The Baby Borrowers: Reality TV gone too far?

Cross-posted at BlogHers Act

The Baby BorrowersNBC’s new reality show “The Baby Borrowers” takes five teenage couples through a crash course in adulthood tasking them with responsibilities such as a house payment, a job, and for three days, the care of a baby (and later, a toddler, pre-teen and elderly person). Many bloggers and others are up in arms over infants being separated from their parents for so long for a so-called “social experiment” saying it is irresponsible television and some have even called it child abuse.

Although my stomach lurched when I first heard about this show with a catchy name and the slogan “It’s not TV. It’s birth control!” and had no intention of watching it, I decided that if I was going to write about it with any sort of authority I really needed to take a look at least some of it. I watched the second half of the first episode, when the parents dropped off their infants to the teenage couples, and most of the second episode which also dealt with the couples caring (or not) for the babies and their first days going to work outside the home.

As I watched it one word kept coming to mind: exploitation. The whole show reeked of exploitation – exploitation of the infants and of the teens. I’ve read people argue that it’s not like these babies were kidnapped. After all, their parents willingly signed up to participate and handed them over for the show. But my concern is not what the parents’ opinion or thoughts on participating were or that safety measures were all in place, it is that the babies had no say in the matter. They weren’t able to voice their feelings and say, “No, I don’t want to leave you, Mommy and Daddy, and go live with strangers who know nothing about babies for three days.” They were only able to cry, and cry they did. These poor babies had no idea how long their parents would be gone, or really if they’d ever return. My heart broke every time one of them cried, was called “it” (which happened on many occasions), was told to “starve” (as one was when he wouldn’t eat), or was juggled about haphazardly.

Yet not all of the show consisted of upset crying babies. There were happy times for them as well and a few of the teenagers really seemed to rise to the occasion and take their parenting role seriously. But we’ll never know what really went on behind the scenes, how much was edited or how NBC’s “social experiment” will affect these little people in the immediate future or further down the road.

Zero to Three, a national nonprofit multidisciplinary organization who’s mission is “to support the healthy development and well-being of infants, toddlers and their families,” issued a response to The Baby Borrowers citing studies that have been done on babies who have been through prolonged separation from their family. Here is just a bit of it:

For the past 80 years, many studies have shown unequivocally that babies and toddlers suffer when they are exposed to this kind of prolonged separation from family and left with people that they do not know or love. As all parents know, babies and toddlers are very distressed by separation. They cry, cling, and search for their parents. The longer the separation, the more upset they become. Some children are unable to sleep and refuse to eat. The responses routinely last long past the child’s reunion with the parent. Prolonged separations heighten young children’s separation anxiety and damage their trust that their parents will be available to protect and care for them. Children can become angry and rejecting of their parents after being reunited with them, damaging the fabric of the child-parent relationship.

Studies show that babies and toddlers need to feel safe and secure in order to form a positive sense of self, to form healthy relationships, and to feel confident to explore their world. This sense of security is dependent on the availability and stability of their trusted primary caregivers. Being separated for a three-day period from a parent or trusted, familiar adult, and being thrust into the care of a total stranger who has no experience with the child—how he or she is comforted, likes to be fed, held, etc.—and who has no experience caring for young children at all, can be very stressful for the child.

Due to her concern for the “present and future emotional health of these babies,” Jan Hunt of The Natural Child Project wrote an open letter to NBC. Here’s a clip of it:

Babies do not have the mental capacity to anticipate the return of a mother who has gone; they cannot use imagination or project into the future. Research consistently shows that babies separated from their mothers have skyrocketing cortisol levels. This is neurotoxic, damaging brain tissue in the prefrontal lobe areas that regulate emotion, leading to a lifetime vulnerability. When cortisol is produced due to emotional stress, the next stressful experience creates an even larger surge of cortisol. By the time a stressed child reaches adulthood, he is likely to overreact to all stressful situations, making it harder to cope with life’s challenges. For all these reasons, babies and young children should be kept as stress-free as possible, to protect their future psychological and physical health.

