Child psychiatrists want NBC’s Baby Borrowers cancelled

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry wants NBC to cancel its fascinating and compelling new reality series The Baby Borrowers because of the effect it may have on the participants and others who want to borrow their own babies.

While television shows like this one are filmed in advance, and thus cancelling the show will in no way affect the children featured on the show, the AACAP said in a press release that “[s]eparating babies and toddlers from their parents for extended periods of time can lead children to feel distress and anxiety. After prolonged separation, a child can feel distrust for his or her primary caregiver. Separation can damage a healthy attachment and a child’s sense of safety.”

The organization also says it “is concerned that the television show communicates to millions of viewers that ‘baby borrowing’ is acceptable parenting practice and will prompt imitation.”

Yes, watch out for a onslaught of people renting homes on abandoned cul-de-sacs and moving in teenage couples and camera equipment and then handing over their babies for three days while sitting next door and watching on closed-circuit TV.

As seems typical with these sorts of complaints, it kind of sounds like they didn’t actually watch the show, which emphasized how parents were observing their kids and could—and in some cases, did—intervene at any time. And how exactly is separating a baby or toddler from their parents for a couple days any different than, say, day care, or leaving the kid with grandparents for a weekend while parents go out of town? If that kind of behavior really is a problem, the AACAP might focus its efforts on stopping that, since it affects far more people and kids than the handful of participants on the show. Of course, they won’t make headlines doing that.

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