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Little People, Big World
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this reality series provides an extraordinary opportunity for kids to learn about a family composed of both little (the parents and one child are affected by dwarfism) and averaged-sized people. The challenges of being a little person are intertwined with the everyday craziness of a household with four busy kids. Sensitive children may find it hard to hear the Roloff kids talk about how some people don't accept their parents and brother for who they are. But most viewers will marvel at the incredible strength of the whole family.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
TLC's LITTLE PEOPLE, BIG WORLD gives viewers a glimpse at the challenges and triumphs of a family composed of both little and average-sized people. Parents Amy and Matt Roloff are both little people, as is their 15-year-old son, Zach. His fraternal twin, Jeremy; 12-year-old sister, Molly; and 8-year-old brother, Jacob, are all of average height. Like any family, each member has his or her own personality, some easier to get along with than others. Watching the program, viewers see how this family has developed strategies to live life to its fullest -- and may find themselves surprised at how much the Roloffs' life relates to their own.
Is it any good?
Quality programs about adults and children who are different are rare. Viewers quickly see that many of the struggles faced by Matt and Amy are the same as those faced by average-sized grown-ups: finding time for just the two of them, dealing with miscommunications, deciding where things should be put away in the kitchen. Matt, who previously found success in Silicon Valley, is now starting his own business and coping with the financial challenges of running a start-up. He tends to like to do things his way and sometimes butts heads with his wife, his kids, and his own father. Amy, meanwhile, carries a lot of the family's weight, working two jobs, coaching her youngest son's soccer team, and managing the household of four busy kids.
In many ways, viewers can relate to the Roloff kids, who are trying to find their niche while managing their up/down relationships with their parents, siblings, and friends. Zach is particularly notable -- not only because of his size, but also because of the incredible strength he draws on to find his own way during a normally tumultuous period of development. He's a great student, athletic and well-liked by friends (boys and girls alike). (It's worth noting that sensitive kids might be strongly affected by trying to visualize Zach's daily challenges.) The Roloff family's message is a strong, simple one: Don't look down on them -- instead, accept them as they have accepted themselves. Recognize their achievements, and learn from them about the strengths and abilities of little people.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the facts of dwarfism, including the common types and abilities of little people (TLC has put together an informative online FAQ). How do you think Amy, Matt, and Zach sustain the necessary stamina to meet the challenges they face? Think about your own daily routine: What parts would be hard to do if you were a little person? What different challenges do you think the Roloffs' kids have to deal with? How would you react to a little person at school, on your soccer team, in dance class? How can you show acceptance? Why is it so important to look past outward appearances and get to know the individual?
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