Some of you who don’t know me very well might be surprised to hear that I am a self-professed Reality TV addict! Yes, an addict in the true sense of the word (v. to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively)! Like many addictions, my relationship with Reality TV began as just a simple, harmless escape. I always felt better about myself or my specific life situation after I watched Reality TV; it made me feel like, “Things aren’t as bad as I thought they were” and “My life is pretty darn good”! What began as a guilty pleasure of watching one show on a weekly basis has developed over the last several years into a full blown obsession with my DVR playlist. I can be found routinely counting the minutes until my boys go to bed so that I can cuddle up in my blanket, alone, to watch my shows, one by one, commercial-free with no disruptions! That “high” keeps me going through the next day until I can again click “play” on my remote the next night, and the next night…
One day however, like most addicts, I was careless. I tried to “sneak” in a show before my boys went to bed and I was caught red-handed and my secrets were exposed. So when my boys wanted to know what I was watching, I had to explain to them why their mother, an educated, professional woman who is known to drill them about education, focus and being productive, was watching of all things, Bachelor in Paradise.
In this moment of guilt and remorse, it occurred to me that there is much more to Reality TV than what I was giving it credit for. I had it all wrong, Reality TV is more than just an escape, it is educational! So I decided to test my hypothesis and let my boys watch the show with me. And now, we have progressed to watching The Bachelor together, and here’s a few of the life lessons I’ve learned:
- Kids “get it”: Both boys, even Pierce at 9 years old, can spot the “crazy” ones in 60 seconds or less
- It keeps them talking to you: It’s opened up conversations about dating, what’s appropriate behavior for both boys and girls as well as what’s not – especially if you are on national TV!
- They have a type: Very quickly you can see which girls they are drawn to (luckily, so far, my boys have been drawn to the ones who appear to be more balanced and genuine)
- You can pause: I take full advantage of the DVR pause button. In fact, I use it much like a “Facilitator’s Guide to Watching The Bachelor” to debrief what happened, make a point and reiterate a message, – especially when there is a very attractive girl whose behaviors aren’t as attractive as her physical appearance
And, I know I am biased since he is my son, but if there was ever a “Junior Bachelor” show, I think Conor would be a perfect choice!