As traumatic as this experience will surely be for these babies and children, the effects will not end when they return home. Will their parents then understand and empathize with their inevitable sadness and regressed behavior? Probably not, because few parents are aware of the critical importance of early childhood experiences. There is every reason to believe that this kind of trauma will have long-term effects, making it harder for these children to trust their parents or indeed, anyone else.

Ashlee at Mama’s Nest says, “I can not imagine what would motivate parents to put their babies through this… oh, wait, it’s America- anyone wanna guess how much money they made? ::end rant::”

I actually had the same thought as Ashlee, but according to The Washington Post article, “NBC says the families who came on the show did not get paid to appear.” Really? Wow. That leaves me wondering if not money, then what were their motivations?

The blogger at RunningAmuck wrote, “Watching all those mamas hand over their precious babies to total, very inexperienced and self-absorbed, strangers… left me with a knot in the pit of my stomach. I could not even imagine doing it myself. The parents did get to watch via cameras and there were professional nannies at each home to monitor the safety of the child. They were not to step in unless the baby was in danger. Slight comfort. I had tears welling up every time I watched one of the parents say goodbye to their babies.”

On Mom Exchange jencct wrote, “While I am quite interested to see how things pan out, I also wonder [what] parents in their right mind would “lend” their six-eleven month olds to teenagers who have no clue about babies! I guess I’m not their target market. I could not even think about leaving my kids with other people!”

So what could motivate a parent to leave her child in the care of strangers? The publicity and exposure? The chance to get their little one noticed? According to Natalie Nichols, one of the mothers who gave up two of her children – daughter Etta (6 months) and son Benjamin (2) – for the show, it was because she was a teenage mother herself and says it was that experience that motivated her to let her children be a part of the show. She wanted the teens to learn how hard it really is to be a parent. Lil Sugar blog has an interview with Natalie and The Washington Post posted an article about Natalie, which contained some very surprising information (at least to me) about her being a breastfeeding and co-sleeping mom.

Natalie describes not sleeping for the three days that Etta was with Sean and Kelsey. “It was harder with Etta being there than Benjamin,” she said, “[Etta] was more needy so I had to really supervise.” Because Natalie was nursing Etta at the time of the show, she was pumping and sending milk over to the teen house. As preparation for the show, Natalie and Chet had to make sure that Etta would take milk from a bottle.

On screen, the cameras show Etta crying for much of the episode, frustrating her young caretakers. Off screen, though, Natalie says Etta was happy during the day. Nighttime was a different story. Etta, normally a co-sleeper, wouldn’t settle alone in a crib, so Sean had to stay up holding her all three nights. After several hours of watching the caregivers’ frustration escalate, Natalie went over to have a little chat with Sean and Kelsey. After that, Natalie says, Sean stepped up and put Etta’s needs ahead of his own.

So, what happened to Etta after the show? “You would have never known she had been there. She was not traumatized. It was like she made a new friend,” said Natalie, who gave Sean a cast made from Etta’s hand as a gift.

I’m glad that doing the show didn’t seem to have an effect on her, but no comment on whether or not she may have been traumatized. I mean, how can she really know if it will have a lasting effect on her?

Although Etta was a breastfed and co-sleeping baby, from what I saw on the show there was no mention of pumped breastmilk or that she was used to co-sleeping. I feel like NBC had the chance to educate teenagers (who they claim was their target demographic for the show) that breastmilk is a healthy, normal way to feed a baby, but they dropped the ball (yet again). They did, however, show the teenage boys shopping on the formula aisle in the grocery store. Now that I think about it, I didn’t notice if any formula companies sponsored the show, as I TIVO’d it and skipped over commercials, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. I don’t know why I would expect NBC to redeem themselves by discussing breastfeeding on the show (which might be a big reality check for these teens – breasts have a function other than to look good in a shirt), but I had hopes there’d be some sort of positive message to come from all of this.

