Skip Nav
Little Kids
10 Signs Your Child May Have Asperger's Syndrome
Humor
This Dad and Daughter's Hilarious Staged Pictures Are All You Need to See Today
Food and Activities
120 Kids' Birthday Party Themes to Celebrate Your Child's Big Day

Have You Tuned In to Toddlers & Tiaras?

Have You Tuned In to Toddlers & Tiaras?

Every week I turn to TLC for my Jon and Kate Plus 8 fix, but after a
recommendation from BellaSugar I dedicated an evening to Toddlers & Tiaras. The documentary series follows different families on the quest for beauty pageant crowns and glory and sheds some bright lights on the realities of pageant life: rigorous training, painful hair and beauty regimens, and plenty of positive affirmations. It's sort of a modern day, reality TV influenced Living Dolls. While BellaSugar was shocked to see a 7-year-old be fitted for fake teeth and a little girl sob as she gets her first spray tan, I was more aghast by the parents' expectations and outlandish remarks. You can watch the series in parts on YouTube or tune in on Tuesdays at 10 p.m.
Photos courtesy of TLC

Join The Conversation
xxstardust xxstardust 8 years
I know I'm going to be in the minority here. I DO, absolutely, think that it's sick and wrong to force your four year old into a pageant when they clearly do not want to be there, and to drive them nuts trying to get routines down .... BUT I don't believe it makes all pageants wrong, or that they should be criminal. If someday, when my daughter was eight or ten, and came home to me and TOLD me she wanted to try a pageant, I would absolutely let her. If they're something the child is interested in doing and WANTS to participate in, they CAN be a very good thing that does build self-confidence and is a way to make a lot of friends and have fun, if you're in the right kind of pageant. I had friends in middle/high school who often participated in talent pageants, and I was always EXTREMELY jealous - it's something I always wanted to do and my mother, who hates pageants, never allowed it, despite the fact that there are plenty of pageants which do not allow swimsuit competitions, or makeup on small children (yes, in reputable, quality pageants there are rules against it!), or things of that nature. In short - yes, the mothers in this show are horrible and doing something very wrong to their children. This is NOT every pageant, however, and I know a lot of people who greatly value their experiences. And Jessie - actually, it can help you go to college. I actually go to school with Miss Teen New Jersey '07 and her pageant winnings included several scholarships, which are helping her pay for her tuition.
MissSushi MissSushi 8 years
The manipulation they put their children through is alarming. I hadnt seen it and im watching it on youtube now... the lady who works her kid up to doing it by telling her shes going to take everything back.. i dont even have words for how abusive this is. Excessive makeup and comestic enhancements aside, can someone explain to me why bathing suits is even a an event?! They are children and aboslutely no child should be expected to strut around in a bathing suit... and all of those suggestive moves. It makes me so angry. I DONT think this should be legal.
Sarana Sarana 8 years
You got me curious so I watched it on Youtube and it is disturbing. These parents say the children want it and like it, but the children are crying and feeling enormous pressure because of all the money the parents are spending. One little girl won and she cried so hard, saying "I won the money back". It was heartbreaking how much pressure she must have felt. In some othet categorie you could also cleary see that they judge in such a strange way that it just doesn't make sense (the girl in the long dress lost to a girl with fake teeth and a unnatural walk). The spraytanning, the fake teeth, the weird clothes, it's all just wrong.
jessie jessie 8 years
just seeing the picture above disturbs me. when is that child..being a child? how will they benefit from this later in life? will it get them a job? get them into a college? have a happy and fulfilled life? no..it doesn't do a damn thing for them..but make the miserable i feel. its like a meat market for children...i don't fkin think so
nessa17 nessa17 8 years
When i saw the girls being spray tanned that was really disturbing to me. I thibk they were just four. Kids are meant to be kids, they don't need all that makeup on their faces.
litbear221 litbear221 8 years
i'm sorry but this is totally disturbing... its one thing to make makeup and jewelry an dress up a fun thing ( the little girls i watch beg me to put makeup on them, but its just a splash of blush and they get sooooo excited). But i think this is sexualizing little girls. Did any of you see "Little Miss Sunshine"? Remeber the creepy biker like guy? Yeah, that's all i can think about because it's GROSS. I'm sorry but most of the mothers are usually disgusting and fat and just wish it was themselves on the stage. It's a way for those women to live vicariously through their daughters, which makes me sick. I think the false teeth are incredibly bothersome, mainly because it was so exciting to loose your baby teeth when you are younger. And little kids NEVER have perfect teeth, its because their little mouths are constantly growing. I did do synchronized swimming when i was younger, and its part of the costume to put on some lipstick, and get your hair done up, and it was fun to do your own little bit of makeup. But i do remember some moms at competitions with a whole beauty station set up and wouldnt let their daughters do any of it themselves.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Oh God, the footage of that little girl sobbing in the spray tan booth REALLY bothered me. Spray tanning is deeply uncomfortable even for an adult like me who's chosen to do it! I'd cry, too! Plus the effects of breathing in that spray? I wouldn't subject a child to it - disgusting.
