In an interview with Family Circle magazine, Kathie Lee Gifford did that thing where she speaks without thinking. When asked about parenting 19-year-old Cassidy and 22-year-old Cody, she said:
“I’m not a perfect mom, but my kids haven’t been arrested, in rehab or kicked out of school, so I must be doing something right!”
What’s wrong with this statement? Well, for starters, it’s judgey and ignorant. It implies that parents are responsible for causing or preventing addictive behaviors in their children.
While parents play an integral part in how we turn out as adults, I think we’ve all seen enough episodes of “Intervention” to know that people develop addictions for a number of reasons, some of which have nothing whatsoever to do with their parents. I’m going to put on my psychology hat here for a moment (I did my masters in counseling) and review some addiction facts for Kathie Lee. Addiction can be influenced by several things — the two main factors being environment and genetics. Parenting falls under the “environment” umbrella, but is just one small part of a bigger puzzle, which also includes brain chemistry, traumatic life circumstances, peer influence, ability to control one’s own impulses, and on and on.
I don’t need to chide KLG for her statement, though. Her fans are doing a fine job of sending scathing letters.
Angry fan Pamela sums it up well:
“Kathie Lee, I think you owe thousands of parents an apology for your rude comment. How dare you assume that you are a better parent because your children have not been in a rehab or been arrested. Really? Addiction is a illness that no one asks for. I hope you understand that no matter what kind of parent you are people young and old make mistakes that can be deadly to themselves. Shame on you, shame on you! May you never find out what it is like with your kids or grandkids … shame – shame.”
Let’s hope she steps up and apologizes. And then we can get back to watching her and Hoda drink wine at 10 a.m.