Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Today's Parent: Too Busy To Care?

Falling on Anderson Cooper's most recent "Ridiculist" was none other than Kate Gosselin. Most people know her as the recently divorced mom of 8 children from TLC's Jon and Kate Plus 8. While mainly her love life, workouts, dancing with the stars stint, and hair style has kept her in the media, she lands on Cooper's list for her latest outburst. On her most recent episode of "Kate plus 8" she is seen having a major meltdown over a slice of pizza. Kate took her caravan of children, bodyguards, and babysitter on a road trip this past week, and while on a particular food stop the mom of 8 begins "throwing a fit" over who gets the last slice of pizza. Not only does she make a very public scene about her daughter touching the pizza, she is also seen berating the babysitter for letting this happen. The video below is a clip of her meltdown. This not the first time Kate has been in the hot seat over her behavior, since her divorce in 2009 Kate's dedication/ borderline obsession to her body and carrear have been a focus in the media. With her current show Kate plus 8 ending a current article in People magazine has Kate asking "Will my family be OK"? She states in the article that she worries because she has never quit one job before having another one lined up.

The current obsession in our society is to be the best, and being the best comes with a hefty price tag. More and more people are leaving the 8 hour work day behind for 10 to 13 hour days, while others are taking on 2 to 3 side jobs just to make ends meet. When you add the extended work days to an already full schedule you get a new type of parent that seems to be emerging in our society "the workaholic". Kate is a prime example of this parent, simply goggling her will show you a long laundry list of her work endevors, as well as her obsessions with her body and hair style. While this type of parent may look like they have the family's best interest at heart, Dr. Sandra Wilson begs to differ in her Book Hurt People, Hurt People.

In her book Hurt People, Hurt People Dr. Sandra Wilson identifies a type of childhood hurt not caused by any physical force, she calls it hands off hurt and it is caused by the unprepared and the unavailable. Dr. Wilson states that even parents with the best of intentions inflict hurt on their children by being unavailable and unprepared. Unavailable parents do not always stem from single parent homes. They are simply identified as those who are too wrapped up in their own life and its problems to make time or even notice the good, bad, and ugly of their children. Dr Wilson says that the unavoidable parent creates an "Emotional Orphan". Dr. Wilson also says that hands off hurt comes from parents with poor priorities. This type of parent is pretty much one in the same as the unavailable parent. The main difference being that a parent with poor priorities treats their child as if they are inconvenient , a waste of their precious time. This type of parent quickly glosses over the child and their needs to move onto more important tasks ( ie work, working out, social events etc). An example of this behavior can be seen in the video when Kate is more worried about her body gurad getting his slice of pizza than her own children eating. She misses a very big moment from one of her children, who graciously gives up her slice of pizza to eat a salad, so that her mom will stop yelling and the body guard can have pizza. According to Dr. Wilson the end result is a child who believes that their needs are not important , and that something must be wrong with their needs. Eventually leading into adulthood, this person is left viewing themselves as unworthy of anyone's care, and unimportant.

If the end result is a future society filled with people feeling unworthy, why do we subject our children to this kind of hurt? Is getting to the top, and being the most successful at our jobs worth the future hurt on our children? After reading this chapter in the book and seeing it played out all over the media, I took a step back and reevaluated my own work ethic. Did it come from my very competitive and hard working parents, or is it something ive observed while growing up this society. During my childhood, both of my parents worked; my mom from our home , my dad from an office, and on top of that we had a 16 acre farm to tend at night. Both were very loving parents, and 90% of the time they were always available to me there were those days when I came second to the chores and to work. I think that it is easy to loose focus on the important things in life when the stress of the world is piled on. While I never fully experienced true unavability from my parents, I can see how it will quickly eat at a child's confidence and self esteem. So how do we stop this trend from continuing into the future, it takes a daily effort to stop and look at your priorities. One example of how to build a better family bond is to take a little time each night for family. You can read the bible together, do a bible study, just simply eat dinner together and listen to each other , even if this means missing that oh so important business call. Even though I am still a student and don't have a family of my own yet, I can still take time each night to prioritize, which means getting into the Word of God, and making time to call my loved ones. The earlier we start to practice this the better we will become at it in the long run. In all honesty its really not about what accomplish here on Earth its about what good we've done for the Lord that will follow us into Heaven.

Posted by Stefanie Ray


  1. Stefanie,

    Great post. I have also wondered about the effects of Kate Gosselin's behavior on her children. I find it truly ironic that although the children receive the attention of thousands of television viewers, they are missing the attention they need from their mother.

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  3. This topic is real important. I definitely feel strongly about these types of concerns because I can see them in my childhood. With all that people deal with in life, it seems we never take time out to prepare ourselves for some of our desires. Getting married for example is the start to a process of marital hurdles. So, people want kids, then it may seem overwhelming afterward. It's like we were never taught how to deal with what we have once we have it. It just seems like wow, I finally have it. I know parents do not mean to inflict hurt on kids in the way described in this post. I also hear that all parents try their best. My thoughts to that comment are, well they may try what they think is best, but that does not guarantee that it is. I also think that it's not just the parents opinion, but the child's too.

  4. AS I've continued my educational preparation for becoming a counselor, I have become more and more aware of just how important a role parents play in their children's lives, and the incredible impact that the child/parent relationship has on the child's development into an adult. As I continue to read and hear stories about some of the difficulties and struggles that people have as adults, it becomes clearer to me how many of these can be tied directly to their childhood development years. Reading "Hurt People Hurt People" certainly confirmed that.


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