Saturday, January 12, 2013
Cayci Banks' Open Letter to NBC
Dear NBC Parenthood,
As the mom of a three year old, it isn't often that I'm in front of the TV alone, but every Tuesday night I make sure Lucas is tucked in bed and my other "mom" duties are complete, so I can enjoy the latest episode of Parenthood on NBC. It has become mine and my husband's favorite show, and this season just keeps getting better and better.
In this week’s episode, in addition to just playing to my parent side, the show touched a couple of topics that are near and dear to me as an employee of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. One of the show’s younger characters Drew, a senior in high school, found out his girlfriend was pregnant and Max, a middle school boy with Asperger Syndrome, began to hit puberty.
I want to commend Parenthood for tackling these issues and for doing so with what seemed like informed writing. We saw Drew and his girlfriend struggle with a very hard decision, and what was really interesting was seeing it all from the young man’s point of view. Too often we hear stories about teenage girls having to go through situations alone, but Drew was there for his girlfriend, owned up to his responsibility, and was encouraging her to weigh all options. He told her he loved her and that they could build a life together, but she insisted that if she had a baby, her life would be over. In the end, she decided to end her pregnancy, but I appreciated the emotional struggle that Parenthood portrayed through its characters.
Secondly, I thought the show did a phenomenal job of showing the difficulty in talking to a child with special needs about love, sex and relationships. Let’s face it – most parents squirm when thinking about having talks with their kids about these topics, but Parenthood showed the importance of having the talk, even if the conversation is uncomfortable. Max’s parents chose to let the Dad take the brunt of the conversation thinking the son would feel more comfortable talking to his dad about his changing body. But what struck me the most about their conversation was towards the end, when Max said, “Dad, I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I’m not ready.” How powerful. We must trust our kids and trust that they will come to us when they are ready, but as adults we often need to take the first step, which is exactly what this dad did. The dad’s response to Max’s comment was spot on, “Well Max, please know that I am here to talk when you are ready.” He didn’t force the conversation; he simply wanted Max to know that he was there and willing to talk on Max’s terms, when Max was ready.
So Parenthood, this week you get two thumbs up from this mom and employee of a non-profit who works day in and day out on sexual health issues. Keep the good episodes coming.
YOUR BIGGEST FAN
by Cayci Banks, Director of Communications, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy