I really feel very differently about children being on the Housewives series based on their age. Some may say it doesn’t matter what their age is but I disagree. A newborn baby (Jacqueline, Teresa & Bethenny) can’t possibly be negatively affected by appearing on a television show. Provided the child’s mother doesn’t neglect the child to film and do public appearances, I don’t see a problem with newborn babies being filmed.
It becomes a problem as the child grows in my opinion because they begin to become aware that cameras are mounted in their home, adults that are not family or friends are around all the time (production people) and their parents are acting differently. Both Jacqueline and Teresa have newborn babies as well as older children. New Jersey seems to be the hub of child activity as these kids are shown on screen a whole lot more than any of their counterparts. Tamra Barney has young children but we rarely see them. Is this because they’re not misbehaving and therefore boring to producers? Or is the because the Barney’s had the good sense to insist that their children have limited screen time?
Teresa’s children range in age from newborn to 7 years old as they appeared last season, I think what would concern me most as a parent is the subject matter and what these kids are exposed to. We saw on screen as their father, Joe Giudice screamed vulgar language in a tour bus in Italy with all four of his children listening in. Jacqueline’s son, who is also 7 years old was also present for Giudice’s ranting. If this is what we see in the very limited time that they’re being filmed for television, what do these kids endure at home, every day with two parents who clearly have anger issues?
Someday soon, these two 7-year old children will Google their mother’s names and what will they find? Teresa was quick to remove her children from the room during filming of The Real Housewives of New Jersey table flipping scene but does that mean that someday Gia won’t be in the library at school on a computer and Google her mother’s name and watch the entire scene? I wouldn’t be surprised if Teresa’s children have already seen this scene. How about watching their mother completely lose control and scream at Danielle Staub while filming the reunion? Not just screaming, but Teresa’s language was atrocious! Even the children themselves have been shown on screen screaming at their mother, pulling each other’s hair, tearing apart a clothing store and even showing bigotry. Have her daughters already seen that? Teresa has two other children ages 5 and 6 years old, have they seen these scenes of their mother’s behavior? Have they re-lived by watching on screen their father’s vulgar rants? Is this an everyday occurrence in their home and are unfazed by it? Do you think they’re proud or completely embarrassed?
Even the children themselves have been shown on screen screaming at their mother, pulling each other’s hair, tearing apart a clothing store and even coming out with completely inappropriate statements. Gia Giudice has said things that are shocking, “Mama told me to marry a Jewish person, I don’t want to marry a Jewish person”. How are these kids being raised? Would things in the Giudice household be different if they weren’t on a reality television show? Somehow, I don’t think so.
Jacqueline Laurita’s son is 7 as well, has he seen his mother running after Danielle Staub in a Country Club yelling the old criminal charges against Danielle. I was embarrassed for her while watching that. Jacqueline’s son CJ has a lot less air time than Teresa’s girls but it is clear to me that Bravo doesn’t want to waste time with well-behaved children, and maybe CJ just isn’t wild enough.
Is that the reason Tamra’s kids aren’t on our screens either? Why haven’t we seen Alex’s boys much? I would guess that these two women are smarter than Teresa (wow what an understatement huh?) and they ensure that their kids are not around cameras nearly as much as Teresa’s kids, they know the score and they’re one step ahead. Rumor has it that Simon Barney has forbidden his children to appear on Season Five with their mother Tamra Barney on The Real Housewives of Orange County.
Alex McCord of The Real Housewives of New York made the mistake in season one of allowing her sons to attend that late night dinner at ages 2 and 3 they were clearly exhausted and acting up. They weren’t doing anything that horrible, they didn’t pull anyone’s hair or overturn any tables, in the chaos of the night but it made for good TV particularly during the season that Bravo wanted to paint Alex and Simon in a negative light. Did anyone else catch Ramona Singer egging the three year old on as he was screaming? As a mother, Ramona had to know that her reaction to what he was doing was fueling the fire and making his reactions even worse. Then as Ramona realized that the cameras were filming her interaction with the 3-year old boy, she began to try to reason with him.
The last time we saw Alex’s boys was when they were sitting quietly as they were told to, while their parents were preparing pizza in the kitchen and discussing “Adult” things. They never moved off the couch and politely asked if they could return to the kitchen. I’m sure if Bravo hadn’t wanted so badly to include the “Adult” conversation between Alex and her husband Simon, producers wouldn’t have bothered to put that on the air, after all, the boys were doing as they were told, unheard of in Bravo’s book.
