What can I say about MTV? This station is somewhat of an enigma for me. I will admit to watching a few shows, yes, they are entertaining for me. As an advocate for Teen Dating Violence, I find myself watching more of the shows that I wouldn’t have ever given the time of day. Teen Mom is one of those shows. I am not their target audience because I am not a teen, I am not pregnant, and I do not have baby daddy drama.
I made the decision to watch the show because I saw a preview of one of the episodes. It was clear that there was evidence of Dating Violence. Amber and Gary continue to have issues with their Dating Violence issues. After Amber punched and shoved Gary she was charged with battery and child neglect. In another episode, Janelle screams at her mother. Janelle gets in her mother’s face and screams at the top of her lungs at her. Having seen the episode, I was shocked that a daughter could act that way toward her mother, though I understood why. I know the situation was heated, stressful, and volatile. Clearly, both her and her mother need anger management, parenting, and stress management skills. In yet another episode, a mother, April screams at her daughter, for giving up her daughter for adoption. April called her daughter a f***ing b****h. Again, this family needs communication, anger management, and stress management skills.
With all of that being said, I wish that MTV would put more of an emphasis on getting these families help. Not just for the Domestic and Dating Violence but for everyday communication and interactions. I do not think that the majority of these kids and their parents know how to communicate their feelings in a positive way, especially if their examples for communication don’t know how to do that either. The family that illustrates this well is April and her daughter, Catlynn. I believe that the majority of issues experienced by these kids and their families’ and baby daddies’ could be avoided with relationship and couples counseling. When you don’t know how a healthy relationship works, how can you expect it to work?
MTV does a good job of showing viewers how hard a teen pregnancy can be. But they pay these girls to be on TV. They become media and tabloid targets. The drama and conflict draws viewers and in the end, the teen mom and their children are the ones that suffer.
I know that drama sells. I know that MTV does the bare minimum to educate but the show is still done at the expense of the teens, babies, and their families. Where is the balance? What is the answer? I don’t know. I do know that everyone could benefit from understanding what a healthy relationship should look like.
I am happy to answer questions from teens or adults.
Feel free to submit a question; email to: [email protected] and put “HWT Question” in the subject line. You may remain anonymous.
“It’s About Your Teen”
Susie Kroll specializes in speaking about Teen Dating Violence and Healthy & Safe Dating. She conducts workshops, keynotes, trainings, and seminars on issues specifically related to teens and their relationships. To schedule Susie for your next event, contactImaginePublicity, Phone: 843.808.0859, Email: [email protected]
I try to avoid this show as much as possible. Every time Janelle and her mother scream at each other, I have to change the channel. It’s so awful how they talk to each other.
This isn’t even a good representation of teen moms. Most teen moms aren’t being paid for it like they are.
It’s a shame that MTV chooses to do shows which tend to show these people in their worst light. As more teens watch these “reality” shows, they will believe that their personal reality should mirror this behavior. Not the best way to offer up role models.
Yes it is frightening , Kay. It’s hard to watch these shows sometimes without throwing something at the TV. Reality is what it is, but we don’t need to parade bad role models for all to see, especially teens.
I find it sad, to say the least, that people watch this crap. I know you have to because you need to stay on top of what’s happening with teens. It’s pathetic to showcase the drama in these kids’ lives. For other teens who watch it, who are their role models? Do teen viewers become even more desensitized to these family dynamics and begin to think this is normal? Frightening, really.