Letting children learn to read at their own pace and whether it’s ever okay to slap children has sparked heated debate as ten Australian families take part in an experiment to compare their parenting styles.
Parenting, led by mother-of-two Allison Langdon and parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson – a father of six, debuted this week with dogged parents competing in challenges and often times. head shots.
Andrew, 39, and Miriam, 41, were among the first group of five families featured on Monday raising their children Luke, 12, Grace, 10, and Tim, 5, with strict rules and limits.
The Next Experience: Parenting Guidance sees Allison Langdon (right, with co-host Dr Justin Coulson) moderate as parents clash over their different parenting styles
Shame Game: Drama is high as parents clash over why their parenting skills are superior (Photo: â€œnaturalâ€ parents Liadhan and Richard)
The first challenge – which involved giving the kids a map and directing their parents through Adelaide’s CBD – went smoothly with a confident Luke informing Christian Minister Andrew that he “had this”.
But a second challenge in which kids and parents swapped roles for an “opposite day” soon saw cracks appearing in the tightly regulated parenting style of NSW.
The kids were given carte blanche to go-ahead activities for their parents with Luke and Grace quickly reverting to a disciplinary approach that included threatening punishments and wielding a wooden spoon.
The couple admitted to occasionally using spanking as a “correction” tool to teach their children discipline.
High drama: Parent sets participate in challenges whose results are broadcast in front of all the other parents who then criticize their parenting style
‘Strict’ parent Andrew is slapped by his oldest son during a challenge in which they switched roles for the day (pictured)
â€œAlright, guys, just to make sure you understand that there are certain forms of discipline. OK?’ Luke said, spoon in hand before cheerfully ordering his father to go to his room.
Grace also brings the spoon to her mother in a semi-serious fashion, leaving Miriam to say, ‘Please stop slapping me. I do not like it.
While the exchanges were fun, the other parent groups, brought in to sit on a Survivor-type tribal adjudication board, expressed concerns about how children were learning to deal with issues and forcing Andrew and Miriam to stand up for themselves. .
â€œWith corporal punishment. We see a slap as a tool in a parenting toolbox and by no means the first, â€says Andrew.
â€œJust be careful what you internalize there,â€ one of the group members says.
Relative Donna, 40, who along with her husband Yann is a supporter of the French parenting style of treating children equally, went further.
French relative Donna (pictured) has an intense reaction to corporal punishment of children
â€œWe would never slap our child. We are very attached to it. It is a form of abuse.
â€œMy parents slapped me in the face and I have no resentment towards them,â€ Andrew said.
â€œStockholm Syndrome,â€ Donna replied.
Andrew ends up admitting – perhaps the most moving moment in the series – that the exercise has caused him to re-evaluate some of his principles.
“After that challenge, yeah, we were kinda faced with, you know, is that really how they see us?” ” he reveals.
The group is unanimous in rejecting corporal punishment, but in a revealing moment Langdon then asks the group how many have slapped their children in the face.
Half the hands in the room go up.
Other issues that appeared to divide the parents were unconventional couple Liadhan, 45, and Richard, 67, from South Australia who live in a tent with their five children.
â€œKids can’t bounce off the walls if we take the walls away,â€ Laidhan jokes.
Liadhan and Richard home school their children (pictured together) from their tent and let them learn to read “when they’re ready”
Alternative: couple are particularly criticized after revealing they are raising their children in a tent
They chose to teach their children at home and revealed that their three youngest, Esther, 9, Eva, 7, and Danny, 5, had not learned to read.
“The two oldest (Mariam, 12, and Hannah, 11) are competent readers,” explains Richard.
â€œThe three youngest, they can recognize words.
â€œSome people might panic and say, ‘Why aren’t they reading? They will read when they are ready.
‘By accident?’ Yann replies.
“Now that is the opportunity to learn as much as possible when their brain is a sponge.”
Same-sex couple Brett and Tony and their children (pictured together) who are two pairs of twins born on the exact same day to two surrogate mothers from India
The last two families are Lara, 42, and Andrew, 39, who follow the attachment parenting style with their children Raphael, 7, and Chaya, 5.
This involves raising their children using a â€œcircle of safetyâ€. They constantly play with their children and get creative when possible – they love to play with them.
The latest family are Brett, 50, and Tony, 49, a same-sex couple who have two pairs of twins born on the exact same day to two Indian surrogates.
â€œOnly one birthday party a year,â€ jokes Brett, a schoolteacher.
In a particularly emotional moment, Tony, a social worker, bursts into tears as he reveals that their first surrogate has miscarried.
They are advocates of a routine parenting style, relying on a planned structure to overcome the swirling chaos of raising four boys.
â€œThey’ve had yogurt and fruit every night for dessert for the past eight years,â€ Tony said.
â€œThese guys, they do an amazing job and they don’t even know it,â€ says one of the parents.