In December, the debut of ABC’s tv series The Parent Test came onto the screens of many homes. If you are unfamiliar with the show, I’ll catch you up. Under the mediation of a parenting expert, the show is set up with 12 families with distinctively different parenting styles: from disciplined to child-led, they are put in various situations that spark a conversation about how each style operates. The goal of the show is to see which parenting style ultimately is the best in certain situations, but all share the common goal of raising healthy happy children. These situations range from diving off the high dive, rock climbing, trying new things, temptation, and the biggest stranger danger.
Topics we must discuss, but it’s hard
As they started to discuss topics that led to how the parents handle the scenarios in their dominant parenting styles, I felt as though I related to a lot of what the parents feared or even loved about parenting. Some of the bigger topics that were discussed were about sex (knowing what body part was) and opening the door for strangers, leaving with strangers or with people they know, but without their parents knowing. These sparked major emotions because as parents, we talk to our children about boundaries and not trusting everyone they encounter and it is something that is talked about pretty much every day we leave the house.
“There is no lazy way in parenting; parenting IS indeed hard.”
These words are so true. This may seem selfish, but I’m relieved that I’m not the only person who thinks this. When this was said on the show, I felt those words to my core. Parenting is the most challenging yet most rewarding role I have ever taken on. The ups and downs are beautiful, and I learn something about myself and my daughter every day.
You have to make a superhuman
Out of all the episodes I’ve watched, this episode hit home. In episode 3, the high-achievement parent, who is a single, African American father was asked why he felt being so stern to his son was necessary. He explained that he has something to prove as a single black father. He mentioned that he bought the biggest house in the neighborhood, makes his son take extra courses, and is hard on him so that he can prepare him for what the world may throw at him, just based on the color of his skin. Parents really have to prepare their children for any and all things, the world is a very scary place.
It’s all about growing
I find this series very interesting because as a first-time parent with a toddler, I never realized that there were many different labels of parenting. As I watch the show, I ultimately feel like every parent uses some of the same styles depending on the situation. Watching these parents make themselves vulnerable to the public is hard, but I greatly appreciate this show. It’s not about which style is better, it’s about the necessary conversations that probably many families fear to talk about but can see that it’s true. It’s also about learning ways to encourage our children to be better humans in a world that is not the easiest to live in.
I haven’t finished watching the series so I’m not sure who won, but I can say that The Parent Test is a true eye-opener, not just in parenting but in all relationships. I cannot wait to finish and see the outcome.
Which parenting style do you feel your label as? What have you learned from the show? I would love to hear your thoughts. Let’s chat about it.