Nanny 911 is a TV show that deals with the issues of parent/child conflict and how parents and children interact in conflict-prone situations. The parenting styles and children’s reactions are observed and then related to Baurind’s three parenting styles: authoritative, permissive and authoritarian. The effectiveness of the parent’s disciplinary techniques are observed and analyzed as well as the messages the nanny is teaching the parents.
Diana Baumrind gathered information on child rearing by watching parents interact with their preschoolers. She found that there are three features to parenting styles that impact its effectiveness: acceptance of the child and involvement in the child’s life, which establishes an emotional connection with the child; control of the child, which promotes more mature behavior; and autonomy granting, which encourages self-reliance (p 570, Child Development).
Baumrind differentiates parenting styles into three different categories: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. The most successful and ideal parenting style is the authoritative approach. It involves high acceptance and involvement; authoritative parents are warm, responsive, attentive, patient, and sensitive to the child’s needs. Authoritative parents also exercise firm and reasonable control. The parent understands the child’s developmental level and makes reasonable and explained demands, giving reasons for their expectations that are consistently enforced. Finally, gradual and appropriate autonomy granting allows the child to make maturity-appropriate decisions, focuses on communication by encouraging the child to express her thoughts, feelings and desires, as well as allowing the child to make joint decisions when the parent and child disagree. This is the ideal parenting style as it is linked to many aspects of competence in childhood such as an upbeat mood, self-control, high self-esteem, task persistence, and cooperativeness. The outcome in adolescence is social and moral maturity and academic achievement (p 571, Child Development).
The authoritarian parenting style is low in acceptance and involvement as the parent is cold and rejecting. The parent frequently degrades the child by mocking and putting her down. The parent is high in coercive control; they yell, command, criticize and threaten in order to get the response that they want from the children. They make decisions for the child and expect acceptance unquestioningly, rarely listening to the child’s point of view; if the child disagrees, authoritarian parents resort to force and punishment. As a result, children of authoritarian parents are anxious, unhappy and low in self-esteem and self-reliance. They tend to react with hostility and resort to force when they don’t get their way.
The permissive parenting style is warm and accepting, but uninvolved. Permissive parents are either overindulgent or inattentive and have little control. Instead of gradually granting autonomy, parents allow children to make decisions on their own when they are yet to have the maturity capacity to do so. Children have no punishments and are allowed to do as they fee; for example, they go to bed whenever they wish, watch as much television as they want, aren’t made to learn good manners or to do household chores. As a result, children of permissive parents are impulsive, disobedient, and rebellious. They show less persistence on tasks, poorer school achievement, and more anti-social behavior than those children whose parents exerted more control (p 570, Child Development).
In the TV show Nanny 911, parents are in desperate need of help as their children are unruly and out of control. A nanny comes into the home to observe the children’s behavior and the parent’s responses. Although the children need discipline, more often it is the parents that also need discipline and knowledge to change the situation.