With reality shows like Teen Mom remaining popular for several years, many reality stars’ children are growing up in front of the camera. But they’re not going to take it anymore!
Family therapist Dr. Karen Ruskin dishes to Star about what happens when kids are overexposed. Check out some specific examples here:
Kendra Wilkinson’s 4-year-old son Hank
He’s already been paraded around on a number of shows, and it looks like the little guy is sick of being a plot point. Most recently, little Hank stormed off after being forced to look at the decorating blitz in his living room on HGTV’s Celebrity Holiday Homes. “Oh, he’s tired,” said an embarrassed Kendra.
Dr. Ruskin says: “Children should never be used as a prop. They will feel that they are not special or of value unless they’re following the expectations others have of them.”
Kate Gosselin’s 13-year-old twins Cara and Mady
The eldest girls of Kate’s Plus 8 staged a silent protest during an extremely awkward interview on Today. The twins were supposed to talk about how well-adjusted they are despite being in front of reality cameras since they were since, and they may have demonstrated just that as their camera-hog mother sat fuming.
Dr. Ruskin says: “In silence, there’s a message. They were stating something that could have been their voice of protest.”
Farrah Abraham’s 5-year-old daughter Sophia
While shooting Being Farrah at her school, little Sophia screamed, “I hate the cameras! I hate this! I don’t want to be on camera!” Her sex-tape-starring mom responded by telling the teacher, “Sometimes she likes the cameras; sometimes she doesn’t.”
Dr. Ruskin says: “When forcing children to do something they don’t want to do,you’re teaching them their voice doesn’t count. The repercussions will be children — and, potentially, adults — who will not respect themselves or others.”
Tori Spelling’s 7-year-old son Liam
On the finale of True Tori, a show about the disintegration of her marriage, Tori had to bribe her distressed eldest child, Liam, to appear on camera by giving him toys and candy. On another occasion, while filming outside a party store, he exploded at the crew, yelling, “Get out of here! Go away! I’m going to punch you!”
Dr. Ruskin says: “Threatening physical violence is expressing feelings of being caged, like an animal.”
Kourtney Kardashian’s 4-year-old son Mason
He was literally born on reality TV on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and he hasn’t had a normal childhood since. Mason’s never been to preschool, because he needs to be available for filming/travel/events. His frustration with the cameras took its toll last December, when he lashed out at paparazzi, screaming, spitting and yelling, “Go away!”
Dr. Ruskin says: “Filming moments when children are not in control and are being told how to act, what to say, and what to do while they are playing the most important role of their lives — being themselves — is disturbing.”