Will these boys be adversely affected later in life by appearing on this show? My honest opinion is, no, they probably won’t. Here’s why. Alex and Simon are fantastic parents, they put their children first before filming, before their careers, before anything in their lives, the children are their priority. I also feel that Alex and Simon have done very little on screen to embarrass these boys. Sure their dad dresses funny now and then and mommy yelled at the mean lady who brings her yappy dog over to visit and forces us to hug her, but the stability that Alex and Simon provide, their openness with their children is going to more than compensate for anything they’ve done on screen.
Yes, I am a fan of Alex and Simon, but honestly my opinion is not clouded by my admiration for this couple, there are others that I feel the same way about. A good example of a housewife that I do not like, but feel is a good parent, Jill Zarin. She very clearly adores her daughter, the product of a broken home, we didn’t see any outrageous behavior or legal trouble as we’ve seen in some other kids.
That brings me to the teen and pre-teen children. Jill Zarin clearly adores her daughter, and rightly so. What concerns me about Jill’s daughter Ally is that she has unofficially changed her last name. Why would a teenager do that? It has been reported that Ally continues to have a good relationship with her biological father and Bobby Zarin has not adopted Ally, yet this child has taken her step-father’s name and used it on her Twitter page. Is she looking for fame as well? Her explanation was simply that she didn’t want to confuse people. We’re pretty smart people and Ashley Holmes (19 year old daughter of Jacqueline Laurita) maintains her last name and there is no confusion at all, we all know who she is.
I wonder what Ally’s biological father thinks of Ally using the last name of Zarin. Where else does she use that name? We know her Twitter account is @AllyZarin but does she use it in any other aspect of her life? Personally, as the daughter of the horrible woman we have gotten to know over the past 4 years, I’d certainly not want any more connection to her than necessary. Does Ally want and crave fame and this is her way of getting attention? Does she need attention that badly? What about her father and her father’s parents and the rest her father’s family? I wonder if someday she will regret her choice to disrespect her father and his family in this way. An insider who knows Jill and her family once told me that “Ally didn’t fall far from the tree” (meaning her mother’s tree). While she appears to be a nice girl on screen, I’m told she can be much like her evil mother.
Dina Manzo’s daughter Lexi is another teenager who has been at the center of a controversy simply by appearing on Season One of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Rumor has it that her mother forged her natural father’s signature on production company’s legal release documents allowing Lexi to appear on the show. Her biological father is now refusing to allow his daughter to appear on the show at all, fueling the rumors that he never agreed to season one. Additionally, it was rumored that he considered suing his ex-wife for custody over this entire incident. Obviously, this man believes that Lexi’s appearance on the show could have a negative impact on her, while it seems as though she wants to be on the show, if she is angry with her father for not allowing it, he continues to ban her from appearing on the show.
The Real Housewives of Orange County have a fair amount of teenage children, Lynne Curtain’s daughter practically imploded on screen calling her mother a bitch and breaking her curfew, drinking alcohol and swearing like a truck driver. Her “well behaved” daughter was seen on screen drinking on several occasions, holding up her middle finger to avoid being shown on camera and completely embarrassing her parents by her behavior. These two teenagers behavior, in my opinion, was not a result of Bravo’s cameras, certainly they would have been troublemaking hooligans regardless. Bravo hadn’t been filming these girls since childhood, they were Housewife Children for just two years and were rebellious girls from the first day they appeared on the show. Lynne’s girls have aspirations to be actress’s and saw this show as their opportunity to get into that field, instead of opening doors for them, I would think any producer would run in the other direction after watching their troubling behavior on this show. With the possible exception of Laurie Waring’s son Josh on the same series, these girls have to be the worst behaved children in the Housewives series and I vote them most likely to get into legal trouble any day now.
