Parental Guidance: Free-range parents reveal truth about 'awkward' win

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

They were crowned the parents with the 'best parenting style' in the grand finale of the ratings smash-hit, Parental Guidance.

And while free-range mum and dad, Penny and Daniel are "very humbled" to be voted number one by the nine other sets of parents on the show, the title doesn't sit entirely well with them.

Parental Guidance 'free range' parents Penny and Daniel. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).
Parental Guidance's free-range parents, Penny and Daniel were voted as having the 'best parenting style' by their fellow mums and dads. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).

"It felt pretty awkward," Daniel tells Yahoo Lifestyle in an exclusive chat. "We certainly at no point throughout the show or even now, we don't feel like we're doing a better job or we're better parents or our style is better than anyone else's."

"So it is very awkward to take a win in something..." he trails off as his wife, Penny jumps in. "We don't think you can 'win' at it," she says of the task of parenting.

"I think winning is just getting through every day," Daniel adds.

"But of course, you know, it's a reality TV show so there's got to be a winner. We probably feel quite uncomfortable about the idea that it was even a competition," admits Penny.

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They're not the only parents to express concern over the idea of game-ifying something as significant as raising children.

Earlier in the season, home-schooling parent, Deb, told Yahoo Lifestyle that all 10 sets of parents almost walked away from the project after being told it would involve a judging element.

Parental Guidance 'free range' parents Penny and Daniel set up a tent in the bush with their two children. Photo: Channel Nine.
Penny and Daniel tackle the tent on a windy day during the show's wilderness camping challenge. Photo: Channel Nine.

'Very proud of our kids'

The couple is more than happy to redirect the praise for their win to their three kids, Sebastian, nine, Julian, six, and Zahra, two.

"Sitting back and watching the show and the challenges... we are very proud of our kids. We're very proud of the way we've raised our kids and we certainly couldn't ask for better kids.

"We love them, we love who they are, we love their individual personalities. And through the show, I think our love and our appreciation for our kids have grown more and more."

After spending so much time on the show, Penny and Daniel say they were able to understand firsthand how each different parenting style, whether that's Tiger, Strict or Nature, works for each individual family. 

"You can completely see — and I hope the audience can see — why everyone parents the way they do. And so we saw a lot of value in how each family parented for their family," Penny explains.

Parental Guidance free range parents Penny and Daniel and their three kids, Sebastian, nine, Julian, six, and Zahra, two. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).
Penny, Daniel and their three kids, Sebastian, nine, Julian, six, and Zahra, two. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).

If the couple had to put a finger on why their free-range style came out on top, Penny says that the parenting proof is in the pudding. And the pudding, in this case, is their trio of brave, well-rounded and hilariously funny kids.

"I think one of the reasons why our parenting style was appreciated by the other families is because we are still getting the outcomes that we want in a less stressful, more relaxed situation.

"Just because we relax a bit doesn't mean our kids are going to end up in jail or making the wrong choices or having these really bad outcomes," she laughs. "Everyone can relax a bit and it's going to be okay."

After not only surviving but thriving during the show's ultimate wilderness camping challenge ("We'll remember it forever," says Daniel) the family is already looking for their next big adventure.

"We're aiming for The Block!" Penny reveals half-jokingly. We wouldn't be surprised if the free-rangers pop up with a paintbrush and a drill next season.

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