A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Families cope with stressful situations, bridging cultural and socioeconomic differences to find common ground for the sake of their teenage daughters. Communication is essential to their success, and characters do their best to talk out their problems. The story deals thoughtfully with issues like identity, self-confidence, and tolerance of differences among teens. In some instances, teens poke fun at a deaf character, but the brief exchanges help illustrate the show's positive messages about respect and tolerance. A teen rebels against her parents by painting graffiti and breaking family rules, but in most cases, she owns up to her mistakes.
Positive Role Models
Bay's and Daphne's parents have different styles of raising kids, but both sets of parents are invested in their kids' lives and want what's best for them. For that reason, they try hard to set aside their differences and find a way to coexist for the girls' sake. Often the teens are the ones who open their parents' eyes to the need for open discourse and attempt to see the situation from different perspectives.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting and a some kissing between teens, along with a few instances of mild innuendo about physical attraction.
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Some use of "hell" and "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
No underage drinking, although there's some mention of pot and of a teen using a fake ID to buy beer (for which she's arrested). A main character is a recovering alcoholic who takes a firm stance against teen drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this thought-provoking drama promotes family-friendly themes like respect, responsibility, and coping with adversity. Two sets of parents approach child rearing in different ways, but both have strong value systems that they impart on their kids, and they make clear their expectations of them. Expect some rebellious teen behavior (some of which is criminal and goes unchecked), references to drinking and pot, and language ("hell" and "damn," mostly). A main character is deaf, and her struggles to assimilate into a hearing family and social settings raises awareness of deaf culture and society's tolerance of difference.
Is It Any Good?
SWITCHED AT BIRTH is a thoughtful drama series that explores family relationships, teen issues, and the challenges and rewards of connecting with someone who's vastly different from you. Although the story centers on a unique (and improbable) challenge that two families face, its messages resonate with a much broader audience, and families of any make-up can use the story to talk about how the show's themes of tolerance, perseverance, and battling stereotypes relate to issues they face in their lives. True, the show does gloss over the intense emotional fallout that this scenario would raise in real life, but it doesn't shy away from conflict altogether, forcing the characters to overcome their differences and great adversity to find common ground.
Beyond the main story, there's also a subplot surrounding Daphne's deafness, which gives a candid portrayal of society's response to disabilities and fosters respect for different ways of life. Sporadic language ("hell" and "damn," mostly), teen rebellion, and references to pot and teen drinking are present, but the overall messages of responsibility, communication, and respect are what will stick with teens.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.