A comment from Asia84 on Lil Sugar‘s blog asks the question that I want answered too, “Has anyone thought about how the infants themselves feel???? One minute, I was with mommy and daddy, and I had my favorite binky. Life was grand. Then, next thing I know I’m being handed over to this pretty girl and this guy who looks at me funny. Do I have applesauce on my nose?? I’m teething, so I DON’T wanna eat, but I’m hungry, so I’m gonna cry. I want my mommy. I want my mommy. I want my mommy. I’ll even settle for daddy. I just want my mommy!”

Angie Felton at Parent Dish believes there are other, better ways to educate teens on the immense responsibility of raising children.

I’m all for educating teens on child care getting rid of the notion that parenting is one big ball of baby powdery fun, but there ARE better ways than dumping a baby off with complete strangers for a television show. Working at a childcare center, volunteering at a church nursery or preschool, or even babysitting are all good ways to get a small idea of what life as a parent is like.
What exactly is going on with our society that makes babies fair game for a reality series, anyway?

I think NBC made some poor choices in creating this show the way that they did. They could’ve taught responsibility without exploiting babies. And then there is the question is this show reaching it’s targeted demographic and is it influencing their choice of whether to have children now or to wait? Or are teens going to watch it, think “hey, that doesn’t look so hard” and have babies anyway?

Edited on 7/4/08 to add:
If you are interested in voicing your opinion regarding The Baby Borrowers to NBC, please take a look at Attachment Parenting International’s response (where they state the show is in direct violation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child) and they also give the contact information for Mr. Jeffrey Zucker, president and CEO of NBC.

Did you watch the show? What do you think? What would you do?

Edited on 7/15/08 to add: If you are interested in reading more about this show and those involved, I just posted an interview with Natalie Nichols, the AP mom who’s two children appeared on The Baby Borrowers.

50 thoughts on “The Baby Borrowers: Reality TV gone too far?”

  1. I would never put my child through that.
    And there’s no way teenagers watched that show. It was people like me and my husband rolling our eyes at how immature they were and how crazy of a premise the show was to begin with.
    Nice try NBC, but FAIL.

  2. This whole concept is just SO wrong on every level. Give the teens a baby doll, a mechanical baby (like the ipets), a sack of flour, a carton of eggs-etc. to teach them about babies. Human babies do not need to be used and possibly traumatized for a crappy reality TV show. Please!

    There are a lot of other ways, without possibly harming babies to teach teens the responsibility involved with having a baby. Whatever happened to babysitting for a few hours?

    I don’t care if a mother nurses or feeds with a bottle, or the baby sleeps in a crib or co-sleeps, what this show does is just flat out wrong and sick- it is exploiting babies. I consider it child-abuse on some level. Just because it is on TV, doesn’t make it right or acceptable.

    With all of the abused and neglected babies we have in our country, why does NBC have to add to the problems by encouraging parents to “lend” their babies out, and put it on TV? It is gross. It repulses me.

  3. I am so grateful for your post and in depth digging (as always!) I refused to watch a second of the show and I’m glad to hear a little more first hand feedback. I think exploitation is a great word to describe what they’ve done and I’m saddened that the innocent ones, those babies!, are the ones to suffer.

    I am not in the mothers shoes of course, but from what you and others have reported, I can not believe that baby Etta just smoothly transitioned in and out of this situation peacefully. Anyway you look at it, it’s traumatic whether these parents are up for admitting it or not.

    And if it is true that no money changed hands, I am at a greater loss as to how people agreed to do this. There is nothing noble about it. Nothing at all.

  4. I’m going out on a limb here- I do not agree with the show at all, but I’m trying to see how this differs from infants who go to daycare. Yes the providers are professionals, but the infants would still go through the same parental withdrawl.

