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10 Reasons Nannies Don’t Love SuperNanny

October 4, 2011

SuperNanny and its primary competitor, Nanny 911, are a pair of shows that television networks promote as “reality” programming. In both of these shows the set-up is basically the same, in that upper-middle-class families who have multiple children, who are not angels, need to call in expert help to save the families from imploding. The expert help is the super nanny, a regular Mary Poppins on steroids. The nannies come to the rescue of befuddled parents and caregivers, and they turn all the little imps (sorry… it’s true) into model children using little more than Dr. Phil types of advice. The nannies do everything so much better than anyone else can, and they make it look super easy. Reaction among nannies in the real world that you and I inhabit has been mixed, but tends toward not loving it and here are some of the reasons why:

  1. Unrealistic – “Reality” television is pretty much everything except reality. Networks and studios put these shows out because they are cheap to make and have a car-wreck appeal.
  2. False Comparisons – In the real world even a “super nanny” would not handle the crises as though everyone was on some kind of game show.
  3. Bad Advice – The simplistic solutions are hardly what is called for in a real situation. When a nanny actually has to handle a crisis, she has to be able to think on her feet, and she isn’t likely to find her answers in neat little packages.
  4. Dr. Phil – SuperDooperNanny is all about the image of “tough love” and control, and there is some merit to the approach, but it is taken much too far. When solutions are no more than recycled Dr. Phil advice, formulaic and domineering, there is little translation to what real families and nannies face every day.
  5. Only the Wealthy – Judging by the TV show, it seems that only well-to-do families with three-or-more children employ nannies, and it is hard for less affluent working parents to relate to the country club lifestyles portrayed on television.  The reality is that nannies can be very affordable for families with a modest budget especially compared to the rising costs of traditional daycare centers.
  6. Drama – There’s enough “drama” on one episode of SuperNanny or Nanny 911 to fill an entire decade of real life. More nannies have to deal with diapers and dishes than they do with most of the shenanigans on the shows.
  7. All About Nanny – Nannies are often considered part of the family, but the shows would have you believe that the nanny is the leading player, which is rarely the case.
  8. Takes Herself too Seriously – Nannies are professional caregivers, not philosophy professors and lecturers, and most families aren’t full of incompetent fools, which is how it seems to work on both shows.
  9. Guest Stars – SuperNanny gets to call in people like NBA star Dwayne Wade when she has a kid that needs a talking-to. Most real families would be lucky to get Larry the Cable Guy (“Get ‘er done!”).
  10. Controversial – The sensationalism of the shows is a turn-off to many in the childcare industry. There is a lot more peace and harmony in most households than you will ever see portrayed on a “reality” show.

If “reality” programming is something you find entertaining (I have to admit I usually do…), then by all means watch it. Just don’t be fooled into thinking it’s 100% real.  The biggest advantage of SuperNanny is the understanding that help is available if and when you need it and that you can and should feel comfortable turning to a professional nanny for assistance with your family (just don’t expect them to show up wearing a cape and trying to immediately save the day).


7 Responses to 10 Reasons Nannies Don’t Love SuperNanny

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megan says:

i’ve never watched an episode of either of those shows because it infuriates me that people are turning an honest profession into a huge spectacle. i know that reality tv is big business, but i take what i do very seriously and i love the families i work for. we work together as a team, and we have a mutual respect for one another. from what little snips of the show i’ve seen, the parents aren’t treated with nearly the respect they should be and the nanny is portrayed as someone who is holier than thou – an approach i’d never take.

Hillary L. says:

First off, I commend both of the shows nannies for finding a way to make a very lucrative living. However, I do think it skews the perception of nannies into one that isn’t real. Like with every reality TV show, you have to take it with a grain of salt that what you see on TV is rarely reality.

Rebecca, nanny to Camden and Pierce says:

Ha, I can’t think of a single nanny who ever gets to phone a friend in a time of crisis – especially not a famous friend who can come in and impart words of wisdom and a signed autograph!

Nadine says:

Amen to #6! My days are rarely filled with the drama that these shows have – most of the time the biggest issue we face is if we want to have apples or pears with our snacks and if sandwich crusts really are evil or not! LOL!

Emileigh M. says:

I guess I’m in the minority here, but I love both of those shows! Guilty pleasures for sure! However, I think most people watching them realize that it’s not an accurate depiction of real life.

maddie says:

i agree – nothing wrong with a little mindless tv every now and then

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