Laurie’s son Josh also clearly had issues well before Bravo’s cameras were rolling, the opening season began with this boy already having issues with drugs, and getting into trouble at school, so why did Laurie agree to open up her life on television? At the time she signed on for Housewives, she was a single mother, struggling financially and had a teenage son who was into drugs. What could she have been thinking? Putting this boy’s problems in front of millions of viewers couldn’t possibly have helped the situation. To add insult to injury, Josh watched his mothers’ interviews on the show telling the world that he is recovering from a heroin addiction, then incarcerated in a Juvenile detention center, then telling us all that he was in jail. This is information to share with the world? I suppose Laurie doesn’t take responsibility for her son’s actions so she feels like she has nothing to be embarrassed about, but what about your child’s feelings?
Jacqueline Laurita has an unruly daughter as well. Jacqueline has told fans dozens of times that she can’t be held responsible for her daughter’s behavior because she’s now 19 years old. Where was Jacqueline when this girl was under 18? Who raised her allowing her to behave this way? This didn’t happen overnight, Ashley Holmes, talks back to her mother, shows no respect rolling her eyes and calling her mother a bitch. She now has a criminal record for misdemeanor assault, is that partially her mother’s fault for allowing her to be on this show to begin with? It’s a matter of opinion I suppose. You can’t put all the blame on Jacqueline, or can you? Jacqueline raised her and she introduced her to Danielle Staub and got her involved in that whole Jersey fiasco! Ashley is very immature for her age, at 19 she acts like a spoiled 13 year old.
Off screen Ashley Holmes uses the social networks to continue her tirade against Danielle Staub but has taken it a step further and has been abusive to Danielle’s 16 year old daughter as well, cyber bullying at its finest. Ashley is cruel with no empathy whatsoever, as her mother Jacqueline sits on television telling us that 16-year old Christine Staub is at school crying her daughter, 19 year old Ashley is part of the reason for Christine’s anguish. Ashley is clearly an excellent example of a girl who should never have been featured on a reality television show. Sadly, I think her reign of terror will continue into next season.
What about Danielle Staub’s daughters? Ages 16 and 13, Christine and Jillian certainly appear to be well adjusted, well behaved good kids. How do they feel about what their mother has done? Danielle’s behavior on screen was actually pretty tame compared to her off screen antics. A sex tape, a lesbian relationship and rumors of her lies resulting in a lawsuit have got to be traumatic for these two girls. Would these things have been their reality without Bravo and the Real Housewives? Also from a broken home, they don’t fit the mold of being troubled teens as a result of divorce, it appears as though their father provides a stable home life for these girls.
Caroline Manzo has three children, all have finished high school and have moved onto careers. The oldest Albie put his story on television, after college he flunked out of Law School and was banned from enrolling in any other law school. Claiming he has a learning disability and confessing his failures on television couldn’t have been easy for this young man, how will that affect the rest of his career? Would you hire Albie Manzo to represent you as your attorney if he reaches his goal of becoming an attorney? He will forever be remembered for his one storyline on The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
With only one season of The Real Housewives of DC, we didn’t see too much of the children but Mary Amons daughter Lolly was featured. Giving Mary her only real storyline, we learned that her oldest daughter was forced to move back home after breaking up with a boyfriend that she was living with. Lolly struggled to afford her own place and Mary who admittedly is more of a friend to her daughter than a mother, supported her financially for a time. When the Salahi’s suggested that Lolly was involved in some theft that took place two years prior, Mary and her husband quickly investigated to find out what had happened. To viewers, it all seemed possible considering Mary put a high-tech fingerprint activated lock on her closet so that her daughter would stop shopping there for clothes and accessories. For most of us, a simple, “no, you cannot borrow my things without asking” would have been sufficient to resolve the problem, this excessive step that Mary took did nothing for Lolly’s reputation as a thief.
The other four housewives in DC rarely showed us their children, whether that was a conscience decision made by the ladies or simply not enough drama for the producers to bother with is not really known. We got to meet each of the children, even Mary’s other four kids were only seen once or twice very briefly.
The Atlanta series also focus’s much more on the adults than the children, however, NeNe Leakes son Brice (20 years old) has been arrested and more will play out on screen about that in the next few weeks. Like Laurie from Orange County, this will all be happening as Bravo’s cameras roll, can that be good for this young man? Most likely we’ll see NeNe’s interviewed segments telling us how difficult this is and how hurt she is over this situation, maybe seeing those scenes will help him to understand how much he’s hurting his mother with this behavior. Did this happen as the result of the past two years of his mother being featured on a reality television show? Did NeNe Leakes neglect this child resulting in his problems with the law? Somehow I don’t think so. While there is no way to know for sure, I believe that this would have happened with or without reality television. However, putting it out there for millions of viewers to see could negatively affect Brice going forward. If history has taught us anything, Laurie’s son only got worse as time went on, even as he saw how much he was hurting his mother. Let’s hope that is not repeated in Atlanta.
