Friday, January 23, 2009

Why journalists write about their families

I'm intrigued about columnists who write frequently about their families, particularly their children. If I were a kid, I'm not sure I'd want my mother routinely chronicling my escapades.

Beth Harpaz, a writer for The Associated Press, explores this topic on Poynter Online. Here's an excerpt:

Attention, mommy bloggers, parenting columnists and other journalists who write about their families: There are psychological diagnoses for people like us.

"The issue from a psychologist's point of view is, why is the mother doing it?" said Dr. Carole Disenhof, a clinical psychologist in Beverly Hills. "What is she trying to resolve or work out? Are you boasting? Are you trying to repair the relationship? Are you trying to idealize your child? Or are you just trying to relate to other mothers?"

Disenhof said writing about your children could even be a sign of narcissism, or transference, in which you project feelings about someone from your past onto your child.
Does this psychology angle have merit? You decide after reading the Hartz's report.

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Ian Lidster said...

As a long time columnist I tried to avoid as much as possible writing about my family. My wife understandably resented it as an invasion of her privacy. I saw her point. I mean it happens, but I'm irritated by journalists who use their families as props.

Deb S. said...

Ian: It's good to hear from a veteran columnist on this topic. I don't mind an occasional mention of family members, if the mention adds something to the story. However, like you, I get annoyed by journalists "who use their families as props."