people, with different ideas and doing different things. It just seems to me that a lot of times, this site references "that other site" and the comments made on that other site...seems like you just like fanning the flames..why can't we just have discussions that don't continue to drag out the differences between these two sides---and I know that the OP didn't call out the "other site" by name, but there is an obvious reference. After all, most of us probably do visit both sites.

vivaironlady said...

Just my take ... I think the Gosselins are aware of the criticisms. It's pretty much a safe bet they are aware of Julie's blog. And I'm sure they accept that the criticisms exist ... they have mentioned they do get plenty of those kinds of emails. They just probably ignore or don't pay much attention to them because I would imagine it would be taxing to give import to strangers' admonishment of their parenting skills.

I think part of what Mom-nymous is appealing to is our inherent good qualities. Criticizing and being judgmental are natural human foibles. Everyone is prone to them. But empathy and a simple understanding and acceptance of differences are also something we humans are capable of. I think part of what Mom-nymous is driving at is that if we allow ourselves to be a bit more empathetic and understanding, maybe we wouldn't always have to be so critical of situations and people with whom we don't exactly agree. Just because Jon and Kate have become public figures (because they've chosen to broadcast part of their lives), it doesn't mean some of us have to resort completely to lambasting their choices. Fair enough, they are open to criticism. But it would be nice to think that we can "choose" to avoid criticizing, at least the nasty kind.

If or when the kids deal with some tough ordeals as a result of being on this show, then, it would be also nice to think that Jon and Kate would be able to help them. I'm sure that if they nurture their children's confidence and continue to build a strong family support system, then it's possible for the kids to weather those tough moments. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but despite some concerns, it's okay to wish the best outcomes for this family.

merryway said...

I am too tired to write anything except I just had to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your post. I really really really liked it.
It's just so good. Words escape me at the moment, but these are sincere.

Tyra said...

Very insightful piece. I think you have accurately described the contradiction in the 'advocacy' argument. If laws were passed and the Gosselin kids had an 'on set' observer/advocate, would the anti-Kate internet rants disappear into thin air? Highly doubt it.

Quote:
Although, the Gosselins can not expect to be exempt from criticism when they choose to expose their lives on television.

I've never seen them say that they think they should be exempt from criticism. They seem to have come to realize that they have no part to play in the online discussions about them. When I disagree with some of the criticism about the Gosselins, I'm not saying that the criticism shouldn't exist, I'm just disagreeing with it.

The Gosselins put themselves out there, and get criticism. The same rule also applies to the people who put their opinions out on the net.

Quote:
seems like you just like fanning the flames..why can't we just have discussions that don't continue to drag out the differences between these two sides

What flames?

I don't understand how I can be expected to discuss a controversial topic, and not reference opinions that I disagree with as part of that discussion. I guess I could talk about Kate's hair... yawn.

Guinevere said...

Great post, a-mom-ynous.

No one can force anyone to do anything. Although, the Gosselins can not expect to be exempt from criticism when they choose to expose their lives on television. If they can accept people calling them "inspirational", they have to accept the comments that are not so complimentary as well. You can not have one without the other.

I think it's one thing to say that criticism is a fairly predictable result of the choices the Gosselins have made, and another to imply that negative comments are inevitable and in some way deserved. J&K are responsible for their choices. Posters who choose to compare them to murderers, or who choose to make snide comments about the weight of a FOUR YEAR OLD GIRL are responsible for their own (reprehensible, IMO) behavior.

I don't think it's a matter of the Gosselins or anyone expecting them to be "exempt" from criticism - my issue has always been with the nature of the criticism and the viciousness with which it is expressed.

merryway said...

All the child labor laws do is to protect the child to make sure they are not overworked (i.e. reasonable work day—for children under age 12 in British Columbia, that would be an 8 hour work day), they do not miss school (either tutored, or via homeschooling pertaining to state law--they can take breaks to accommodate filming, I know of a famous actress whose mom did this with her. School is not part of the work day), and that they are compensated accordingly (parents can take a percentage of pay that is reasonable and commensurate with their tasks--i.e. 10% for acting as their manager.)

Child labors do not and never will protect them from parents who might parent differently than you. It just doesn't. Never never never ever!


You write so well. You are talented writer.

I have to wonder how many of the "advocates" are even aware of the how the laws work as you have written above. If you're going to be an advocate, it should be class 101. I knew this eons ago, but had forgotten all of it until recently.
It was the Thomas episode when I started to realize that a camera wasn't just tagging along. The Memorial Day marathon showed me all I had missed. I had never seen anyone act like Kate on a tv show. By the 4th of July episode, I was disgusted with Kate's personality and had a lower opinion of TLC.
There are women like Kate everywhere. They don't have eight children and a tv show, but other than that they act just like Kate. I have a Kate in my family, and am acquainted with others. I can't stand them either and avoid them when I can. Sometimes, I gossip about them with others who feel the same. I would never presume to tell them how to parent their children. Kate is the type a lot of people like to HATE and mom-bashing is a sport. I've seen moms at the checkout who make Kate look like a saint.

merryway said...

