May 28, 2008 09:29 PM by Lisa Stauber
The Doyle family needs Supernanny’s help. They are young parents of three young children age 5 and under. Sara, 5, is stubborn. Lizzy, 3, hits, slaps, and throws temper tantrums. Andrew, the 20 month old baby of the family, whines all day. Doug Doyle comes home from work and sits on the couch, while Brandy Doyle is left to discipline alone. She also holds down a full time job and is overwhelmed.
“You guys need a back to basics class,” Supernanny Jo Frost declares. “I’m on my way!”
Supernanny is introduced to the children without incident, but as soon as Mom goes upstairs to put Andrew down for a nap, the girls get nasty. They may be toddlers, but they hit and kick like old pros. Brandy ends up sliding Sara into her room and holding the door shut. Later, Lizzy kicks the TV. Mom deals with it by distracting her with tickles and giggles.
Brandy spends most of her time cleaning, while her children hang around with nothing to do. The house is spotless – and the children’s minds are a blank. Doug arrives and boy, is he glad to see Jo. “I know what she can do, and it’s a relief!” he says, before retreating to his corner of the couch with the remote. The little girls desperately try to get his attention, but when that fails they begin to fight. Mom comes in to break it up, but ends up bickering with Doug instead.
“It’s my break time to sit on the couch and not deal,” Doug says. “My husband is lazy,” Brandy replies. “My job is more physically demanding. I’m exhausted,” Doug whines. Supernanny breaks it up. “Does anything ever get resolved?” she asks. “No!” The Doyles don’t exactly work together on anything.
At the Parent’s Meeting, Supernanny points out the unattended children. “You provide a lovely home. But where is the enthusiasm and motivation where it should be, which is the kids? There’s a laziness there.” Brandy’s quick to defend herself. “I’m always cleaning something!” Supernanny’s not talking about her housekeeping. “You’re lazy when it comes to the kids,” she replies.
Brandy starts to cry. “I don’t want to neglect them!” Jo has some wisdom to share. “If you’re going to love your kids, let them see it. Give them you.” Her Tip of the Week hits home for the Doyles. “It’s not a competition about who does the chores, as long as they get done. Stick together,” Jo advises.
Teaching begins with Jo posting a routine. She’s assigning Dad to pick the girls up from daycare and play with them. The next afternoon, she plans fingerpainting and bubbles, and Doug has a blast. He doesn’t even miss the TV. “I proved that I can be a good father,” he says.
Lizzy disobeys though, and it’s time for a naughty chair showdown. Brandy’s not sure she can take it, but with Supernanny in her corner, she perseveres. “You’re her mother and she’ll do as she’s told!” Jo tells Brandy. Lizzy escalated, but Brandy followed through for the first time ever and finally got an apology from her daughter. Mom is afraid to invite other children over, so of course Jo pushes them to have some pals for a play date. It seems to be going well, until Lizzy decides she doesn’t want to share. Brandy puts her in the naughty chair, and Sara starts acting up. Doug deals with her, but all hell breaks loose. The girls double team their parents and start cursing like sailors. The friends take off, and the Doyles follow through with the naughty chair technique. “Today didn’t go as well as they hoped,” Jo admits. She claims future playdates will only get better – I don’t see how they could get any worse!
Jo plays a game and discovers Brandy and Doug don’t know much about their daughters. She leaves for a few days with strict instructions for the Doyles to discover their little girl’s likes and dislikes. Before she leaves, Jo offers us a Bonus Tip: Before a playdate, have your child select a special toy and put it away. He can share the others.
Brandy’s nervous. “We’ll see how it goes,” she says. Sara invites a friend over, but ends up in the naughty chair during the visit. When Jo returns, she accuses Brandy of being Naughty Chair happy, and gives her a pop quiz to help her determine what offenses are Chair worthy. “It’s about controlling the situation and not the children,” Supernanny says.
Mom and Dad finally go out on a date, leaving Deanna the babysitter at home. Lizzy goes crazy, and makes the babysitter cry. When Brandy returns, she assesses the situation and disciplines Lizzy. Lizzy apologizes to the sitter and makes amends, and things seem to be all right.
The Doyle family finally have the tools to teach their children how to behave, and everyone’s happier. “Every day is better than the one before,” Brandy says. “The family I wanted was there all the time,” smiles Doug. Supernanny has saved another family from distress!
Photo courtesy ABC.