January 16, 2008 08:35 PM by Lisa Stauber
Supernanny Jo Frost returns tonight with a family of dentists. Angela and Forrest An-Duan have four dental offices, five children, too much stress, and not enough time to themselves. Forrest works Monday through Saturday, while Angela ferries the raucous brood to 40 activities a week, including Cub Scouts, Chinese school, piano lessons, ballet, violin, tutoring, golf, and more.
Christopher, 9, is overscheduled. Isabella, 8, is often bullied and humiliated by her older brother. Keeping with this season’s theme, another set of twins need Supernanny’s help. Lawrence and Benjamin are 6, with Charlotte, 5, adding to the anarchy.
“Stop it! I mean it!” Angela shouts all day long, but she doesn’t actually mean it. She is all talk and no action. Since the children spend all afternoon commuting to activities, even eating dinner on the road, Supernanny decides the minivan is the best place for her to start her observation. This provides her with a trip “to hell and back.” Clearly, the family needs her help.
The Parent Meeting is quick and to the point. Jo challenges Forrest’s schedule. “What are you giving emotionally?” she asks. “They get a half hour with you if they’re lucky.” Dad agrees to change his hours to be with the kids more often. Mom tearfully faces up to the reality that she is putting her kids in classes, meetings, and activities to avoid having to parent them.
Jo begins her discipline makeover with a change of scenery – making the family move into their dream house. Forrest and Angela built it three years ago, but never moved in, fearful of the children’s chaotic and destructive ways. Supernanny has a new set of house rules to go with the new digs, but Christopher is already showing his bad attitude.
Jo gives the children a stern talking to, and it’s plain she means business. Christopher tests the waters however, and he’s sent to the Reflection chair straight away. Jo mixes things up a bit, assigning the boy to write about his actions and then discuss them with his parents on the Communication Couch. The Reflection Chair and Communication Couch are simple twists on her standard technique, but seem to suit the older children.
Later, Mom and Dad give the kids a choice in what activities they do. Angela regretfully gives up the language arts tutoring, in order to make room for Christopher and his siblings to play and hang out. They insist that the children still attend Chinese school, so they can learn the language and culture of their ancestors. Supernanny approves. “They’ll thank you for it later,” she commends Forrest and Angela.
Jo encourages Mom to lay down the law in the car, and Angela starts using car drills. She’s a natural and takes control in a firm, loving way. She also makes a concession to safety, agreeing to pull over before giving any warnings and turning to look into the backseat.
Soon the happy family is making volcanoes on the patio and having family dinners in the new dining room- all thanks to Jo and her methods. The An-Duan family now has a peaceful life, an uncluttered schedule, and Supernanny to thank for it. Time for reflection and good communication are solving their problems, and Jo quickly sets off, ready for her next challenge.
Photo courtesy ABC Television