'Extreme Guide to Parenting' Reality Show Is a How-Not-To for Moms

Extreme Guide to Parenting gunclesIf there's one thing the makers of Bravo's Extreme Guide to Parenting got right, it's that American parents can -- and should -- turn to the new reality show as a guide. A guide of what not to do to their kids, that is.

The network that has made the word "housewife" synonymous with up-turned tables and lady brawls is now turning the lens on parents who the show's title sequence says are "America's greatest parents ... at least they think they are."

In a premiere that airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, we meet Shira Adler, mom to an "indigo child" who practices "eco-kosher, shamanistic organic, natural, and for highest and best good" parenting (say that five times fast). In other words? She carries around crystals, is constantly spritzing her kids in the face with an aromatherapy spray, and has no discipline plan whatsoever.

Then there are Scout Masterson and Bill Horn, whose hands-on approach to parenting means never leaving their daughter alone. Never. Ever. Ever.

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The latter couple is no stranger to reality TV; you may remember them as the "guncles" on Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott's pre-scandal show, Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood. Adler, meanwhile, advertises herself online as a "certified past life regressionist, inspirational host, writer, and speaker who can help you in person, at workshops, and through phone sessions."

It's hard to tell whether these parents knew going into filming that they would become the butt of the producers' jokes, but the show does little in the way of giving real parents any sort of "guide" to the particular parenting styles the stars practice. There are no tips. No how-tos. Instead it's clear that Bravo cast around for the kookiest parents on the planet ... the more to judge, the better.

It would be easier to simply roll our eyes at these off-the-wall parenting practices if it weren't for the kids featured on Extreme Guide.

Simone, Masterson and Horn's 3-year-old daughter, is a delightful little imp, with crisp pronunciation and an attitude that's just the right side of sassy. But her fathers have structured their entire lives around her, even moving their jobs to their home so they can be there 24/7, making every decision for her (seriously, their nanny is Scout's mom, but she can't even choose what Simone will eat for lunch without one of the dads weighing in). When asked about date nights, the men are quick to say they don't actually "want" time away from their toddler. Or, as Horn puts it, he wants to spend every waking minute with her.

He's not exaggerating. 

We'll excuse you for a moment to go gulp down some fresh air. We're starting to feel a bit closed in ourselves.

Adler, on the other hand, isn't stifling her kids. In fact, 10-year-old Yonah could use a little more attention -- at least attention of the right kind. His mom, who believes we all carry an aura of a certain color, describes her youngest child as an "indigo." When a psychiatrist suggests she make changes because he's not succeeding in school as is, Adler insists that these kids who color outside the lines are made to change the world. Why would she change a kid who is supposed to change the world?

Her struggle against a school system that suggests medicating her son is admittedly heartbreaking -- and familiar with countless parents in America.

But her 10-year-old lies to her face about having a bullet in his school bag only to contradict himself ... and Mom doesn't even raise an eyelid (and certainly doesn't discipline him). Her response to most things is to spray something in his face; meanwhile, her 12-year-old -- better behaved -- daughter is largely ignored.

Mom and Dad ... do not try this at home!

These two couples represent only two of the "extremes" Bravo promises to bring us on Thursday nights ... which might just be the scariest part of all.

Will you be tuning in to the show? Think you can learn anything?

 

Image via Bravo

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