  5. I watched the show, and I have to say that as someone who’s not a parent, the biggest concern to me was that these kids were given such a small amount of time to prepare for a baby. Even if a teen does get pregnant, she has the pregnancy to learn, prepare, gather the needed materials, and make a plan to get the help and support she needs. These kids had a brief parenting class, and that was it.
    I was so surprised and wondered how parents could hand over their kids like that. Yes, some teens did step up and learn something, and most of them said outright that they’re not ready to have kids. However, I felt bad for the babies, and I was wondering about the breastfeeding issue as well.
    I think a better, safer idea would be to make these kids move in with a family, and shaddow the mom and dad all day. That way, they’d still get the experience right along with the parents, but they’d have a model to follow, instead of just having a child thrown at them. Hopefully the parents would be good models…

  6. The other thing to consider is that these teens were looking after other people’s babies…not their own and there is a big difference. I’m a mother of three and would no doubt find it equally difficult to look after baby Etta who needed to nurse and usually sleeps with Mum.
    Being handed a 6 month old baby that you do not know or who does not know you us really quite different to looking after your own, so is an almost pointless exercise in training the teens about parenting.

    They should have taken a few teens to live in the home of a (willing volunteer) new mum who could benefit from some help. The teen could be made to get up in the night to bring baby to mum for feeds (and witness real breastfeeding), change all the nappies, bathing etc, all with mums supervision and input. To really learn about real life of parents they could also cook the meals, do the shopping and laundry and clean the house, then they could pick up after the toddler, drive the older ones too and from activities and bake cookies in the afternoon. THAT my friends,would be reality TV!

  7. I agree…I like the idea of showing teenagers that parenting is work. However, I get stressed handing my new baby over to a trusted friend or family member, let alone a stranger who has little or no experience. I just can’t imagine watching my baby cry without stepping in–especially the little ones.

    What if something happened so suddenly before someone could step in?

    It just seems irresponsible.

  8. I did not watch it at all. I heard about it right before it was to air and just knew there was no way my heart could stand to watch it. It just sounds cruel to put babies through that kind of separation, and for what? Wouldn’t it have worked better to have the teens move into their houses and join in the care of the children?

  9. I watched the show with increasing annoyance. Putting aside the issue of the infants, which I just can’t come to grips with. I mean, I watched my baby sleep for ten minutes after turning off the show. I couldn’t fathom doing that to her…
    Anyway… Who were these teens? A more self centered, immature group was never seen on TV. From the girl who locked herself in the bathroom because her boyfriend giggled when he saw her in the preggo suit to the girl who slept through TWO nights of a screaming child while her boyfriend cared for the baby and then made him go to work because she was getting blisters! Really?
    I agree that there’s no way this show is teaching anyone anything, especially not teens.
    I mean seriously? Those are some NICE houses, and Buy Buy Baby gave them some NICE stuff, plus $100 a day as a starting salary is quite nice too. Doubt any real teen parents get to live in that kind of comfort.
    K’ then, getting off my soapbox now. Sorry about hijacking the comments section!

  10. Excellent post. I haven’t seen the show, but I would agree with Abbie that a much better way to show what it’s really like would be for a teen to shadow a parent all day to really see how exhausting it is.

    Handing babies over *is* exploitation, pure and simple.

  11. I have read some other comments about this show being pretty much like daycare in that a baby is left with a stranger for most of the day, five days a week.

    I refuse to watch any of this show, so I don’t know if the teens and the babies were given time to know each other before the switch was made or not. But, I don’t think you can compare this show to daycare.

    Most people who work in daycare are experienced around babies. Daycares in general have rules and regulations and training for the staff who will handle babies, and usually use the same person day after day to care for the babies. Furthermore, many daycare workers have degrees or some education in child development.

    I have never heard of a daycare center accepting a baby either, without a few trial runs. Most providers want you to start daycare a few weeks before, and leave the baby for a half-an-hour at first, then an hour, etc. to work up to gradual time the baby will be left. And the parents are always back with the baby after work.

    My biggest complaint with this show and comparing it to daycare is most people who leave their children and daycare for 8+ hours a day HAVE to- they have no choice. And I am assuming most of these parents strive to find the warmest, most caring, and loving setting they can find.

    Of course babies can bond to more than one person, and this often happens with a daycare provider long term, and the process can be quickened with someone who is experienced in caring for babies.

