01/23/08 — Baby tryouts: Teens should get taste of what parenting is really like

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Baby tryouts: Teens should get taste of what parenting is really like

There is a new show coming to network television next month. It should be required watching for every teen in Wayne County and considered as a possible addition to every high school curriculum.

“The Baby Borrowers” will put teen “couples” with their very own babies and toddlers for a specified period of time.

Of course, the show’s promotional materials begin with a teen proudly declaring her qualifications to be a mother, and while smiling alongside her boyfriend, her desire to have her children sooner rather than later.

Flash forward to the actual scenes of them dealing with spitting up, crying, fussiness, all the hallmarks of a baby with attitude.

Even the little bit of a tease that the network is allowing viewers to see is enough to make any parent giggle — the best is the teen boy sacked out on one side of the couch with a toddler asleep on the other.

Now, of course, the tendency is to giggle — especially if you are a parent of one of these know-it-all teens who are certain they know better than you what’s best for them.

But there is a more serious undertone to this show that makes it a real consideration for high school curriculums across America.

You really can’t know what it is like to be a teen parent until you actually live it. Children are joyous additions to a family — and when you are ready emotionally and financially to be a parent — can be the greatest blessing of your life.

But the problem is the reality of parenthood is much more than simply playing with a smiling toddler who grows up into an obedient and perfect teenager.

Parenting is a hard job and a significant responsibility — and one that cannot be returned when the going gets tough.

If more teens really understood what it took to raise a child — and the challenges and responsibilities that go along with it — maybe they would start with a pet turtle and leave the parenting to adults.

Textbooks cannot possibly prepare a teen for the day-to-day struggles that go along with managing a life and taking care of another. Hands-on experience is best.

So, while watching the show might not be as effective, it is at least a start.

It might be just the wake-up call some young people need — and school might not look so bad after all.

Published in Editorials on January 23, 2008 11:13 AM