Let the judging begin! Extreme parenting as a reality show
Bravo just released news of its many reality series coming soon to the cable channel but the one that caught my eye was Extreme Guide to Parenting premiering in July.
Having been one of the mom bloggers on TampaBay.com's now-defunct Whoa Momma! parenting blog, I can tell you that judging a person's parenting choices have become a popular spectator sport.
This reality show aims for the heart of the mommy wars:
"From spoiling and severe punishments to helicopter and new age methods, this is parenting at its most extreme. Each episode gives a candid look at two different households with very unique styles of raising their children – and each family strongly believes their methods are superior."
Oh yeah, let the judging begin!
Each episode promises to feature two different families who practice very different parenting techniques. They've lined up all of the usual suspects: attachment parents who breast-feed past the age of 4, the free-rangers like this mom who let their kids wander at will, competitive Tiger moms, helicopter parents and more.
We get to smugly judge them all. But should we?
I'm first of all not a fan of children being used in reality shows. They have little say in their invasion of privacy and those YouTube clips will live on well into their awkward teen years, making them ripe for schoolyard taunts.
Then there's how the worst assumptions and stereotypes will be made about each person in a scripted situation that heightens drama that likely isn't there. And that means a 4 year old still breastfeeding will make it that much harder on the new mom who wants to just let her kid wean naturally instead of on some artificial time clock that says it all has to end by the first birthday.
The sad part is, this could be a pretty useful and educational show. Most people will parent in ways they have been exposed to, so why not expose them to different perspectives? Even when people don't admit it, they can learn something from others they disagree with.
So I'll reserve my judgey judgment for now and hope for the best. But in reality TV, that rarely comes into play