The Supernanny Quits, Isn't So Super Anymore

Illustration for article titled The Supernanny Quits, Isnt So Super Anymore

After six years of putting other people's kids on the naughty mat, Jo Frost is calling it a day.

The reason? She's like to have a personal life — and kids of her own. "I need to create more balance in my life," she tells the New York Post. "Proper balance will allow me to date and have a relationship and look at my own future of having a family...I am definitely excited about dating and being in a committed relationship. That is all exciting stuff for me around the corner."


While this marks a major blow for me and my dad, who both watch and discuss Supernanny on an oddly regular basis, it makes total sense given how exhausting the show looks (and that's edited down to an hour.) Also, when you know she apparently stays with her dad when she's at home in England. Jo, you've earned a rest. When this does happen, though, she'll probably be the most scrutinized parent ever: we can only imagine the schadenfreude people will feel if they ever see her kid have a tantrum in the grocery store.

'Supernanny' Quits [NY Post]

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I sort of agree with the Alfie Kohn school of thought when it comes to Supernanny and her ilk. I think he says it best in his essay about the show from 2005:

"Supernanny’s favorite words are "technique" and "consistency." First, a schedule is posted — they will all eat at six o’clock because she says so – and the children are given a list of generic rules. The point is enforcement and order, not teaching and reflection. Thus, rather than helping a child to think about the effects of his aggression on others, he is simply informed that hitting is "unacceptable"; reasons and morality don’t enter into it. Then he is forced to "stand in the naughty corner." Later, the nanny instructs Dad to command the child to apologize. The desired words are muttered under duress. The adults seem pleased.

For balance, kids are controlled with rewards as well as with punishments. Those who haven’t been eating what (or when, or as much as) the parent wishes are slathered with praise as soon as they do so – a "Good boy!" for every mouthful. Sure enough, they fork in some more food. These children may be so desperate for acceptance that they settle for contingent reinforcement in place of the unconditional love they really need.