Lives beyond the pale: The children of parents who hoard Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Over the last decade there have been several standalone documentaries and a few television series focusing attention on the topic of hoarding behaviours. The former include 'My Mother's Garden' (Lester, 2008) and 'A Life of Grime' (British Broadcasting Commission (BBC), 1999); and the latter, series such as 'The Hoarder Next Door' (BBC, 2013) and 'Hoarding: Buried Alive' (The Learning Channel, 2010), in which extreme cases of hoarding are presented and some attempt is made to resolve the hoarder's problem behaviours. It may be characteristic of reality TV to show the extremes of human behaviours but, in the case of hoarding, these programs have made an impact by alerting more professional staff in the human services sector to the nature of hoarding behaviour, its manifestations and the entrenched nature of the problem. What has not been adequately addressed are the impacts on children and young people who live, or have lived, with a parent who hoards, though some of the television series have included partner before her son's birth. While the stories presented are, at times, sensationalised and edited with TV audiences in mind, they are nonetheless poignant, fascinating and confronting. reference to the perspectives of young people. One program, for instance, included the role of a grand-daughter who wanted to visit and have a relationship with an older woman who was hoarding, while another portrayed the impacts of hoarding on the young adult son of a woman who had lost her partner before her son's birth. While the stories presented are, at times, sensationalised and edited with TV audiences in mind, they are nonetheless poignant, fascinating and confronting.

publication date

  • December 1, 2013