A recent episode of Eastenders had one adoptive parent screaming at her TV, we’ll let her tell you why.
I have always been very impressed that one of Eastender’s longest serving characters, Sharon (played by the lovely Letitia Dean) has the backstory of being adopted. This shows adoption is a lifelong issue and the BBC have usually dealt with it well. I could not believe my ears when (on 2nd March) Sharon repeatedly referred to finding her “real mum” and “real dad”. I have also recently been treated to the same on Waterloo Road which my boys watch so not just a one off.
I have been an (adoptive) mum for 11 years and usually deal with this kind of insensitive language in a practiced way. For young children who ask me if I am my son’s real mum, – I just ask them to pinch me to see if I am real. With adults, I gently but firmly correct them by saying – ‘you mean their birth or biological parents’.
Eastender’s is the top UK soap watched by millions therefore it is involved in forming views and the use of language, as is Waterloo Road. I don’t think it is too PC therefore to ask them to get it right.Following these episodes with this story line, adopted kids will have been asked in the playground about their ‘real parents’ and from first- hand experience it is painful and confusing for them. The words ‘real mum’ always make me cross, every time.
So, is it just me being sensitive or should the BBC script writers be more careful. After all, in the complicated world of soap operas characters rarely seem to be living with their ‘real’ family. Increasingly in today’s society children are raised by step parents or other family members who they may call mum or dad. I would be interested to know other peoples views.