Jo Frost talks ‘Family SOS with Jo Frost’ on TLC

As TV’s beloved Supernanny, Jo Frost spent seven seasons coming to the rescue of parents whose tots were creating havoc — but she says she did much of her bestcounseling when the cameras were off. So Frost pulled the plug on the long-running ABC hit and began contemplating a new show in which she could assist all kinds of clans, not just those in need of the “naughty step.”

“I wanted to focus on a format that would allow my expertise to be shown on every level, and I wanted to be able to create a format that allows me to help the whole family,” says Frost. “And I wanted to be able to look at 21st-century issues. I want families to hear somebody else’s story, see the crisis they are in and be able to take advice and tips and be inspired by these families as I help them through this transitional crisis period.” The resulting series, Family S.O.S. With Jo Frost, debuts May 28 on TLC, and features Frost helping households dealing with marriage and communication issues, bullying, relocation, rebellious teens and other family-fracturing quandaries. And she was adamant that the new show not make light of the process.

“I wanted it to be very grounded and real,” Frost explains. “I wanted the style of it to be more raw. I was like, ‘Out with the diddly-diddly music! If it’s raw, let it be raw! Don’t cover it up!’ These are real families with real issues. You really feel like that fly on the wall.”

Jo Frost Family SOS

During her seven years on Supernanny, Frost got a firsthand look at the impact of the collapse of the American economy on its families — something she says has given her a better understanding of the harrowing challenges parents face today.

“I was in families’ homes as America was coming into that climate and feeling the severity of these economic times and that’s an incredibly scary, fearful time for a lot of families,” Frost says. “There’s no two ways about it that families had that added pressure and instability of not knowing what tomorrow was going to bring. Where were they going to get the next paycheck from, and how were they going to feed the kids, and what would happen if they lose their homes?”

Frost says she focused her efforts on helping families let go of the comforts of the past and focus on making the most of their future. “When we feel fearful, we tend to hold onto what was yesterday,” she says. “You’ve got to be able to move forward. So I gave families the guidance and the support to find more clarity, because at times they were feeling emotionally overwhelmed. And for some of those families, it brought new beginnings. It let families focus on what they were really passionate about and gave them the opportunity to do that.”

Asked if the increasing tendency for Americans of all ages to communicate via handheld devices over face-to-face chats has added to her challenges, Frost is delightfully diplomatic.

“On a science level and a technology level, how marvelous —the pioneers that are out there leading the way,” she says. “We have to embrace technology and how it’s evolving our society. But we also have to know when to say no. That it’s not all right for our children to be Facebooking or playing a video game when we’re trying to have dinner together. It’s not OK for our young children to be playing video games that simulate violence when they’re not even adults and they’re watching something three years beyond their age. It’s creating desensitization and our children are becoming less empathetic in the world. And we’re seeing an increase in bullying and hostile behavior. That’s no coincidence.”

“And it’s not just a lesson for children; it’s a lesson for adults as well,” she continues.  “We have to set the example. When you’re around the family, honor the good times and the connection — because it doesn’t happen via a piece of technology!”

Frost admits that learning to find downtime in her own life can sometimes present a challenge, as well, because she is so passionate about her work. Fortunately the woman who has devoted her life to helping others has some help at home, as well.

“The biggest way to sum it up is I want normalcy in my life,” says the avid home cook and gardner. “So when I’m not with a family consulting to the hours and the depth that I am, I want to come back and have some balance myself. My boyfriend is really good at going, ‘OK, Jo, this is the art of doing nothing. Today we will work at the art of doing nothing.‘ And I’m like “What’s THAT?’

Family S.O.S. With Jo Frost  premieres Tuesday, May 28, at 9/8CT on TLC.

Jo Frost image: David Carlson

About Lori Acken

Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.
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12 Responses to Jo Frost talks ‘Family SOS with Jo Frost’ on TLC

  1. Jessica Taylor says:

    My family needs your help SOS with Jo Frost my 3 year old son is not talking at all his behavior is out of control.MY HUSBAND got a mental illness he don’t help with any thing he sit on the couch watching TV all day long.my love life with my husband is not there it been lost for 2 years I fell like giving up. Please Come Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Shannon Sultan says:

    I want to go on this show. My family is so shattered that nobody even talks. My mother has NPD and refuses to admit to anyone what she has done. We have no spoken for almost 2 years. I have tried, but her mind is set. She has done the same to my sister. Not my brother. He’s her golden child so he will never experience what we did. I wish it could be fixed.

