Thursday, October 1, 2009

Just a Wee Rant (or What's Buggin' Aine?)


A few days ago while browsing Yahoo, I (despite my better judgement) clicked on an article about Jon Gosselin. He probably needs no introduction, but for any fellow hermits, he's the wayward husband from reality TV's "Jon & Kate Plus Eight." In the article, a psychologist is quoted saying that Jon's behavior is due to the fact that he was married too young (he was 22), and so he never had an opportunity to sow his oats.

Whoa! Stop. Back up. Did he just say that?

My first thought was: so, 22 is now considered too young to get married, eh? For most of the past 100 years the average age of marriage ranged from 22 to 24 (for men in the USA). Hmmm.

Even so, maybe Jon Gosselin was too immature to use good judgement or make such a big decision (to get married). After all, I know that some human brains are not developmentally mature until 25. That is, they are incapable of processing higher level cognitive functions such as abstract thought, planning, or predicting consequences. This is why we provide parenting and parental guidance through the teen years. To ensure the survival of our genes, we protect our children until they develop all the skills required to make good decisions. Neuroscience tells us that this brain function doesn't reach full maturity until our early to mid-twenties. So, okay-- maybe Jon Gosselin wasn't developmentally able to make a good decision in choosing a life partner at 22.

And now that he is fully adult, he has chosen to not "own" his past decisions. That's his choice. It simply displays his character.



So, why did this article bother me?

Because a professional psychologist just provided an excuse for poor judgement. Perhaps even normalized it.

I suppose, following this thinking, that I should allow my seven year-old to sing songs about poop in her "outdoor voice" in a restaurant. After all, a seven year-old brain is incapable of impulse control, right?

So, I was bothered because this professional therapist validated poor judgement, effectively bypassing the issue of choice and accountability. Shouldn't a professional psychologist be modeling/teaching a healthier approach to situations? I'm not suggesting that he should've judged Jon's behavior based on some moral code, but he could have used the opportunity to discuss choice, accountability, character, and growth.

And this isn't the first professional counselor who has displayed such a lack of professionalism. I know of a situation where a psychologist told a married man (not a client) that it was okay to be unfaithful, that "it's" called DWM-- dating while married. And encouraged this choice as a method of getting needs met. Yikes!!

Why are people becoming so quick to ignore accountability and responsibility? Where are the role models for good choices?

Sorry. Rant over. As you were....

18 comments:

jason evans said...

People are twisted by many things. Put two of them together, and all sorts of alchemy results. Two can brew all sorts of things: medicine, a soft drink, hard liquor, sweet lemonaide, drain cleaner, poison. Painting the problems of people as simple immaturity and hormones doesn't help us unwind the tangles of reality. The psychologist is taking an easy way out of the problem.

Margaret said...

A whole lot of psychologists are getting paid for nonsense!

DWM!!! Yikes is right!! All we have to do is make up a name for a certain act of character and...WOW... it's absolutely fine!

You were right to rant about it Aine!

Aine said...

Jason~ Yes! When things get complex, we need clear, wise guidance. Not excuses which can lead to more harm.

Margaret~ Thank you! It's amazing how much power labels can have. It's scary how easily we can be misled by language. "Collateral damage" comes to mind....

Catvibe said...

I don't have a whole lot of faith in parents or psychologists to teach accountability. It's just gone out of fashion. I think we need to incorporate things from other cultures that we don't have here, things like Walkabouts, and Vision Quests, and very difficult rites of passage that include becoming responsible.

Things don't look as if they will be improving, apparently parents are now so involved in their media that they no longer talk to their kids when babies, depriving them of what they need to develop. As if things weren't bad enough in that department!

Oy vay carumba.

laughingwolf said...

could not agree more, aine :(

how old is this supposed professional... sounds like a pre-pubescent jerk, but not nearly as bad as the second yahoo!

Chris Eldin said...

Memories tend to be short or skewed when entertainment is involved. I cannot watch these people. I think she's a bit whacked as well.

Aine said...

Catvibe~ I love the idea of vision quests, etc! I've often thought that simply providing role models (high profile, celebrity, etc) could be effective, but alas-- high drama is so much more interesting....
sigh.

Laughingwolf~ Thanks! Glad to hear I'm not alone in my reaction. Would you believe that the second psychologist I mentioned is actually a married woman?!

Chris~ I don't watch them, either. But, yes, I've heard that she has issues as well. I'd expect that, though. I don't think many marriage issues are truly one-sided. We all have baggage. But the reaction of the psychologists worries me...

laughingwolf said...

holy crap! what cereal box did she get her 'accreditation' from? GRRRR

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

For a few years now, I have been very disappointed in professional people who are supposed to "know better." They say and do some pretty stupid things - and give bad advice. Lots of bad behavior out there is being excused and glossed over and there is very little accountability. My goodness DWM??? Rant is justified!

And as for Kate and Jon - I have never watched the show, but have heard enough about them to say - get a REAL life. Shame on them for putting their kids through this.

Good post, Aine!

Aine said...

Laughingwolf~ Got your hackles up now, eh?!
:)

Kaye~ Thanks! Yes, I cringe while thinking how all of this is affecting the children. And then to think they'll need the services of a professional psychologist one day... oy!

Aniket said...

First things first. If this post was in any way, you trying to say that I am not "developmentally mature" then you are in so much trouble that all the gryffindor's ever born combined would be not enough to save you from my wrath!

But I have a feeling that this post has more to do with the good for nothing psychologist than me, so go ahead with the rant. Beat him up if you ever see him, I've got your back. Okay, don't look back right now. I mean I don't have your back RIGHT now. Just give a call 16 hrs before the fight okay. I'll catch the next flight. :D

Do the allow Katanas on plane?

Aine said...

Aniket~ You are so Gryffindor! Glad to have you on my side! ;)

No worries, Aniket. Jason was 22 when we got married. Even though some brains are still developing, there are many who have matured by that age. And yes, this was a rant about those %&@*ing psychologists.

I have no concerns about your ability to use good judgement (*coughnunchakuscough*)
;)

SzélsőFa said...

sure there's a title to every thing we do. but that does/should not relieve us from the consequences.
this man, with his advocating DWM and such... is either an idiot or someone with a sinister plan to turn (any) man into his worst self...

Aine said...

Szelsofa~ I couldn't agree more. And to make it even worse, would you believe the DWM advocating therapist is a married woman??!

SzélsőFa said...

a woman ?
what the heck ? a cougar, perhaps ?
I am not a feminist, but was almost positive that this came from a man.

yet, I wonder if the gender of this therapist really counts...
perhaps I am a feminist, heh?


heee:
word verification: lazide
as in lazy-deee ;)
I don't know what that is but sounds, hm... lazy...
[off]

Apostelytizer said...

I thought his problem was that he married a crazy person

Fireblossom said...

If i were married, and my husband decided he needed to experience DWM, that would be fine. Just as long as he was ok with me helping him have a CAYSOTC experience afterward.

What? Oh, sorry, a CAYSOTC is a collecting all your (stuff) off the curb experience.

Aine said...

Szelsofa~ It really transcends gender, I think. Yet we can't help but to expect women to be more connection-oriented, thanks to the gender stereotypes.

Apostelytizer~ I'm not judging Jon or Kate-- we all have issues and we are all responsible for our choices. It's the professionalism of the therapists that is bugging me.

Fireblossom~ A woman who knows her boundaries!