Kim Zolciak has two teenage daughters, both have Twitter accounts and both seem to be over-indulged as well by their mother. Kim, allowing her daughters to participate in this social network is a big mistake in my opinion! We don’t see the girls that often but their mother’s behavior has got to embarrass them. Her ridiculous attempt at singing and constant fighting, vulgar language and even more vulgar attire coupled with her blatant affair with a married man who is in and out of their lives can’t be a positive influence on these girls.
The phenomenon in the entertainment industry of child actors has shown us that many times they’re given fame and fortune too young and it ends in disaster. There are also extremely successful child stars who become even bigger superstars as adults. We can point to someone like Lindsey Lohan as an example of questionable parenting resulting in disaster. We can also point to Ron Howard as an example of what good, solid parenting of a child actor can produce. I think this can be said of all children regardless of whether they are put to work as actors before puberty. Are reality star children affected in the same ways as child actors?
Many of the troubled teens we’ve seen have come from divorced parents but we watched and cringed as Lynne Curtain and her husband try to parent these girls and clearly it was too little too late. They had obviously been over-indulged for years and we saw the result. I think that housewives children are a reflection of the population as a whole, we’ve seen well-behaved successful young adults on these shows as well as troubled teens.
On the flip side, Orange County brought Vicki’s daughter Breanna, who was responsible and successful but her brother was doing beer bongs and supporting himself by playing on-line poker. These two are also the result of divorced parents but had a wonderful, caring step father in their lives and a mother who cared about them and provided discipline and love. In the end Vicki’s son Michael did join her sales team and we’re told was very successful. It’s all about the parenting.
The Real Housewives series are just 5-years old, and in fact, reality television being in its infancy, we still don’t know what reality television will bring for these children as they grow up. I would predict that the parents and their ability to raise their children properly with good solid values and unending love and support will turn out to be just fine. Being featured on a television show as a young child, if handled properly, can be perfectly acceptable. Unfortunately, it can also be disastrous if the parents don’t know how to handle the situation.
We may hear 10-years from now, after we’ve forgotten about Teresa Giudice and her juicy husband that their daughter Gia is a successful model and actress, but we also may hear that she’s been arrested for drug possession. Which do you predict is closest to the reality and would it be different without Real Housewives?
What if many years from now we read that Alex McCord’s son is instrumental in finding a cure for cancer or maybe we read he’s been arrested for drunk driving? What is in the future for Alex’s boys and is their future affected by this show?
These family’s really do seem to reflect and mirror real families out there in the real world, some are good upstanding citizens, others take the easy road and end up in bad situations.
Anything can happen, I believe that it is largely about the way that it is handled by their parents, there is also no way of knowing whether or not the path that these kids take in life is affected by their appearance on a reality television show. Will the fate of these kids be the result of being on a reality television series? I guess we’ll have to Watch What Happens…
As I finished up this blog, a few things were brought to my attention, Ashley Holmes had some sort of “fling” going with Jonathan Cheban of “The Spin Crowd”. With tweets going back and forth between them, some being deleted, others being ignored, clearly Ashley was the aggressor and Cheban had no intention of getting involved. This guy is already involved with the Manzo’s having done PR work for them in the past but Jonathan better watch himself because this family is thick as thieves. Possibly he is shunning Ashley because he got a call from Aunt Caroline warning him to back off?
Finally, those vile photos of Lynne Curtain’s daughters appearing on “The Dirty” website showing the girls topless with just small images of Hello Kitty covering their nipples is a disgrace! I have the impression that their goal was to appear on the internet as they’re no longer cast members of The Real Housewives of Orange County, they want to keep their names in the press. Here is a photograph that will follow this girl around for the rest of her life, but would it have gotten media exposure had she not been a Real Housewives daughter? I can just see Lynne’s reaction, “Don’t be too hard on her Frank, she’s a typical teenage girl”. Pass the bong Mrs. Curtain!
Until Next Time…