    In my mind is morally wrong to leave babies with strangers for mere entertainment for a TV show!

    There is a big difference in having to leave your baby with a care provider if an emergency comes up, or you have to work. But to hand your baby over, to try to teach teens a lesson about the “reality” of babies, is wrong. Why not just turn the babies over to teens right when they are born, so they can see what having a newborn is like?

    The bond between a parent and their baby is sacred. It is the cornerstone and foundation for building a secure and confident person- and is a basic element for the building blocks of our society. Messing with this bond on purpose, and dumping your baby off to teens, who are not fully emotionally developed themselves to handle the demands of a baby, for a TV show is wrong.

    It scares me to think what people will do for fame- obviously nothing- not even the bond between a mother/father and their baby- is sacred anymore.

  12. Wow, what an informative post! Thanks for taking the spin out of reality tv.

    I watched about 10 minutes of the show then had to stop because the pain I felt for the babies & the real parents was sickening. I’d like to know what motivated these teens to sign up for this show…

    Thanks for pointing out that NBC didn’t really think this through, didn’t use a real learning experience to its greater good and didn’t really make compelling tv in the end.

    Sad, just sad…

  13. I think you are looking at it only from one angle. And while the angle of the children is extremely important, they were separated from their parents for 3 days – not a “prolonged abscence” by any means. You also failed to mention that the real parents of these children were able to watch via satellite 24/7 from a nearby location and some of the parents intervened and showed up at the houses of the teen parents when they saw things that they didn’t like.

    The truth is that we have a growing problem in America with teen preganancy rates going through the roof. Nothing seems to be working to deter this behavior. How do you think the children of these parents are going to turn out? So if a 3 day stint with a crying baby prevents them from having a real baby of their own and screwing up their own child (who will have “prolonged” time with their teen parents) for life, then I do not find it an exploitation at all. I find it to be a valuable lesson.

  14. I think most parents who get their kids involved in the entertainment industry (mamas Lohan and Spears excepted) do it because they have a sincere, if misguided, belief that any trauma their kids experience will be outweighed by the nest egg they’re building. But if these parents aren’t even being paid, what is the motivation? Is being on TV *that* exciting?

    I personally do not believe that teaching these teens (who they don’t even know) a lesson is sufficient justification. Certainly not enough to outweigh the legitimate (and unconsented) trauma to the children. When I was in high school, a classmate was killed in a car crash. Sure, it taught us all a good lesson about safe driving and seat belts, but its not an experience I would ever wish for anyone to have.

  15. Excellent post. *THIS* is not entertainment. This is creepy, “watching a car wreck and looking for blood” kind of voyeurism. Those poor children. Their parents and NBC should be ashamed of themselves.

  16. Addressing the idea that this is the same as dropping a child off for daycare…

    I feel fortunate that I was able to be a SAHM since the birth of my first child. I didn’t look into any kind of childcare until my daughter was 3 and I decided to enroll her in preschool. When that time came, I first got some recommendations from friends and then visited the preschool to see how the teacher interacted with the students. After that, my husband and I met with the teacher for an interview to make sure that she was a good fit for us and that our daughter was a good fit for the school. It was then that we decided it would be a good place to send our daughter.

    I think most people, when they sign up for daycare or preschool for their child, go through a similar process. They want their child to be in good, experienced hands. They check credentials, they interview, they sit in to observe. All of this is in stark contrast to what happened on The Baby Borrowers when parents let their babies go with immature, self-absorbed strangers that had little to no experience with babies – certainly no formal training.

    Also, as A Mama’s Blog (Heather) pointed out with daycare there are often trial runs, and the baby gets used to the caregiver gradually and the caregiver to the baby. It’s possible that this happened behind the scenes w/ the TV show, but as far as I know, we can’t confirm that and they certainly didn’t elude to that taking place. With a gradual introduction to daycare, baby begins to see that it is a routine and that mommy or daddy will come back for them each time. Whereas with The Baby Borrowers, the parents were to leave the babies for 3 days. Yes, they were watching them on nannycams, but the babies didn’t know that. And yes, they could stop in whenever they wanted and we don’t know how often that really happened, but it still does not feel the same to me as a daycare situation.

