Does Rosie O’Donnell’s Joke About Her ‘Horrible’ Teens Go Too Far?

Rosie O’Donnell fumed that her four teenage children were “a nightmare” and joked that she “would trade each teen for autistic triplets” while performing stand-up during a comedy show, before admitting, “Oh, that’s not right.”

The cutting cracks, made during her appearance on stage at the ERA Coalition/Fund for Women’s Equality’s A Night of Comedy with Jane Fonda in New York on Sunday, are just the latest venting by the former talk show host, who is bitterly estranged from her oldest daughter, Chelsea, 18. “My teenagers are … horrible,“ the mother of five blasted on stage at the event. “I had four teenagers when I decided to adopt a newborn baby. You might ask why. Because I had four teenagers and I needed to remind myself that I actually do love children.”

Inside Chelsea O’Donnell’s Harsh Words About Mom: I Don’t Love Rosie

Adding that, “My son told me he’s writing a book, Life With Mom: Not So Rosie,” O’Donnell continued simply, "I found it annoying. I did the best I could. They blame you for everything.”

Why Did Rosie O’Donnell’s Daughter Go Public?

O’Donnell with Vivienne, Chelsea, and Blake. (Photo: Ben Hider/Getty Images)

By all accounts, recent years for O’Donnell and her family — including children Parker, 21, Chelsea, 18, Blake, 15, Vivienne, 12, and Dakota, 2 — haven’t been exactly smooth sailing. The star split with her ex-wife Kelli Carpenter in 2007 after three years together, and only just settled her divorce from second wife Michelle Rounds, with whom she adopted Dakota, this past October. Yet during another stand-up show the same October, O’Donnell swore, “I love all of my kids.”

O’Donnell with Parker, Vivienne, and Blake. (Photo: Mike Pont/Getty Images)

But her sound off on Sunday doesn’t show the children that she cares. “Hearing remarks, even when offered up as a joke, that say, your mother doesn’t enjoy raising you, could be quite damaging to any child,” psychoanalyst Amy Morin tells Yahoo Parenting. “No family is perfect, and it’s OK for parents to acknowledge that parenting isn’t easy,” says Morin, author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, “but that message should be tempered with talking about the joys of parenting as well. Kids shouldn’t be told their parent’s difficulties in parenting are their fault.”

Psychologist Laura Markham agrees and tells Yahoo Parenting that O’Donnell’s remarks are “completely troubling. If my parents said in public that they would happily trade me in, I would be wounded. And I’m a mature adult. We could expect a teenager to be much more hurt.”

And the feeling can unfortunately follow a child for life, Markham adds. “When teens don’t think that their parent is on their side and loves and believes in them no matter what, it compromises the teen’s ability to accomplish a healthy transition into the world,” explains the Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings author. “It’s never OK to talk in public about a teenager. Everything we say in public becomes part of the child’s permanent history, and the child will feel publicly shamed and humiliated.” Making matters worse, for “a vulnerable teen like Chelsea” who has been in residential therapy programs for years, Markham adds, “It’s a short jump to self-destructive behavior.”

Top photo: Andrew Toth/Getty Images

Leave a Reply