I was approached by a TV production company about my gifted kids. - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-20-2011, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This was just strange...

 

I got an email from someone from a TV production company. I'm sharing for a few reasons...just because it was surprising...because someone here might be interested in taking them up on it (PM me and I'll forward the information) and to let people here know there is going to be a new show highlighting gifted families.  It may or may not be a good thing.   I saw something similar about parents pushing their kids to get into the 'best' preschools or kindergartens - jumping through a lot of hoops and getting really caught up in the process just trying to get them the 'best' start.  Those families just looked way too demanding.

 

I'm not really interested, mostly because even though they call it a 'documentary', I think it's going to be more like reality TV.  And I don't push my kids (far from it), even though I am involved in a bit of their activities (more so when they were younger and less independent).  I might check it out when it comes out...but something about the phrasing makes me blanch a little.


So, anyway...here it is:

 

 

Quote:

I saw your online blog and I wondered if you or anyone you know might be interested in this project.

 

Do you pride yourself on being heavily involved in your child’s activities? Do you feel that your children are gifted with superior abilities in sports and/or the performing arts? Are you, without question, your child’s biggest cheerleader? Will you go above and beyond to make sure that your child can achieve his or her dreams? Have you and your friends bonded over a shared passion for your children’s activities?
 
If this sounds like you, and you have elementary and/or middle school-aged children, we want to hear from you!
 
A new television docuseries is seeking a passionate, dynamic group of Moms that we can follow in their pursuit of their children’s excellence! Raising an exceptional kid is hard work, and this series aims to capture the ups and downs, the triumphs and the losses, and the camaraderie that passionate and extremely involved mothers of gifted children share. If you feel that other parents across the country would be inspired by you, your children and your circle of friends, please contact us!

 

 
So...well, if anyone is interested, let me know and I'll pass along the contact info.
 
 
 

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Old 08-20-2011, 10:30 AM
 
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I wouldn't consider it based on their questions alone. Seems like they are looking for those extreme stage and sports moms. 

 

I do have gifted kids in sports and performing arts. I have befriended other parents who have children in the same activities. I am involved in their activities but not in a way that catapults them into high-achievement. I have the feeling the TV show isn't interested in filming me sell refreshments at intermission or stack chairs after a tae kwon do tournament lol. Plus, my kids do all their own prep work. I'd be a pretty boring subject.

 

I do know a small handful of parents they'd LOVE to have on their show but I would never do that to their kids.


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Old 08-20-2011, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Whatsnextmom -

 

I got the same feeling.  Seems like they are looking for a type of family that is so high pressure that might even give gifted families a bad rap and more on the performance skills not so much the academic ones (though it would be fantastic to see the kids who might be engineering up some great gadgets or tooling around with science stuff). I hope not.  I WOULD be interested in peeking behind the doors of gifted families, but ones that are laid back and focused on the whole child - emotional and moral development too, NOT just achievements.

 

I might be a in interesting subject, in that I have done some fun things with the kids.   We've taken a break from science to focus a lot on art projects.

 

We go to a lot of museums and historical re-enactments.  I'm going to give my daughter's merit program a lecture in forensic DNA analysis (I've given a lecture to a non-gifted 4th grade class before for my friend's class who was a teacher.  I still have my presentation materials) when they get to their Mystery science week.

 

I'd say there are other families right here on this site doing more interesting stuff than ours...

 

But it got me to thinking...I've been contacted a few times through my blog...I really should find a way to make some sort of money using my blogs.  We are going on almost a year of unemployment.  That stinks.

 

 


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Old 08-20-2011, 11:48 AM
 
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There's this English documentary that's interesting (and mortifying at times), and the parents don't come off spectacularly.  It's a hard parenting experience to demonstrate without seeming over-reaching.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYpaa-jWd2c&feature=related


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Old 08-20-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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It sounds like more a "Toddlers and Tiaras" take on the gifted family than a real peek at a normal gifted family. I'm sure there are plenty of great moms with pageant kids who really are fueling their own involvement. The show just focuses on the ones mortaging their homes for pageant dresses and yelling at their kid because they don't want to wear fake eyelashes. If you haven't seen Tom Hanks spoof on Toddler and Tiaras you must look it up on youtube lol. It's hilarious!

