A new show that chronicles the lives of six teenage fathers is all set to air on MTV in the UK and Ireland next month. It will certainly be interesting to compare and contrast our Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant shows to their Teen Dad show, but I'm willing to bet on one thing -- those British Teen Dads are going to get way more respect and sympathy than any one of the teen moms on the shows here. Why? Because we judge and expect far more from mothers than we do from fathers -- that's just how it is, and fathers, by simply being present, just present, in parenthood, tend to get far more kudos than any mom who does the same.
Teen Dad, by mere title alone, is about fathers who are participating in parenthood on some level. Young men or, in this case, boys who participate in unplanned parenthood by simply "showing up" already get a HUGE pat on the back in our society. You didn't run away when you found out about the pregnancy? 10 points! You admitted the child is yours? 10 more points! You are willing to say you're a father. 10 more! See what I'm saying? And these are things that are simply EXPECTED of a mother.
And then if these young dads do any of the childcare tasks, oh man, the points come in seriously high-point values after that. Diaper changes -- 20! Baths -- 30! Care for your kid while mom is out -- 50! Yep, dads get points for all these things while moms are just expected to do them. There are simply no bonus points in motherhood.
Alright, maybe I'll be wrong. I hope I am. Maybe these young dads won't be filmed in the sexy, gauzy, soft light of fatherhood. Maybe we'll see something real -- good and bad -- and maybe we'll begin to put the same kinds of expectations on these young dads as we do on young moms. Or better yet, maybe we will find a way to cut them all some slack, put more realistic expectations on them, and give them props for stepping up and being parents in the best way that they know how.
I admit that I could probably learn a lot from a show like Teen Dad. Perhaps I could learn to better understand the struggles of fathers. They're certainly not always the same struggles that mothers have, so it's no doubt harder for me to recognize and sympathize with them.
The show follows the six new dads for a three-month period, as they adjust to their new roles as fathers. I figure after that is when at least half of the dads bail. Just kidding! Sort of ...
The six-part MTV UK series starts on July 27 at 9 p.m. Can't wait to hear about the show.
Do you think we should have a Teen Dad show here? Why or why not?
Image via MTV UK