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MTV Fails Teen Dads

What the network can do to help corral teen fatherhood abandonment

“Fatherhood will cramp my style. Likely, I will have to change my Facebook relationship status to ‘it’s complicated.’ That will certainly make me less attractive to the cheerleaders. I will never sleep eight hours again, so I’ll just have to drop out of school. My friends will replace my Modern Warfare 3 character with someone who doesn’t have to keep stopping, mid-attack, to change a soiled diaper. Before you know it, I will have to turn to criminality to make any sort of beneficial income for my child.”

If we allow teen fathers the royalty of such conviction without proper custody, then ignorance is king — dictating and narcissistic.

Since 2009, MTV has been responsible for two lucrative momumentaries: Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant. Each show chronicles the every waking moment of teenage pregnancy, and the adversity that proceeds it.

At the end of each episode of 16 and Pregnant, there’s a confessional moment when the enlightened and frightened new mom gives her public service of celibacy to the scared-straight viewer. But for naive boyfriends, who often watch this show with their naive girlfriends, where’s the teen father’s bro-to-bro chat?

That is an example of MTV’s brackish continuum of failing teen fathers.

There are currently 24 million children growing up without their fathers in the United States. The percentage of children living in fatherless homes has more than tripled in the past 40 years.

But more startling are the 95 percent of men in the prison system who are without fathers. Those statistics show us that the conventional wisdom of the birds and bees are of an antiquated generation, and not of the current chauvinistic breed.

For many years, the doctrine has been that the good kids are formed at home. And while true, it’s the entertainment business though, particularly music and television, who are the ones molding the inclinations and premature resolutions of those kids.

Despite MTV strutting up to the plate, and helping to influence the decline in teen pregnancy by 70 percent since the debut of 16 and Pregnant, they whiff at an easy pitch to confront the lack of teen dad answerability.

What is MTV doing to curb the popular teen dad payback tactic of “no more relationship, no more responsibility?”

Because fatherhood goes beyond a financial child support that is withdrawn from a paycheck every two weeks. Changing the approach from mandatory to voluntary, would instill the stimulus of affecting a life in a way that’s better than, perhaps, their own.

The integrity of shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant is assuredly the uncompromising rawness. But with such a high viewership, MTV should take the chance to introduce fatherhood interventions as simple as offering websites to state funded, teen dad support groups catered to anchoring their wandering parental duties.

MTV could also undoubtedly alleviate the awkwardness of the typical American family conversation. Parents can avoid fumbling with the DaVinci Code of interaction with their teens, where a heart to heart conversation can often times be filled with more “no” than an episode of American Idol.

Unfortunately for MTV, the opportunity to help parents of teen dads go from no-it-all’s to know-it-all’s is wasted.

If we damn teen fathers for their stubbornness with safe sex, how can we expect the myths of their consequences to be responsible?

As soon as we realize the efforts of protecting their hormones is impossible, the sooner we can focus on how to protect them as participants. To penalize teens for their curiosity is not meaningful without education.

Much of that fostering is foreign to parents. There’s a habitual tug of war with teens and parents for adulthood acceptance. It is not an act of rebellion. It’s the false entitlement of reaching the age that America deems as adult.

The issue is right under MTV’s nose. The solution is as manageable as recognizing the stench and annulling it.

After all, getting a kid in front of MTV hasn’t been an issue for 30 years.

Bryan Ferguson April 03, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Hey Gino, we talked about your article at 30:40 http://www.8bitdad.com/2012/04/03/episode-024-balls-to-the-face-13504/

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