 

I, too, would be interested in a PBS sort of documentary following kids working at unusual levels in all areas. My kids work in local professional theatre and it is an interesting process. We have friends whose kids have done national tours and that would be a journey worth watching in a  well-done and respectful way. We have friends who do serious ballet and that is a fascinating world. Same with prepping for national spelling bees, science fairs ect. However, any show that is focusing on the parents journey and not the child's journey is bound to be ugly. It's more the norm to find parents with these sort of kids being dragged along reluctantly than enthusiastic promoters.


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Old 08-21-2011, 12:05 PM
 
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And now apparently Disney's getting in on the action, with a new tween show about gifted kids skipped into highschool:

http://tv.disney.go.com/disneychannel/antfarm/characters/


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Old 08-21-2011, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow.  Yeah...I don't think the program is going to really focus on the kids as much as the mothers...and paint them unkindly. 

 

Thanks for sharing the links.  From Wikipedia, about A.N.T Farm

 

 

Quote:
The show was first conceived when Dan Signer, creator of the show, saw China Anne McClain. "The girl had so much confidence. She can nail a joke. She can sing. She can play instruments. It's like China was some sort of child prodigy [...] And that's when it hit me: Why not build a show around a child prodigy? Someone who's got all of this natural talent & ability but is still challenged when she's sent off to high school at the age of 11?" Signer said in an interview.[1] After the first few episodes of the show were shown, Disney Channel bumped up their order of episodes for the show from 13 episodes to 21 episodes for the first season.[1]

 

Hmm...nice idea...but is it worthwhile?  Has anyone seen it?


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Old 08-21-2011, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

It sounds like more a "Toddlers and Tiaras" take on the gifted family than a real peek at a normal gifted family. I'm sure there are plenty of great moms with pageant kids who really are fueling their own involvement. The show just focuses on the ones mortaging their homes for pageant dresses and yelling at their kid because they don't want to wear fake eyelashes. If you haven't seen Tom Hanks spoof on Toddler and Tiaras you must look it up on youtube lol. It's hilarious!

 

I, too, would be interested in a PBS sort of documentary following kids working at unusual levels in all areas. My kids work in local professional theatre and it is an interesting process. We have friends whose kids have done national tours and that would be a journey worth watching in a  well-done and respectful way. We have friends who do serious ballet and that is a fascinating world. Same with prepping for national spelling bees, science fairs ect. However, any show that is focusing on the parents journey and not the child's journey is bound to be ugly. It's more the norm to find parents with these sort of kids being dragged along reluctantly than enthusiastic promoters.


Not to derail but Toddlers and Tiaras...made me sad, seeing those beautiful children painted up, exploited.   My mother actually set my sister up in a baby pageant in the 1982 or so...but it was nothing like T and T. 

 

I just saw that spoof.  It was funny, but I also then watched some of the clips from T and T.  It makes me so angry to see those kids being pushed so much to the point of tears.  How can parents think they are doing their kids any favors? 

 

Sorry.  It kind of aggravates me.  I'm going to try not to go into a rant.

 

Don't get me wrong, some people have said my youngest has some of the best facial expressiveness and say she actually has some natural acting ability...and being unemployed like we are, we joke about it sometimes trying to get her into commercials or something.  But I would NOT want to do that to her. 

 

But yes, pushy parents in general - be it for talent, beauty, sports, academics - that can't be good for their self-concept if the parent is the key motivating force for what they do in their lives.  If the kids desire it...it's one thing to support their drives...another thing altogether to push.

 

 


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Old 08-21-2011, 11:39 PM
 
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Not to derail but Toddlers and Tiaras...made me sad, seeing those beautiful children painted up, exploited.   My mother actually set my sister up in a baby pageant in the 1982 or so...but it was nothing like T and T. 

 

I just saw that spoof.  It was funny, but I also then watched some of the clips from T and T.  It makes me so angry to see those kids being pushed so much to the point of tears.  How can parents think they are doing their kids any favors? 

 

Sorry.  It kind of aggravates me.  I'm going to try not to go into a rant.

 

Don't get me wrong, some people have said my youngest has some of the best facial expressiveness and say she actually has some natural acting ability...and being unemployed like we are, we joke about it sometimes trying to get her into commercials or something.  But I would NOT want to do that to her. 

 

But yes, pushy parents in general - be it for talent, beauty, sports, academics - that can't be good for their self-concept if the parent is the key motivating force for what they do in their lives.  If the kids desire it...it's one thing to support their drives...another thing altogether to push.

