“I Want To Be An Extreme Parent!” Said No One Ever

20 months.

The creator of the TV show Dance Moms is working on a new reality show about Extreme Parenting, due to beam up (and possibly burn out) your plasma screens this fall.

Yes, it will be a train wreck. No, Thomas the Train will not be involved.

Of course, since we seem to love watching train wrecks, while downplaying them each as a “stupid guilty pleasure,” we fund and endorse these ridiculous reality TV shows that we are ashamed to admit we like.

This upcoming Extreme Parenting show will be featuring parents who endorse co-sleeping, elimination communication (no diapers or potty training), unschooling, and non-vaccinating.

Basically, I have a feeling the show will make a circus of participants of attachment parenting.

As I pointed out in How Gay-Friendly Ads Affect What You Buy Your Kids, we as a pop culture are easily engaged, offended by, and divided by extremes that affect other people’s lives, but often not our own.

“I don’t agree with your viewpoint” is often perceived as “I hate you.” So then polarizing groups form and they ridiculously boycott each other.

In my 2+ plus years so far of daddy blogging, I’ve accidently ran into a few (several dozen!) extreme parents who decorated my comments page like flair on an Applebee’s uniform in 1998.

Some extreme parents are mellow and non-preachy about their different parenting lifestyle.

Others are not.

I evidently have become a classic villain among intactivists and anti-Ferberizers (those who oppose the “cry it out” method for getting their child to sleep through the night.)

Just read the comments to these articles I’ve written and you’ll learn that if you put me in a room with a black light, the “666″ becomes visible on my forehead:

 Is It Wrong To Let Your Baby Cry It Out?

Getting My Infant To Sleep Through The Night

Dadvice #5: How Is It Natural To Circumcise Your Son?

Dadvice #6: Is Circumcision Unnecessary And/Or Immoral?

Dadvice #7: A Skeptic’s Letter To Intactivists

Dadvice #8: Too Young To Medicate ADHD And Bipolar Disorder?

I don’t think anyone ever says, “I want to be an extreme parent.” But I bet a lot of extreme parents don’t even realize they are.

As for me, I make it one of my daily goals in life to not to be an extreme person, in general. I believe in the importance of being passionate about things you stand for, but not extreme.

But cyber-bullying, boycotting, and name-calling are not part of my moral belief system. Therefore, I won’t cyber-bully, boycott, or name-call those who do those things.

(Unless this technically counts right now. Oops.)

The irony, however, is this: We are all extreme parents to somebody out there.

I am an extreme parent for having my son circumcised and for teaching him to sleep through the night at 7 months old.

You can’t not be an extreme parent… because the true extreme parents out there already see you as one.

Add a Comment
Back To The Dadabase
  1. by Joe

    On July 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    So, Nick, what, pray tell, am I? Hopefully you’ve seen me as passionate and not extreme. I’ve been a vocal intactivist/AP presence on your page a)to educate you and whoever else is reading, b)to help you shed some of the things that you’ve been taught by people who don’t know any better c)to show you that just because we’re different, we’re actually not so far apart, and d)I like your blog and I think you’re doing a really good thing here.

    Culture is changing rather quickly. Luckily, most alternative parenting information is already becoming more mainstream by the day.

    However, I also fear what light this show will portray people in. It might set us back a bit in the eyes of those whose idea of ‘researching the alternatives’ means watching a Teen Mom marathon… ;-)

  2. by Joe

    On July 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    All that being said, I saw this picture the other day and thought of you… ;-)


  3. by Nick Shell

    On July 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I see you as the example other intactivists should take a hint from. I mean that as a compliment. You are a sober voice and I appreciate that.

  4. by Nick Shell

    On July 30, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    That’s hilarious!

  5. by Joe

    On July 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Ok, good.

    …glad you like the photo. ;-)

    Oh, I forgot to ask…what did your wife think of the Philly suburbs?

  6. by Rob

    On August 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Dude you’re a butcher, you chop off a part of your son’s penis, and you call homeschoolers and co-sleepers extreme? Really?


  7. by Bran

    On February 22, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Joe’s comment is absolutely true. What Nick wrote about at the end is complete ignorance.