Reality Television


ABC Television Network

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Are you suffering from parenting anxiety?  Are your children running you ragged?  Do you refuse to take your children to the grocery store for fear that of that embarrassing temper tantrum?  Are your kids seen by some as bratty little monsters?  Never fear!  Supernanny is here!

            Not being much into reality television shows, I actually ended up watching Supernanny by accident.  I was talking to a friend on the phone and absently flipping television channels when I happened on a show in which parents were at their wits end over how to deal with their children.  A woman named Jo Frost was helping this family deal with their situation.  I was hooked from that point on.

            English Nanny Jo Frost has over 20 years of experience as in child care which more than qualifies her for the task at hand Ė teaching parents how to maintain some semblance of authority with their children, while still providing them with an environment in which they can thrive.  The show, Supernanny, found its beginnings in Britain in 2004, with Nanny Jo Frost traveling across the UK, helping families in need.  Growing popularity in the show caused new versions of it to crop up in other countries.  The United States version of Supernanny appears on the ABC network and retains Jo Frost as the Supernanny, traveling across the states helping families with their assorted crises.

            I must admit that I havenít been watching the Supernanny since its first air date.  I picked it up in its second or third season, but the show is amazingly intriguing.  Having babysat children in the past, I found many of Jo Frostís methods of handling children refreshingly similar to my own.  She allows the children to be children, but retains a sense of authority with them that keeps them from running wild.  Her teachings show the parents how to demand respect in their children without being overbearing. 

            Often times, parents can forget that children need to be stimulated.  When they are bored, they can often act out, seeking negative attention as a way of getting any attention paid them at all.  Jo teaches parents how to interact with their children, stimulating their growth with games and positive reinforcement. 

            It is my belief that new parents and couples considering parenthood should watch the Supernanny.  The knowledge gained is priceless.  The lessons learned will serve well into the future Ė for both the parents and the children.  Respect for adults will be something that is ingrained in the child.  Children will be more receptive to trying new things and learning as positive reinforcement shows them that their parents are helping them toward their goals.  Itís no wonder that Jo Frost was chosen to star in this television series.  Her innovative techniques are easily learnt and actually work! 

            I have often heard the Supernanny be criticized as too critical of the parents or too harsh in tone and words.  Can Jo Frost be harsh on parents?  Yes, she can be, but only when she perceives the parent as lazy or selfish; putting their needs before that of their childrenís or refusing to put in the work required to use the techniques successfully.

            Look, whoever said parenting was going to be easy deserves one of those V-8 commercials smacks in the head!  Parenting is hard work.  It will test the very limits of your patience and requires a great deal of sacrifice, but the payback is more than worth all the effort.  They say that there are no instruction booklets for parenting.  Well, in my opinion, Supernanny is a great start!


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