Are you thinking of calling Nanny 911’s number? We’ve all seen the TV shows. The screaming kids over and over again on endless replay. The tantrums, hitting and biting and then Nanny steps in wearing some uniform that looks as though it’s out of Downton Abbey and in a week, the children 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?
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 in how to stop the behaviour. I hear from families all the time about the difference my behaviour intervention has made to 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. Now as you know in your own family, children don’t always behave the way you want them to when you want them to.
You go to Granny’s house and your son whines at his sister as she’s taking Granny’s last chocolate cookie, or one indulges in an endless nose pick and decides 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 they are.
After all, there’s only so long you can hang around with a TV camera. As 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/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.
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 service.
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. This is where a professional private service differs from the nannies again. If parents look for nanny 911’s number, searching for a high quality alternative to being on television, they can be assured that only three hours of their time will be needed and their problems don’t get to be front page news. The other reason the show takes as long as it does, is 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 value added aren’t they? Won’t that mean a better outcome for the parents involved? The answer to that unlikely and it’s because of something you’re probably very much 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.
Perhaps the receptionist fails to call you with the results. Perhaps, the x-ray tech puts the wrong test result under your name. Perhaps the professionals involved in your care just don’t see eye to eye. Perhaps it all goes swimmingly but irrespective, the more specializations and people you employ, the greater the chance that things will not work out as planned and the longer it will take. You can see play out all the time in any number of bureaucratic organizations. I’ve no doubt that the nanny show works, just simply that all those people can make the process unwieldy.
Parenting has become far too complex.
Solving child behaviour issues as a single professional is also a bit like the difference between being a rural doctor miles away from anywhere and a city doctor. Both are good trained doctors who know what they’re doing. In the city though, they’re are lots of patients and so the doctor often trains to become a specialist and they become the leader in their field for that particular speciality. If they don’t choose a specialty, there’s still a specialist to send them to if needed. Meanwhile the rural doc gets a bit of this and a bit of that. She might have patients with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, babies to birth, old folks to look after and the odd emergency surgery to preform, simply because there is no-one else. She’d be a jack of all trades certainly.
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 finally have spent the last 14 plus years solving every kind of behaviour problem you can think of and probably some you can’t. I’m also a very keen study of human nature, but it my experiences that have made me what I am today, not training. 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 why’s 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 nosey neighbours peering through 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.