After recently seeing a photo of a seemingly angry Kate Gosselin holding her daughter's shoulders, I didn't want to judge even though the caption claimed she was berating her child. I've been in that exact pose before, firmly talking to my little one after she ran into the street. I've also had moments -- moments I'm not proud of -- where I've lost my cool and yelled a little too loud over something minor. I'm human. I apologize. I learn from it. Birthing six babies at once does make Kate seem superhuman, but she's a mom who makes mistakes just like the rest of us.
There are, however, some claims that Kate repeatedly used a wooden spoon to hit her then-2-year-olds when they got into the candy, didn't use the potty, or climbed out the crib. When we as parents find ourselves in moments like this -- repeating a pattern that we don't want to repeat -- shouldn't that be a sign that we, not our kids, need a time-out?
When it comes to disciplining my kids, I don't believe in spanking, no corporal punishment, not even a slap on the butt. For my family, striking our children in any way is no way to teach them something. If I drop paint all over the floor, my husband isn't going to slap me for being careless. Children are people, too. They should also be treated with respect. If they do something that could be dangerous to them like running in the street, or if they act out and push other children at the playground, we let them know that action is not okay and tell them the better way to act in those situations.
And if you think most 2-year-olds don't listen, you are right. I believe everything we tell our kids at 2 won't truly resonate until they are in their 3s. It's a true test of a parent's patience, but isn't that a key quality all parents should have anyway?
Kate had six 2-year-olds. Plus two 6-year-olds. And how old was Jon at the time? It's almost like she treated him like her ninth child. Still, I don't think any of this makes beating children repeatedly with a wooden spoon okay because it just teaches them to be violent. If this is true, she needed help. Real help. Kids can learn that hitting is what happens when you do something wrong. So what happens then when a child steals their toy at school? They hit that child. A cycle of violence can begin. These allegations that Kate's method of discipline was hitting her kids with a wooden spoon come from writer Robert Hoffman, the man who had access to her private journals when they wrote Multiple Bles8ings and EightLittle Faces together. "She was beating 2-year-old babies in diapers," he reportedly told Star magazine.
Hoffman also just wrote a scathing tell-all Kate Gosselin: How She Fooled the World that went on sale October 1 but it was pulled from sale two days later after lawyers claimed it violates copyright.
It never ends with this family. The wooden spoon beatings. The Jon versus Kate situation. All of the allegations -- whether true or not true -- are going to affect the children the worst. If we think the wooden spoon beatings were bad, so is the constant barrage of hate toward the Gosselins. It will trickle down to those kids. And when I mentioned that time-out, I think it not only works for parents who take anger and frustration out on their kids, it works for those who repeatedly tear down the Gosselins. Just when things get quiet, a firestorm begins again with more potentially harmful accusations. Doesn't matter if it's true or not, once it's out there, it's there for those kids to see, be judged by their peers, do real damage.
Maybe we all need a time-out from that, too.
Is the media too hard on Kate? Should we step back, realize she's human too, and give her a break? Or maybe it should all be dealt with privately and not dragged into the press to try to protect the kids?
Image via cogdogblog/Flickr