'Dance Moms' vs. 'Toddlers and Tiaras': Whose Behavior is Worse?
'Dance Moms' vs. 'Toddlers and Tiaras': Whose Behavior is Worse?
Linda Martindale
Linda Martindale
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras appear on the surface to be similar shows. Both have been called documentaries that focus on children in the spotlight. Both have out of control parents and questionable directors. The question is which show has the worse behavior by its participants?

Both Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras began with the goal of showcasing the lives of young girls in their respected worlds, Over the years, both shows have changed from being about the children to mom and director based. Toddlers and Tiaras, in particular, has gone from showing the young girls preparing and performing in pageants to extreme parents who will pay anything for a gown and say anything to get a win for their daughter.


Let's start with production. When Dance Moms started, the show focused on the children, their moms and dancing. Holly Frazier in interviews said that she thought they were filming a documentary. Toddlers and Tiaras did not hide that production would focus on children's beauty pageants and all aspects leading up to crowning. As the years have progressed, the programs have shifted their focus with Dance Moms moving from the children to the moms and then Abby Lee Miller. Toddlers and Tiaras has stayed close to its original premise but become more vicious in portrayals of children and parents and the need to win. The worse behavior then is seen on Toddlers and Tiaras.

Pageant Directors/Studio Owners

In directors, Toddlers and Tiaras has no one person in charge. Some pageant directors have had a strong voice in the winner (Eden Wood in "Rumble in the Jungle") and some directors have not voiced any preference. Dance Moms in contrast has Abby Lee Miller in control of performances and with marked favoritism as shown through the pyramid. Her favorite at present is Maddie who receives the solos and acclaim. Abby has even gone so far as to tell us that the future rivalry will be MacKenzie and Asia. So, in regard to directors, Abby Lee Miller wins the worse behavior crown.


The children, which should be the focus of the show, also are different. Dance Moms has girls who know that they must work together to win because they are a group. While competing against each other, they must also work as a team and support each other. Toddlers and Tiaras girls have been told that they are the most beautiful and a winner. They do not often interact with each other and friendships are built on rivalry. There is no support during competitions because friends are your competitors. Worse behavior then goes to Toddlers and Tiaras.


The parents of Dance Moms know that their children have to perform as a group. While solos are awarded places, the children are part of a team. The moms may bicker and fight among themselves and lose control sometimes in front of the kids but in the end they always focus on being a cohesive support unit for their children. This isn't true for the parents on Toddlers and Tiaras who focus on winning at all costs. With a few exceptions (June and Honey Boo Boo), the parents attack during the pageant not only each other but the pageant director. The antics before a pageant apparently now include personal attacks on discussion boards, Facebook and Twitter. By a slim margin, I award worse behavior here to Toddlers and Tiaras.

The Overall Verdict 

Both shows are gaining a reputation in the press for the bad behavior shown and bullying tactics used by owners, parents, and even the children. Maybe the production company should step back and read comments on boards dedicated to the show and take a new look at what people want. Many fans feel the programs need to return to their roots with the focus on the children. If they do, I think they will see happier fans and a healthier situation for the kids!

While overall I personally find Toddlers and Tiaras to have the worse behavior of the two shows, I know Dance Moms isn't perfect. The two things going for Dance Moms though is that the parents are there for their children and the children are friends. I wish I could say the same for Toddlers and Tiaras but I've yet to see a friendship between anyone on that program.

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(Images courtesy of Lifetime and DCL/TLC)