Dear Over Reality TV:
I dealt with a similar issue with my 11-year old. Although I use the parental controls faithfully on our televisions, I learned that my controls were doing nothing to block reality TV. My daughter was watching The Braxtons, Mary Mary, and even Teen Mom. First, I am not a fan of reality TV. I think there are too many shows that portray negative situations and personal conflict all in the name of ratings and entertainment. I do not personally like chaos, arguing and fussing, so I do not indulge in too much reality TV, so you can imagine my shock when I went downstairs and discovered my daughter glued to the television screen watching Teen Moms!
Of course I banned her from watching Teen Moms! I do not think there is anything entertaining about teen parenting. I found out how to update my television’s parental controls, but I still had to deal with what my daughter had already been exposed to. I sat her down and we talked about why she should not watch the show and about “reality” and the fact that most of these shows are not reality. Reality shows should not be examples of how to live, act, and manage relationships!
In the age of social media, apps, and reality TV, it has become more difficult to monitor what our children are exposed to. And while our protective instincts say “ban them from everything,” the reality is we have to discuss content with our children so that they have the correct perspective and can learn to filter out mess.
On another note, many teens begin to rebel around this age and their attitudes begin to change. I encourage you to keep the lines of communication open between you and your daughter. Becoming a teenager can be difficult. I can’t imagine doing it again in this age! Your daughter may just be adjusting to teenhood and immolating the coolest reality TV stars may be her way of trying to fit.
Editors Note: Tamara Hartley is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. She uses her personal life experiences and lessons learned to give others a different perspective and help them make critical decisions in their life, relationships and careers. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Tamara on twitter @drtamarahartley and check out her column and archives at www.youradviceguru.com.