On April 18, 2009, my family and I were in a reality TV show — "World’s Strictest Parents" — which can still be viewed on CMT.com, under "Episode 1: The Vintons."
At first, we were a little uneasy about doing a reality show, considering all the bad press these types of shows receive. We certainly didn’t want to be seen as fools, or be made to do things that were not true to who we were. But after viewing the original series in the UK and meeting the casting producers, we were convinced that the show would, indeed, be as organic as possible and, hopefully, help others for the better.
We were right.
The experience lasted a couple of weeks, between preparing for the camera crew and teens to arrive in our home. The filming lasted five days. Yes, only five days, but it seemed like five years! Filming a reality show is nothing short of exhausting. Every evening I would look at my husband and say, “How do people do this for weeks, months, years?” I definitely gained a new respect for TV and movie actors!
Every step of the way, we were very fortunate to have an amazingly professional, friendly and hardworking crew. They treated us, our home and our teen guests with kindness, respect and consideration. In the end, we were very pleased with the opportunity to participate and the final editing of the show.
Even more awesome was the response that I have continued to receive from parents and teens across the U.S. They have found me via Facebook, email and telephone, just to tell me how impressed they were and if we have any advice for their situation.
It has, at times, been overwhelming, but definitely rewarding. The other day, a single mom from Tennessee called me, and when I confirmed that it was “Lisa from the TV show,” she started to scream with excitement. It made me very happy to know that she had watched the show, was encouraged, and wanted more from me.
We talked and now are emailing back and forth so that I can continue to support her efforts to be a better parent. And that is just one of many stories I could tell since the show aired!
After reading the articles on TheWrap about suicides among reality TV participants, the nightmare for "Jon & Kate + 8" and the craziness of Octomom deciding to film her kids’ life, I wanted to share that reality TV does not have to be a bad thing. That, in fact, it can be a good, positive experience, not only for the participants, but for the audience.
I’m really glad that I could be, and continue to be, a part of the "World’s Strictest Parents."