Ever since “Toddlers & Tiaras” first aired, I’ve joked that I’m going to call Child Protective Services on these parents. I would never do such a thing but I was trying to make a point that such pageants — and particularly the way some parents go overboard with them — are actually quite dangerous to a child’s psychological health.
Turns out my joke had some truth to it. Madisyn Verst was one of the stars of TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras” last year. She was known for her Dolly Parton outfit — featuring fake ta-tas and padded bum. Her mother’s costuming was so over-the-top that it inspired People magazine cover featured here (“Gone Too Far?”).
It turns out mother Lindsay Jackson may have gone too far — at least in the eyes of government officials. At a court hearing in Campbell County today, she could lose custody of Maddy to to father Bill Verst, who is requesting full custody.
“I’ve done nothing wrong, by way of being a mother, I’m a great mother,” Jackson told FOXNews.com exclusively. “Because I participate in pageants with my daughter is not a reason to take my child from me.”
Jackson claims that her ex-husband is using Maddy’s participation in child beauty pageants as a reason for the court to award him full custody.
But she may lose custody. A court-appointed psychologist recommends that the father be made primary custodian.
In coming to the recommendation, the psychologist writes over 3,000 words condemning Maddy’s participation in child beauty pageants, specifically citing her Dolly Parton number on “Toddlers & Tiaras” and photographs of Maddy dressed as “sexy police officer.”
“Obviously, if I had know that this Dolly thing was going to be an issue, I wouldn’t have done it, especially on national TV,” said Jackson. “I never intended for it to be a negative costume – it was costume designed to represent our state. Dolly’s from Tennessee, so that’s what I did. As far as the police outfit goes, it’s nothing more than a pair of shorts and a shirt that says, ‘Bad cop, no donut’ on the back. You can buy it for retail as a Halloween costume – and it’s more revealing than what Madisyn was wearing. That outfit was never intended on being sexualized. (The court-appointed psychologist) thinks it is, but that’s a matter of opinion.”
I don’t think any of us know the particulars of this family situation sufficient to weigh in on who should have custody, but I wouldn’t mind this serving as a cautionary tale against putting your kids in these pageants.