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Sunday, June 27, 2010

MTV's "Teen Mom," Why This Momma Loooves That Show

by Tanya Yvonne author of the forthcoming book “Violet Eyes”
Sure “16 and Pregnant,” is good but it is the “Teen Mom” spinoff that I make sure to never miss. It reminds me of a time when shows like “The Real World” were real. When the lives of its cast members sparked discussion about topics that many teens grapple with, yet were reluctant or unsure how to start a discourse regarding them. Like cast member Pedro Zamora’s battle with AIDS. And Tami Roman’s difficult decision to have an abortion. Though only a teen when the seasons in which Pedro and Tami were featured, I vividly recall their stories. But it is only since becoming a mother that I think back to how I then reacted to the episodes that dealt with such difficult subject matters.   

By talking with my mother. I don’t remember why my mother started watching the show with my sister and I, but I do recall the chats we had about key episodes. I felt comfortable asking questions about the possible effects an abortion procedure would have on Tami’s body. Mainly because I didn’t have to worry about my mom asking me a bunch of questions about why I wanted to know or thinking I was “in trouble.”

Being a teen at the time I had taken sex education classes that covered the risks that came with sexual activity.  Risks that included the possibly of an unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV.  Yet it wasn’t the sex ed classes, nor the awkward, formal safe sex talks with my mother that made any of those consequences real for me.  It was the many snapshots of a stranger’s life that had made all of those warnings real to the teenage me.  Which explains why I looove the show, “Teen Mom.”

Nowadays there are countless ways that our offspring can avoid talking with us parents or simply go about tuning us out.  Thanks to such wonderful things as text messaging, Facebook, You Tube, email and similar technologies.  “Teen Mom” presents a rare opportunity for parents of teenagers, especially teenage girls, to have an informal discussion about sex.  So the next time you catch your teen(s) watching the show why not just end viewing the program with them?  That is what my mother did and it worked.  She got the chance to give me the information that she felt I needed, and the teenage me got her moment to ask all those embarrassing questions:)
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