I will admit that I am a sucker for shows like The Bachelor. Something about viewing someone else’s life makes me feel a little better about everything that has gone on in my life. I’m a plain jane country girl who does not need expensive material items or 10 pounds of make up and hair product to make me happy.
But one thought that kept crossing my mind while watching last night was “My God, I hope Miah does not grow up to be like this.” At first, I thought it was just a generalization; I do not want her feeling like she has to go on a reality show to find her “true love”, buy expensive dresses, be tore apart by the media, and suffer public humiliation because of events that may or may not have happened in her life. However, as the show went on, I realized that my thoughts were revolving around Kelsey and her words/actions.
A little back story on this Kelsey just in case you don’t watch the show. She claims to have come on the show after the loss of her husband. At first, she seemed to be one of the few level-headed people there but as time went on and more girls went home, her true colors started to show. She started making rude comments towards or about the other girls, started using her late husbands death story as a weapon and wore it as a badge of honor. It seems as whatever had started falling out of her mouth has either been insulting, belittling, insecure or fabricated. She put on shows for Chris (the panic attack) and would turn around and laugh about it with the other girls. Not giving the best impression to us viewers; which is the point of reality TV but there is a point to this.
I was sitting on the couch with my 12-year-old step-daughter. Our Monday night routine is to eat supper with the boys, get dishes done, laundry caught up if needed, curl up under blankets and watch The Bachelor. However, last night seemed to be a little more than either one of us could handle.
Miah is at an age where what she sees in the media is how she depicts how she SHOULD act. In some cases, it’s not so bad. However, I could see the wheels starting to turn last night as she watched Kelsey lay on the floor in the middle of a “panic attack.” See, whenever Miah feels deprived of attention, she turns on tears, causes a little trouble, or tries to find a way to become center of attention. Given that the kids’ mom doesn’t pay them much attention, the first couple of days that they are back proves to be a struggle.
As I was watching this public meltdown, I kept thinking “I sure hope Miah realizes how dumb this looks and refuses to let her frustration episodes get that far.” I would make comments like “This is just embarrassing for her” or “I wish someone would call her bluff” to show Miah that this show is not 100% real – which she should have known from the get go.
About 30 minutes pass and Miah has not uttered 4 words. She’s totally engaged in the show and has seen snide comments fall out of Kelsey’s mouth as well as how she was two-faced and did not deserve to be on the show. I shook my head and decided that this was the best time as any to address the issues of selfishness.
As we talked, I used examples that showed for every action has a reaction. We ended up discussing how it is ok to feel like you need attention but to do so in a mature manner. I mean I still get that way with Shane when we go a while without talking or a weekly date night; that is all just part of loving someone. However; it is not ok to use it to your advantage, use it to manipulate people, and it is not ok to abuse it. As I was explaining this, I started to see things clicking into place for her. I knew the two on one date was coming up so I told her to watch what possible selfish actions could do to her in the long run.
We sat back and just laughed at the way Ashley and Kelsey were acting but deep down, I wanted her to really take a lesson from it. She got to see both sides of Kelsey in that scene and all of a sudden it was like a light bulb (or in this case, a much bigger and brighter bulb) turned on. She watched as Chris sent BOTH girls home because he did not appreciate how either one of them were acting and felt that he deserved better than them.
Shane and I have used that as an example for her. If she were to keep manipulating situations to get what she wants or if she kept demanding attention, she was going to end up like Kelsey – self-centered, insecure, and manipulative. She’s nodded but won’t fully understand until she’s a little bit older.
She deserves so much more than to be looked down upon for her actions, but it starts with her home habits. Shane and I give those kids all the love and attention we can, but when they go back to their mom’s busy house and miss attention, it is natural for them to yearn for something more. That’s when Shane and I have to figure out a system that works where they feel the love and the attention but don’t go to drastic measures to try to acquire it.
I’m glad reality TV is what it is. It allows awesome teaching moments like this where I can really connect to her and give her examples where she can see others reactions and realize that she doesn’t want to feel that way. I just hope that what we do is enough to keep her head held up high…. especially when it comes time for her to date… (*shudder*)