What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality series -- which features young men participating in a month-long therapeutic program designed to convince them to be good fathers to their unborn children -- offers some positive messages about fatherhood, but also contains lots of inappropriate behavior that has become typical of reality entertainment. Moms- and dads-to-be have screaming arguments and use strong language (words like “s--t” and “f--k” are bleeped). Drinking (hard liquor, beer) plus cigarette and pot smoking is visible (marijuana is visible in at least one episode). Some of the men also appear to have addiction problems.
What's the story?
DAD CAMP is a reality show that features six young dads-to-be being getting a reality check about fatherhood. The irresponsible and selfish twentysomethings join the mothers of their children in a 30-day program run by psychologist Jeff Gardere. While there they must willingly participate in exercises designed to help them understand what it is like to be pregnant, as well as the skills and commitment necessary to raise a child. Group meetings and couples therapy are also part of the experience. At the end of the program, each of the mothers-to-be must decide if their baby’s father is truly committed to them and their child, and make a final decision about whether or not they will be raising the child on their own.
Is it any good?
The series attempts to address the issue of single parenthood by trying to convince young men that being a responsible parent is the right thing to do. While it underscores the financial and emotional obligations that come with the job, it also tries to highlight the rewards that come with being a good parent. It also explores some of the reasons why young fathers are usually unprepared, and often unwilling, to share the responsibility of raising a child.
These messages are good ones, but they often get lost as the show serves up lots of screaming, fighting, drinking, and womanizing, and other activities that have become a standard part of reality entertainment. The show also fails to address that many of the mothers featured here, most of whom appear to have major self-esteem issues, are also unprepared for parenthood. In the end, what this series is really offering is a voyeuristic experience that some may find interesting, but that fails to provide any kind of real answer to what has become a major problem in American society.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about fatherhood. How does this show portray "good" and "bad" fatherhood? What do you think it takes to be a good father? Why is there such a large number of absentee fathers in America today? Do you think the media contributes to this problem? If so, how? Do you think discussing these issues on a reality show is helpful and/or appropriate? Why or why not?
Parents: What are some of the ways that families can help young people avoid becoming parents before they are ready? Can talking to kids about premarital sex help? What about limiting kids’ exposure to certain kids of media? Kids: what are some other issues that you can talk about with your parents to help you make future decisions about these and other important issues?