One of America's leading child psychologists has applauded Oprah Winfrey for the way she handled a candid sit down interview with Michael Jackson's children. Dr. Fran Walfish, the author of upcoming book The Self-Aware Parent, watched the Oprah special, which aired in America on Monday, November 8, and was impressed with what she saw.
Winfrey taped the show with Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket, their nieces and nephews and grandparents, Joe and Katherine Jackson, in the garden of the family's Encino, California home. Walfish tells WENN, "Oprah gets kudos for her choice to interview the children as a sibling group with the support of their grandparents present in their own backyard, versus individually and in front of a studio audience."
"These children suffered the traumatic sudden death of their primary beloved parent - their father. They are now a team who can support each other because they endured something terrible together as a unit. Oprah's relaxed style, gentle humor, and approachability helped the kids feel comfortable, or as comfortable as these children could feel given the awkward circumstances. Oprah's questions were appropriate."
But the doctor did spot one thing that concerned her about the chat - Jackson's daughter is growing up too fast. The talkative 12 year old did the bulk of the chatting while her brothers seemed shy and reluctant to be a part of the interview, and Walfish says, "Paris appears to be a smart young, sincere, articulate, and mature girl. In psychological terms, Paris seems to be pseudo-mature - that's fancy talk for grown-up too young."
"She may have assumed the role of mum to her younger brothers. But she needs to be a kid and enjoy freedom from worry and caregiving while she is still a child." And Walfish fears Jackson's kids got little positive out of their meeting with Winfrey, adding, "The question must be asked, why did the paternal grandparents decide to go against Michael's wishes and air the children on national TV? There is nothing positive the children could have gotten out of the public airing of this piece."
"They likely would have benefited more from this warm, wonderful exchange with Oprah had it not been viewed by millions of people around the world."