HomenewsHow Kendall and Kylie Jenner Survived the Reality Show Kids Curse

How Kendall and Kylie Jenner Survived the Reality Show Kids Curse

Future reality stars, take note

It’s a story that’s been told a million times, a tale everyone knows by heart. The path of reality show children, thrust into the spotlight and onto television screens by their fame-hungry or naive, or sometimes both, parents.

There’s the gradual rise, while America gets to know these children who are now part of pop culture, and then the skyrocketing fame, the plateau so small it barely registers, and then a big fall. The fall is what we know as the reality kids curse.

History tells us that it’s all but impossible to cast kids in a reality show without something going horribly wrong. Just look at the Duggars, or Teen Mom, or any of the Real Housewives. Trouble befalls families who turn their lives over to the entertainment-industrial complex, and it hits the kids the hardest. So when a pair of sisters are practically raised in front of the ever-present cameras, growing up among a production crew and playing out every transition and awkward year with a side of glam squad a healthy dose of confessional, manage to avoid all the pitfalls, it’s worth a case study.

Not that Kendall and Kylie Jenner are perfect. (Nobody is, of course.) But the way they’ve navigated their upbringing in a controversy-free manner has all the trappings of an instructional guide for future generations. Drama circles them and it always will. But none of it reflects any innate trouble making on their part—their siblings and acquaintances have had their scandals, and that’s as close as it gets.

The sisters are, for all intents and purposes, clean as a whistle. They’ve built successful careers and businesses, own their own property and have even resisted that often irresistible urge to start a spin off reality show. That in and of itself deserves a medal.

It all started, probably, with parenting. Doesn’t everything? The truly formative younger years of Kendall and Kylie’s lives took place before Keeping Up With the Kardashians was but a twinkle in Ryan Seacrest’s eye, and that goes a long way. Even once the fame started to come, Kris and Caitlyn Jenner kept things in formation. The girls stayed in regular school just about as long as humanly possible for two of the most famous teens on the planet, they spent their days in team sports and cheerleading.

Their friends were from the neighborhood, not Hollywood, and Caitlyn led carpool after carpool after carpool. They even had (gasp!) the occasional chore. Special credit is due to the late Robert Kardashian, whose main fatherly focus was keeping his children grounded and fully aware of their privilege at every step—it gave the second-round Kardashian family a legacy to live up to.

“I feel like a lot of people say that kids who grow up in that world go crazy,” Kendall said to Harper’s Bazaar. “But it has everything to do with how your parents raise you. I was raised so normally, or as normally as I could have been.”

As the significantly younger sisters in a family of six children, Kylie and Kendall were also able to count Kim, Kourtney and Khloe as parental figures. That meant there were six more eyes watching them at every step, but also that they had three extra examples to model themselves after. Or, more often than not, to model themselves away from. They were well behind the older three and watched what they did with their moment in the spotlight.

Kendall and Kylie took notes and learned how not to make the same mistakes. It was like a blueprint for what not to do—when you’ve seen the repercussions of excess firsthand, you develop an aversion to it, repelled by the consequences or backlash or simply the hangover.


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