New show, new ride!
Jo Frost — TV’s most beloved kid fixer — is hitting the road in a giant tricked out RV for her return to U.S. television this month.
“I am basically taking my office on the road,” she says. “The [vehicle], for me, serves a true purpose in being able to act as a parental consultation office.”
“You can take people out of their comfort zone, out of their homes and actually give them consultation and actually be able to talk about teenage challenges that those kids might not want to talk about in their own bedrooms or in their own homes.”
>>RELATED STORY: ‘SUPERNANNY’ JO FROST RETURNING TO AMERICAN TV
JO FROST: NANNY ON TOUR — premiering January 28 on Up Network — will help families in crisis as they confront parenting problems with toddlers, tweens and teens.
She will also travel into the heart of communities, offering advice and quick fixes at shopping malls, airports, parks, schools and other town centers.
The program is based on an existing format in Holland and promises to address such 21st century concerns as video game addiction, cyber-bullying and single parent stress.
Frost, 45, became an almost overnight cultural sensation when she debuted her ABC series SUPERNANNY in 2004. She has since appeared on a variety of related programs including FAMILY MATTERS and FAMILY S.O.S.
Frost shared more about her latest project when we caught up recently in Los Angeles.
Do you find people’s problems are pretty much the same overseas as they are here in America?
They are, you know?
Has your approach to problem solving changed much since SUPERNALLY? Are you still doing the naughty step?
It all depends on the family, the family’s views and where they are in their parenting. Do I still believe in a family doing a naughty step? Yes. Does it work? Yes? There are parents who say it doesn’t work and I say to them, “Can you go through the steps then?” And they don’t know it.
How is this show different from the others?
I am dealing with teenagers now and sometimes 23 or 24 year-old moms and dads who live at home with their own grandparents. Lots has happened in 10 years.
Is your plan to franchise this around the rest of the world now?
I do hope so.
Do you consider the children who are featured on your shows to be “fixed” by the time you leave them?
I think we’re all under construction. I wouldn’t ever use the word of “fixed.” What I do know is that the problems that they did have were resolved and the relationships continue to progress. I think we all get to a point where we’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror and be honest and go, “Where are we truly at? And what do we really want? What really matters?” That’s what I do. I go in and put the mirror up.
How do you know when a kid is just being a kid and when you have a problem within your family and needs real attention?
When it impacts the rest of the family members. When you are seeing the same issue regurgitate itself over and over again. When you can honestly say to yourself there is an issue and you never addressed it. You ignored it. Because it will come back up again. It doesn’t matter how you pacify, what you smooth over, that’s going to come back up again. Just like it does in life. What you didn’t have the courage to maybe deal with five years, the circumstance comes back up again with hopefully you being ready to address that and to look at making those brave steps forward and having the courage to say, “This is what’s important to me.”
One big issue today is social media. People often use the internet to shame parents who they don’t think are doing a good job.
I think social media holds itself open to a lot of inappropriate behavior. That is the good and the bad of technology. But for parents learning how to monitor and regulate that is incredibly important. When we think about teenagers who want to present a perception of themselves (online) it is dangerous.
Some people believe that children today are ruder than ever before, less respectful of adults. Do you agree?
No. I can’t entirely agree with that. I feel that teenagers can get a bad rap. And I think we are in a world now where we are more conscientious than we have ever been. There are teenagers that are doing some really great work out there. So I don’t know if that would be correct to tarnish a handful of teenagers who are making some bad choices as others. That is like placing a stigma on a single mom.
What do you think of “helicopter parents” who smother their children and micromanage their lives?
I think it has to be about balance. I talk about it with respect to parents who turn up at every basketball game, every soccer game, every hockey game. They want to be involved. They understand the value of family and being there. But I don’t want my kid to perform only well when I turn up. You know what I mean? Showing that support and being there obviously is incredibly important, but life is also life where parents are holding down a couple of jobs as well and trying to keep the roof over their head, you know what I mean? We’ve got to put things into perspective, haven’t we?
Do you still hope to have kid of your own one day?
That is gonna have to happen soon. But I do know that I will be a working mom. This is my lifelong mission. It is my purpose to be able to help families. As much as, you know, the possibility of being a mother myself and Darrin [Jackson] and I having children, I do know in my heart that this for me is incredibly important, the work I am doing. So being a working mother who can continue to do the work I love to do would be a blessing. It has been a very conscious decision to say hold off on having kids.
JO FROST: NANNY ON TOUR premieres January 28 on UP network.
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