A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know although that this series -- which follows unruly teens who temporarily move in with a strict family -- is very clear about the need for boundaries for teens, it sends some confusing messages about parenting, bouncing between extremes (too lax on one end, overly strict on the other). The troubled and/or spoiled teens are shown drinking, smoking, lying, sneaking around, and disrespecting adults. There's also some strong language, though the worst is bleeped. Parents who watch with their kids can discuss some of the reasons behind these behaviors; check out our tips for these conversations.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
WORLD'S STRICTEST PARENTS follows the journey of unruly teenagers who are sent to live with strict host parents for a week so that they can look at life from another perspective and reevaluate their behavior. The teens -- who are used to spending their time drinking, smoking, fighting, and undermining their real parents -- are forced to adapt to a new life full of rules, chores, and punishments. But while the teens' new guardians are strict, they also take the time to get to know the kids and help them understand how their negative behavior is impacting their lives. At the end of the week, the teens and all their parents get together and talk about what they've learned from the experience.
Is it any good?
The series (which is based on a British series of the same name) tries to send some positive messages about curbing inappropriate teen behavior and setting limits. But some of the take-aways are a little confusing. The show fails to hold the teens' biological parents accountable for failing to establish and enforce rules. And there are times when the well-intentioned host parents appear to be playing to the cameras, especially when they talk endlessly about the multiple ways that their "new" kids are breaking the rules and will be punished.
While it seems like all of the adults involved are trying to do the right thing, it's obvious that for some of the teens, the entire experience is just a temporary bandage covering deeper psychological issues. Still, overall, World's Strictest Parents attempts to address teens' need for clear and consistent boundaries to guide them and to help them see that their negative behaviors can lead to some very serious consequences.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the behavior of the kids on the show. Are they just "rebelling" against their parents, or are they exhibiting signs of deeper problems?
Can reality shows really help people improve their lives? Can people truly change after just one week of living a different life?
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