Kody Brown's Worst Parenting Fails

Star of TLC's "Sister Wives," Kody Brown has 18 children and, while he's only wed to one now, had a total of four wives at one point. Divvying up his time amongst everyone is something he was not great at or even necessarily intentional about. Kody himself even admitted he didn't spend much time with his children. "It's not normal for me to babysit my kids," Kody said during season 17 of the show, according to The Hollywood Gossip. "I've been working all my life. I was raised on a ranch. We were always busy."

Christine, Kody's third wife, said she had hoped this would change when they moved to Las Vegas in 2011. Despite all of his wives and children living in close proximity, Kody still was not showing up for his kids in the way they needed. Christine said she and Kody tried talking and therapy, but there were no changes. "I'd tell my kids that all of the time, that he's going to come over. We're going to have a great time, and after a while, they stopped believing me," she said on the podcast "Reality Life with Katie Casey," adding, "I saw it in their eyes that they didn't believe me anymore." Nowadays, most of Kody's older children say that their relationship with him is strained.

Playing favorites

Gwendlyn Brown, one of the most vocal of Kody Brown's children, shared how his lack of presence impacted her. She said on her YouTube channel that it was her mom who was there for her growing up, never her dad, and that it hurt knowing that.

Gwendlyn uses her YouTube channel to review episodes of "Sister Wives." In one of her posts, she watches a scene from the show where Kody is happily picking up her step-sister Ariella from kindergarten. This stirred emotions in Gwendolyn as she doesn't have any memories of him showing up for her in such a way. "It's terrible that I'm making this about myself, but it hurts so much to see him be a good father to others when I didn't really get that much," she said in one video. "I'm so happy they have a good father or from what it looks like to be a good father and an active father."

A sad transformation

Gwendlyn Brown isn't alone in her memories of her father not being there. Her brother Paedon Brown echoed her. "A lot of memories from my childhood are specific bad events, but I still can recall the good events," he said during an interview with John Yates. "I just can't recall many good events with Dad because he wasn't there for most of our childhood." Furthermore, Paedon shared that Kody spent most of his time with his wife Robyn and her kids rather than dividing it evenly amongst all of his wives and children.

Paedon said he witnessed a transformation in his father as he grew up. Up until Paedon was around twelve, he said he had "an incredible father." He didn't question whether or not his father cared about him or wanted to spend time with him. However, Paedon said by the time he was fifteen, Kody was a different man.

Sleepy and selfish

On an episode of "Sister Wives," Kody revealed a parenting style that was more selfish than nurturing. During her early days of kindergarten, his daughter Ariella was exhausted during school. This could be attributed to her sleep schedule, which had her going to bed late. Her parents, Kody and Robyn, were used to letting her sleep in late so they could have extra time to themselves. "We let her sleep late to spare us, so we've got the freedom and stuff like that," Kody said. "We've allowed her to sleep late."

Robyn described Ariella as being naturally a night owl on the episode, and having to change her sleep schedule for school was not an easy feat. People online, however, were critiquing Robyn and Kody for not adjusting Ariella's sleep schedule prior to starting kindergarten.

Forgotten birthdays

In 2021, Kody Brown and multiple family members contracted covid. His son Gabriel Brown had a birthday in the midst of this. Kody called Gabriel, and the conversation went as any other conversation normally would — but that's what made it hurt for Gabriel. Kody had forgotten his own son's birthday. "We [had] a small discussion about how my covid was," Gabriel told Entertainment Tonight. "I didn't remind him that it was my birthday because I wanted to see if he remembered."

Gabriel broke down into tears during the interview. Two years later, his brother Paedon revealed to John Yates that the incident still impacts him today. "Gabe is brokenhearted about this, and he's still so affected by it," Paedon said.

Gabriel — along with his brother Garrison Brown — are not on speaking terms with their father anymore. Kody claims it's because they disrespected the covid rules he set in place. The boys' mother, Janelle, shared during a special episode of "Sister Wives" that they felt rejected, according to Today. "Boys, I'm sorry. I was trying to protect my family," he said on the episode. "Next time, I'd manage it differently, and I'm sorry."

Another crumbling relationship

Another one of Kody's children, Ysabel Brown, said their relationship has deteriorated and they are no longer close. Two key instances resulted in this distance in the relationship. First, Kody did not join her when she underwent scoliosis surgery in 2020. Kody claimed traveling and attending the surgery posed too great a risk of contracting covid. "I think his priorities are a little screwed up," she said on an episode of "Sister Wives," according to People. "And l don't want to disrespect him because he is my dad, and I understand, I do. I do understand why he's doing it. It's just really frustrating and really, really hard."

The second event occurred when he did not help Ysabel move into her college dorm freshman year. By this time, her mother, Christine, had been with her for surgery and was helping her move. Christine was present in general, while Kody was not. "I'm gonna miss my mom more than I'm gonna miss him, I think — because I don't actually think we're close at all," Ysabel said on another episode of "Sister Wives," per TooFab. "But I mean, he's still my dad."