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Parents' Guide to

Teen Trouble

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Gritty reality show inspires discussion for parents, teens.

Teen Trouble Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+


I wish this was something that was out there when I was a teen and in trouble. I was these kids I did drugs I drank i had sex and in the end I became a teen mom! I've turned my life around and grew up because i had to do what was right! I couldn't be that kid... but if one adult would of took the time to ask me what was wrong in stead of nagged me or yelled at me like I was some wild animal I could of changed... this guy should so do a season two in canada our children today need this reality check life's not like it use to be in the 70's the world is rough and parents today have stoped being parents and became friends or not even caring because you have gave up when thats not what they need. Kids need discipline rules structure!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Teen Trouble is not an easy show to watch as a parent or a teen. These kids are off the charts of defiant, self-destructive behavior, abusing drugs, drinking, sleeping around, stealing, destroying property, and intentionally putting themselves in life-threatening situations that cause their parents sleepless nights. Parents call on Shipp out of sheer desperation, and far from having a calming effect, he fans the flames of discord between the teens and their parents. Sure, it's in a supposed effort to air and deal with grievances, but it's hard not to believe that exploiting the family drama has a sensational effect on the show's ratings as well. What's more, Shipp -- who draws on his own troubled youth of foster care, abuse, and addiction -- makes no attempt to hide the fact that he's biased toward the teens, clearly assigning blame to the parents for their kids' actions, regardless of the adults' repeated attempts to help. Yes, he holds the teens responsible for changing their ways in the future, but he's much harder on the parents for the mistakes of the past.

Will Teen Trouble raise issues you can discuss with your teens? Absolutely. The subjects' candor -- from the troubled teens to the prostitutes and homeless people Shipp interviews to try to talk sense into them -- will hit a nerve with both teens and their parents and might have the desired effect on viewers at home. Despite the sensationalism, these are sad-but-true stories of families in real trouble, and their experiences (and Shipp's advice) could help keep your own on the right path. But ultimately no TV show can fill the void of communication between parents and kids, so this series is better used as a tool for opening those lines than as any form of entertainment.

TV Details

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