Parental Guidance is the Nine Network's deep dive reality show exposing ten sets of parenting styles

PARENTAL GUIDANCE: Nine Network and 9NOW, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, 7.30pm

You might not be a parent but no doubt you have, at some time in your life, passed silent judgment on a child misbehaving in a restaurant, supermarket, public transport, theatre, park, or event.

That judgment probably extended to the parent in charge of the child in question, leading you to wonder how that child is being parented.

Currently screening on the Nine Network is Parental Guidance, hosted by Ally Langdon with commentary and expert opinion from parenting guru *Dr Justin Coulson.

WHICH WAY IS BEST?:Parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson and Nine Network journalist Ally Langdon meet with 10 sets of parents who teach their children via very different methods.

WHICH WAY IS BEST?:Parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson and Nine Network journalist Ally Langdon meet with 10 sets of parents who teach their children via very different methods.

Dr Coulson says the concept was born a couple of years ago, then modified and "they realised they needed someone like me to help them out".

"If I'm perfectly honest reality TV doesn't have many redeeming qualities, so we had do ask ourselves 'how can we be sure to elevate great parenting, and protect the children?'.

"I talked it over with my family and we decided that what people want is to be entertained, and if we can find positive and meaningful ways to make a difference in people's lives it would be worth it."

Ten sets of parents were sourced by the production company and this week we saw various challenges undertaken by Group A - consisting of:

  • Strict parents: Andrew and Miriam from NSW
  • Nature parents: Liadhan and Richard from SA
  • Attachment parents: Lara and Andrew from Vic
  • Routine parents: Brett and Tony from Vic
  • French parents: Yann and Donna from NSW.
French parenting: Yann and Donna

French parenting: Yann and Donna

Meanwhile, the remaining five parent styles in Group B took notes and ultimately had to decide which two parenting styles saw the children make the best choices in the challenges.

Surprisingly, strict parents Andrew and Miriam were chosen along with routine parents Brett and Tony.

Next week, the tables will be turned with Group B parents scrutinised by Group A. The Group B parents are:

  • Tiger parents: Kevin and Debbie from NSW.
  • Home school parents: Deb from Qld
  • Helicopter parents: Rachel and Sam from Qld
  • Free range parens: Penny and Daniel from NSW
  • Disciplined parents: Rob and Sioux from SA

Once Group A chooses their best two parenting styles next Wednesday, they will join this week's couples in the following week's super challenges.

Attachment parents: Lara and Andrew.

Attachment parents: Lara and Andrew.

Dr Coulson explains we all think we think we are engaged in our kids' lives in positive ways, but it had to come down to honest choices.

"We had to make sure we were not voting people 'off the island', or being politically correct, but saying 'who is doing this well?', and not 'how can we see more of them on the telly?'.

Routine parents: Brett and Tony.

Routine parents: Brett and Tony.

For those who missed this week, each family has the opportunity to go through a range of challenges in their own homes. Once complete, they are brought into the studio to watch a video of the challenge and then talk about it.

Questions asked are along the lines of: 'What would you do differently?'; 'Here's how we did it - who did it best and why?'; Who did things worthy of conservation?'.

"The parents really put themselves out there. It was so inspiring as they were actually willing to look at their parenting style and were open to hear about what other people think," Dr Coulson says.

There were certainly some provocative choices and strong opinions, but you also saw how some of those opinions changed as everyone learned more about the parents and how their children interact with them.

Nature parents: Liadhan and Richard.

Nature parents: Liadhan and Richard.

"What I loved most about the show is that all the parents were confident they are doing a great job, but every single one on this show has been profoundly changed.

"I was changed. I felt it, yet I'm the parenting expert and I'm supposed to have all the answers."

Dr Coulson says the ultimate aim is to strengthen the families.

"No matter what you do on TV someone is going to have an opinion.

"Not only is it compelling and entertaining, but husbands, wives, stepparents and grandparents will ask themselves 'How would I defend myself if I was put in that situation and my children reacted badly?'."

Strict parents: Andrew and Miriam.

Strict parents: Andrew and Miriam.

*Dr Coulson is an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Positive Psychology in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne; a consultant to the Australian governments Raising Children Network; the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner; Life Education; Beyond Blue; Intel Security and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.