You’ll need an extra place setting at the dinner table on Tuesdays at 10:00pm ET/PT this year because America’s Supernanny Deborah Tillman is moving in! In the second season of Lifetime’s hit unscripted series, now titled America’s Supernanny: Family Lockdown, Deborah will live with families for one week.
Deborah opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about going into “lockdown” with the Nullet family. This time it’s not the parents who contact Deborah asking for her help, it’s their 19-year-old daughter Adrianna. Parents Jennifer and Chris are so busy fighting with each other about how to raise their kids that they haven’t noticed how Adrianna stepped in and took over their roles, and the results are not pretty! Facing one of her biggest challenges yet, Deborah must take away electronic distractions and lock down the Nullet family household to bring it back from the brink.
CBS: Tell us about working with the Nullet family. We hear mom and dad were fighting a lot and the oldest child stepped in as the ‘mom.’ Tell us how you got this family back on track. Also, what’s your best advice to parents who consistently fight in front of their kids?
When I first arrived at the Boccunfuso-Nullet house, I was met with two parents who were at their wits end. Mom had given up all attempts to get the house under control and Dad yelled and screamed in order to gain control.
I was actually contacted by their nineteen year old daughter, Adrianna . She was tired of raising her brothers and sisters and just wanted to be a mother to her newborn infant and a sister to her siblings. Although Adrianna is so young, she did a better job at disciplining and following through with her siblings than both of her parents.
Some of the major issues were:
1. There was a real lack of joy in the home–it was as if the parents did not want to deal with the children at all. They often yelled and barked out commands to the kids so they would leave them alone. The focus was totally on the negative. Nothing was said in a positive manner or tone.
2. Adrianna took over the parenting role and the parents allowed it because it was easier and much more convenient for them. It was disheartening to watch her take care of her infant son as well as try and correct her siblings. She never really felt like a “big sister,” but rather more like a disciplinarian.
3. Hope was almost four-years-old and was completely babied. She had up to nine pacifiers floating around at any one time, slept in the crib, and found it necessary to have her blankets placed in a special way before they could go on top of her. The parent’s gave in to each and every one of her demands.
4. Discipline methods were very confusing and did not seek to be effective. The parents said they did “time out” but it often just resulted in the children being sent to their room or the parents giving up and walking away.
5. Mom had a hard time “connecting” with her children on an emotional level and often avoided playing with them because she didn’t enjoy it or the “messiness of the activities.
6. The parents consistently argued in front of the children.
After placing the family under lockdown and putting the house rules and discipline in place with the children in order to obtain some order, I took away all of the electronic devices because they had become a distraction to the family.
I began working on getting Hope out of the baby stage and onto the big girl stage. The method that I used was the “I can and I will” technique.
The purpose of the “I can I will” technique is to teach children that they are growing up and that they have the ability to do so many more things than they were able to do when they were younger and to be proud of that fact.
- When teaching young children to be self-sufficient, make it fun so that they can actively participate.
- Create a visual so it is easy to understand the concepts.
- Play the game and allow the child to answer.
- Always praise and encourage correct answers.
The Live with Laughter technique was used to bring mom out of her anxiety over having fun with the children.
In order to Build Back Relationships, I offered Dad a deposit box where he could deposit a word into Andrew’s heart and mind so that Andrew would begin to act on and believe what his father says.
Another relationship that needed to be mended was the one between Adrianna and Olivia. I put in the Sowing Seeds of Sisterhood technique, where Olivia would be able to discuss anything she wanted with Adrianna and Adrianna would give her advice. Likewise, another relationship that needed work was the one between Dad and Adrianna. I encouraged dad to face his anger and work to put his daughter first by apologizing to her. Mom and Dad worked on communication methods such as the sensitivity technique, where the they had to openly and honestly take time to talk to each other each day and write about the things that hurt them. This helped them move toward strengthening their relationship.
The best advice to parents who consistently fight is:
- Determine that your children are always watching
- Open your heart to being selfless
- No family is perfect so be honest
- Take the time to talk to children