May 14, 2008 09:23 PM by Lisa Stauber
Supernanny Jo Frost arrives in San Dimas, CA this week to answer the prayers of Pastor Charles Browning and his wife, Bernadette. They have six children and a lot of conflict. The eldest child is away at college, but the remaining five don’t respect Dad or help around the house. Bernadette spends more time on her cell phone than watching the children, and every situation is solved by yelling.
Erek, age 17, and Devante, age 14, are Charles’ stepsons. They feel that he is just freeloading off their mom. Bernadette is a successful real estate agent and makes a lot more money than Dad does. Charlette, age 2, spends her days wandering about the house, looking for someone to play with her.
Bernadette is defensive, and won’t even come all the way downstairs to greet Jo. “My first thought was, is this a nanny?” she says. Charlette loves her new playmate, though, and Mom gets jealous. She can’t coax her baby away, though. “She’d rather be with Supernanny than watch TV,” Bernadette says. “This is ridiculous!”
Jo has a quick chat with the boys. “She’s always angry,” Devante says about his mom. He’s glad Supernanny is there to help, and promises to give Jo 100%. A fight breaks out at dinner, and it’s about money as usual. The boys don’t think Charles is a good provider, and Mom doesn’t help by harping on the fact that she pays the bills. Meanwhile, Charlette is in bed with a can of spray cheese watching shows meant for adults, while Mom works in her office. Supernanny can’t wait to show Bernadette the price she is paying for her monetary success.
The Parent’s Meeting is short. Jo addresses the children’s lack of responsibility and chores, and takes Mom to task about leaving Charlette to raise herself. She encourages Charles to be more involved and vocal. “I want you to be proud of the work you do as a father,” Jo tells him. She butts heads with Bernadette. “You’ve got no respect!” Jo tells her. “I can’t change overnight,” Mom snaps back.
Teaching begins, and Jo decides it’s time to unplug the family. She forces them to put all of their remotes, game controllers, and even Bernadette’s beloved Blackberry in a jar where they cannot be touched. Mom has a hard time parting with her favorite accessory, but Charles is glad. “I really regret that we have allowed technology to consume almost every aspect of our family life,” he says.
Supernanny then takes on the role of Super Therapist, and tries to start Charles and Bernadette on a path to mend their relationship. The session seems to bring them closer together, as they remember the reasons they got married in the first place.
Next up is a chore list. The kids work hard, and everything goes smoothly. Dad takes his stepsons out for a game of pool to try to build a friendship with them. Charlette gets her own bed, and Supernanny teaches Bernadette how to put her little girl to sleep. Jo takes her leave, and Mom rushes to snatch her cell phone out of the jar.
Three days later, Jo’s back. After reviewing footage of a disastrous family movie night, during which Dad checked out, Devante fell asleep, and Mom talked on her cell phone, Jo decides some fun is in order.
More footage is shown, and it’s Mom barking orders and yelling at everyone in sight. Charles and Bernadette argue over who is going to change the baby, and Jo tells her she has a future as a prison guard. “This is a prison here,” Bernadette replies. “I have to be their warden.” Supernanny doesn’t accept that excuse. “There’s no love!” Jo says.
Time for the Tip of the Week! Supernanny suggests getting the kids involved in dusting by making sock puppets they can wear on their hands as they wipe.
Charles gives his family a sermon, and admits that he hasn’t done the best job as husband and father. He speaks from the heart, and Bernadette is touched. Supernanny caps her visit with another game – the family works in teams to complete challenges, and the losers get pies in the face. Jo takes her leave, and the family seems to be getting along better.
“I’m not going to be an armchair parent,” Bernadette promises, and it seems that Supernanny has rescued another family in distress!
Photo courtesy ABC/Chris Chavira.