Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Calling All Parenting Experts?

A recent offer has banished all but my remaining shreds of naivety about how the parenting media operates. Not that I was so innocent or impressionable before but now I've seen everything. Here's the invitation I received this week from a casting company that works on a number of reality and talk shows you likely know:

We are currently casting for a Parenting Expert, its currently a project in development.

Furthermore, the show will be cutting edge, with no nonsense parenting skills.  The ideal candidate will be observing how parents are struggling through certain situations: Whether it be in the home, on vacation, at relatives - friends homes, at restaurants, etc..  and how they offer and deliver suggestions to correct the issues.

Cutting edge. No nonsense parenting. No mention of credentials. No grammar or typo check.

I am so tempted to play the role of parenting expert.

I would love to develop a personna and have an excuse to buy a great wig then go out and observe and record the ridiculousness of the parenting media, exploring the possibility someone who is not an expert can play one on tv. Kind of like the journalist who became a prison guard at Sing Sing. True, I do offer advice to friends and family when they ask but it's mostly based on my own parenting experiences. It's quite another thing to present myself as an authority and tell complete strangers how to get their kids to behave in the airport or Disneyland. There are great child psychologists out there but I'm not one of them.

From time to time I'm invited to participate in professional opportunities as a parenting expert of sorts. My favorite until now, I once was solicited to appear as an expert on a parenting App being developed by some Beverly Hills child psychologist. For better or worse (think of the sheer hilarity!) you won't be able to download my two cents on potty training any time soon. The grand majority of the time I pass on the no doubt enriching experience. As a general rule I don't provide my opinion on ADHD, education, transition to motherhood or other timely issues when contacted by journalists looking for expert comments. For the record, I've never offered that kind of parenting advice anyhow.

Now if someone asked for my opinion on the suspect advice of the parenting experts or on suspect parenting experts, well, I might take the bait. But the topic rarely if ever seems to come up in the media.

Maybe it's time I get that wig and go undercover. Which role should I play? Perky? Earnest? Practical?  Reassuring? Serious? An expert on discipline? Food aversions? Sibling rivalry? So many roles, so little time.


2 comments:

Andrea Riley said...

Oh my, that show sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen... They do realize these are actual children whose lives will be messed with for their profits and our cheap entertainment?! :(

That being said, you should have a persona that is part The Nanny and part Paul Offit. Go!

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hey Andrea, if only I could do a NY accent! I'm going to be on the look out for a new reality show with dubious parenting experts.