January 23, 2008 09:21 PM by Lisa Stauber
Single dad Scott Terrill is in trouble. His two boys, Lane, 11, and Tate, 5, constantly fight. They’ve never had a bedtime, and Lane regularly plays video games for 12 hours a day. Scott’s at the end of his rope, Lane is beaten up by his little brother every day, and Tate eats junk food while biting the hand that feed him – literally.
Dad reveals that he had a terrible childhood; he fears that he is overcompensating and becoming too permissive. “I’ve never seen what a true parenting relationship is about,” Scott says. Can this poor dad leave the past behind and give his children a better life?
Jo Frost arrives in the nick of time. Observation begins and things get ugly immediately – so ugly that Jo hustles Dad off to the bedroom before he does something he’ll regret. The catalyst? Tate and the tiny teeth of terror. Whenever the 5 year old doesn’t get his way, he hits, kicks, and bites to get his way.
After a few moments to calm down, it’s time to go shopping. The boys are all over the store, taunting their father with candy at the checkout lane. Scott gives in and buys them chocolate just to get them to be quiet. He hasn’t even gotten the groceries in the car before the boys begin fighting.
The shopping is only half of the problem – it’s the food in the cart that is the real disaster. Lane has a cholesterol level of 270. Dad still serves frozen, prepackaged food because he doesn’t know how cook, and the boys eat junk all day, every day.
The Parent Meeting is brutal. “It’s no good being called ‘Father’ if you’re not going parent,” Jo tells Scott. Scott doesn’t argue, clearly counting on Supernanny to save him. Jo decides her priorities for this family are bedtime and healthy eating, but first she must help Dad let go of the past so he can move forward.
An impromptu therapy session frees Scott of some emotional baggage. Now he’s primed and ready to start disciplining. Supernanny carefully explains the rules and consequences, and a Cool Down spot is labeled. “‘Don’t hit’ is my favorite rule,” Lane confides.
Tate is not giving up his fighting ways peacefully. He quickly earns a time out, but won’t stay put. Scott has to take him back in the Cool Down corner several times. Tate is out of control, and even kicks a hole in the wall. Finally, over an hour later, Tate is ready to apologize.
A sweep of the pantry and freezer to get rid of the junk leaves the cupboards bare and Tate in tears. He’s cuddling a bag of potato chips like it’s a teddy bear – he certainly knows the meaning of the word “comfort food.” The changes are hard for him to take.
Now Scott is ready for the bedtime technique – let’s review, shall we?
- Put child to bed with loves and kisses.
- When child gets out of bed, firmly put them back with a quick, “It’s bedtime.”
- Repeat as often as necessary, without speaking to the child again.
Tate is stubborn, but Scott perseveres and finally gets the boy to sleep two and a half hours later. Supernanny congratulates Dad on a job well done, and takes her leave.
Four days later, she returns to see how Dad has fared in her absence. He’s doing well with the limit setting, and shopping with the boys is a dream rather than a nightmare. Lane grabs a box of the shelf. “Pudding?” he asks. “No pudding!” Tate replies, and the family picks out healthful grilled fish and fresh fruit together.
Scott doesn’t cook the new food, though, and the kids are quickly back to their old ways, eating fatty fried shrimp at a restaurant. Supernanny solves the problem by arranging for a neighbor to come over and teach Dad how to cook. Scott’s embarrassed, but relieved to finally learn some useful kitchen skills. Jo arranges for the boys to meet some real football players and the family has a good time on the field. Lane’s cholesterol should be coming down to safe, healthy levels soon!
The family update is touching. The boys are happier, Dad is no longer pulling his hair out, and everyone is glad Jo intervened. “Jo Jo fixed our family,” Lane says happily. Supernanny has taught Scott how to be a father, and now she’s off to work her magic with another dysfunctional discipline nightmare. Check back with Reality TV Magazine for the best Supernanny coverage every week!
Photo courtesy ABC