FSM Media

by Dianna Ranere

Interview with Ali Wentworth and Dr. Adolph Brown from ABC’s ‘THE PARENT TEST’

Traci Shannon (AKA StarTraci) is a blogger at A Star in My Own Universe and is a new author on FSM Media.

The Parent Test

Is there one way to parent? Or, is there a right way to parent? Probably not, but is there a better way to parent?

Likely yes.

At least, that is the premise of the new show, “The Parent Test” starring Ali Wentworth and Dr. Adolph Brown. Twelve sets of parents will be given challenges to see which parenting style is best. Now if this makes you a little skeptical, I was a bit, too. 

Not Another Mommy War

After years of feeling burned by the comparison culture, the so-called ”Mommy Wars”, I found myself shiver a bit when I first heard the concept. I feared in the search for the “right” way, there would inevitably be an air of judgment because there has to be a “wrong” way. I am happy to report that I learned differently.

Prior to the preview episode in December, I was included in the parent roundtable with the hosts. With these concerns in hand, I did not hold back. I asked directly if this going to be a “good parent” vs, a “bad parent” show. Frankly, I was not terribly interested in that. 

*** See My Interview Below***

I am happy to say that the show is not interested in that, either. Instead, the philosophy of the show is every parent shares the common goal of raising happy, healthy children, no matter what style they use. In fact, as I watched the premiere, it was clear that deep conversations happened, and were managed in a respectful manner, between the parents.


Here’s to Better Parenting

Talking to Ms. Wentworth and Dr. Brown made it clear that this was not a trivial lark, but rather a genuine look into quality parenting, and I am interested in that. The series starts in earnest tonight, and I think it’s worth a tune-in. Obviously, I believe parents will appreciate it, but I think anyone could enjoy it, because a parent or not, we are all someone’s child.

Parents fail. All of us. No matter how well-intended, no matter what style we use, all of us fail in some way, but if we can learn and do a little better, how much better the world would be. I know I shall be watching, and learning. 

THE PARENT TEST Interview – Ali Wentworth, Dr. Adolph Brown, and Traci Shannon

Talking with the Hosts of The Parent Test Ali Wentworth & Dr. Adolph Brown

Traci: I was very intrigued by this show because I have been writing since the whole Mommy Wars thing and I am really against that and spoke out about that. I’m really hoping that this helps us see each other’s parenting styles in a very different way and stimulate conversation about the fact that we come at it differently. That we all want the same goal, which is to raise competent adults who are loving and productive citizens. So if you guys can maybe speak more to that overall goal.

Dr. Adolph Brown: Definitely, I think even though I was told when I came into this, that there were 12 uniquely different parenting styles and I was aware of all of them when I actually saw them in action, I saw more commonalities than not. Many of them were refreshing the fact that every parent leads with love, every parent loves their children, and every parent is doing the best they can with the information they have at this time. So at the end of the day, my hope is that it starts a national conversation. These conversations are happening but parenting is so personal, that a lot of people don’t necessarily want to put it out there for critique or judgment. I also hope that as parents who are watching these parenting styles they develop toolkits, and they’re able to say, Hey, I like this from that one. I don’t like this over here, I like this, let’s put this in here. I’m also hoping that at the end of the day that this show is as value-added for everyone as it is for me.

Ali: When you say the Mommy Wars, you mean the working mom versus stay-at-home mom…

Traci: …or it was even the breastfeeding versus formula. It was just this pitting one choice against the other as if there was an all-or-nothing. 

Ali: This show does not do that. In fact, it definitely has the feeling of we’re all in this together and how can we help each other and, and oh, I want to use that, that’s interesting. Which is a great thing because as parents they say it takes a village, it does and I think we can all learn from each other. We all want the same goal and we also all love our children so it shouldn’t be so polarized.

Dr. Brown: Well, I think we start the show by acknowledging there’s no such thing as perfect parenting. If there were terms that I would like to put an action, it would be parenting and excellence, where we’re constantly trying to make today better than yesterday, regardless of the style.


Traci: I have a question about parents who have evolving roles. I’m personally going through that right now. My husband had been military, so I had been in a more traditional taking care of the home and the kids. He’s now retired and we’re evolving, and I’m moving into a more professional position. I think that affects everyone when that happens, and I was just curious, what is your advice for parents when they’re shifting gears and how to talk to the kids about that when that evolves their roles?

Dr. Brown: I think I would tell them the truth, that we’re shifting gears. As a parent, I think I’ve been stealing your hard and I don’t necessarily think that’s equipping you to be a productive, healthy, happy, kind citizen and from this point on, there’ll be some challenges for you that I’m going to back away from, because I want you to understand that you’re tough, and you can handle it. If you fall down, I think you’re gonna be okay. Because you’ll get back up.

Ali: I also have two teenage daughters, and I found, particularly during the pandemic, that I was open and honest with them and I said to them, like, I don’t know what’s happening, like, I have no reference for this either. We have to work together as a family, and I’m going to need you to step up, I need you to help me, you know, mask up and Windex the groceries, I need your help with dishes, I need your help with laundry. The nice thing was they did step up. So you know, it’s a little nerve-wracking to be that kind of mother and then actually say to them, I need you to step up but nine times out of 10 they do and when they do, it’s an incredible feeling as a parent, but also, it’s an incredible feeling as a family unit.

Dr. Brown: It’s really important to notice when we’re over-parenting, and it’s not just over-parenting with our children it’s over-parenting in the relational dynamic with the spouse, whereby there’s no room for the spouse to help and that’s a common dilemma. Where if you tell me I don’t have to take the kids to soccer or dance, then go ahead. But if you are not taking them, then I know I have to step up. So just be mindful of that as well.

Ali: Communication sounds like the thing everybody needs to communicate.

Dr. Brown: Comprehension. That’s at the end of the day, we say communication, but it’s important that we truly understand what’s being communicated. 

Watch an all-new episode of The Parent Test tonight 1/5 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST) on ABC. In tonight’s episode entitled “Stranger Danger” – Intensive, natural, routine and New Age parenting styles are put to the test when families take on the Fine Dining Challenge and the Home Alone Challenge. The pressure of social settings and the unfamiliar collide – which styles best help their kids adapt? And safety comes to the forefront when the kids are met with an unexpected visitor. Watch episodes on demand and on Hulu the day following their premieres.