How Octomom’s ‘Mistake’ Comment Could Affect Her Kids
What parenting experts say about how stinging words can damage children
-Julie Ryan Evans
So Octomom finally acknowledged what everyone else has realized since she creeped into our lives with the birth of her brood and her bizarre ways in January.
“I think it was a mistake” to have eight children, she told US Weekly.
A mistake? Wow. Though we can all think it, write it, say it, seethe about it, to put it out there, in a media interview? About your own children? That seems like a pretty big mistake as well.
What are they going to think when they read someday – or have their friends read to them – that their mom considers them to be a mistake? Brothers and sisters have taunted each other for ages about their status as a mistake, but to have the proof, right there in writing. Wow. She went on to say that she never would have fathomed having octuplets if she knew it would be this difficult to raise them.
Not that Nadya has shown good judgment in … well, almost anything she has done, but this might be among the saddest steps she’s made. It’s not that we don’t agree with her and don’t think anyone, even her, doesn’t deserve some amount of sympathy trying to raise 14 children. But to publicly say that if you had the choice you wouldn’t choose your children? That’s just pretty awful, even for her.
Maybe she spoke in haste; maybe she wishes she could take it back. Most parents have all said something to their children that they wish they hadn’t. But most of us don’t go that far.
What are the repercussions of such stinging words?
“There really is no easy way to get over having your mom say that she wished you’d never been born,” says Dr. Jeanne Cummings of the Carolina Mountain Psychiatry in Asheville, NC. “Even if she later or at other times tells you that she didn’t really mean that, a part of you is always going to wonder and worry.”
Dr. Cummings said most children get over occasional slips that parents make, especially if the if the parent later apologizes and expresses a resolve not to do it again.
“But remarks indicating that the parent would have preferred NOT to have the child are very hard to “make up for,” she adds. “All children wonder and worry about being abandoned or unloved. These kinds of remarks play into those fears in a very fundamental way.”