I don’t know why I don’t like Chopped Jr. but I don’t. Sometimes it is the crying…buck up buttercup, you COMPETED on a cooking show and talked mad stuff before you got chopped. LOL

Generally, I don’t like any of the successful competition shows that decide to ruin it with children. Seriously, I can barely tolerate the adults on these shows, but at least they have had time to hone their crafts and feel like they may be good enough to compete against their peers and earn a prize. Why don’t I think this is ok for kids? Well…let’s explore that a bit.

The kids are usually pre-teens or teenagers. If one is twelve years old, when were they playing and becoming healthy children? “I can’t play Legos Alex, I’m perfecting my omelette. See you at school tomorrow.” I know practice makes perfect and many children have talents and skills that they master and then compete. For this to be exploited on commercial television though?

They seem to be under a lot of pressure to perform by their parents. “I want to win this for my Mom. She is a single parent and she has always been there for me.” Sweet. But lots of kids are in single parent families. They all would like to make their parents proud. I’ve yet to hear one kid say “My parents don’t think I’m good at modeling and I’m hear to prove them wrong!” But then again, maybe that is why the kids on these shows are younger…lol…once they get to 15, they might tell the viewer more than we want to know.

Many of these kids are not presently working in their field of expertise. There is the exception of the child who works in the parents’ restaurant or bakery. However, generally, these kids are big fish in small ponds. They are constantly being told that they are “awesome” or “the best” and then they meet other equally talented kids and you can tell by the looks on their faces that the concept of others with talent is new to them. I’ve seen a few well-adjusted kids handle this well. They are complimentary and gracious. Others just are too cocky to be so young. These are the ones I secretly wish will be defeated early, so I don’t have to listen to how great they think they are. Ugh.

All of these shows are judged by adults. Why? How about make it really fun and have kids judge kids. They’d be really honest and funny. Adults who have a lot of experience and sometimes lofty expectations are not the people who should be judging. Additionally, I think having to face and adult to account for your performance is probably enormously intimidating. That is probably half of the reason for the crying. Just another adult they have disappointed. Kid judges may be more empathetic, “Here Joey, have a chocolate milk and a cookie. Wanna play games in the green room?”

All that said, it is quite impressive to see a kid plate a dish better than I’ve seen in some restaurants. I have friends who can’t boil water successfully.

Thankfully, the universe is filled with TV programming and no one is making me watch kids compete. On occasion I choose to (or am just too lazy to turn)…just to remind me how much I don’t really like these show, I guess.