Ethan Plath says he now feels a “pang of resentment” over the fact that his mom Kim Plath’s current behaviors are in contradiction to how she raised her children for the majority of their lives. He also sees a huge gap between himself and his peers when it comes to education and knowledge about the dating world.
Ethan went no contact with his mother for a couple of years, but finally had a sit-down with her after she decided to divorce his father Barry. His wife Olivia is still no contact with Kim, and even decided to not attend the memorial of baby Joshua because Kim was going to be there.
At their sit-down outside of a pool hall in Cairo, GA, Ethan led by asking Kim what she would have done differently if she had the option to change the past.
Instead of directly answering, Kim says that “things are different now” in the home with her minor children. She doesn’t elaborate on how they are different but notes that they still don’t allow soda in the house except for an occasional ginger ale. She has been seen on screen allowing her younger girls to have ice cream, which would have been forbidden just a few years ago when the family first started filming their reality show.
Ethan replies that sugar was never a big issue for him as far as how they were raised. “The issues that I’d always had with you and with dad have been schooling, dating, and the right and wrong way to go about that,” he says. “I feel like in many ways you were extremely relaxed as far as the amount of effort you put into schooling kids.”
Ethan says that since he was 13 years old he felt “behind in life” because he couldn’t academically compete with his peers. Kim defended this lax schooling by saying her focus was on helping all of her kids focus on their passions.
The Plath children have all been homeschooled and isolated from other children. They were a part of a fundamentalist Christian group called No Greater Joy Ministries, which the Duggar family has also been associated with. The Plath children toured as a family band for a while and would sometimes interact with other families similar to their own, like Olivia’s family the Meggs.
Kim argues that Ethan never liked sitting down in front of books or computers. She says was happiest when he was working on cars in the garage, and because he continues to work on and restore vintage cars as an adult, she feels like she did her best to set Ethan up for success in her life.
Kim implores Ethan to recall that he hated reading. Ethan retorts with the fact that he remembers that, but he was a kid and it wasn’t his job to make sure he was studying, which is a great point.
In interview, Kim says that she poured her life into her children and tried to correct some of the problems her own mother had. She finds it “crushing” and “mind-blowing” that any of her kids could ever think that she didn’t try hard enough.
She does admit to Ethan that she should have done better with the older kids’ schooling. She struggles with the dating thing, so Ethan tries to clarify that he was told to not date anyone unless they would date.
Kim interprets this as Ethan expressing his regret for marrying Olivia, and the fact that Ethan and Olivia were pushed to get married before getting to know each other is a source of marital troubles for them to this day. Kim argues that at the time he married Olivia he was totally in love with her, so they didn’t see any reason to try to convince him not to marry her.
Ethan’s point is more about how they taught purity culture to their children and never made it an option for them to date before making a lifelong commitment. Both Ethan and his sister Hosanna, the oldest girl, both followed their parents advice and got married young without dating. Now, Ethan’s younger siblings are taking their time before rushing into marriage. Micah, Moriah, and Lydia are all approaching romance in very different ways (Lydia doesn’t appear to be pursuing dating at all right now) but none of them have gotten married like Ethan and Hosanna.
“The environment that we grew up in literally bred somebody that would go to the first person that you have a mutual feelings for,” Ethan explained. “And it was never taught to any of us that there was another way.”
Kim does own up to the fact that maybe she and Barry didn’t communicate to him that before marriage he was supposed to watch out for red flags in his potential spouse.
Ethan now sees that the black and white morality his parents taught him as a child in a different light given the fact that they’re going through a divorce right now.
Kim says doesn’t know what she would have done differently when it comes to teaching her kids about relationships, but she says she would have done “something” differently.
Kim also said that he never meant to hurt Ethan or Olivia, and didn’t know how to handle such a high-conflict situation.
Ethan walked away from the conversation thinking it’s the best one he’s ever had with his mom because it’s the first time he’s felt heard by her. In interview he addresses that he had felt hate for him mom in the past, but acknowledges that he does love her.
At the end of the conversation, Kim gives a defensive dig at Ethan’s critique of her educational standards. As he telling her he hopes to have an “amicable” relationship with her in the future, Kim quips “See, you do know some big words.”
It was a move that set the discussion back a bit, as Ethan shakes his head in frustration. Still, Kim agrees that she no longer wants drama.
In interview, Kim says that Ethan said a lot that was hard to hear, but she appreciates that he actually sat down and talked to her.