September 30, 2023

Jo Frost of ‘Supernanny’ fame still supports timeouts for ‘creating some positive, healthy boundaries’

Jo Frost, of Supernanny fame, shares her thoughts on parenting.  (Photo: Getty)

Jo Frost van Super babysitter fame shares her take on parenting. (Photo: Getty)

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Professional nanny, who gained fame through her hit TV show believes that the trendy term gentle parenting is confusing and unclear.

“What does gentle parenting mean besides the fact that as parents we need to become more aware of meeting our children’s needs?” Frost tells Yahoo Life. “Some will say it means no discipline and no consequences at all and others will say it does. That’s my point, no one is completely clear.”

Frost’s show ran in the US in the mid-2000s and had different versions in different countries. In each episode, the British nanny visited a new family and helped both kids and parents navigate everything from toddler tantrums to sibling rivalry to bedtime meltdowns and more.

Frost has been in the nanny business for over 35 years and although she is no longer on television, she still very much helps families online.

Aside from gentle parenting, avoiding timeouts is another technique gaining popularity that Frost disagrees with. Frost – known for using a time-out chair – recommends that children stay in time-out for one minute per age. If a child gets up before the time is up, the timer is reset to the beginning.

“Timeout and Jo Frost seem quite synonymous as it was obviously a habit of mine within my shows, but now it seems it’s been taken out of context. [and] misinterpreted,” says Frost. “Everyone has their own agenda of what constitutes a time-out. They will make up what a time-out is and then they will unravel why it is not good. And then there’s my version of what I call a time-out, which has been modified from a practice that took place in the 1900’s, a very clear explanation of the importance of why time-out creates healthy boundaries and it importance thereof. It seems that many… have abused time out to really control a child instead of feeling like they are creating some positive, healthy boundaries.

One good change she is witnessing is that parents are more aware of how they were raised and how this translates to their own parenting style.

“We’ve reached a paradigm, a universal shift, in today’s world where many adults are becoming more aware of their own upbringing and how they were raised and recognizing the bits that weren’t so great and the bits that were great and in the making goods.” more aware of the parents they want to be instead of being on autopilot, and that can only be a good thing for the world,” says Frost, who has no children of her own.

Over the years with the introduction of new techniques, different approaches and changing styles, Frost says her beliefs always remain consistent.

“My philosophy and my style has always been that parents need to gain confidence in the process of understanding the gray area, the middle ground of parenting,” she says. “It’s about understanding the importance of connecting with your family intuitively and objectively, with assertiveness. I think it’s really important for families to understand this, especially the newer generation, when we live in a world so polarized with parenting advice. It is important to understand that in today’s world, where there is so much information, it can be quite confusing for many parents.”

She is often asked if she keeps in touch with the thousands of families she has helped over the years. They occasionally send photos or updates about their family, but she doesn’t initiate the interaction.

She calls the correspondence a pleasant surprise, but it’s all Frost’s business.

“Professionally, you’re there to help these families at a time when they really need you, and professionally, I respect those boundaries,” says Frost. “It’s nice to hear from them and see pictures and send a note back, but professionally I don’t go around writing emails to all the families because that would be crossing healthy boundaries.”

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