November 14, 2008 10:12 PM by Lisa Stauber
Supernanny has left the country tonight, to rescue a UK mom with a temper. Tara Howat constantly loses her temper and her kids scream, cry, and egg each other on. Casey, 8, Shannon, 6, and Rhys, 4 are wild children. “They’re out of control,” she says. “I can’t stop them.”
“Being a single mom is very hard,” Tara says. Casey is often ignored while Mom argues with the younger siblings. “I feel like I’m useless,” Tara says. She fantasizes about leaving the kids, even though she loves them.
Supernanny arrives, and Tara is nervous. She’s not sure even a Supernanny can tame her children. Rhys wants to go outside, but Mom says no. He starts banging on the glass door, and then moves on to punching and biting mom. Shannon joins in, kicking Tara while she’s trying to deal with Rhys. “That needs to stop, ASAP,” Jo says.
Next Jo watches Tara wrangle her children home from school. She walks with them along a very busy road, and Rhys runs off while traffic whizzes by. The family goes to the grocery store, and Rhys throws bottles and food. He gets outside and runs off again, chasing through the parking lot. Mom calls for Shannon to catch him, and now two children are running among the cars.
Back home, Tara starts crying. “It’s horrible,” she says. “Nothing works.” The evening only gets worse as bedtime approaches. Of course there is no routine, and Tara’s tired and cranky. She wrestles Shannon to bed, even pushing her onto her blankets. Supernanny steps in quickly and tells
her to go downstairs and remove herself from the situation. Shannon comes down to cause more trouble, and the night drags on.
The Parent Meeting
“You’re falling apart at the seams,” Jo tells Tara. “I don’t think I let them get away with too much,” Mom says. Supernanny thinks she’s nuts. Rhys constantly puts himself in danger. “It’s very hard,” Tara says. “That’s not a good enough excuse,” Supernanny replies. “You’re not coping inside your own home, you’re not coping outside.” Jo promises a fresh start if Tara’s ready to work.
Supernanny starts by introducing a routine, but she’s barely started when Rhys throws a fit. Jo shows Tara how to speak to him firmly but calmly and put him in timeout. He runs straight out of the corner and it’s a battle of wills. It takes almost an hour, but Rhys finally stays in the corner, even though he’s still screaming. Tara stays calm and gets an apology, and then Rhys asks politely for a drink.
Jo is going to work on the walk home from school now. She shows Rhys the “happy feet map” to show him the path home with landmarks. Rhys pulls away and tries to run anyway. Tara’s aggravated and losing her patience. Rhys is screaming now, and has to be pulled along. Tara grabs her hand and drags him home, leaving her girls behind.
Jo catches up and gives her a lecture. “If you give up on the first try, what are you teaching them?” she asks. Tara calms down and helps Rhys get excited about his map. Unfortunately, it’s bedtime again. Supernanny’s schedule features staggered bedtimes, with Rhys going down first. He doesn’t want to stay in bed, and Jo teaches Tara the bedtime technique.
Rhys won’t go down without a fight, and the girls are missing out on their story time. He gets out of bed 98 times in almost two hours, but finally settles down. Jo tells her to go read to the girls, even though it’s late, so they don’t get shortchanged.
The next day Supernanny shows Tara how to grocery shop peacefully. She tells Mom to keep the kids involved and let them help find items on the list. The trip is a success, and Tara gives him a treat kiddie ride. He’s so excited he hugs his mom.
Another bedtime rolls around, and Rhys gets in his bed for a story. Mom starts to read to the girls, and Rhys comes downstairs calling for her. Tara takes him back to bed calmly and gets back to reading. The kids are all in bed by 8:30 and Supernanny’s proud of her. She tells Tara how important it is for her to spend some quality time with the girls.
Doing It On Her Own
Jo leaves for a few days to see how the Howat family does. The walk home from school goes well, but she gives Shannon too many warnings when she starts whining. Shannon won’t stay in the corner, and Tara gets angry and starts yelling. Bedtime is worse. The girls are playing tag in the house while Tara tries to put Rhys to bed. The girls are snapping the lights on and off, and Rhys starts yelling in his bed. Tara blames the girls. “It’s all because you were too loud,” she tells them. Tara’s discouraged, and starts yelling again.
Shannon throws a fit on the way to the park, and Supernanny shows Tara how to handle things. Shannon pouts and sulks, and Jo tells Mom to focus on the children who are happy and behaving and not give the poutiness any attention. Jo thinks Shannon and Tara fight often, especially as Rhys takes up Mom’s attention. She has them sit down and talk.
Bedtime goes smoothly and it looks like Tara is getting things under control. Supernanny has saved the day again!
Photos courtesy ABC.