Q: I am absolutely appalled by the language used in "Teen Mom," and using it in front of those precious little children. Are the moms so stupid that they don't know what kind of example they are setting?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

You're absolutely right that the parents use shocking language in front of, and occasionally addressing, their children in MTV's "Teen Mom OG" and "Teen Mom 2."

However, it's worth noting that language is often the least of these children's worries.

Tracie Egan Morrissey makes this point in her column on the feminist pop-culture site Jezebel.com, pointing to incidents of physical abuse between the adult characters on the show, some of which are witnessed by the children, as well as other traumatizing events. 

Morrissey also makes the point that the children in the show are often not old enough to understand the language itself. However, they can understand tone, so we should be more worried about how the characters are talking in front of their children rather than what they're saying.

And that gets to the crux of the problem: The "Teen Mom" shows (and their predecessor, "16 and Pregnant") are about conflict. If the characters were all getting along and generally enjoying their lives, they wouldn't be on television. These shows are popular because of the drama they display.

Fortunately (for the kids, anyway), some of that drama is caused by the implications of the parents' bad behavior. The state's child-protection agency has intervened more than once on the show, even taking star Amber Portwood's daughter away from her at one point.


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