Photo Credit: C. Sykes/Bravo
For a show that claims to be all about family, the stars of Bravo's Real Housewives of New Jersey sure have done some questionable things to their kin. From table flips to sex tapes, most of them have committed acts they can’t be proud of. For the purposes of this article, let’s take a closer look at Teresa Giudice and her husband, Joe. Although we've come to love their family motto, "happy wife, happy life," we question these parenting approaches:
Spoil your kids, and spoil them rotten.
Teresa makes no excuses when it comes to spoiling her daughters. In fact, she rewards her impressionable girls -- all under age 10 -- with fancy clothes and shiny lip gloss. She claims to shop a couple of times a week with her girls and drops thousands of dollars on their designer duds.
The consequence: Spoiling your kids is never a good thing. "We've all seen kids who are spoiled. There's a greediness about them. They throw tantrums in toy stores when their parents won't buy them what they want. They always seem to want more and expect to get their own way. They have trouble sharing," says Dr. Dan Kindlon.
Over time, the consequences of spoiling will only get worse. Kindlon says spoiled children will have a hard time coping with life’s many stresses and frustrations. "They're typically unhappy, and do not learn from their mistakes. Kids who have been spoiled rarely look inside themselves; instead, they focus on the exterior," Kindlon adds. They can even turn to drugs and alcohol, he says, to hide low self-confidence and other emotional problems.
Teach your kids it's okay to live beyond your means.
During the first season of the hit reality show, we watched Teresa and Joe move into their Towaco, N.J., home, valued at $1.7 million. She said she didn't want to live in someone else’s home -- as in, a house that has already been lived in -- because some aren't as clean as she'd like them to be. The solution? Teresa and Joe built their dream home from the ground up using materials like onyx and marble. Daughter Gia even has a Jacuzzi in her own bathroom.
We were quite envious until news broke that the Giudices filed for bankruptcy in October of last year. As it turns out, Joe was only bringing in $79,000 a year as the owner of a stone and stucco company. Although the couple claims to get $10,000 in gifts from family members monthly, it wasn't enough to pay off their debts, which amount to $10.85 million.
The consequence: With 70 percent of Americans in debt, we're all too familiar with this problem. Not only will Teresa and Joe be paying for their debts, so will their daughters -- and we're not just talking about their excessive shopping habits. For parents, the ramifications of bankruptcy and poor credit scores can directly impact their children. Applying for school loans, purchasing or renting homes and just being able to provide for your children can become a struggle.
Insult your kids, then pretend it's funny.
During the second season, 9-year-old Gia lands a major gig modeling at New York Fashion Week. The proud mom and dad drove the model-in-the-making themselves into New York City to walk one of the longest runways of the season. We were shocked when, instead of comforting or praising the young girl about her first catwalk gig, dad Joe tells Gia she's "going to walk the ugly stage." Gia responds, "Don't say that. That's not nice." Joe continues on with his teasing, causing his daughter to cry before one of the most important days of her budding career.
The consequence: Words hurt. Teasing can affect a kid's self-esteem. In this case by calling Gia "ugly," Joe thought he was merely poking fun at his daughter, but she was really hurt and likely humiliated by his joke.
Hopefully, Gia understands that her dad didn't mean it, but girls at her age are very impressionable, and what you say to them can cause insecurities. "Girls who are teased can come away permanently scarred and may spend the rest of their lives trying to understand their humiliation episodes," according to child development experts Charlene Giannetti and Margaret Sagarese.
We're not saying Teresa and Joe are terrible parents. We’re sure there are a lot of things that they do right. But, no one's perfect and a lot of parents are guilty of these very acts. All we’re saying is, be careful -- there may be consequences.
What do you think of Teresa Giudice's parenting ways? Chime in below!
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