To Spank or Not to Spank: Supernanny Tips

Dec. 1, 2006 — -- Jo Frost has dealt with many parenting problems in her 17 years of nannying.

In the season premiere of "Supernanny," she confronts some perennial issues -- spanking and parental rage.

Jenniffer Berenstock is a mother of three who screamed at her kids, spanked them, and washed their mouths out with soap to get them to behave.

Despite all of that, her kids were still out of control and Berenstock was at the end of her rope.

Although Berenstock turned to "Supernanny" for help, she was still resistant at first.

She told Frost: "I spank. I yell. That's me."

But Frost was able to help this harried mom to reconsider whether she could change.

She said that getting Berenstock to change was a matter of training her to control her anger.

Berenstock also had to revisit her own childhood and understand why the only method she had for dealing with her kids was anger.

"She was a young mother who'd been raised in a certain way," Frost said. "She didn't have a functional relationship with her own mother, and I came in as a friend and gave her confidence."

Frost says that all parents can benefit from the lessons Berenstock learned.

Your kids are acting up, you're boiling with rage, and you feel ready to hit your child, what do you do?

Gonna smack? Step back.

Frost says that hitting or not hitting your kids is a choice. You're probably not "out of control." Berenstock thought that hitting and shouting was "who she was." But it wasn't. When she decided not to do it, she stopped.

Think of the bigger picture. Be the audience, not the player.

Second baby? Get your other child involved.

A new baby in a family is a recipe for sibling rivalry, especially when you have a toddler.

Frost says it's important to let older children get actively involved with the new baby as early as possible, so they can have a sense of belonging and can bond with the new sibling.

Though it might be difficult to find the time while caring for a new baby, it's important to set aside time alone with the older child.

Second baby? Do things as a family.

The idea of doing things together as a family should start right away. So if the mother has to feed the baby at dinner time, or at her toddler's bedtime, she shouldn't go off to another room and do it. She should sit at the table, so you're all having dinner together. Or when you're reading to your toddler, have your baby there, too.

A lot of mothers make the mistake of going off and doing too much with the baby alone, which makes the toddler feel abandoned.

Keep everybody involved and you'll go a long way toward keeping yourself and your family happy.