 

 


I think, like with all things, it's the extremes that are the problem. The whole pageant world isn't really like Toddlers and Tiaras. My nieces did pageants in middle and highschool and really loved it though, these were "real" pageants with recognized titles and winning required putting in hundreds of service hours to the community. I like to think that most of those TV parents aren't that bad in real life. The stress of being on camera while your child has a tantrum isn't going to bring out the best in most mothers. Plus, I'm sure it's cut to show them at their breaking point and not the 5 hours of patience they had leading up to it. I guess I think back to when I put my 4-year-old in basketball. He wandered the court and never touched the ball. I felt like a fool for putting him there. Deep down though, I know I did it because my brother never fit in with the other boys. He was tortured for years because of it. There was this desperate need for me to make everything OK for DS and at the time, early exposure to sports seemed to be the answer. Obviously, I learned my lesson lol, but I see that sort of mania in some of those moms who think if their daughter is a popular beauty queen, she'll not have to suffer the barbs they did themselves. We are kind of a screwed up society at times.

 

I will say, we know lots of great kids that do commercials and modeling work. They are usually gifted and very personally driven towards the industry. It's a very small (but vocal) percentage who are pushed by parents and those kids aren't often very successful. 

 


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Old 08-22-2011, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think, like with all things, it's the extremes that are the problem. The whole pageant world isn't really like Toddlers and Tiaras. My nieces did pageants in middle and highschool and really loved it though, these were "real" pageants with recognized titles and winning required putting in hundreds of service hours to the community. I like to think that most of those TV parents aren't that bad in real life. The stress of being on camera while your child has a tantrum isn't going to bring out the best in most mothers. Plus, I'm sure it's cut to show them at their breaking point and not the 5 hours of patience they had leading up to it. I guess I think back to when I put my 4-year-old in basketball. He wandered the court and never touched the ball. I felt like a fool for putting him there. Deep down though, I know I did it because my brother never fit in with the other boys. He was tortured for years because of it. There was this desperate need for me to make everything OK for DS and at the time, early exposure to sports seemed to be the answer. Obviously, I learned my lesson lol, but I see that sort of mania in some of those moms who think if their daughter is a popular beauty queen, she'll not have to suffer the barbs they did themselves. We are kind of a screwed up society at times.

 

I will say, we know lots of great kids that do commercials and modeling work. They are usually gifted and very personally driven towards the industry. It's a very small (but vocal) percentage who are pushed by parents and those kids aren't often very successful. 

 



Thanks for the insight and the input about the kids that self-select the industry.  I'll definitely keep that in mind. 

 

I really wish that mainstream media (of all kinds) weren't so into the sensational. Sometimes it makes me wonder if there isn't some sort of conspiracy going on to set up bad role models for kids.  Wouldn't it be grand if they had a documentary highlighting kids of all kinds doing community service.  My kids have been influenced in some good ways by their peers and have influenced other kids too.  Like one day they had been playing at the school park, but my girls decided all on their own to pick up litter than never made it into the trash and some of the friends helped.

 

 

 

 


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Old 08-22-2011, 08:52 AM
 
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Sometimes it makes me wonder if there isn't some sort of conspiracy going on to set up bad role models for kids.  

Nothing more than a conspiracy of greed. Sensationalism sells. 

 

Miranda

(in a TV-free household)


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Old 08-23-2011, 10:14 AM
 
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I, too, would be interested in a PBS sort of documentary following kids working at unusual levels in all areas. My kids work in local professional theatre and it is an interesting process. We have friends whose kids have done national tours and that would be a journey worth watching in a  well-done and respectful way. We have friends who do serious ballet and that is a fascinating world. Same with prepping for national spelling bees, science fairs ect. However, any show that is focusing on the parents journey and not the child's journey is bound to be ugly. It's more the norm to find parents with these sort of kids being dragged along reluctantly than enthusiastic promoters.


Have you seen Spellbound? It's a documentary about a group of teens prepping for and competing at the National Spelling Bee. It made the festival circuit about 10 years ago and was released on DVD. Well worth watching and I didn't think it was exploitative. IIRC (it's been a long time since I watched it), there were some scenes that raised questions about some of the parental involvement, but I think they were fairly handled. 

 

This t.v. production sounds horrible, frankly. I'm betting it will exploit the image of pushy, hothousing parents and do absolutely nothing to illuminate the challenges confronting these children. 

 

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Old 08-28-2011, 07:01 AM
 
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Reality shows make money when some of the hired parties look horrrible in real life.  Other jobs aren't like that.  Yes, if you're playing a jerk some odd person will think it has something to do with you.  But it's ACTING and people's goals are supporting the actors towards a good performance, not setting them up for a bad one.

