Before its New Year's Day revival, Supernanny last aired in 2011, but
Jo Frost never stopped playing the role. Through private work with
families, seminars, authoring books and going on tour, Frost saw
families facing new challenges.
She said a new season of Supernanny could show how issues like a
recession, home foreclosures, unemployment, healthcare and gun violence
exacerbate family discord.
"There's a lot of external issues that have a ripple effect on a family
and a lot of internal, practical parenting challenges that families are
trying to overcome every day," Frost told UPI in a phone interview.
"Children become the silent witnesses of such worry within their
Frost became a television star when her reality show, Supernanny,
crossed over from Britain to the United States. Every week, viewers saw
Frost work with families on their individual child-rearing challenges.
Frost emphasized positive reinforcement over negative punishment and
spoke out against spanking.
Some modern parents have adapted to new challenges by relying on new
technology. Frost is concerned that parents are using devices like
phones and tablets to distract their children. In the season premiere of
Supernanny, Frost taught the Braido parents to connect with their
children and make sure an issue is resolved before letting them use a
"We have to find balance and we have to recognize how we regulate the
usage of that," Frost said. "[Devices] can still be fun and
entertaining, but not dependable where it's replacing what is so vital
and necessary in families."
The Braidos' use of devices speaks to a larger social phenomenon. When
parents allow their kids to turn on devices in public, it can be
distracting to others. As much as Frost wants to teach parents not to
use devices to distract their kids, she also wants to teach onlookers
not to jump to judgment.
Frost hopes viewers of Supernanny can extend the compassion they may
feel for the families on her show to families they see in real life. If
children with a device in public are bothering you, Frost asks that you
show compassion for parents who may have used the device as a last
resort to quiet their child.
"Look, every family is struggling," Frost said. "I want to see more
families have more compassion, more empathy in understanding that not
every family is sitting there intentionally saying, 'I don't care about
everybody else.' They're just trying to do the best that they can."
It may be annoying when children are acting up and making noise in
public. However, Frost suggested that adults should be more tolerant of
natural childish behavior. If one does find themselves surrounded by
unruly kids, Frost maintains that positive support of the parents would
be more helpful than a scolding.
"Rather than to throw a negative when that parent is already having a
tough time, be supportive," Frost said. "Give a smile. Give 'em the old
Subsequent episodes of Supernanny this season will offer more tips for
parents to manage kids during public outings. Frost still discourages
using devices too often, but will suggest toys and games that could
occupy children when the family goes out to dinner. She will also
sometimes suggest just staying home.
"I think there's something to be said for going to certain fine dining
restaurants and knowing that after a certain time, it would be
inappropriate to take young children," Frost said. "And, unrealistic for
them and unfair to the child and to the others that are dining."
Frost will spend time this season with at least two same-sex parents, a
set of moms and a set of dads, to show that their struggles are the same
as heteronormative families.
"Love is love," Frost said. "Family is family. A family's sexuality does
not define the wonderful parent that they can be for their children."
Wednesday's episode with the Corry family deals with a father, Ben
Corry, who is in the military and is deployed for several months at a
time. Frost hopes to show that the absence of a parent for long periods
is one of many challenges to military families.
"Forty years ago, the narrative was on the deployed parents," Frost
said. "Now we talk about our whole family serving and truthfully what
that means to a military family. It's not just the person who's away
deployed fighting a war or supported. It's the entire family."
Frost uncovers Maria Corry's struggle with postpartum depression. Just
as Maria kept her feelings hidden, Frost fears that women suffering from
postpartum depression won't seek help because they feel shame. She
cited the bad precedent when Brooke Shields spoke about her postpartum
depression and faced further judgment and scrutiny in the press.
"Brooke Shields was not treated kindly when she was very vocal about
having postpartum depression," Frost said. "I'd have hoped and wished
when I saw that in the press that she was given more kindness and
empathy for her medical condition."
Supernanny airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Lifetime.
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