Being the parent of three kids, I can tell you that while I pride myself on being a caring and loving father to all of them, they test my patience immensely. If it isn’t the sibling fights that continue after numerous pleas for stoppage, then it’s the lack of understanding about simple things like sharing, talking softly, and not destroying property.
During a recent visit to the home of another family, we were introduced to the ABC production of Supernanny. Well, it was mostly a verbal introduction as the other family did not have a copy of the show for viewing. Anyway, the introduction intrigued my wife and I – a very British nanny (Jo Frost) shows up at a household that requires her services and proceeds to teach various techniques in instilling discipline with the children of the household.
Hence, I found myself watching Supernanny about two weeks ago (it’s on Mondays at 10:00 PM EST on ABC affiliate stations). Ms. Frost is quite an affable nanny and quite unlike what I had originally expected. Once she steps into the household, she spends a day with them to assess the situation at hand, whether it be a high-temper child that gets away with everything or a group of children that brings the whole house into chaos. She observes how each parent interacts with the children and how each goes about his/her daily business.
Once the 1st day is completed, Ms. Frost then proceeds to review her notes with the parents and summarize the areas for improvement. These tend to include the following:
- Instilling discipline in the children and enforcing it regularly
- Praise and disappointment vocal training
- Getting the husband off his fat ass to participate in the household maintenance
The latter item seems to happen quite a lot as the Supernanny tends to visit homes with stay-at-home mothers.
The show is quite fascinating, in a voyeuristic “reality show” kind of way. Yes, the child-rearing techniques introduced by Ms. Frost are sound but they’re also quite basic and are based on common sense. For example, if the child clings to you all the time, the natural thing to do is to put a little distance between you and your child, look at him/her at eye level, and have a word or two on why he/she shouldn’t do that. That’s not a new technique but I do have high praise for Ms. Frost in emphasizing such basics because many parents simply do not have even these methods down.
Indeed, as you watch each episode, you see that many parents still have a difficult time in establishing these methods as taught by Ms. Frost in their household. That’s why Ms. Frost usually leaves the home for a day or two and observes the activity in the home through cameras. More often than not, the parents tend to screw it all up again and require Ms. Frost to come in and reinforce her teachings.
Inevitably, though, I found myself enraptured by the show not for Ms. Frost’s wise advice, but more for the fact that no matter how bad I may think my home can be, there’s always another one that is far worse off. And thanks to Supernanny, I get that warm and fuzzy feeling each and every Monday night.
Other Supernanny Facts
- Original 3-episode production by Channel 4 (UK) shown in July 2004
- American production by ABC – 1st episode aired on January 17th, 2005
- Upon completion of the American production, Ms. Frost will return to the UK to film further episodes of the Channel 4 production of Supernanny
- Supernanny: How to Get the Best from Your Children (by Jo Frost) – book published by Hyperion, released January 2005