  3. darielle says:

    my family needs help asap

  4. Claire says:

    I watched your show and I felt so sad watching the parents fighting and the kids crying etc. My 18 year old daughter hadn’t been speaking to me for about a month because I refused to say sorry for something I didn’t think I needed to apologize for. After watching your show I took her out for a long walk and I apologized to her for anything I have ever said or done that may have hurt her over her lifetime. Life is so short. I would never want my children to feel the way those children on that program felt. Thank you for what you do. By watching other families interact it really makes one realize just how silly people behave and how much you can be hurting your children without even realizing it. When I said sorry she gave me a big hug and said thank you. Cheers!!!

  5. jERRY pASQUARIELLO says:

    Hi family of 6 needs desperate help.Seperated for 9 months.Children not doing well with situation,wife not communicating at all.Believes kids are doing fine..She has reconciled with two sons from a previous relationship.She had no contact with them for 25 years.she dorsnt speak to her parents at all as well I understand the pain of her teenage ‘mother’ life and child hood growing up.I realize how my childhood also impacts us all.we almost lost a son two years ago and that totally triggered everything.We are a mess.how can she still keep running from her life.I became very controlling with the son we almost lost.Traumatized myself over the many episodes in our sons life.Please someone,someone help before we divorce.help.Most of her friends are divorced and coach her on.Misery loves company.
    we have been married for almpost 22 years.have seeked help. most people want to know things but not be invoved.Please Jo help.Just saw your show,coincidence?
    I know you cant help everyone.but plus people reconciling would be more people who can be exampkles for others HELP PLEASE

  6. Kristy veneruso says:

    I need Jo frosts help very bad. I have a 5 yr old son with my husband of six years and a thirteen yr old daughter with anther man not in our lives. She lives with my parents because my husband puts her down. I am in clean from drugs for three years now and we have had a lot going on with that. My son loves his daddy so much I’m afraid he will turn out like him. My husband is very self righteous….it’s so exhausting. I’m at my wits end with him I just want to be happy. My daughter only spends the weekend here and that is sat to sun. He thinks she is the worst child in the world. He has called her a pice of shit. He ignores her when she’s here. My son hears us arguing and it’s affecting him so much.i need help

  7. Jaclyn says:

    Hi I’m Jaclyn. I’m 14 years old. My family needs a lot of help. My mom and my grandma always fight and it ruined the family. Ever since one fight out family had never been the same. My grandma has been making my grandpa and my whole family miserable . Me my sister and my brother want our old family back and so does my dad and grandpa. Please please please please help my family. I miss the old happy family that we used to have. Please help us. It would mean the world to me. Please email me !!!!!!!!!!!!!! We need you, no I need you!

  8. mtorres says:

    I need help with my family.. very fast or I am soon going to hurt my self..

  9. Helen Hornbeck says:

    I’m a very private person and don’t want anything published here. Please email me and I will write then.
    Thanking you in advance…..

  10. Dawn says:

    Would love for you to come help our family. Im so sick of the arguing. Screaming fighting sarcasm and meaness that is displayed in front of my 5and3 year old. I dont know what to do. Husband refuses counseling..thinks we are fine and we are normal. Please come help us!!!! My children are in desperate need for a happy household

  11. Skylar says:

    I need your help! My family is spiraling down to turmoil! My husband has his priorities backwards,( he believes that racing is more important than the chasten and our marriage) causin huge gaps in our love life and family life. My children are suffering from this. I have a 16 m old and a 6 m old. We have started fighting so badly it turns into physical and verbal. We have a horrible past and we eventually got through it. I have fought to keep us together and I can’t do it alone! This marriage an family are all I have left, please help me! I have turned to any and every corner I could have but now, I need Jo to come and intervene! I am at my knees and have no idea how to control this situation.

  12. Char Dykstra says:

    My family needs family sos with jo frost i have a 3 year old daughter and a 13 year old son who is bi polor. All me and ross do is fight. Ross believes ive been unfaithful which i never have been but it is constant fighting. Then my 3 year old imulates my sons behavior which he is twice as bad cause of the fighting. PLEASE COME HELP US.

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