Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I'm Calling Foul

Well, Jon Gosselin is in the headlines again, this time for apparently stating (during an interview to be aired on national TV, no less) that he despises his estranged wife, Kate Gosselin.

I've watched this debacle unfold, and from my experience both in my own divorce as well as my professional exposure working for family law attorneys, Jon's been way out of line for awhile and this latest gaffe of his really takes the cake.

Understand, I don't think Kate's any saint. She has talked rudely both to and about Jon for longer than I can remember, and has done this in front of all TLC's viewing audience. I actually think Jon has every right to be furious and, yes, to even "despise" Kate. However, Rule #1 in divorce cases with marriages that involve children is that you must love your children more than you hate your ex.

Loving your children more than you hate their other parent means that you don't get to go on vacations with your current paramour(s) when you know full well you live in a fishbowl and your antics will be recorded for posterity (and your children's future googling pleasure).

It's not fair? You should be able to have a life? It's not your fault you're a public figure because you and your estranged spouse have ridden your children's coattails to fame and fortune and are continuing to do so even during the upending of your beloved offspring's entire lives?? I'm sorry. See "I'm a Big Kid Now!", Paragraph 4, Section 1.1 entitled "Life, It Isn't Always Fair."

Loving your children more than you hate their other parent means that you don't get to make fun of that parent on national TV.

What, you're just playing around? Joking? Having a rip-roaringly good ol' time with the kiddies? I'm sorry, see "I'm in the Middle of a Divorce Trial - What Now?", Paragraph 8, Section 1.2.9 entitled "Things You Shouldn't Be Doing in Front of Your Children, Especially With Witnesses. And Cameramen."

Loving your children more than you hate their other parent means -- and listen closely Jon -- you don't get to share for broadcast with the entire world that you despise their mother (or father, depending on the case at hand).

You just don't.

One thing that was really stressed to my ex and me during the Parents, Children, and Divorce class that the State of Florida requires all divorcing parties with children to complete is that children take it personally when you talk about their parents -- and it doesn't matter who's doing the talking. If you're talking poorly about a child's mother or father, that child is going to extrapolate what you're saying and reflect it onto him or herself, because that child is 1/2 of the person that you hate. Saying you hate a child's parent (and I think it's increased when it's their same-gendered parent) translates in kiddie-speak to you hating the child.

What, your children know you love them? Great! That's wonderful, and I'm sure they do. But what sticks in the back of their head is that while you love the half that's you, you hate the half that's not.

Both Jon and Kate need to realize it's natural at some point in the divorce process that one's fondness for the other party suffers a significant drop. Face it -- if you were both able to treat each other decently on a consistent basis, chances are you wouldn't be in this mess, now would you? So get it out of your system. Talk to yourself, talk to a therapist, talk to SOMEONE discreet.

But by all that is holy DO NOT MISTAKE YOUR INTERVIEWER FOR A COUNSELOR. The press is NOT your sounding board, and the media is not your best buddy.

And the American public is starting to think you both pretty much suck, quite frankly, if what I'm reading on message boards and comment threads is anything to go by.

Your children didn't ask to be brought into this situation, and continuing in this manner is going to ultimately harm them, not your ex.

Your ex already thinks you're an ass. Trust me on this. That goes for both parties -- don't fool yourselves that either of you are entirely innocent or injured. That honor belongs to your children alone.

At this point, only you can shield your children from the poor decisions their parents made. It's the least you can do for them.

My kingdom for five minutes alone with these people. Good GRIEF.


Jenn said...

What a well-written and truthful post! I feel so incredibly sad for their children, and so angry at both parents for playing out this divorce in the media. I swear, if I see Kate's face on People magazine one more time, I'm going to have a fit in the grocery store!

Amanda said...

I agree with you, Jenn. I'm hardly a person to give marital advice, but one thing I can do is give non-legal divorce advice, specifically on behaviour of the parties.

Like my great-grandmother used to say, I just want to pick one up and knock the other one's head off with him. Sheesh.

Angel said...

Have I told you lately HOW MUCH YOU ROCK???

I am not a fan of the "large family" reality shows. Because they are making money off their kids because that's the only way they can pay for all those kids.

Very timely piece...I was venting about the end of a friendship. The person's name is the same as my almost ex-BIL (yeah long story). I told hubby that should he call I did not want to talk to him.

My dear JudoBoy, hearing that name, asked me if I wasn't home and Uncle X called should he hang up the phone? My heart fell apart, the look alone on his sad little face. God I am crying now. I explained it wasn't Uncle X we were talking about. That he wouldn't call here (more long story). My precious boy said how sad he was, how he missed him. And all I could do was hug him. What words can you say to a 7 yr old who will never see his beloved Uncle again?

Gah, so sorry to rant on your rant. My point is that my sister never said one word to the kids about why they were divorcing, because she didn't want them to think badly about him. Though they got hurt either way. Me too :*(

GAHHHHHH (((((Giant hugs))))) see how powerful your writing is?

Amanda said...

Angel, rant away -- and thank you for those kind words (thank you too, Jenn -- I was so peeved at the Gosselins yesterday I forgot my manners!).

I think the biggest issue we face as parents is just what *do* we say when our kids ask those questions? My older son came at me one day after his father and I had separated and told me "You just don't throw people away! You give them a chance," and let me tell you, the tone and facial expressions were LIVID.

I was pretty livid too, for reasons that can likely be extrapolated.

So anyway, I explained to him that no one throws ANYONE away in our family. That his daddy and I love him and his brother so very much, and we had tried and tried and tried to stay married, for TEN YEARS we tried, and it was very sad that we couldn't. That I understood him being sad, because I was sad too and I knew his daddy was also very sad.

Just the straightforward honesty really seemed to help, and that was the last outburst of that type I had from him.

I guess that's why I get so infuriated with people like Jon and Kate. Suck it up. You're the adults. Remember that your children did nothing to deserve this situation, and you owe them the courtesy of not bashing their other parent.

I swear, I want to take out billboards with "You MUST love your children more than you hate your Ex!" on every major highway some days. It might save some families some grief.

And then there are the people who are just too thick for it to impact. Jon and Kate, looking at you both.


Amy said...

It is a shame they can not work things out.