Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Sweet Brat

I have, again today, had the misfortune to catch a bit of "My Super Sweet Sixteen" on Mtv. I'll be the first to admit, I could turn the channel, but it's like a bad car accident on the highway - you don't want to be one of those people who looks, but you can't help yourself. The gore in this case is excess.

Just in case you haven't caught the show, they follow these guys/girls turning 16 and the preparations for their elaborate parties and then the gathering itself. These parties involve rock stars and party planners and more time, energy and money than most over-the-top weddings.

All these parties seem to culminate in the 16 year old getting a car - and it's not the Ford Granada passed on from Aunt Mertie that you were thrilled to have - these are very high end vehicles that most hope to drive at some point in their lives, not necessarily to own.

Today's episode was different - there was no car, or at least I didn't see that part - her parents are sending her to school in France. She seemed thrilled to be leaving these 800 "friends" who were close enough to be invited to her party.

I've seen this show, at least parts of it, maybe ten times. I haven't yet seen one where the 16 year old to be is not at some point talking to mommy or daddy about how everything is going to be ruined if the center pieces aren't right or the rock star doesn't show up or the dress isn't pink. Nor have I seen one that at some point they don't say "daddy/mommy gets me everything I want."

Parents - what in the hell is wrong with you? Getting your child everything they want is OK as long as what they want is reasonable. A $500,000 party for their 16 year old birthday is not reasonable. A $50,000 party is not reasonable. A $5,000 party is reasonable only if you are a multi-millionaire. Grow some balls and say "no."

When I think about the good could be done with that money, it's staggering. Maybe some life training for your child would be a good way to spend some of it. You're definitely headed for some therapy bills so you might want to put some aside.

I'm all for having a good time, but if it takes a half million for your little darling to have a good time at only 16, she hasn't been raised right. You've got two years to fix that before she's officially an adult. Get started. You have f'ed up big time as a parent - try to minimize the damage.

Yeah, I know, I don't have kids - yadda, yadda, yadda. That makes me all the better of an outside observer. I'm not colored by that feeling of how it is when they beg. I can just see the long term effect of this "anything goes" mentality.

This is ridiculous. And, while I can understand the entertainment value of a show devoted to the ridiculous - it's a standard - unfortunately they seem to have an endless supply of these extravaganzas to feature.