Australia’s most controversial parents have been asked to confiscate all electronic devices from their children to see if they can last an entire day without screens – leaving many in floods of tears.
Hit new show Parental Guidance, hosted by mother-of-two Allison Langdon and parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson, asks six couples with conflicting parenting styles to compete in challenges with their children.
On Monday’s episode parents were asked to take children’s phones, laptops and iPads for 24 hours, producing some confronting results.
In another shocking revelation, one couple – who admitted they were ‘strict’ – revealed they put soap on their children’s toothbrushes as a punishment for bad behaviour.
While some kids rose to the no screens challenge and reverted to card games or outdoor activities with pets, other children were left in floods of tears.
While some kids had never been allowed screens, others such as seven-year-old Julian (pictured) struggled with the technology ban
Jess, 17, refused to hand over her phone despite her mother telling her she was responding to the ban like ‘an addict’, and later retreated to her bedroom in tears.
‘I feel like a failure,’ Deb admitted to the cameras, adding she thought she had set a boundary with her children and screen time.
The clip triggered an emotional response from other parents who reassured the mother-of-six most teens struggled with the notion of being uncontactable.
The single mum – who has made the decision to homeschool her six kids – explained as their mother she was the ‘best person to guide them through life’.
‘I don’t have a teaching degree, I have a mum degree,’ Deb said.
Australia’s most controversial parents have challenged their children with a day without access to any electronic devices, producing some very confronting results (pictured, Deb with her 17-year-old daughter)
On Monday’s episode of Parental Guidance parents were asked to confiscate screens for 24 hours (pictured, six-year-old Ellsie is comforted by her ‘helicopter’ mum Rachel)
Jess, 17, (right) refused to hand over her phone despite her mother’s protestations she was responding like ‘an addict’ and retreated to her bedroom in tears
Rob, the ‘discipline’ parent and a high school teacher, told the group that while some children who had been previously homeschooled thrived in high school, others struggled to adapt to different teaching styles.
‘It is not every case that the parent is the best teacher,’ he said.
Helicopter parents Rachel and Sam were also left comforting their two daughters who burst into loud screams when they were forced to give up the TV remote.
‘That’s unfair. We like watching TV,’ six-year-old Ellsie is heard complaining.
‘I think it’s going to be tough for the girls because you’re saying no. So naturally a child doesn’t like to be told no, you can’t have something,’ Rachel said.
The ban on screens also came as a shock to seven-year-old Julian, the son of ‘free range’ parents Penny and Daniel, who also burst into a teary tantrum.
‘As free-range parents this challenge is going to be a real tricky one,’ Daniel said, while admitting he has never enforced rules around devices.
‘It’s ok to be upset,’ he continued. ‘We’re free-range, you can show whatever emotion you like, we’re not going to control that.’
As the family attempts a game of Monopoly, Julian tells his parents he is having ‘the worst day ever’ and refuses to be consoled by his patient mother.
Kids were asked to cross busy roads and were confronted with a ‘stranger’ (left) who asked the youngsters for directions to the shops and then offered them a lift
In another challenge, parents were asked to send their children to the local shops to buy a litre of milk to test their independence without any supervision (pictured)
The boys also refused a lift from a stranger – but one later remarked they should have accepted
In another challenge in the episode, parents were asked to send their children to the local shop to buy a litre of milk to test their independence without any supervision.
Kids were asked to cross busy roads and were confronted with a ‘stranger’ who asked the youngsters for directions to the shops and then offered them a lift.
The children of Penny and Daniel – the ‘free-range’ parents – refused the lift from the paid actor and instead told the woman they were going to a different set of shops.
Similarly, the two daughter’s of Rachel and Sam also declined a lift from a stranger.
The ‘helicopter parents’ admitted the experiment had been harder for them than their girls, who hadn’t been allowed to do errands alone before.
The competing children were finally tempted with ice-cream trucks deployed on their route home to test if they would spend the change on a sweet treat.
Rob and Sue’s two boys bought an ice-cream and initially lied to their parents that they had dropped the change on the walk home.
Rob and Sue’s two boys (pictured) bought an ice-cream with the change from the milk and initially lied to their parents that they had dropped the money on the way home
It was later revealed the ‘discipline’ parents Rob and Sue (pictured) have punished their two sons for swearing or ‘using their words wrong’ with a soap-laden toothbrush
The couple were quick to chastise their children by demanding they each handover $3 from their savings to make up for the change.
It was later revealed the ‘discipline’ parents have punished the boys for swearing or ‘using their words wrong’ with a soap-laden toothbrush.
The couple said the ‘consequence’ had only been dished out twice in nine years with the other parents left divided on the disciplinary action.
Parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson told the parents that punishments and consequences were the same thing and only producing ‘shame’ in kids.
He encouraged couples to try and connect with their children when they do something wrong instead of smacking them or using a soapy toothbrush.
It comes after last week’s episode saw brave parents put their children in a frightening test to see whether they would wander off with a total stranger.
Children were sent to a playground with a distracted nanny, as a charismatic hired actor attempted to lure the youngsters away with the promise of puppies.
The outcome of the shocking experiment left Langdon in tears as parents gradually realised just how easily their children could be snatched away, while one of the traumatised mothers walked off set after being left feeling ‘sick’.
Parents Andrew and Miriam, who raise their children Luke aged 12, Grace aged 10, and Tim aged five with strict rules and boundaries – including smacking – were horrified by the result.
The shocking experiment left Alison Langdon (pictured) in tears as parents gradually realised just how easily their children could be snatched away
It took just seconds for the children to wander off with a strange man who charmed them with a dog and the promise of seeing some puppies.
Andrew broke down in tears after seeing the footage.
‘I know it’s an actor but it makes me so angry to think anyone would ever do that to a child,’ he said.
Langdon also found the clip extremely difficult to watch.
‘We knew this was going to be a confronting challenge but that’s why we are here to talk about it,’ she told the group.
‘Every family watching around the country at home is going to rethink the conversation they are having with their children around stranger danger because we are all questioning what our kids would to in a situation like that.’
The eye-opening series is exploring all aspects of parenting from letting kids learn to read at their own pace to whether it’s ever acceptable to smack children.
Parents Andrew and Miriam (pictured) who raise their children Luke aged 12, Grace aged 10, and Tim aged five with strict rules and boundaries – including smacking – were horrified by the result
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