‘Welcome to Plathville’: Kim Plath Opens Up About Her Painful Childhood

Kim Plath of TLC’s Welcome to Plathville has become well-known for the many strict rules she sets for her kids. A mom of nine and a Christian fundamentalist homeschooler, the Georgia-based Welcome to Plathville star (who is married to Barry Plath) has a number of guidelines for her large family – like no sugar, no cell phones or TV, and no social media.

In a recent Welcome to Plathville interview with TLC producers, Kim reflected on her relatively permissive childhood – and why she wants something different for her own kids.

Kim said she barely knew her father growing up

Kim explained that she grew up on Long Island, where her parents bought a small houseboat. Her earliest memories with her parents were not fond ones, to say the least.

“I spent the first four or five years of my life out on the water. My parents were both alcoholics, and I know they were drunk,” the Welcome to Plathville star lamented. She claimed that she was often left to fend for herself due to her parents’ struggles.

Kim’s parents had a messy divorce when she was a toddler, and her dad promptly moved away. After that, she hardly saw him – except for short annual visits. To this day, she’s never gotten to know her dad on a deeper level.

The ‘Welcome to Plathville’ star was often alone as a child

After the divorce, Kim’s mom essentially became a single parent. While she was technically present for most of the Welcome to Plathville star’s childhood, Kim explained that she wasn’t really “there” – at least not to do much of the heavy lifting of parenting.

“Until she stopped drinking when I was 14, she wasn’t really there,” Kim said sadly of her mom.

Kim remembered those years as extremely lonely. She remembered playing card games by herself to entertain herself, because she so rarely played with her mom or had friends or family members over.

“That was my normal,” the Welcome to Plathville star admitted. “I didn’t know any different.”

The mom of nine developed a close relationship with her stepfather

It was only when Kim’s mom met and married her stepfather that she finally experienced what it was like to have a father figure. They bonded and became closer to each other than Kim ever was with her biological father.

When Kim and Barry were preparing to get married, Kim was planning to change her maiden name anyway. As a gesture of goodwill, to show that she thought of her stepfather as her dad in every sense, Kim had her middle name legally changed to her stepdad’s last name.

The Welcome to Plathville star revealed what she’d done on Father’s Day, and her stepdad’s reaction was everything she’d hoped for.

“He cried because he was an orphan in Boston and he never got adopted,” Kim said of her stepfather. “And when he read that I had changed my name to his, he cried and said, ‘I always wanted to get adopted.’”

RELATED: ‘Welcome to Plathville’: Olivia Plath Says She Didn’t Like Ethan Plath When She First Met Him ‘At All’—But Something Changed All That

Kim wanted to raise her children completely differently

Given the loneliness of her early years, as well as the risks and dangers she often came across in her childhood, Kim wanted something completely different for her own children. The Welcome to Plathville star wanted to foster a sense of family unity and togetherness. She was highly protective of her kids after being left to fend for herself so much.

“I have set out to give them things that I didn’t have,” Kim told TLC producers.

Kim also admitted that she was “wild” during her college years. By contrast, she felt her own nine kids were often more careful.

“They probably have more common sense than I had at that age,” she confessed, adding that she had come to realize that she and her kids were completely “different people” over time.