What was the show? ‘Finding Carter’ on MTV.
MTV is not the channel it was when I was growing up; you know, in the olden days when it was all music videos. Now, I will admit to never really watching it because we didn’t have cable, and even at a friend’s house, music videos don’t interest me. Music is very personal in my world, and watching the interpretation of a song through a video many times ruins the lyrics or meaning for me. I like to have my own stories about music in my head.
But today, I don’t watch the channel for another reason. Honestly, I find most of the programming to be trashy. Just my opinion. If other people like it, no worries…they can watch it to their heart's content. Just not for me, or for my children.
Until ‘Finding Carter.’
Let me just tell you why I almost said “no” to my teenager when she asked about this show. There is a lot of drug use. Lots of inappropriate sexual behavior. Lots of drinking. Lots of criminal activity. All being participated in by kids only a couple of years older than my child. Absolutely NOT the type of behavior I want her to be emulating.
And that is exactly why I said “yes.”
I have always been very open and honest with my child about all kinds of uncomfortable topics. Of course, I heeded the advice of professionals who tell you to listen to what your child is asking and answer questions in an age-appropriate manner depending on what they are curious to know. So when, at about age 9, my daughter laid it out for me by asking, “Mom. Just TELL me. How does a boy actually get a girl pregnant?” Well, I wanted to vomit, but I answered the question. The whole kit and kaboodle.
“Ew, Mom. That. Is. Gross.”
I explained that, in fact, it wasn’t gross and that sex can be a beautiful thing that ADULTS enjoy when they are in love and in a committed relationship. She wasn’t buying it.
“No. It’s gross. I am never doing that.”
Husband was very happy to hear this news when I emailed him in Afghanistan later.
Then my daughter paused and asked me if her father and I were done having kids to which I answered, “Oh yes. We are not having anymore kids. You are it.”
“Well, thank goodness you and Dad don’t ever have to do THAT again!”
My husband later said he has never been more happy to be deployed in his entire life.
Fast forward to a few months after that deployment ended. Apparently the Paraguard IUD is no match for USMC swimmers returning from a war zone, and shortly after our move to Arizona we were giving her the great news that she was going to be a big sister.
After all of the excitement wore off and she was lying awake in bed that night, I wonder if the thought hit her and she was grossed out. Poor kid.
But let me tell you. Watching your mom go through a rough pregnancy when you are a pre-teen? Best. Birth. Control. Ever. Being a teenager when there is a toddler running around your house? Virginity is a cool word around these parts.
Back to MTV. I did give her permission to watch it, with one catch: she had to record it on the DVR and we had to watch it together.
So each week, my daughter and I sit in my bedroom and watch this show, full of totally inappropriate behavior, wild teenagers, and terrible decisions. And we talk about it. Even when it makes me want to hurl. Even when the kids were playing 7 Minutes in Heaven and we both felt so uncomfortable we wanted to bury our heads.
We have talked about why the behavior is inappropriate. We have discussed which decisions would have been a better choice. We talk about why we think kids might act this way. We both cringe when the commercials for a program showcasing teen moms comes on. The first time my daughter loudly proclaimed, “WHY in the WORLD would they want to put that on TV?! WHY would anyone want girls to think it is cool to have a baby and then be on a show?!”
That was an incredibly proud moment for this Momma.
And here is the thing: as important as I think it is for ME to have these discussions with HER, I am learning a whole lot from watching this show with my teen.
I have learned that my daughter does not understand why people think that being a “virgin” is a bad thing. Whew.
I have learned that she knows exactly what her Dad and I would do if she ever participated in some of the activities on that show. And she is scared.
I have learned about behaviors and drugs that I had no idea existed in the world of today’s teenager…and I consider myself to be a pretty up-to date Mom.
I have learned that my daughter has a healthy dose of self-respect and a clear sense of what SHE considers right and wrong.
And lest you think I am saying that ‘Finding Carter’ is a program with no merit, let me assure you. It is very well-written and I am actually enjoying the show. They do show the consequences of poor choices. There are lessons to be learned. MTV has done a pretty goo job with this one.
Maybe this show is not the one that you would choose to watch with your teenager. But I encourage you to find a show that your kid will watch, you can view together, and that makes each of you just a bit uncomfortable. The teachable moments can be priceless.
For you too, Mom.
Many Kind Regards,
Erin and her daughter watch crazy on tv - see what happened when Jessica witnessed some in real life!