ABC News Statement on "Primetime" Stepfamilies

ABC News' "Primetime" has received a number of e-mails and messages from viewers about the Friday, April 21, show on stepfamilies in crisis. Below are statements from ABC News and the psychologists who appeared on the show.

Kyle Nelson, who was featured in the segment, will appear with her mother and maternal grandmother on "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, April 25, between 7:30 and 8 a.m. to respond further. The psychologists will also be on "GMA" tomorrow.


While we felt the incident in question was disturbing, it was the only scene of physical punishment in the hundreds of hours of footage that ABC News reviewed. There was no other indication that Kyle or the other three children were in physical danger. Additionally the family was in counseling, and Kyle was in individual therapy. The intent of the broadcast was to show the reality of the tensions in many stepfamilies and how important it is to find ways to understand them and bring families together. The Nelsons volunteered to have their interactions videotaped in hopes of salvaging their relationships with one another other.

STATEMENT FROM Drs. BROWNING, PAPERNOW AND BRAY, the three psychologists who appeared on the "Primetime" broadcast on stepfamilies:

As psychologists, we first want to state that research shows that the extremely aggressive behavior shown on "Primetime" was not good parenting and is detrimental to all members of a family. We took a clear stand on this behavior in our work with ABC, and we were deeply concerned about the family.

At the time of taping, the ABC News staff had watched hundreds hours of footage of the Nelsons' interactions. The ABC staff saw no other incidents of explosive behavior toward Kyle or the other children. In addition, Kyle confirmed that this was a single incident.

It is important to know that the incidents shown on "Primetime" were actually recorded in the winter of 2002-2003. By the time we saw the tapes in 2004, Kyle was out of the house, and the Nelsons had undergone family treatment. While we found this behavior extremely disturbing, it is important that viewers know that both the family and Kyle are in counseling and all are continuing to try to heal their relationships.