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Tear Jerker: Toddlers & Tiaras
Given the premise of this show, this page contains good examples of how not to be a parent.
There was one family with two daughters and they were competing for the first time against each other. The older girl kept saying how she knew her little sister would win because she's always the cutest and gets the best stuff. You could see her self-esteem plummet.
The Sterling twins' mom. She has three other daughters and all five do pageants. Breanne wins a lot more than her twin Ashlynn and the mom keeps praising her while putting Ashlynn down ("she's just Ashlynn", "kind of skinny", "kind of big nose", "Breanne looks more like mommy") and Ashlynn tearfully confessed that she doesn't like competing against Breanne because Breanne always beats her.
Taken Up to Eleven when Ashlynn found that her dress was ripped (nobody knew how) and the mom sighed "Well, the dress in the mail is new, but it's for Breanne. I guess I can fix this even though I don't have time." While they're sitting in a pile of other dresses. The mother than declared "besides, Breanne's the one that needs to try on a dress", sweeping Ashlynn under the rug.
Ashlynn really came across as a Woobie to a lot of people. Like when she wasn't twirling "correctly" and the mother huffed "someone else get up here. Breanne, show her how to do it" That mother earned her place as one of their top controversial moms.
In one episode that featured them, Breanne threw a hissy-fit and won a lower prize than Ashlynn, who won two prizes but Breanne still bragged that she "beat" her sister.
Alaska and her brother Braxton, who's clearly favored by their mother, who keeps talking about how beautiful her son is and how he always wins. She calls blonde, blue-eyed Alaska's looks "cookie-cutter" and says she'd better be prepared to lose gracefully against her brother.
"I'm Alaska. My biggest supporter would be, um—I don't really have one."
When her stepfather is writing her pageant information, her family suggests that her qualities are "being a pain in the ass" and "making trouble for her mom and dad", and that her ambition is to "make some poor man's life hell". Alaska, who seems a quiet, intelligent little girl, says that she wants to be a doctor a career that requires intelligence and years of education. She's completely ignored.
And then it got worse by going in the other direction Alaska went on a winning streak, and now she's a mega-diva loved by mama and her brother is completely ignored.
Whenever a child under the age of 1 1/2 wins, because they've seen girls perform talents and prance and at least do something but nope, baby in a pimped-out dress wins.
Made worse in one episode where there were twin 1-year-olds. One pitched a fit and only calmed down right before they got her onstage, but was then quiet and sulky. The other baby smiled and danced a bit, and you heard the mom say how proud she was because she (the baby in question) was normally so shy and her happiness was justified. The first baby won.
This led to the obnoxious 9-year-old Danielle making a point one wouldn't expect from such a Spoiled Brat: "It's just a baby. She didn't even do nothing."
Poor, poor Carley, whose mom Melissa dragged her aside several times and whispered threats ("the iPod will be gone", "you're going to be a sorry girl", "We're on television!") when Carley didn't want to keep practicing. Made worse by her mom's constant posturing for the camera with bright, wide smiles.
And then Carley developed a fledgling split personality named Darla, who loves pageants and is outgoing, and a total diva because that way she can get through it. There's a heartbreaking video where she tells the interviewer to call her Darla and talks about how she [Darla] told herself [Carley] to stay home because Carley doesn't do well at pageants.
The mother encourages it, saying things like "I'd better be talking to Dar right now." Or the more heartbreaking "yeah, Carley better be in the car" when talking to "Darla" about which one she needs right now.
Plus there's the irony when the mother says, point-blank, "I feel like her and I are the same person, we live the same life and I just feel like that is me on the stage." It's never gotten more blatant than that.
Or the disturbing scene in which Melissa is near tears and storming off because Carley went "way too fast" in her beauty section. There's a moment when Melissa is almost shaking her daughter, and Carley looks up at the camera with an expression that so clearly says "please help me" that it breaks your heart one can only hope that someone in her life intervenes. The fact that Carley is insisting that she didn't go too fast and then goes on to win the pageant suggests that the mum clearly takes perfectionism to the point of lunacy.
One contestant, SamiJo, is only a year old. Her mother said that the only reason she wanted a daughter is so that she could compete in pageants.
SamiJo also has a Pimped-Out Dress that was made in a way that doesn't account for a wiggling baby. Her mother duct taped it to her skin so it would stay on properly. Ouch.
She's now two and her parents split over her father not liking that they've spent over $100,000 (by his estimation) on pageants. And her mother's still pushing pageants, despite admitting that they're now in a smaller house and the mom's doing sexy advertising to make enough money to enter her. SamiJo's going to be very, very messed up when she's older.
Oh, and the mom enters the pageants too, as an adult contestant.
And she's obsessed with winning. From the looks of things, she doesn't know anything but pageants and being pretty. At age 2.
Multiple mothers are shown pouring Pixy Stix into their toddler to try to induce a sugar rush before going onstage. It comes across like nothing so much as a prelude to a future cocaine habit. What's worse, it's treated as something commonplace in pageant circles.
A judge in another episode, while trying to pretend that kids who do gymnastics instead of pageants have it worse, admitted that most of the kids at the pageants are loaded up on soda and Pixy Stix.
Alana (aka Honey Boo Boo)'s mother flat-out admitted that everyone has a "go go juice" recipe.
From "Me and My Pet", Alycesaundra's and Giovanna's mum constantly comments on how Alycesaundra is the "better one", had admitted to pay $8,000 for a dress for her, gives her a cute little baby lamb for her pet routine, is furious when the judge pronounces her name wrong, is furious at her husband who "ruined Alycesaundra's performance" and states "I think Alycesaundra will do better than the OTHER ONE". The Other One meaning Giovanna, who is said to have "no personality", gets a turkey for her pet routine (although the family lives on a farm and has plenty of other animals), and is completely ignored when she earns a "Queen" title. She throws a fit later on, which is again completely ignored by her mum since Alycesaundra got a "Supreme" title.
Also a lot of Giovanna's "bad behavior" that the mom was constantly scolding her for was due to the fact that Giovanna clearly wasn't interested in even doing the pageant and was flat-out telling her mom so.
This show clearly demonstrates how some parents (Thank sweet mother of God so many parents aren't like this at all) try and attempt to live vicariously through their children in order to make up for some failure in the past, lack of being in a good place in the present, or to create a "legacy" where their prior victories are continued on through their children. For parents to attempt to have their 6 or 7 year old child (and if I understand the show correctly those're the OLDEST competitors) decked out in makeup, dresses that are about 10 years too old for them, and practice these ridiculous routines even though they should be doing what kids their age should be doing: BEING KIDS!!!!! Its a sobering thought to think that parents are not only willing to do this but get super competitive over these kinds of competitions.