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 Family S.O.S. features families in crisis getting help from celebrity nanny Jo Frost. Both children and their parents are shown screaming, yelling, and swearing; kids are also shown shoving, hitting, and acting out. Underage drinking, addiction problems, and death (including of a child) are discussed, too. All of these behaviors are interpreted as negative activities, while positive messages about the importance of setting boundaries, respect, and good communication are highlighted. Teens might be interested, but these conversations are mostly geared towards parents.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
FAMILY S.O.S. WITH JO FROST is a reality series featuring Supernanny's Jo Frost working with families who are in crisis. Each episode introduces a family struggling with a variety of issues, like adjusting to being newly blended, difficult teenagers, or reconnecting with each other after a parent returns from military service. Frost works with parents to help them understand what is creating the conflict(s), and offers them tips on how to best deal with them. She also helps kids understand the changes that are taking place in the home. Meanwhile, efforts are made to help the entire family communicate better, as well as modify the way they interact with each other. After an intensive few days, Frost leaves in order to give them a chance to put her advice into practice, but comes back to check-in with them and take note of their progress.
Is it any good?
Like many nanny-hosted reality shows, Family S.O.S. mainly centers on working with parents to help them define the parameters by which they will run their household, including setting and reinforcing firm boundaries for their children, and being willing to discipline their children (through non-violent means) when necessary. It also highlights the importance of communicating openly, but respectfully, with one another.
The show is full of frustrating moments, thanks to the moms and dads who are unwilling to demand respect from their children, and who are afraid to show some tough love. But the messages it offers about why these things are necessary for a stable family are positive ones. The voyeuristic series isn't intended for kids, but some folks may find a few teachable moments that they can share with their children.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the reasons families would be willing to appear on a reality show as a way of coping with their problems. Do you think the bad behaviors and/or behavioral improvements featured on the show are real? Or do they simply happen when the cameras are on? Is it realistic to think that people can change this quickly?
How have nannies been portrayed in movies and on TV over the years? How have these portrayals changed? Do you think past and present images realistically portray a nanny's job? Why or why not?
What are the messages in this show? Are they all constructive ideas, or are there any ideas that conflict with your beliefs?
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