A couple of year’s ago, my wife and I wrote a curriculum for a parenting discussion group based on the ABC Supernanny reality series. The idea was to encourage parents in their challenging journey of raising a family. Over the next week or two, I’ll try to post the discussion guides that went along with each week’s discussion. I’d love to hear your ideas as they pertain to the topic for the week. To get things started, I’ve attached the introduction to the curriculum, so you can get a feel for where this is headed.
Supernanny Parenting Discussion Group
A Guide for Parents Seeking to Make a Positive Difference in Their Kids
Parenting is not easy. And there are not any perfect parents. Our parents were not perfect. Their parents were not perfect. Our kids will not be perfect parents. And we are not perfect parents. While it is a fact that we have all screwed up at one time or another through our past parenting, there is still hope. We can make a change today by deciding to do parenting differently from this day forward. This discussion guide is designed to help parents make positive changes starting today.
My wife, Leanne, and I are committed to doing our best to bring up our kids in a way the honors God and helps them to succeed in their own lives. We came up with this idea as we realized that there are other parents out there who want to make a difference in their kids’ lives but do not know where to start. There are also a lot of parents who feel like they are alone in this endeavor. We as parents have plenty that we can share with each other to spur each other on. “It takes a village” sometimes to raise our children. The idea for community parenting is not new; however, in America, parents are reluctant to admit their need for help.
Leanne and I are also hooked on reality television. From Survivor to Amazing Race to Extreme Makeover Home Edition to Kid Nation, we are often intrigued by the happenings on these “reality” based shows. One of the shows that has gained a certain level of attention for parents is the ABC Supernanny series. Each week on this show, Jo Frost, the English nanny visits the home of a family struggling to bring order to their home. In each episode, viewers see families struggling with crazy mealtimes, sleepless bedtimes, wandering children, disrespectful outbreaks, lack of discipline, chaotic schedules, etc. By the end of the hour, Jo has successfully brought order and discipline to these homes.
Sure this is television, but many parents in reality do not know how to deal with many of these things. While we may not necessarily agree with the way some of the things are handled on the show, there is no doubt that Jo’s approaches can make a difference in families. This is where the idea of a Supernanny Parenting Discussion Group comes in. First, envision sitting around a living room or family room with other parents. Now, imagine showing clips from the ABC show that relate to a specific parenting topic. Next, imagine following up the video clips with a conversation about the topic. Finally, add in some Biblical wisdom to the topic. The results are amazing. Each week parents walk away with a new perspective on the week’s topic along with a fun take home activity to try at home with the kids.
There are many topics that could be discussed in a parenting discussion group. We would encourage you to consider adding a week or two to your group’s schedule to tackle more of these subjects. This guide provides a structure for discussing the following subjects: routine, respect, teamwork, establishing appropriate boundaries, handling sibling differences, purpose of discipline, methods for discipline, and introducing your kids to Christ. The guide is set up to walk groups through eight weeks of conversations.
We would recommend a few things before you get started. First, consider meeting together with your group for a get-to-know-each-other social activity before you dive into the discussion topics. For example, plan a picnic or BBQ where families can come together and meet before they dive into the fun stuff. This social event is a great place to discuss logistics and establish a group charter. If you are dividing up the snack duties, this is a great time to get group members to volunteer. Here is an example of some of the logistical things that our group considered. You can use these or add your own.
Supernanny Sample Logistics Items/Charter
- We will aim to start our discussions at 6:30PM. Call us (555) 555-5555 if you’re running late or just can’t make it.
- You’re welcome to arrive starting at 6:00PM to enjoy hanging out and to have a bite to eat.
- We will end the discussion at 8:00PM promptly. You’re welcome to hang around for a little while, but we’d ask that you aim to be out of here by 8:30PM, so we can put our kids to bed (and get some sleep ourselves).
- The discussion group is for parents only. Kids should stay with the sitters.
- What’s said in the group stays in the group.
- In general, we will try to stay on topic. Having said that, we realize that sometimes the Spirit may move the conversation off topic.
- Discussion should be appropriate. This is not a place to bash your spouse. This is an opportunity to begin or continue the process of working together.
- Childcare is provided with a suggested donation of $X/family. Please put the money in the childcare envelope on the kitchen table.
- Parents, please run over the following ground rules/information with your kids:
o Kids must listen to the sitters.
o There will be some different options for the kids. For example, outside games (while the weather permits), a VeggieTales video, ping-pong, and toys.
o Kids are welcome to bring their own games, toys, or homework to keep them occupied during our group.
o Lights stay on downstairs.
o No food or drink in the basement.
o In the basement, kids should stay out of the curtained off areas at all times.
- If the sitters need help with your child, please find a quiet place to talk with your child so as not to disrupt the other kids or parents.
- Please let us know if you have any ideas that will make this better for our group and for future parenting discussion groups.
- Have fun!!!
Finally, we understand that parenting can be overwhelming at times. We also believe that there is hope for all of us who want to honor God through our parenting. The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 [NIV], “Train up a child in the way he [or she] should go, and when he [she] is old, he [she] will not depart from it.” By choosing to follow God’s model for parenting, we are impacting our kids’ future. We are also impacting generations to follow as they will pass these things along to their kids who will pass them along to theirs.
Note to Leaders/Facilitators
Each week, there will be Supernanny DVD clips to get ready for your group (you will need the first season of Supernanny on DVD). We would recommend that you preview these clips before your next meeting, so you’re ready to go and can help in the direction of the discussion. Each week, you will have a few questions that will help to direct your conversation. Feel free to add, subtract, or modify these questions to meet the needs of your group. Each week’s topic will include a take home activity. Try to start each week’s discussion, by reviewing how each parent/family did with their take home assignment. The discussion guide will also include a few key teaching points for each week to help you kickoff the discussion. Finally, we would encourage you to end your weekly meeting with a word of prayer. This is a great opportunity to tie together the week’s conversation. Since we weren’t sure where several of our group members were from a spiritual perspective, we also put out a prayer request box and a suggestion box. This provided a chance to pray for those in the group who might be struggling with specific concerns.