This Tuesday (January 31) don’t miss Lifetime’s newest series, America’s Supernanny, starring childcare expert Deborah Tillman. This episode features the Skluzacek family-of-six. Mom and dad have struggles dealing with the behavior problems of their four boys, ranging in ages 3 – 8. Mom is in over her head and has resorted to locking her sons in their rooms for timeouts. In the meantime, dad is overwhelmed by his kids and avoids the family, spending time on 1 of his 17 hobbies.
The Virginia-based wife, mother and author, who boasts more than 19 years experience in early childhood education opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about working with the Skluzacek family.
CBS: Tell us about working with the Skluzacek family. Mom and dad have struggles dealing with the behavior problems of their four boys, ranging in ages 3 – 8. Mom is in over her head and has resorted to locking her sons in their rooms for timeouts. In the meantime, dad is overwhelmed by his kids and avoids the family, spending time on 1 of his 17 hobbies. How did you help this family?
DT: “When I met the Skluzacek family they had a very loose style of parenting where they allowed their children to do whatever they wanted with little or no correction. They gave into them whenever they caused a commotion.
Dad was completely disconnected from his children it was as if he was a stranger in his own house. He had seventeen hobbies. He often felt uncomfortable around all four boys at the same time and would rather escape to the garage than to spend little time with his children.
Mom had a hard time saying no to the kids and truly did not want to discipline her due to the fear of being seen as a mean mom so she often overlooked negative behavior. She also joked at times when she should have been disciplining her children. Her escape was to have a beer or send the children to time outs in their room so that she could get a break.
There was no form of discipline in the house. Mom and dad begged and pleaded with the children to stop but never followed up with any consequences. The time outs consisted of locking children in their rooms unsupervised for a random number of minutes. Evan in particular, ran circles around mom and dad because his negative behavior was never corrected.
Another issue was outings to the restaurant. They were disastrous. The children ate from the sugar and ketchup bottles. Chairs were being turned over and what was worse was that the children were rewarded with ice cream sundaes although they exhibited poor behavior. Thereby sending mixed messages. The boys were bored and idle and it showed.
And finally another big issue was the lead up to bedtime. The parents got the boys all wound up by allowing them to play video games, jump off of the couch and wrestle and when the parents have had enough and it was time for the children to go to bed the parents give them melatonin drops to help them sleep.
The first thing I wanted to do was to have the parents design a vision board. The vision board is a tool I used to get the parents to define and focus on where they wanted their family to be.
The next thing I did was to put house rules and discipline in place for the children so that they would know what to do and what the consequences would be for not doing it.
Restaurant Technique – Children act out when they are bored and idle. Restaurants are fun but can be over stimulating with so many people present. Therefore, always be proactive as a parent and take the following steps:
1. Plan in advance by telling the children where you are going and what to expect;
2 Sit at the table;
3. Sugar, salt and ketchup are off limits;
4. Engage the children in quiet activities;
5. Enjoy and have fun with your children.
The Brothers Keeper technique was used for the oldest brother Landon who was capable of being a role model to his younger brothers it gave him a sense of independence, responsibility and will improve his self confidence.
Connect the Dots – Pathway to Parenting Technique
Was used with the parents to tie together the vision and the steps in order to bring the vision into fruition. It would make no sense to have a vision if you do not know how to reach it.
The parents indicated that the boys did not play well together. Although I did not see much of a problem with that during my observation I gave her the Build a Game technique which is an example of the kind of game that the family can play together so that children learn how to take turns and work cooperatively together.
Since bedtime was so chaotic with this family, it was important for me to give the parents a Creative Activities Technique so that they would have quiet and appropriate things to do instead of bouncing children around before bedtime. The importance of implementing creative activities for children is that they learn how to play together the right way and at the right time.
Wind down to bedtime technique includes:
Choose a quiet, relaxing activity that the entire family can do together
Prepare for bedtime (Take baths and brush teeth)
Choose a book to read to your child in their bedroom
Turn on the sound box so that children can relax
Turn out the lights so that children can sleep
Before I left it was crucial for me to let dad know how important it is to spend separate time with each of his children so that he can get to know them better. Since both dad and Landon like beekeeping I thought it would be great for them to share that time together and they did.
I have seen improvement in mom and dad’s ability to correct negative behavior and to praise their children for positive behavior. Although it took some time I know that mom now understands the importance of being firm and consistent rather than “playing around” when it comes to discipline.
There is no easy road to becoming good parents. It takes hard work, patience, commitment, dedication and much prayer. But if you put in the work you will see positive results in the future.
Remember every day is a gift and an opportunity to grow, learn and teach our children as they teach us. It is only through the struggle of parenting do we truly learn how to be the best people and parents we can be.”