Welcome to Plathville’s Kim Plath – wife to Barry Plath and a Christian fundamentalist homeschooling mom to nine kids in rural Georgia – admits she’s struggled with family estrangements on the second season of the TLC show. Kim and Barry raised their children with strict rules and kept them on a tight leash in terms of everything from eating sugar and wearing immodest clothing to using cell phones and watching TV.
As some of the family’s older kids began to rebel, Kim’s relationships with them started to sour in turn. Her relationship with her oldest son, 22-year-old Ethan Plath, and his wife Olivia Plath, went no-contact at the young couple’s request. The Welcome to Plathville star also became estranged from her 19-year-old son Micah Plath.
But the matriarch’s most difficult relationship of all often appeared to be with 17-year-old Moriah Plath, who was eventually kicked out of the Plath family home and forced to move in with her brother, Micah Plath. In a recent Welcome to Plathville segment, “Kim’s Story,” TLC producers wondered if Kim’s difficulties with Moriah might stem from the fact that the two are alike in many ways.
Kim didn’t want Moriah to go through what she went through in life
In a recent interview on Welcome to Plathville, TLC producers asked Kim which of her nine children was the most like her when she was young.
Immediately, Kim speculated that the question was a pointed one. As a teen, Kim was troubled and rebellious, often partying and making decisions she later regretted. Her strong-willed nature, even now, has led many friends and fans to compare her to her equally strong-willed daughter Moriah.
“I know where you’re going with that,” Kim laughed about the question, “because everybody sees parallels between Moriah and I.”
But Kim said she didn’t want Moriah to have to overcome the same obstacles she did. Instead, she had always wanted her children to learn from her mistakes.
“Moriah might be a little too on the reckless side,” the Welcome to Plathville star said of her second-oldest daughter. “She’s a risk-taker, 17 and invincible. I really don’t want her to have to go through some of what I went through, waking up, parked weird on the lawn, passed out.”
“By God’s grace, I came out of it,” Kim said of her rebellious stage, “and he saved me and I live a different life.” Now, she hoped Moriah would do the same – without having to learn the hard way first.
The ‘Welcome to Plathville’ star lamented the attitudes among ‘teenagers today’
The mom of nine went on to suggest that she thought her kids should be more grateful for what they had. According to Kim, her own childhood was less than ideal – what with having two parents dealing with addiction issues and even being neglectful at times – but she was still thankful for what her mother had given her.
“I think teenagers today focus more on what they didn’t get instead of looking at what they do have,” the Welcome to Plathville star argued, adding that growing up in the 1970s and ‘80s lent her a “totally different perspective” on parenting.
“There was a lot my mom didn’t do for me, but I’m so thankful for everything she did for me,” Kim insisted, adding that she had “a ton of respect” for her mom despite her shortcomings. “Even with all of the ways that she fell short, it never occurred to me to think less of her or to not like her or to talk bad about her or anything.”
One of the main concerns Kim and Barry have expressed is that their kids would development resentment or “bitterness” toward them. Kim admitted that she was surprised to see her children’s reaction to her parenting style as they grew up.
The mom of nine admitted some of her kids found her ‘controlling’
Kim admitted that her daughter-in-law Olivia, as well as several of her own children, had a bone to pick with her.
“There’s all of this conflict with Olivia because she thinks I’m too controlling,” the Welcome to Plathville star lamented. “And Micah, Moriah, and Ethan, they’re all in agreement.”
Now, with the Plath family divided into four households and a number of broken relationships trailing in its wake, Kim hoped to “restore relationships” in the coming years. Rather than seeing family life as an “us versus them” scenario, she hoped they could all find a way to come together eventually.
A key aspect of that reunion, the Welcome to Plathville star argued, was for her children to learn to appreciate their parents despite their disagreements.
“Maybe it wasn’t packaged perfectly,” Kim said of her kids’ upbringing. “And maybe it wasn’t exactly what they would have picked for themselves. But I hope at some point they can come to appreciate what we’ve done for them.”
“We’re not perfect, but you know, we’re doing the best we can,” Kim concluded.