Are Nanny 911 shows fact or fiction?
So are you thinking of calling Nanny 911’s number? We’ve all seen the TV shows with the screaming children, replayed indefinitely, the tantrums, the hitting and biting, and then Nanny comes in wearing some Downton Abbey-style uniform, and in a week, the kids are all sitting there like little princes and princesses, saying “please” and “thank you,” and “may I get down?”Is it fact or just fiction for the TV cameras? What can you really expect with a Nanny 911 or Super Nanny 911-type intervention, and how does what you see on TV really differ from one offered by a professional nanny who specializes in offering behaviour intervention privately?
Does Nanny 911 work in reality?
Can the nannies do what they suggest? Can they seriously be there for just a week, change things around, and alter the trajectory of a family for life, sewing peace where formerly there was chaos? The answer to that is yes. They see the behaviour, note the causes, and coach the family on how to stop it. I frequently hear from families about how my behaviour intervention has transformed their lives. So what are the differences between a TV behaviour nanny intervention and a private one? Well, they’re significant, so let’s take a look.
Nanny 911: It’s about the show, not the behaviour.
When parents are thinking about calling Nanny 911’s number, they have to realize that the show is about entertainment. That’s its goal—to get as many bums on seats watching the TV in the living room or on tablets or smart phones as possible. That means they’re in a bit of a conflict of interest from the start because they need badly behaved kids, followed by wonderfully behaved kids. As you may know from your own family, children do not always behave the way you want them to. As parents, we’ve all had our own independent examples. You might, for instance, take your kids to Granny’s house; your son might whine at his sister for taking Granny’s last chocolate cookie; one of your children might indulge in an endless nose pick and decide to deposit it on the wall. However, on shows like that, they need the child to be naughty, and if the child isn’t naughty at the given time, well, they’ll have to make it appear that they are.
Nanny 911: What really happens?
After all, there’s only so long you can hang around with a TV camera. As a former television network employee wrote on Reddit, “I worked for a network that aired one of these shows, and I can tell you I saw a few reels where the show producers encouraged or coached the kids to be horrible. I remember one clip where they told the kid to trash the house and yelled from behind the camera,’Jump on the couch! Now throw the pillow at the lamp! Run around the room!’ The kid, of course, thought it was awesome.” Well, there you have it.
Nanny 911. Not every parent wants their child’s worst moments on TV.
Secondly, you might have noticed that the Nanny is there for the whole week! I’m sure the nannies are lovely ladies. In fact, I know they are, as I met Nanny Stella and Nanny Deb, but I’ve got to say that the reason it takes a week is because it’s about the show and not the behaviour. They need footage.
From a behaviour standpoint, to get a really professional child behaviour intervention, you don’t need a week. In the odd case where someone really wants me to take the lead, I’ve never gone more than 4–5 days. Again, this is where a professional private service differs from nanny 911. If parents search for nanny 911’s number in search of a high-quality alternative to being on television, they can be assured that only three hours of their time will be required and that their problems will not become front-page news.
It takes a team or does it?
The other reason the show takes as long as it does is that there is a complete entourage that follows the nannies around. There are psychologists and other behavioural therapists to make sure a family is ready for the rigours and psychological toll of being on a TV show. It goes without saying that having a private intervention doesn’t require any extra people.
Surely the psychological professionals are adding value, aren’t they? Won’t that mean a better outcome for the parents involved? The answer to that is unlikely, and it’s because of something you’re probably very aware of in your everyday life. How many times have you sat in a doctor’s office only to be told that you must have a bunch of tests all in different places with different people? All those tests and evaluations take time because they are so specialized, and it only takes one broken link in the chain for the whole process to collapse.
Every person you add to the team creates the potential for confusion.
Perhaps the receptionist fails to call you with the results. Perhaps the x-ray technician puts the wrong test result under your name. Perhaps the professionals involved in your care just don’t see eye-to-eye. Perhaps everything goes swimmingly, but the more specializations and people you employ, the more likely things will not go as planned and the longer it will take. You can see this play out all the time in any number of bureaucratic organizations. I’ve no doubt that the nanny show works; just having all those people involved, however, can make the process unwieldy.
Parenting has become far too complex.
Ok, I hear you say, “It’s TV; they have to do that.” Well, maybe, but for any parent thinking of calling Nanny 911’s number, I’ll add something else. Is having your child’s worst moments and even worse, faked moments is something you want to have broadcast to the world, either for your sake or frankly theirs? Do you want your child to be remembered as “the bad kid on TV?” A lot of people just feel uncomfortable with that and instead appreciate a private and professional behaviour intervention.
The more specialists you employ the more nobody sees the big picture.
Solving child behaviour issues as a single professional is also a bit like the difference between being a rural doctor miles from anywhere and a city doctor. Both are well-trained doctors who know what they’re doing. In the city, there are lots of patients, and so the doctor often trains to become a specialist and becomes the leader in their field for that particular specialty. If they don’t choose a specialty, there’s still a specialist to send them to if needed. Meanwhile, the rural doctor gets a bit of this and a bit of that. They might have patients with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, babies to birth, old folks to look after, and the odd emergency surgery to perform, simply because there is no one else. They’d be a jack of all trades, certainly.
A personal consultation is different.
In my case, it’s the same. I can say, “I know kids.” After all, I’ve worked with them, birthed them, run daycares and family support programs, and spent the last 20 years or so solving every type of behaviour problem you can think of—and probably some you can’t. I’m also a keen observer of human nature, but it’s my experiences, not my education, that have shaped who I am today. In my case, I have the training, but that was just the start, and it’s the ‘why’ that is so much more fascinating than the ‘how.’ Once you understand the whys of children’s behaviour, changing it is easy.
I also believe that parenting has become far too complex. The easier you make it for parents, the more it becomes natural and not something they have to think about. Nobody wants to have to turn to a parenting manual to figure out what to do from day to day. Who has that kind of energy?
Nanny 911: A private behaviour intervention service is just that, private.
Last but not least, a private consultation doesn’t need a TV crew. And all those vans in the driveway, and nosy neighbours peering through the blinds—who needs that? Far preferable is the ability to receive timely help that works no matter what time zone you’re in.
So if you want to be a TV star, by all means, reach for Nanny 911’s number. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience. If you’d rather your parenting struggles were solved quietly, once and for all, then I’d contact a professional in behaviour intervention, so seeing on your on my site, I’d encourage you to talk to me. All initial conversations are free and we can take it from there.
Don’t worry if you’re not achieving parenting perfection. Nobody does. All anyone can ask is that you keep trying your best.
Do you know how to help your children deal with peer pressure?
Did you know Annie the Nanny has been on CTV mornings for years? Do you have an issue letting go and allowing your child to experience things without you? It’s hard to ground your own personal parenting helicopter.