    It is because of these things that I don’t feel it is fair to compare The Baby Borrowers to daycare. They are apples and oranges.

    Crunchy Domestic Goddess

  17. Kristie,
    I appreciate your comment, but I disagree with you. I believe 3 days *is* a prolonged absence, especially in the eyes of an infant or toddler. And I did include that the parents could watch via a camera (it’s in one of the blogger’s remarks I quoted). And I thought the fact that parents could intervene as needed was eluded to (as I mention that Natalie did intervene), but I could have made that more clear.
    There may be a crisis in America with teen pregnancy, but I don’t believe this show is the answer to solving it.

    Crunchy Domestic Goddess

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  19. Thanks for raising awareness of this. I was so upset by this story, I couldn’t even make it through your post. The first few graphs were enough for me.

    This is disgusting. How far the “peacock network” has fallen.

  20. Wow, only 3 days?? And with parents right there watching so that they could step in at any moment? And with professional nannies in the house the whole time???

    Hmmm, I’m wondering why everyone is getting so upset about THIS when women leave their infants (at 6 WEEKS) and children in daycare 50 + hours a week, 52 weeks a year! And in daycare there is no one on one attention with the infants/children and the parents aren’t right across the street.

    I think America has bigger problem than this show when it comes to mothers leaving their young children!

    My thoughts are, if this show stops one teenager from getting pregnant too soon, it was worth it!

  21. Oops… guess I should have read through the comments first… I see the daycare thing has already been discussed.

    But just to add on to the “bonding with the provider in daycare”… well no, that doesn’t really get to happen either. Most daycare centers have high turn over rates and different teachers/providers throughout the day. I don’t think any ONE provider is going to work 12 hours a day, they rotate and new staff are in and out at different times. And they move often to a different room/class and are not with the same provider for very long. Of course home daycare is different, but it’s still daycare.

  22. That IS an interesting point, Tonja. I hadn’t thought of that. However, I don’t believe in daycare either. My mom, thank God, is able to keep my daughter while I work part-time. I never would’ve put her in daycare; if my mom couldn’t have kept her I’d have quit my job and we’d just be poor!

    I am currently thinking over the differences between this and leaving kids in daycare. The biggest one for me is bedtime, because after seeing Etta’s difficulties, it was obvious those kids were in over their heads. I believe Amy pointed out Etta was a cosleeper and breastfeeder.

    Why didn’t NBC only seek out babies who slept in cribs, were fed formula, and went to daycare? This would’ve made it ten times easier on the babies! Were they so desperate to drive home their point and keep the show full of conflict that they risked the emotional well-being of infants?

  23. I haven’t seen the show, I can see it being good to stop these teens from getting prego but you have to think about the kids too. I think they could do it in away that keeps everyone safe and happy but I haven’t watched it so no idea how they are doing with that lol.

    Also I have a challenge going on at my blog I think you will like, check it out. 🙂

  24. my first thought on the show, and I hate reality TV, was, “Finally, what a great idea!”

    Then I watched it. And as my mom pointed out, what was missing was LOVE. These teens have no love for the kids they’ve been put in charge of.

    While I do think it is a great idea and teens need to be aware of the great commitment child rearing takes, without love, the whole thing is mute. It’s different when youi are emotionally involved.

    And holy crap are all teens that pathetic?

  25. I had many of the same thoughts as you when I saw the premise for this show – completely exploitative! I can’t even COMPREHEND what these parents were thinking, allowing this to go on. It only takes a split second for something awful to happen – and then how would they live with themselves, knowing they pimped out their babies that way? Last week, a dear friend of mine had a tragic accident with her baby – she tripped on the stairs and dropped her baby, who ended up with a skull fracture. She is going to be fine, THANK GOD, but can you imagine if something similar happened because some teenage kid in a Hot Topic t-shirt dropped your baby on the set of a TV show? I really can’t even get my head around it.

