A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series, which is intended more for adults, features moms and dads learning appropriate and effective ways to discipline their unruly children. Young children are shown spitting, kicking, biting, hitting, and engaged in other disrespectful behavior. Kids probably won't be too interested, but watching some of the children's behaviors can potentially lead to some teachable moments.
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What's the story?
AMERICA'S SUPERNANNY, the American adaptation of the original British series, features childcare specialist Deborah Tillman going to different homes to help parents learn how to deal with their out-of-control kids. Each episode features a family in crisis thanks to misbehaving children and their frustrated parents' inability to handle them. After spending a day observing the family dynamics, Tillman sits down with the parents to discuss what she believes are the behaviors (or lack of behaviors) that are creating the conflict. She then spends the next three days working with both the parents and children to develop new communication and disciplinary techniques. After parents spend a day alone with the children practicing these techniques, Tillman returns to review the progress they have made.
Is it any good?
Tillman, who runs a national chain of child learning centers, offers her services to these families as a way of helping them wade through the endless amounts of parenting techniques being publicized by experts around the country. But while her advice to parents may sound unique, most of it simply boils down to: spending more time with their children, setting clear boundaries, and being consistent in the way they are reinforcing them. It also reminds parents that disciplining children now increases their ability to grow up happy and well adjusted.
It's not really for kids, but those who do watch may find some of the children's extreme behaviors funny. Some adults may find the parents' excuses for letting their kids disrespect them or run amok frustrating to listen to. But overall, it's a show that offers parents some positive child-rearing tips, and offers some food for thought about what is going on in their own homes, and with their own children.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the methods used in this show. Do you think a week is long enough to for families to overcome established patterns of behavior? How do you think these patterns began in the first place? Do you think the improved changes featured are real, or will they stop once the cameras stop rolling?
What is the difference between a child care specialist and a child behavioral psychologist? Do you think someone with a psychology or medical background would offer different advice from what is featured here?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love families
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