Reality television is ruining my daughter! My 13-year-old daughter is addicted to reality TV. Every time I turn around she is watching Teen Mom, the Housewives, Love and Hip Hop and The Braxtons. Even when I cut her off on the television, she sneaks and watches them on her phone on Netflix. She is infatuated with the reality stars and talks about them as if they are part of our family. Even worse, she is starting to quote them and immolate their mannerisms. The other day she told her 7-year-old brother “you better get your life!” It is just too much. My daughter is a straight-A student, but I am beginning to see a major change in her attitude. I am worried that she getting out of control. I have tried to ban her from reality TV, but I work late nights and am not always there to monitor her every move. Most of these shows come on during prime time and are not restricted. Do you have any suggestions?
Over Reality TV
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, Bring it On, and even Teen Mom. First, I am not a fan of reality TV because it is NOT REALITY. I think there are too many shows that portray negative situations and personal conflict all in the name of ratings and entertainment. My sister says it best, “In reality, none of us would ever hang out with or have dinner once a week with a group of people we hate! I personally do not like the chaos, arguing, fussing, and in many case, fighting. 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 emulating the coolest reality TV stars may be her way of trying to fit.