This August, reality star Kate Gosselin revealed that 12-year-old son Collin has been living away from the family to get help with his emotional and behavioral issues.
The internet was set ablaze with rage at Gosselin for her decision. Many people viewed it as lazy, callous, or just plain bad parenting, as evidenced by some of the comments on Independent Journal Review's piece about the decision:
“What a loser of a mother”
“She's had 10 years to get him help. sounds like a cop out to me. if you're a mother, no matter what, you will go to the ends of the earth to help your child. she may find that when he comes back that he will hold more resentment towards her for sending him away.”
“She's an idiot.. I'm a mother of 2 special needs kids. I never would send my kids away. I dealt with it, and today they are productive members of society!”
The news may have come as a surprise to fans of “Kate Plus Eight,” but a letter Gosselin wrote to her son in 2010 and published in her book “I Just Want You To Know” shows that the 41-year-old mother of eight has been dealing with Collin's issues for a long time.
Now an excerpt of the letter published by Radar Online is sweeping the internet, and it's striking both for its intimacy and for what some see as its harshness.
Gosselin heaps encouragement and praise on her son for his math skills and essentially sweet nature, but she then tears into him for his outbursts and disobedience:
“As you have grown, however, I must say you have also challenged my authority greatly. At two and a half, you began testing and trying my parenting at every chance. I called Daddy at work many days crying because you would not obey. As you have grown, this fact has not changed. You continue to be determined to do what you want to do, and I continue to try to rein you in.”
Though Gosselin has raised the issue of Collin's behavior in the past, the degree to which it was actually a problem in the family's life was never so explicitly and strongly stated.
Referring to her divorce with ex-husband Jon Gosselin in 2009— the year before the letter was written — she spells out how her decisions, whether Collin likes them or not, have his best interests in mind:
“I know the recent events in our family structure have greatly upset you, maybe you most of all. I want you to know that I have made and will continue to make decisions based on what I believe is best for you and your brothers and sisters. These changes, I realize, are still painful and hurt a lot.”
In an interview with People Magazine in August, Gosselin made an attempt to explain what Collin's issues were:
“Collin has special needs. [There's] a fairly fluid diagnosis of what those needs are, but he needs to learn certain strategies to help him deal with things. This has been a struggle we've had for a very long time, and it's one I've dealt with on my own. I've felt very alone in this. By the same token, it's not something that has only impacted me or him – our entire family has been impacted.”
She told the magazine that Collin is “enrolled in a program that is helping him learn the skills he needs to be the best him he can be,” adding:
“We miss him so much, so it's been hard because there is a huge hole in our family without him here. But it comforts us to know he's where he needs to be right now, and I can feel good about that.”
In 2010, Collin and his sister Alexis were taken out of school for “disobedience” and were then homeschooled by Gosselin, who made a point to explain that the children were not “expelled.”
Reactions to the letter have not been positive:
You get the idea.
Gosselin has not mentioned when Collin is expected to return to his family.