Speaking Point: After living their lives for four seasons in front of the world, Jon and Kate of TLC’s Jon and Kate Plus 8 are calling it quits for their marriage while “the show must go on.” Did the stress of constant TV scrutiny destroy this couple? Could they have saved their marriage but may be not the show? And what about the kids?
Dr. Sheila Forman is both a clinical psychologist and attorney who comments on the psychological and legal issues affecting our society today. She is the author of several self-help books, including Self-Fullness – The Art of Loving and Caring For Your ‘Self’ and Do You Use Food To Cope? A Comprehensive 15-Week Program for Overcoming Emotional Overeating.
Speaking Point: 1. For most people, marriage and raising a family has its challenges but those challenges are usually confronted in private or in the confines of a confidential family therapy session. But not for Jon and Kate! Their marriage and child-rearing occurred under the most unnatural of circumstances with little if any privacy. It is hard to image a marriage and family surviving under such conditions.
Speaking Point: 2. Their decision to divorce appears to be a quick and hasty one. Many couples who choose to divorce agonize over the decision and often attempt to save their marriage through couples and family therapy. It appears that Jon and Kate have not used therapy to try to save their marriage. It seems that their decision to divorce is a reactive one based on allegations of infidelity.
Speaking Point: 3. For many couples infidelity is a symptom of an underlying issue challenging their marriage. When these couples go into marriage counseling they are often able to uncover and subsequently resolve the underlying issue and restore their marriage. One option for this splitting couple may have been to give up the show but not the marriage. Perhaps if they took the chance to move their life back into the private sector they could have resolved what was wrong and not destroy the family unit.
Speaking Point: 4. Their divorce will have consequences for their children. As we all know, divorce brings many changes to the lives of children. The most obvious being the physical and emotional breakup of the family. The best thing that parents can do for their children is to arrive at a custody arrangement with as little conflict as possible and create a co-parenting plan that meets needs of the children. Later, when the children are living in two households, the parents need to be consistent with discipline, rules and boundaries so that both households are the same. They need to reflect a united front so the children don’t use one against the other.
Speaking Point: 5. Another way to protect the children is to avoid a contentious divorce. It is possible for Jon and Kate to have an amicable divorce if they stop fighting and blaming each other, choose instead to cooperate with each other, commit to finding solutions to problems the divorce presents and take responsibility for their part in the marriage.