The answer to the question above is Teen Mom specials. Always. (Although I caught a rerun of the new Kardashians and I’ll admit I enjoyed Scott’s pranks at the yard sale).
I love Teen Mom. I love it because not only is it entertaining, it’s also informative. In my opinion, it’s an important show. It shows young girls what their lives could be like if they’re not careful. It teaches us that instead of college, we could deal with divorce, domestic violence, depression and drug problems, all while trying to learn how to be a mother. The fact of the matter is, yes, some of these girls make terrible decisions, but the statistics prove that being a teen mom makes all of the choices they make more likely. They represent what really can happen. Some of the girls on the show are pregnant again, and according to dosomething.org, 25% of teen moms have another child within 24 months of their first baby. It’s not always pretty, but it’s reality.
It’s been over a year since we last saw the original Teen Moms (besides fan favorite Maci Bookout who had her own special a few months ago), but thanks to MTV were all caught up with Farrah, Catelynn and Amber too. Farrah’s special focused on her defending all the controversial decisions she’s made– including a sex tape– to provide for her daughter. Farrah’s the hardest to defend– she can act bratty and spoiled– but at the end of the day she’s trying to give Sophia (who seems like a happy little girl) a life. I don’t agree with her choices, but that’s part of her story. She’s showing the crazy choices a girl might make to provide for her child. And how the mistakes and choices you make will affect your kids and their future, whether you realize it at the time or not. Catelynn, the teen mom who picked adoption, is another important story. Some question why she is still featured, but I think it’s necessary to show the long-term effects of adoption. Catelynn and her baby’s father, Tyler, still have to go to counseling from time to time. Viewers also see Catelynn and Tyler are the only teen parents that are still together, which shows teen parents who raise their baby are less likely to last as boyfriend/girlfriend. Amber, who spent a year and a half in jail after domestic violence disputes with her baby’s father, is fresh out of jail in her special and reconnecting with her daughter. I found myself crying because little Leah was scared for her mom to leave her sight again. She thought when she went to sleep she might wake up to her mom in jail again. It was heartbreaking.
Something great that Amber’s special also did was show the price of the “fame” the teen moms experience. Amber is greeted by invasive paparazzi when she’s leaving jail, and it’s clear there’s nothing glamorous about getting your picture taken by random, rude men.
I personally think the claims that these shows glamorize teen pregnancy don’t make sense. Paparazzi, tabloid rumors and criticism all over the internet isn’t glamorous. The fact that one of the girls cries each episode isn’t either. Children growing up without a father, children with disabilities and children watching their parents fight all the time is the opposite of glamour. They aren’t flying first class up in the sky and popping champagne like being glamorous and Fergie suggest. Plain and simple.
I’ve said it a million times to my friends, parents, teachers and now the internet. This show, which I’ll admit has its ridiculous moments (like all reality TV does), is ultimately a harsh reality of what could happen to any young couple. It should show girls what they don’t want for themselves. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and don’t make them yourself. It’s also a place to learn what your school or parents weren’t comfortable enough or willing to teach you. Enjoy the drama and/or cry for the child/parents in the comfort of your college dorm room or family living room, instead of living it yourself.