 

 

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Old 08-28-2011, 12:15 PM
 
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Nothing more than a conspiracy of greed. Sensationalism sells. 

 

Miranda

(in a TV-free household)


Yes. I think people want to watch reality television because it makes them feel superior. Like "Well, I'm not a perfect mom but heck, at least I don't behave like those women!"

 

And that is what that show description sounds like too. It doesn't sound like they care at all about the kid, what they want are "exceptionally involved parents." And you know they don't want the type of parents who are involved by working at the concession booth at a gymnastics meet to help raise money or who will go out of their way to make sure every kid has a ride to play practice. Because who would want to watch that?? They want the ones who are involved by screaming at judges for bad scores, trying to get the director to rewrite a roll to give their child more stage time, etc.

 

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Old 08-29-2011, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Interesting information, Pigpokey.  Even if it's acting the part of a pushy bad parent, I wouldn't want to do it.  My kids have anxieties enough without making our home a three ring circus that their friends or our extended family might watch.

 

Instead, I participated in an online research study in a similar, but more serious vein.  It is not of course for pay...but I think it would be great to find out her results of the study when she's done. Or if a book gets published out of it...that might be a benefit to parents of gifted kids everywhere.  Not of course how to support the gifted kids more...but how to support the PARENTS who support the gifted kids. 

 

I found this website through Hoagies.

 

http://parentsofgiftedchildren.com/?page_id=52

 

 

Quote:

About the project

 

[The research] will be carried out by Natalie Rimlinger, a PhD (Clinical Psychology) student at the Australian National University, under the supervision of Dr. Phillipa Butcher at the ANU. Natalie is also the parent of two gifted daughters and has been an active member of the gifted families’ community for the past 6 years. Her interest is therefore both professional and personal.

This survey has been designed to ask questions that haven’t been asked of parents/caregivers of gifted children before. It aims to explore various aspects of raising your gifted child such as your experience of being a parent/caregiver, your interactions with your child’s school, your worries or concerns, and your social support network.

Further information will be given to you if you choose to participate in the study.

 

What are the rewards?

Your involvement will help to fill in a massive gap in the current research. We know so much about gifted children and their needs but we know very little about the parents/caregivers who are raising these special children. This is your chance to help me fill in the blanks and raise awareness of the needs of parents/caregivers just like you.

 

She's interesting in more representatives from Australia...but she seems to have a good size U.S. sample. 

 

So, yeah...no TV scene for my family. 


:)

 

 


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Old 08-29-2011, 02:47 PM
 
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Miss Information, I didn't understand your reply.  I was stating my opinion about putting a child in acting, versus putting a child under a reality TV contract.  I was not saying they are the same thing.  I think they are usually extremely different. 

 

It is hard to make accurate global statements about these things however.  For example I could say "It is one thing to have a kid in the business in Atlanta or Chicago, and another to have them in the business in LA or NY."   But for some kid, I'm sure life in the biz in LA or going to constant NYC go-sees is sane and for another acting in student films in Orlando is daunting.

 

I do think acting gives many gifted children an outlet for hard work and talent development. 

 

I could say that reality tv does not seem to be a positive place but for some kids it might be positive.  For example:  I can't, for myself, criticize the Gosselins' choice to do reality TV to fund the family.  Those kids had tradeoffs made in their lives, but there were tradeoffs with not doing it.  It was an extreme situation.  Had they not gotten the show, they would have had parents under stress for different reasons.  Hard to say, for me.  The mom said when they found out it was cancelled they cried.  I have heard that the crew was kept stable and very respectful of the children.

 

The Duggars seem to be doing fine.  They either comport themselves consistently with their values almost all the time, or they were able to get approval put in their contracts.  Or the network thinks that ratings for that show are not dependent on drama.  Their wardrobe has expanded dramatically and many are sporting braces.  I think in many ways, being on Reality TV has made their experience more typical, for better or worse.

 

There was a documentary a long time ago called Painted Babies, following a couple of child pageant contestants about age 6, and then a follow up on BBC when they were about 17.  They seemed to be not particularly affected by either their pageant experiences or their documentary participation, and to be leading the kind of lives they might be leading had they never done any of that (except one young woman was still entering and enjoying pageants and had gone into coaching). 

 

But I myself would not do any reality tv, or respond to this kind of request forwarded by the OP. 

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