Sunday, August 10, 2008

The baby borrowers

The baby borrowers. Did anyone watch this show? I did. Aside from the fact that I have no idea what kind of parents would allow their infants to be with strangers, and then to watch them being mistreated and neglected on CCTV and STILL leave them there, it was, at it's core an interesting social experiment.

At first I thought it would be a total waste of airtime. Anyone who ever was a teen parent knows that these types of things don't work. You always think that it will be different when it's YOUR baby (much as Alecia on the show displayed by saying that she could deal with the kid if not for the mother). You always think it will be different. That's how teenagers are. You cannot know something until you've experienced it, and borrowing a baby for a couple of days isn't going to do it, sadly.

Something I think might have sent a pretty strong message though was something that was not planned by the producers of the show. All of the couples subsequently split up. Their relationships couldn't take the strain that was put on them by living together, working, and caring for children. Teenage moms always think thier child's father will stay devoted to them and that is almost never true. If nothing else, this show proved that. I do think that the benefit of this unexpected lesson may have been undone by showing the outbursts of the teenagers during the experiment. All of the teenagers, at some point, acted their age (or younger) by having tantrums and being stubborn and selfish. I fear that teenagers watching the show might have said "yeah, well I'm a LOT more mature than they are" and the whole thing became a moot point.

Again, they just can't know what it's like and this show wasn't very good at conveying the trials of teen parents, or any parents for that matter. Most teen parents don't live in nice townhomes on suburban cul-de-sac's with dishwashers and stainless steel appliances. They also aren't given a manual with their child dictating the childs needs and expectations. They don't have jobs supplied for them and they don't drive brand new mini vans. They don't have the luxury of affording one parent to stay at home.

They live in run down apartments unsure if the fridge will work next week, or if they are safe walking around the block, they drive beat up cars that don't always run reliably. They have to deal with daycare so both can work just to pay the rent and put food on the table. They struggle to get jobs because they dropped out of school and got no diploma, or maybe they stayed in school and have to try to find time to work at all in between childcare and studies. Just as the case with Dayton and Morgan, sometimes daddies go away and a one parent household is the reality and then everything is that much more difficult. And they don't have nannies to jump in when they make a mistake...... mistakes really do mean life or death.

So I am torn on my opinion of this show. Maybe it helped somebody make a different choice in life for them and for the child that may have been conceived next week. Maybe it gave teens a false sense of security because the teens on the show didn't have to deal with the real reality of parenthood. Who knows.

1 comment:

PBandJ said...

i never watched the show, but stuff like that could not work well, as it is indeed not even close to reality. what worked for me was being the oldest of 5 kids and watching my parents struggle to feed us as we moved in and out of motels all my life. that is reality, but even that does not work for some teens, as this is the only situation they know in life, so it does not neccessarily seem wrong. i think teenage pregnancy is just terrible, and while it will never be eliminated, it can only be reduced by parents instilling values, responsibility and a sense of discipline in their young teens' hearts.