Family life

Bravo's Extreme Guide to Parenting is a terrible idea

Adding fuel to the "mommy wars" fire? At least one mom won't be tuning into Bravo's Extreme Guide to Parenting.

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Photo: iStockphoto

“That’s disgusting…”

And so began the anonymous comment on one of my blog posts for Today’s Parent. It left me feeling like I’d been kicked in the gut. I had blogged about the challenges of breastfeeding Gillian, who was 18 months old at the time. While most people shared their own sweet toddler breastfeeding stories, a few comments left me wondering if I really was a bit of a weirdo for nursing her that long.

Read more: 10 tips for toddler nursing>

It was the first time I’d been so harshly judged in a public forum, and the sting took a while to fade. I’m a bit of a softy that way, which would probably make me a terrible participant on Bravo’s newest reality show, Extreme Guide to Parenting.

Set to premiere next month, Extreme Guide to Parenting is “intended to offer a candid glimpse into the lives of people using unconventional parenting tactics. The overprotective, fiercely competitive and non disciplinarian will all be included—as will parents who breastfeed their children past age four,” Michael O’Connell writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

“Whether you have kids or you’re stuck next to the screaming child on a plane, judging other people’s parenting is a guilty pleasure. We all love to do it,” Bravo VP of Development, Eli Lehrer, says in a press release.

The first episode portrays two families with very different approaches to parenting: the first family prefers an all-natural approach while the second family never leaves their daughter’s side. It’s the classic (and tired) helicopter versus free-range parent debate.

While I imagine some people will tune in to watch families publicly mocked, I, for one, will not be watching Extreme Guide To Parenting. Television shows (or blogs or magazines) like this serve only one purpose (OK, two if you count making boatloads of money) and it’s to fire up the mommy wars. I’ve long maintained that kids and parents are happier when they support each other. Pitting family against family brings out the worst in people—and in the end, if Bravo wins the TV ratings battle, then surely the losers will be all of us.

Follow along as Jennifer Pinarski shares her experiences about giving up her big city job and lifestyle to live in rural Ontario with her husband, while staying home to raise their two young children. Read more Run-at-home mom posts or follow her @JenPinarski.