  26. Just the previews made my insides churn.I don’t care how short a timespan it is, I can’t imagine turning over my baby into someone else’s hands for some sort of reality TV social experiment.

    Ya know…I honestly don’t think some TV show like this is going to be the solution to preventing teen pregnancy.There are way too many factors to take into consideration. But this viewpoint comes from being a teen parent and later on working with pregnant teens and teen parents.

  27. I’m still not sure I can comment as I haven’t seen the show. I can also see points from both sides of the fence.

    HOWEVER…Amy, do you know you have a trackback above from a teen porn site? Feel free to delete the trackback and delete my comment too.

    Interesting discussion…outside of the porn. 😉

  28. Very interesting. Not that I’m at all surprised by all of this. (I didn’t know about the show until reading this.) I honestly can’t imagine any parent handing their infant over to young kids. I’m appalled. Not with the show itself, but with the parents.

  29. I had no idea this show was on, and I’m shocked about it. I have nothing else to say, I can only sign under your words. There’s no excuse for paents giving their kids for a reality show like this, no excuse… This TV glamour need of being exposed no matter what has gone too far…

  30. If any of you are appalled by the parents for allowing their kids to participate in this program, then I assume all of you are appauled for all the people who leave their kids with someone while they have to do things such as travel for work. Our military members come to mind. Oh, maybe you take exception for people like that…but do the babes know the difference?

    Why don’t you talk to the teens that saw this and have since rethought the notion of getting pregnant. Maybe you should tell them that it would have been better off that this show did not air, thus keeping them on the path of becoming another teen pregnancy statistic.

    It’s always easier to judge people who do not walk the same path we do…is’t it?

  31. I am not so down on the concept of teenagers taking care of babies. However, what might have been a better approach would have been for the parents to sponsor the teenagers in their home and let the teenagers (with guidance) take care of the babies through the 3 nights. It would have given the parents the ability to monitor the babies care. (Not to mention giving the teenagers a coach to guide them along). Family integration would also have to happen first with gradual contact over a week or so, so the babies know the people who will be holding them. I don’t think the concept is so terrible but the implimentation sucked..everyone’s right about taking babies out of the environments, faces and people they know I couldn’t fathom it. Let’s not forget that babies at 6 moths also know their parents by smells and sights of their houses. There are a lot of things they did wrong (clearly misguided). I am not exactly sure that 3 days would do the trick for long term damage though..many parents have left their children with their mother or family at one time or another and the baby not really recognize that person. 17 to 19 year olds may not be interested but, I know a lot of 11 to 14 year old girls that might benifit from seeing this (done properly) with their own parents.
    Just a different perspective…

  32. I would just like to say that I’m a teen mother and probably wouldn’t be if I had the experience the teens on the show had. You may say that you can educate a teen on what happens when you have a baby at a young age, but you can never truly know until you are one.
    In the case of the child being traumatized, how do you know? Have you ever sat down with a baby and asked it. I really think that people aren’t seeing what this show can really do. If you watched the whole season, you would know that there are now 10 teens that aren’t going to be parents and time soon. That isn’t counting the ones that watched the show.
    I remember watching the first one. My son wasn’t in the best of moods that night, now don’t get me wrong I love my son with all my heart and wouldn’t give him up for anything, but being only a child myself and trying to deal with child isn’t easy.
    I’ve read some of the comments and giving a teen guidance about raising a baby isn’t the answer. That just says “Hey, with a little help from someone who is experience you too can be a parent.”

    You know, before people go commenting about this and spitting out their opinion I think you should ask some teens that have seen the show what they think. I remember one of the girls on the show saying that it would probably be easier if it were her own baby, but she is sadly mistaken. It’s just the same.

    By the way, handing your baby over to a stranger isn’t uncommon. If you and your spouse work, then I do believe that baby would be going to a daycare worker. So you are traumatizing your child just as much as the parents who handed their babies over to the teens.

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