Despite the fact that I will never be okay with hearing a large segment of a morning news show devoted to a random woman’s private familial drama, I found Kate Gosselin on this morning’s Today Show more sincere than ever before. As the child of divorce, I was even moved at parts.
In particular, the way Kate described the decision for parents to end a marriage rung true to me. “This does not feel like the best for them. It’s necessary. It has to take place,” she said. Barring domestic abuse, I think it’s always best for kids if parents are able to stay married; sometimes, keeping the marriage together is simply not a possibility. Perhaps the hardest part of divorce is explaining to your children that you have no other option than to do something that will hurt them.
Indeed, Kate told interviewer Meredith Viera that she’s had to “go over” the separation with the kids many times, helping them to accept it as permanent. In what I found to be the most moving part of the interview, she described how one of the twins came up to her and said that she didn’t understand why her parents were still not together, since she’d been told that it was going to be “okay in the end.”
“We told them that it was going to be hard, but it was going to be okay,” Kate said. Apparently, her kids took “okay” to mean that their parents would eventually be reunited. Kate had to explain that sometimes “okay” means learning to live with something awful.
But Kate is clearly not pushing the kids into immediate acceptance. She explained, in a genuinely tearful tone, that she’s still wearing her wedding ring “for them. I don’t want to upset them. I don’t want to shock them.” It’s certainly necessary to gradually ease kids into life with divorced parents, but it’s also important not to give them false hope. It may be time to take for Kate to take off the wedding ring soon.
The unpalatable part of the interview came when Viera asked how Kate was affected by revelations of Jon’s philandering. “The hardest part is when his decisions directly affect the children,” Kate said curtly.
Not only is this clearly an evasion, but it places an undue burden on the kids. They need to learn to deal with the fact that their parents are no longer married to each other, not the fact their father is a cheater. To essentially say, “I don’t care at all that my husband is cheating on me; I just wish he wouldn’t do it to the kids,” is to make the children feel that they are the ones who have been betrayed by a philandering husband.
No matter how abominably a spouse may behave in a marriage, that behavior should always be kept separate from his role as a parent in the children’s minds. Children should never be made to feel that marital transgressions have anything to do with them.
Then again, children should never be made to go through the pain of watching their parents divorce on national television, so I guess we can only expect so much from Kate.