'Difficult' Parental Guidance challenge leaves Tiger mum 'very scared'

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

They've put their controversial brand of 'Tiger' parenting on national TV for audiences to pick apart but that wasn't the hardest part of Parental Guidance for NSW finalists, Kevin and Debbie.

The couple tells Yahoo Lifestyle in an exclusive chat that the upcoming wilderness challenge in Tuesday night's grand finale episode was the family's toughest moment of the entire show.

Parental Guidance 'Tiger parents' Kevin and Debbie during the 'Crowded House' challenge in episode 7. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).
Parental Guidance 'Tiger parents' Kevin and Debbie have opened up about the most 'difficult' challenge. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).

Well, at least where Debbie is concerned. "It wasn't a challenge about parenting for me, it was a personal challenge," she admits.

"It was very difficult for me. I was really scared," she adds with a laugh.

On Monday night, Kevin and Debbie were handpicked by hosts Dr Justin Coulson and Ally Langdon along with 'free range' parents Penny and Daniel as the final two parents in the running for the title of 'best parenting style'.

But before the votes can be cast, the two families must survive an 'epic' 48 hours camping in the wilderness — a first for urban-dwelling Tiger parents and their kids, Mimi, 12, and Leo, 10.

"We both grew up in the city, we are not used to that kind of lifestyle," Debbie said of her and Kevin's own upbringing.


Parental Guidance 'Tiger parents' Kevin and Debbie and their son, Leo and daughter, Mimi walking near a creek in the bush. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).
Kevin and Debbie and their son, Leo, and daughter, Mimi tackle the wilderness camping challenge. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).

Despite never having pitched a tent or spent a night under the stars, Debbie says she 'learnt a lot' from observing the super laidback approach taken by free-rangers Penny and Daniel.

"I picked up a lot of things from the free range family. Before we went camping we stayed in the same hotel, and they were so chilled. I was so nervous!" she recalls.

"To me, they weren't that well prepared. I was so worried for them. I felt that I had to go over and share my insect repellent and thermal underwear and other stuff because they didn't bring much but then they survived. They were so happy. So I really learned a lot from them," she adds.

Without giving too much away, it appears as though the outdoor adventure was a success, with both Kevin and Debbie keen to encourage their kids to get involved in the next camping opportunity at school.

Parental Guidance 'Tiger parents' Kevin and Debbie share a laugh in the studio. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).
Kevin and Debbie were 'surprised' to make it to the final two parents. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).

As for the Tiger parents themselves?

"I love camping, I would love to go camping again, but you know, we still need to work on Debbie a bit," Kevin jokes.

"I think we should go glamping. One step at a time," Debbie responds.

Debbie and Kevin admit that their results-driven Tiger parenting style 'is not for everyone,' so making it to the final two out of 10 sets of parents was really unexpected for the couple.

"We were already very surprised that we made it to the Crowded House [challenge in episode 7]," Debbie says.

"So we were even more surprised to find out people want to see us more in the Wilderness Challenge."

Kevin says the pair were pleased to have fellow mums and dads not only praise certain aspects of their approach to child-rearing but say that they're keen to incorporate them into their own styles. 

"It was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate to all parents and hopefully the audience that a little bit of Tiger parenting - not too much, but a little bit - can be a positive inspiration for children."

Parental Guidance concludes 7.30pm Tuesday on Channel 9 and 9Now.

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