The four Mary Poppinses of Nanny 911 scored nifty ratings for Fox whilst whipping our nation's parents into shape. Now Lilian, Deb, Stella and Yvonne are on hiatus — though they're sure to return — leaving room for a new Brit to baby-sit American moms and dads. That's solo act Jo Frost, ABC's Supernanny, who thinks she knows why kids these days are cussin', fussin' and generally runnin' amok.
"I think that parents are trying to balance between their home life and their working careers," Frost says. "[They also struggle] between being the child's friend [and] being the authoritative parent asking for respect and manners from their children. Somewhere along the line, the balance between disciplining your children and wanting to be open with [them] has been lost."
Frost, who brought her Supernanny act over from U.K. TV, seems bent on becoming a one-woman franchise. Naturally, she's written a parenting book, Supernanny: How to Get the Best from Your Children, which hit bookshelves this month. And so far, her ABC series (Mondays, 10 pm/ET) is attracting a respectable 9 million viewers each week — indicating we Yanks don't necessarily mind taking advice from a bossy Brit.
"I've never heard [of] an American not wanting to hire an English nanny, that's for sure," Frost says. "Americans appreciate the British nanny. Nannies originated [in] England. I do feel that the Americans appreciate our standards and expectations from children as a whole."
Of course, some kids seem too far gone for Supernanny
's brand of tough love. (That's why ABC Family has come out with Brat Camp
.) Would Frost ever advocate a good, old-fashioned ass-whuppin' for an incorrigible terror who's really
cruisin' for a bruisin'? "Nanny don't spank," she quips. That said, she adds, "I don't feel that any parent should give up hope. Never, never, never. Whatever problem you feel your child's going through, as a parent, it's your responsibility to be there for your children, to be able to listen, to be able to help them."