Parental Guidance mum reveals moment all 10 parents threatened to ‘pull out’

·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

Parental Guidance is one of the biggest TV shows on air right now, but, as one of the 10 sets of parents reveals, it almost didn't happen.

Home-schooling parent from Queensland, Deb, tells Yahoo Lifestyle in an exclusive chat that she and her fellow mums and dads almost walked away from the project in its early stages.

Parental Guidance Home-schooling parent, Deb. Photo: Channel Nine.
Parental Guidance participant, Deb home-schools her six kids. Photo: Channel Nine.

'We were never told'

Deb, a single mum-of-six, says none of the parents were aware that the show would be a competition that involved participants judging one another's child-rearing methods when they applied.

"I have to be honest, and this is across the board, every single parent that's on [Parental Guidance] was never told it was a competition," she says.

"We were never told that it was going to be a judging competition, none of us," she adds.

Deb says the ad used to recruit families for the program described it as "a cross between Lego Masters and MasterChef" which sounded like a great opportunity for her own kids.

"I said to them, 'This sounds like amazing fun'. We're going to be able to show everyone, 'Hey, this is a little window into our world, this is how we do it'."


Parental Guidance Home-schooling parent, Deb and her six children. Photo: Channel Nine.
Deb with her six children. Photo: Channel Nine.

'Really confronting'

It was only after they'd been selected that Deb says she found out that, along with the fun family challenges, the parents would be expected to participate in group discussions where they'd rate and review each other's parenting styles.

After the initial round of challenges was completed, the parents would then vote for four families to progress to the next stage. Hosts Dr Justin Coulson and Today's Ally Langdon would whittle the four families down to two before all 10 sets of parents return to vote for the best parenting style.

Deb says that, at the time, it was "really confronting" to find out that the show entailed a bit more than the ad suggested.

"It was tough because I do not believe in judging parents full stop. I do [parenting] my way and I don't care how the lady next door does it."

She says she voiced her concerns to the production team and, unbeknownst to her, so did the other parents as well. Deb found out later that all of them separately contemplated walking away.

"I can say universally across the board every set of parents, we all considered pulling out, every one of us," she says.

Parental Guidance hosts Dr Justin Coulson and Ally Langdon. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).
Parental Guidance is hosted Dr Justin Coulson and Ally Langdon. Photo: Channel Nine (supplied).

'Our experience was amazing'

But, after being assured by producers that the show would be done in a "sensitive way," all 10 sets of parents were content to continue on with the show.

Deb tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she trusts the producers and is confident that she and her children will come across in a fair and genuine manner on the show.

"I really commend [the producers] and I felt that trust from the start, and it hasn't been broken and I don't believe [upcoming episodes are] going to change my opinion. I feel completely comfortable that the portrayal of our family is real."

Deb is also highly complimentary of her fellow parents' ability to be open-minded and willing to learn from one another's wildly different approaches. 

"That's why I think I've taken away so much and I think that's a testament to all of the parents, that we can all say we took away something from the show because they've gathered a group of parents that weren't interested in judging. We're all open-minded and so our experience with the show was amazing."

If Channel Nine decide to continue with another season, Deb thinks that it will look a little different from the first as the cards are now all on the table for future participants.

"I think it'd be very interesting if there is a season two. I think it's going to be different because people now are going into it knowing that it's about judging whereas all of us did not know that when we applied."

Parental Guidance airs 7.30pm Monday to Wednesday on Channel 9 and 9Now.

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