RunninginBoston RunninginBoston 8 years
As if these parents weren't treating their kids bad enough, along comes a "documentary" to exploit them more. Did the film crew really think they were doing these children a service? Seems more like they wanted to profit on "train wreck" entertainment at their expense. (See mhg's comment above)
Zivanod Zivanod 8 years
I've caught an episode or two. It's such a shame what these kids go through and they often look like they are not enjoying it, only their moms seem to be getting any kind of kick out of it. The most recent one I saw, a girl who normally competes in "natural" beauty contests entered the "glam" contest and ended up winning. I wish it was set an example to the other moms to not dress their girls like little harlots but I doubt it will.
SweetnLow SweetnLow 8 years
Nope. The way you feel about this is the way I feel about J&K+8 and Octomom.
Ellietalk Ellietalk 8 years
i did once and it freaked me out. it is terribly disturbing. personally i think it should be illegal.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
I'd like to catch it, but haven't yet because it conflicts with Real Housewives. Such quality entertainment!
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 8 years
And we wonder why our kids are dressing more and more like Paris Hilton at a younger age, even though these pageant girls are only a handful in America, it's just wrong. To me it is almost as disturbing as kiddy porn, but not quite.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
i saw something like this, not sure what it was, over christmas. the fake teeth thing did bother me. what's more darling than a 7 year old who is missing their teeth, why change that? actually, everything about kid pagents surprised me, i had no idea the kids were so fake. they'll grow up thinking beauty looks ONLY a certain way with zero room for individuality and what is natural. people who grow up thinking they can't be themselves are not happy or well adjusted. sad.
vmruby vmruby 8 years
No..... I got as far as a commercial where there was a little girl dressed up in her pageant gear and makeup standing in front of a mirror saying how hot she looked and that was more than enough for me.I definitely won't be tuning in to that show. I find it really insane not to mention disturbing to see "babies" made up to look like prostitots.
ladyr ladyr 8 years
I watched it once. Some of the girls were doing very sexual dance moves, which was very disturbing. Also, some of the moms were waaaaay too into it. It was weird.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I don't need to watch this program to see how disgusting these pageants and their "stage" mothers are. Just watching a few minutes of a local pageant a few years ago in a mall was torture enough.
mhg mhg 8 years
it's like a trainwreck. very disturbing, yet hard to look away.
givecoup givecoup 8 years
I watched about 10 or so minutes of it the other night and couldn't stand it. I saw a 4 year old in full makeup doing choreographed sexy dance moves. I think it's too much stress on the parent and the child, these things. Kids grow up under enough pressure these days to add more like this.
luckyme luckyme 8 years
No. The commercials for it make me want to puke. What these "mothers" are doing to these LITTLE GIRLS (that's what they are - CHILDREN - they are not dolls, they are also not adults and should not be dressed/makeup'ed/tanned/coifed as such) is sick. And Chrstne, your first comment, second paragraph is EXACTLY my goal as a mother to daughters. I always say that my primary goal is to raise them to be well-adjusted.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
Just as an added comment...for gymnastics as a little girl (and cheerleading) we had to wear make up. In gymnastics, it was mostly for "theatrical" purposes, and looked terrible! It was like a subtle version of clown make up. And in Cheerleading, we had to do it because when we went to competitions some girls faces looked completely washed out under the lights, so you put on extra blush. But nothing like a full face of make up. I wore eyeliner once as a child -- for halloween, and because I wanted to. I didn't wear it again until 16. The most my mom gave me at 4 was the kiddy lipstick, that doesn't have any pigment. This is just...so wrong on so many different levels.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
My BF and I watched this one night out of sheer boredom. After a few minutes he had to turn the channel because he thinks it is so disturbing to see a child look like that. This is not like putting on a bit of blush or eye shadow for a halloween costume, this is making it seem as though 4 is the new 20. I don't think it's meant to sexualize kids, but I do think it's intentions are not very good. Kids are beautiful without make up. Why do you want them to look like one of those slutty "bratz" dolls, or look like a bigger version of a barbie? Don't think I'll watch it again. If I ever have a daughter, my number one priority is to make sure she's not over exposed to what they do to, and what they make for children that are just over the top. Makeup, fake teeth -- as practically babies. And all those damn toys they try to make look "better" by adding "makeup" and skimpy clothes.
Parenting Lessons From Gilmore Girls
Girls' Birthday Cakes
Children's Place Empowering Girl Shirts
Sexiest HGTV Star of 2016 Poll
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds