Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Super Nanny Is Valuable Television

I remember, when I was working on my Master's Degree at Kansas State University, I had thought that how it would be great to share some of the tools and information we learn about families through television. My original thought was through using a family sitcom, where good parenting practices are modeled.

While, I think that would have been an effective method for teaching appropriate parenting skills, I also think that ABC's Super Nanny is doing a great job of accomplishing my dream. Jo Frost is a 16 year nanny veteran who on the show works with families whose children are out of control.

Actually, as you watch the show you will slowly learn that it isn't the children who are out of control. Rather it is the parents who need to learn to take control.

One of the keys to this show is that it isn't just that Frost shows up and provides some information on what the parents show do. Instead, Frost takes a day to just observe. I think that this is honestly one of the hardest parts for Frost. She wants to help these people immediately.

After a day of observation, she sits with the parents (or parent as the case sometimes is) to help them understand what they are doing wrong. This is where the parents get a taste of reality. For some it is the time when they realize that they are the problem and not the children.

Then Jo works with the family (mostly the parents) to get them under control. Some of the important things that I see her teaching is discipline, and stick to it. Don't back down from disciplining children. This is the key to the now notorious "naughty chair."

She has also taught the importance of a routine in young children's lives. Children thrive on the known. They need to know that breakfast is coming. They need to know that they will get play time.

After at least a day, the family is then left to put the principles that they learned from Frost to work. This is the trial by fire that seems to be so important.

The key to this process though is that it isn't over there. Frost will review some videos of the family after they visited with her. Then she meets with the parents again to help them rethink what they are doing wrong.

This second visit is key to the success of the efforts of Frost. In order for people to learn something, they need to have their performance on a new task reviewed. This review process shows that this program isn't just about showing a bunch of unhappy families on the air.

My biggest concern is that there is a certain amount of exploitation of children. However, I think that this is a small price to pay for the greater good that it serves.

If you are having problems with you children, Watch this program and take good notes. You will be surprised at the changes it can make in your family. These changes won't be over night, but over the course of weeks or months. Super Nanny is another great example of the good that television can really do.

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