Extreme Guide to Parenting

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Extreme Guide to Parenting TV Poster Image
Reality show spotlights offbeat parenting styles.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

All the parents featured on the show clearly love their kids and are trying to do their best by them, whether or not the viewer agrees with the methods showcased.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each family is not showcased long enough to really get to know the members as individuals, but the parents are caring and present, and family harmony and love appear frequently on-screen.

Violence

Occasional blood, but not in a violent setting; for example in one episode a woman dehydrates a human placenta.

Sex

Some discussion of sex, such as where parents can have sex with a co-sleeping baby in their bed. Non-sexual semi-nudity during breastfeeding, though nipples are blurred.

Language

Some language, such as when a son points at his mom and says, "She sucks."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Extreme Guide to Parenting is a reality show that focuses on parents who have unusual parenting styles. There is little content to upset young children or worry parents, but the show is aimed at adults and will bore most kids, including teens. Certain kids -- those who are interested in becoming parents themselves or plan a career with children -- will learn much about different styles of parenting and what other people think about them.

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What's the story?

Parents who refuse to vaccinate, parents who sleep with their kids, parents who spritz their kids with aromatherapy solutions instead of medicating their neurological quirks: These are the parents spotlighted on EXTREME GUIDE TO PARENTING. On each hour-long episode, one or two families with an unusual style are followed through their daily lives. We see the choices they make at mealtime, school time, and bedtime as the cameras document family dynamics, while the moms and dads explain the choices they've made and put them in an educational and historical context.

Is it any good?

It's kind of fun to laugh at clueless new parents, even if you're a clueless new parent, and so Extreme could have taken on a Toddlers & Tiaras-type approach to its participants, highlighting their stupider pronouncements and antics with mocking camera effects. Instead, though Extreme was clearly created to make fun of weird people, the show dials down the disrespect and mockery and allows the sincerity of its parents to shine through. They still do come off as pretty foolish, but at least Extreme allows them to explain their techniques in their own words, rather than making fun of them outright.

Most parents will probably find issues they can relate to here, as well as things they'll find funny and cringe-worthy, such as the mom who allows her kid to repeatedly tell her that she sucks or the dad who blithely insists his daughter will be fine if exposed to chicken pox and not vaccinated. This show is sure to ignite lively debate among families -- if parents can convince kids to watch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the audience this show is aimed at. People with kids? People without kids? How can you tell?

  • Is the viewer supposed to like the families who are spotlighted on the show? To relate to them? To find them instructive, amusing, annoying? What about the way that they're depicted brings you to this conclusion?

  • Do you find any of the parenting styles that are featured on the show interesting? Did you learn anything watching it? Do you think you're supposed to?

TV details

  • Premiere date: August 7, 2014
  • Network: Bravo
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: NR

For kids who love reality shows

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