In Season 4 Kim Plath has given her family, and viewers of Welcome to Plathville, a bit of whiplash by backtracking on her behavior and “rules” for her family. For decades Kim and Barry Plath lived mostly outside of society and shunned alcohol, sugar, all mainstream media, and most interaction with the outside world. Now, Kim has completely changed, is divorcing Barry, and no longer has such strict expectations for her children.
Over drinks with her son Micah, Kim explains that a personal trauma could have caused her to be overprotective of her children.
During episode 9 of Season 10, Kim Plath did what even last season would have been unthinkable: she sat down for drinks with one of her children. Earlier in the season, she treated her three youngest children to ice cream, another shocking behavior. What has caused this shift in behavior?
When newly 21-year-old Micah met up with his mother, he asked her when she had started drinking again. Kim has previously said that she is against drinking alcohol because her mother was an alcoholic, but now she has softened her views on imbibing.
Kim didn’t mention this past with her mother in this episode. She tells the cameras that her soon-to-be ex-husband Barry was against alcohol and she just went along with that because she was his wife.
She said something similar to Micah, telling she had started seeing herself as an individual now, instead of doing what Barry wanted her to do. She goes on to explain that she’s been abstaining from everything for many years and now sees thinks differently. She feels secure in that she is “saved” and now wants to have fun because life is short.
She implies that she feels like she has freedom now to drink, whereas she didn’t really have that freedom when she was with Barry. She never really communicated her desire to drink with Barry, and as of the filming of this episode she says he still didn’t know she was occasionally drinking.
As the night continued, she opened up about why she had been so strict with the kids. Micah directly asked her, “What made you raise us the way you did? Do you have anything you want to tell me about?”
Kim then shared something very personal. “It’s uncomfortable,” she says. “There were several things, but one thing that is kinda big in terms of how it affected me is when I was four and five my mom, who was a single parent and doing the best that she could, hired a babysitter to watch me. And he was a teenage boy, and I can just say when you have little girls the last thing you want is for them to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and have something happen.”
Kim didn’t outright state what this “something was,” but it can be reasonably assumed that she’s implying that she was sexually abused as a small child. She goes on to say that in that age range, 4-5, what happened to her was a “regular thing.”
She does later say to the camera during an on-the-street interview that what she experienced was “abuse.” She says she shared this with Micah so he could better understand who she is.
She goes on to say that statistically abuse usually happens with people close to the family who you don’t suspect. She goes on to say that this is why she has been hyper-vigilant to know exactly where her kids were at all times and who they were with.
“That played a very large part in me being protective, maybe overprotective, but I mean to me the risk of not being overprotective enough is so great that I’d rather err on the side of overprotective than under, and have something like that happen,” Kim told Micah.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Micah tells his mother. He later tells the camera that while it hurts to hear this, he’s glad she told him this because it helps him understand why his parents did the things they did. He says when he was growing up his parents never really shared much about their own childhoods or lives before the kids were born.
This caused him to view his parents as “perfect,” and didn’t feel comfortable talking to them without fear of being judged. Now, he views his parents as “just humans” who have problems like anybody else.
“It’s alike a penny drop moment,” Micah says. “As soon as she told me, all the pieces fit together.”
He also told her that for a while he thought all of his parents’ decisions were because of religion, but when he got to be about 17 years old, he started to suspect there were other things that might explain their choices.
“My motivation was to protect the children, and to raise them in a wholesome environment. Every parent makes the best choices that they can given what they have to work with, and I’m no different,” Kim tells the cameras about her parenting.