Sunday, September 19, 2010

Teen Mom: The Spank

I don’t normally blog about TV shows because there are people out there who recap and do this way better than I ever could hope to. Also, sometimes it’s embarrassing how much time and thought I put into TV. Like I have dreams and wake up thinking “I could totally write an episode based on that dream!”

Anyway, I definitely don’t usually think that much about reality TV. But do any of you watch Teen Mom? I’m riveted! It’s one of the few reality shows where you’re like “hmmm, maybe they’re too stupid to just be putting on a show.”

The one couple I really struggle with, though, is Amber and Gary. I don’t know what the rules are of putting in pictures I didn’t take, and the idea of being near enough to these two to take a photo gives me hives, so
here's a link to them.

Yeah, they’re not a cute couple. They’re also the most dysfunctional human beings on the planet. Which would be amusing…if they didn’t have a little girl who isn’t even 2 witnessing the window-rattling screaming matches these two get into every day.

As I may have mentioned, I love me some Dr Phil and he says something that has always stuck with me. “When you have a child, you write on the slate of who they are every day.”

Well, if that’s true, Amber and Gary’s kid’s slate is covered in expletives, smeared with Dorito dust.

The screaming and the fighting and the kicking out and the on-again/off-again nature of this doomed pairing is bad enough, but what I witnessed on the most recent episode left me speechless, and seriously physically ill.

Amber had kicked Tubbo out for, oh, the 15th time this season. This time his flagrant foul came because he had the NERVE to get up early for work (it should be noted, I don’t think the man has worked a day in this entire season. Last season he traded in a video game system to get Amber an ugly pink “engagement” ring for $15 at Wal-Mart) and in the process, wake up their daughter.

This won’t shock anyone who has kids…the baby didn’t want to go back to sleep. But, you see, Amber did.

So she screamed at Gary, and Gary screamed back at her, and then the baby started screaming…and that pretty much set up a crabby day for all involved. Especially the baby, who would not stop crying. And who cried harder when Amber continued to yell at Gary later when he got home, saying the months this child was home with Gary, he had clearly neglected to discipline her at all.

Please keep in mind this child is not two years old. Let me set this up with a story. I baby-sat for a family in college who didn’t believe in telling their child no. EVER. She would throw food, she would tear the house apart, she would go near the hot stove…and repeatedly they would catch me saying no and lecture me that saying no would inhibit her creativity.

I tell this story to prove that I have ZERO problem with discipline and saying no. I think it’s one of the most important ways you can keep your child safe and healthy.

But there has to be an age-appropriateness to the discipline, right? I mean, there are only a few things I say no to for Wee ‘Burb. Most of them are safety issues: don’t try to take the bone out of Cous Cous’ mouth, don’t try to grab mommy’s hot coffee cup. The only one that maybe isn’t safety related is when I tell her “no” when she takes her diaper off. Cuz that just bugs me, and often ends up in a mess.

When I say no, about 90% of the time I am greeted with a blank stare. Basically it’s a pause long enough for me to distract her. It’s about as age-appropriate as I can get, I think, for a child who doesn’t speak. Or, you know, really understand words in general.

So I was SHOCKED when I heard Amber yelling at her child to stop her screaming when she finally kicked Gary out. And then the camera went dark and we heard some serious smacking, and saw Amber exit the baby’s room with a satisfied look on her face.

Now I’m not using this as a forum for the pros and cons of spanking. It’s none of my business how people choose to discipline their children. But babies??? I mean is there any common sense reason to spank a baby? They don’t understand, the baby didn’t stop crying! She cried harder.

I’m just going to picture Dr. Drew in his dreamy black t-shirt taking Amber to task at the reunion. Because I have to say, I have thought about this so many times since I saw the episode. It has to be brought up in that forum, right? To at least discuss the intelligence level of infants and their inability to understand real discipline.

I talked myself out of blogging this a few times, because I didn’t want it to devolve into the inevitable “to spank or not to spank” issue. It just made me realize how much more selective I have become, and probably will become, in what I can watch. I used to devour Dateline and 48 Hours and all those juicy crime stories, and now I find myself turning the channel the second it has anything to do with a child. So maybe I’m just oversensitive now that I’m a mom. But it left a bad taste in my mouth and I really hope it’s addressed at some point.

Have you ever seen a TV show that has made you think afterward, even when it’s generally a silly one you watch for fun?


LambAround said...

What a scary, horrible thing to do! Did you see the news story recently about the Albuquerque mom who slapped her baby on a Southwest flight?

Kristy said...

Well, if that’s true, Amber and Gary’s kid’s slate is covered in expletives, smeared with Dorito dust.

PERFECTLY SAID. Love that line. They are awful. I fast forward their scenes because it's always the same sh*t and just watch the other couples.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

Lamb: I didn't see that story! I mean, I know it happens, I guess I am just very surprised that it was on TV with no further comment.

Kristy: Fast forwarding is a good idea. I just get so caught up in it all! They're starting to make the other people look like model parents!

Christina said...

i read half of your post and immediately took my lunch break just so i could go watch the episode before reading the rest. i'm sorry, but amber disgusts me. i am not necessarily a fan of spanking, but as i have never been a mother, i am not one to decide how others' do their parenting. like you said, it's not my business. BUT that girl is awful. how do you call your little baby a brat over and over and get mad at her for screaming? do you ever see her playing with the baby? NOPE. when i heard her tell the baby "sorry, daddy's leaving you again." NO! you kicked him and out he's leaving YOUR ass, not the poor baby! ugh. she really makes me mad. it's crazy to compare her parenting skills/maturity level with that of the couple who gave their baby up for adoption. unbelievable.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

Christina: THANK YOU! It's so nice to hear someone else get as mad as I do. I know it's irrational, but it's so frustrating to watch! And it just proves you don't have to have a kid to get mad when you see that crap. Maybe I'm not just a total hormonal mommy softie after all :)