Guinevere said...
...I don't think it's a matter of the Gosselins or anyone expecting them to be "exempt" from criticism - my issue has always been with the nature of the criticism and the viciousness with which it is expressed

I really think that sums it up nice and neat and what a lot of posters try to express in their writings. Well said.
I wish it could just be a given. Not to digress, but does anyone else get tied of qualifying their anti-statements? Like, if you write about the criticism, you need to qualify by stating how they put themselves out there because you'll prob just have to restate it anyway if you care to respond.

Kelley said...

Nicely done, and well said.

FIONA said...

Great post. You said exactly what I feel.
My biggest gripe, is why the haters still watch the show? It goes beyond my comprehension.
I hope the kids are getting their share of the money.

I don't think there is anything wrong referencing another blog, expecially because of their reputation of not being fair and balanced. It is a place to sling the mud and the hate.

nomoredrama said...

All the child labor laws do is to protect the child to make sure they are not overworked (i.e. reasonable work day—for children under age 12 in British Columbia, that would be an 8 hour work day), they do not miss school (either tutored, or via homeschooling pertaining to state law--they can take breaks to accommodate filming,

This is a very good point. Probably one of the few places I agree with some anti posters is the need for laws to protect the children. However, I agree. These laws will not protect them from the parenting they get. Frankly, though imperfect (like all of us), I don't take issue with their parenting. Note: That doesn't mean I don't think there are things that could/should change but, who doesn't have things in their life that could/should change?

Posters who choose to compare them to murderers, or who choose to make snide comments about the weight of a FOUR YEAR OLD GIRL are responsible for their own (reprehensible, IMO) behavior.

I could not agree more! How sick and twisted is it to say you are advocating for a child in one breath and degrading them in the next breath? The fact that grown adults would post these things about children baffles my mind.

FIONA said...

NMD,

Totally agree with the comparison to murderers, Susan Smith, etc.

I think Jon and Kate do the best they know how to. Is it what I would do, no. But there are millions of kids in far worse situations-they don't even compare. They would love to be a Gosselin kid. Are the kids going to have baggage and issues from the life they are living, probably, but show me a kid today that comes thru in perfect shape.

The best of families have kids with anxiety issues, parent's that are as adept at parenting.

I accept the fact that the Gosselin's no refer to the show as their family job.

I think other people need to accept it as well.

Ductape said...

Just curious - why are anon comments allowed again?

Anya said...

First - how cute are the pigs in the jack-o-lantern?

I agree with what others have said. A well written and insightful article. Thank you.

One of the things that has always bothered me about those who excessively criticize the Gosselins is there seems to be a lack of self-awareness and an air of superiority. Like many here, I guess I am just too aware of my own shortcomings to feel it's my place to criticize another mom who IMO seems to love her kids and want the best for them, even if she falls short from time to time.

Nina Bell said...

Ducttape,

We received emails from people who do not want to sign up for an account but would like to participate. If you read the message above the comment box, we are not posting anonymous comments. You must type in a name and it would be great if the person would use the same name everytime. We will give it a try and see how it goes.

Nina Bell said...

Mom-ynous

Thank you for a well written post. One things that has bothered me when I read different blogs and comments is the anger that people feel because they leave a less advantage life than someone else.

Life isn't fair. I have issues with drug dealers that are living pretty well while they are selling to our teenage population. I have issues with coaches that exploit talented athletes that play sports. But it really has nothing to do with the quality of life that I lead.

FIONA said...

Thanks for posting the interview on Fox.

Any thoughts on how/why no one mentions Beth? Do you think she wanted to be disassociated with it? Are they not obligated to metnion the co-authors name?

Curious as to what otheres think are thinking on that.

Also, don't you think that the kids could sit a little more quietly and well behaved for 4 minutes???

BTW, the G's didn't make the cover in the mid-west on Good House Keeping...just a pie! :)

A Mom-ynous said...

Thank you so much, guys!

A couple of points,

A Mom-ynous is my chosen name for the forums pertaining to the TLC shows in question: GWOP, Duggars, and here.

I was "A Mom" but didn't realize that either here or in Duggar land that there was already one or something--so I made a joke about being A Mom-ynous and chose that as my name.


Secondly, I was so irritated by a post on GWOP and the entire contents of what I wrote, I was not confident would be posted due to the nature of my comments, the length and what not. I'm pretty good over there with getting stuff posted, but find that there is a fine line to cross and felt that this piece might cross that.


