Okay, time for my 2 cents. Tonight NBC aired the pilot of a new show, The Baby Borrowers. I was interested in the show so I watched it tonight (Michael wasn't home!) I thought that the premise of the show had potential. Here is what NBC has on their site as a description of the show:
"NBC's upcoming reality series "The Baby Borrowers" is an intriguing new social experiment based on the hit British program that asks five diverse teenage couples -- ages 18-20 -- to fast-track to adulthood by setting up a home, getting a job and becoming caring parents first to babies, toddlers, pre-teens and their pets, teenagers and senior citizens -- all over the course of three weeks.
As the social experiment begins, the five young volunteer couples are asked to literally grow up overnight when they are each given a home in a quiet cul-de-sac outside Boise, Idaho and attend pre-natal classes as each "mother" wears a simulated "empathy" belly to prepare them for the arrival of their "baby."
When a real baby (all aged six-11 months old) appears at their door -- courtesy of five pairs of real volunteer parents (some of whom were teen parents themselves) who entrust their infants to one of the couples -- the nervous, fumbling teens are in for three long, arduous days that make chilling out a distant memory. They must stick to rigid routines, handle the feeding chores, diaper duty and crying jags that might be shared by baby and teens -- all the while under 24-hour supervision by nannies and the real parents who are stationed next door, watching via monitor, and able to step in at any time. Plus, one teen from each of the couples must start a job, ranging from working in a local vet's office to a lumberyard, leaving the other alone as caregiver for the day.
After three surprising, intense days, each teen couple will bid bye-bye to the baby and receive a toddler as their fast-forward adult life progresses. They will have to cope with typical "terrible twos" behavior, including pouty tantrums, potty training and other messes. Three days later, the weary couples must face the reality of parenting several sassy pre-teens/"tweeners" at once -- each with a family pet in tow, adding to their responsibilities.
Seventy-two hours later, the teenagers arrive, thereby perhaps providing them with a mirror image of their own recent relationships with their parents. To complete the cycle of life, the experiment ends with as couples are graced with the opportunity to care for a senior citizen, including some with health issues, who represent what might be in store for them in the distant future.
Through this emotional, dramatic journey, each young couple will get a unique opportunity to peer into the future and see what they (and their partners) might be like if they remain together and decide to build a family. Tested by the everyday ups and downs of taking care of others and maintaining a relationship, most of the teens find themselves looking at all of their relationships and notions of parenthood in a new light. "
Initially I thought, "What a great way for young people to experience parenting than to "babysit" a child - hands on experience, you know?" What I didn't expect was the Momma Bear in me to come out roaring as I watched these teenagers, these kids basically, take care of a child for a day. Oh my gosh! There is NO way in God's green earth that I would "loan" my child out for a show like this. You can't tell me that this doesn't affect the child in some way. I get that the parents are across the street watching what happens in the house on a TV and are free to intervene any time that they feel their child is in need of them. I get that there is a full time, trained nanny on hand in the home to protect the child. I get that these parents wanted to help out young people to make good choices in life. Trust me, I get it. I just don't understand it. I could not sit by and watch some teenager talk about my child as an "it". I could not watch as my child's diaper wasn't changed all day or didn't have their clothes changed for bed time. I could for sure not watch as a caregiver loses their patience with my infant child. All of which happened on the show tonight. Forget it. Not happening. Not with my most prized possession - my treasure.
Don't get me wrong, I am all for teaching young adults about the sacrifices you make as a parent and that it's not all smiles and cooing babies. I do think that if more teens were aware of the difficulty it can be to have a child so young, it might deter them from getting into trouble. Especially on the heels of the story from MA about the 17 girls getting pregnant. I just know I wouldn't be able to be a part of the show.
I have read some of the posts on the NBC website and there are opinions on both sides of the coin. What do you think about all of this? Would you allow your child to be "loaned" out for the training of teenagers in parenting skills? I'm interested in what y'all think? Post your thoughts.
Here is another link that might be interesting if you didn't watch the show.