What about the children?­

With a divorce imminent between reality TV parents Jon and KateGosselin, parenting experts say it’s time to put the interests of thechildren

With a divorce imminent between reality TV parents Jon and Kate Gosselin, parenting experts say it’s time to put the interests of the children — a pair of fraternal twins and sextuplets — before anything else.

“I’m concerned that the parents’ love of the media and the dollars that are being generated from this (show) is going to supercede the children’s emotional interests,” said psychotherapist and parenting expert Alyson Schäfer. The couple announced they’re seeking divorce on their show Jon & Kate Plus 8 on Monday night, acknowledging the toll their increasingly bitter relationship is having on their children.

“With any divorce, the kids come first,” said Schäfer, author of the best-selling book, Honey, I Wrecked the Kids. “I’d want to make sure that there was representation for the kids, both from a counselling point of view and probably from a legal point of view,” she added.

Ann Douglas, an author who blogs on parenting issues, said it’s also vital that the estranged parents not engage in a campaign to win over the hearts of their children at the expense of the other.

“First of all, when you’re getting divorced, don’t bash the other parent and undercut their credibility. That’s really important,” Douglas said.

Douglas noted that the sniping had already begun, even before the couple’s announced plans to divorce.

Despite Kate Gosselin’s assertion that the marriage would have failed whether “the world was watching or not,” both experts say the strain of living in the media spotlight was likely a contributing factor.

“Frankly, if you took any home and put it under the microscope — it wouldn’t matter how many kids you have — it would change the family dynamics,” Schäfer said.

Douglas said both parents should consider ending the program, which is in its fifth season, or risk damaging their children.

“If these kids look back on the footage and say, ‘What were my parents thinking? Why did they raise me on reality TV?’ and especially when things got bad, ‘Why did they keep the cameras rolling?’ this could end up being very damaging to the children,” Douglas said.


• Jon & Kate Plus 8 will go on hiatus until August following the Gosselins’ separation announcement on Monday’s episode, TLC said in a statement, tvguide.com reports.

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