I was compelled to write to look at the logic of the adovacy for these kids. Because the things I am reading do not match the logic of what would happen when and if Reality Television gets covered under labor law for child performers.

Instead of risking a double post in two places because to me personally that was not appropriate and feeling that this was more like an "article" as opposed to a post...that here was the better place for it.

Also--if you submit an entry, it is an article or essay. So while it wasn't published in a paid publication, it was "published" in a forum. Hence why I referredt to an "article".

I don't have problems with anyone advocating for the children. I have problems with the interpretation of advocacy. Hate Kate all you like, hate that she is on the air.

But what's his face Peterson with his National Enquirer articles and exposes cannot make this family get off of the air any more than he can ban children from appearing in any film, television show, or modeling appearance.

And logically--aside from the monetary issues and some ethical issues about appropriateness of filming certain moments, I think the children are "most likely" within the limitations of the law...if the US has a similar actor law that enables children under age 12 to put in an 8 hour day.

This is as far as work load.

Payment and private moments remain an issue for me.

The latter seems to be controlled based on recent episodes, but I don't know who makes that decision and whether it will continue.

Stefanie said...

You brought up something that I think of quite often- the fact that these episodes are all EDITED by producers to get the best footage. These 30 minute episodes are made from many HOURS of footage. Do you know how much of thier day is cut out? So yes, we may see Kate giving more attention to certain children on the show, but in reality it may be very different. We dont know these people and no one is in their home everyday, some may see pieces, but everyone has thier on bias so I take that all with a grain of salt. Just think of everything that happens over the course of a day- can we all be confident that if our day was edited to be the most amusing we would all come out looking like saints? Probably not, they are going to take the footage that is going to cause the most reaction and put it all together to make an episode.

I also dont see the issue with the fact that J&K have a nanny and other help. I have four children between the ages of 2 and 10 and have help some days. I have a woman who comes to clean our house twice a week and someone to watch my youngest one morning/afternoon a week so I could have some free time. Does that make me a bad mother? Not at all, it is what works best for our family and who am I to tell someone else what is best for theirs. Those kids have food on the table- who cares who cooked it? And clean clothes to wear- who cares who washed and folded them? As you said, every family is different and J&K are not the worst parents by far!!!

vivaironlady said...

stefanie,

in my old country, even middle-class, stay-at-home mothers who are hands-on enlist the help of nannies. it's common in most households there, whether the parents work full-time or not. many of these mothers don't have 8 children. they have nannies even for a single child. so, yes, i don't understand either if the gosselins employ a nanny or a helper on occasion. i don't think it makes them any less of a good parent for having assistance to help take care of the children. i had a nanny when i was little, and so did my sis, but we grew up to be successful and well-adjusted adults. and at the same time, we were fortunate enough to build a strong bond with our parents.

vivaironlady said...

i meant to say that i don't understand the criticism against the gosselins for choosing to employing a nanny or a helper on occasion.

Quiltart said...

I think part of the problem with the term "Nanny" is in semantics. If the Gosselins said they had a babysitter or mother's helper, which is actually what they DO have, instead of a Nanny (which denotes to me a full time helper), I don't think people would them give as much of a hard time... (On second thought, they WOULD give them a hard time, because they give them a hard time about everything..)

IMO, somehow the term "Nanny" can sound very elitist.

A Mom-ynous said...

I think they would be given a hard time regardless of the title.

The issue with Kate that I have read isn't that she has the help, it is that she makes light of it as in it is on rare occasions and what not and mentions how difficult it is to be a parent.

This sparks trouble for me for those who are anti-Kate b/c they assume that b/c one has help--then how hard can it really be compared with someone who doesn't have help?

I think it is unfair b/c again, we are placing our paradigm onto Kate's and there is noone that has twins and sextuplets at the same time.

I have yet to see Mrs. Dilley or Mrs. Macoughey (sp?) come forward and lambast KAte for the help she receives.

When that happens, then I can give credence to those with zero, one, or many children who take issue with how difficult Kate thinks her parenting job is.

And for the record I love spas. I love love love love love them. If all I got for the rest of my life as gifts was gift cards/credits at spas--I would be most happy to accept that in lieu of any other tangible purchased gift forever.

But I don't go all the time--but man when I do go...it is bliss.

Going to a spa, or coveting the spa--does not a bad parent make. At least in my world with my pauper friends...if someone wants to enjoy a spa...have at it and enjoy it and get a massage on my behalf!

Baffled said...

But what's his face Peterson with his National Enquirer articles and exposes cannot make this family get off of the air any more than he can ban children from appearing in any film, television show, or modeling appearance.

First of all, his name is PetersEn. Secondly, as to his influence, you might want to look into a "reality show" called Kid Nation. It ran for one season. Never again.