Peck Family on TV: Following Instructions | Teaching Self-Government

Peck Family on TV: Following Instructions


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KJZZ television Morning Show  April 9, 2010

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I was also featured in a news article in China recently in a periodical called the South China Morning PostHere is the article:

TV show seeks strict homes for troubled teens 

The producers of a highly rated British television programme that sends troubled teens to live with families abroad are looking for a Hong Kong family to participate in the show's third season. The World's Strictest Parents, which airs on the BBC and is produced by Twenty Twenty Television, bills itself as a documentary-style programme on parenting and discipline. In each one-hour episode, two teenagers suffering from delinquency, alcoholism and drug abuse are sent to live with a "conservative, educated, disciplined and loving" host family in an overseas country. "We're looking for families that have strong moral values," said Helen Crampton, the show's casting producer. "Usually we find families that have children of their own who are quite respectful and do well at school. It's very hard to be prescriptive about what kind of families you want. Sometimes you just talk to one and get a sense that they would be right." In Hong Kong, Crampton is looking for an English-speaking Chinese family with teenage children. The family would instil "the values and morality they demand of their own children" in the British teens, who would attend school, do homework, perform household chores and participate in family activities. The idea, she says, is to help the teens grow past their problems by immersing them in a happy, functional family environment where rules are clear and boundaries are firmly enforced. In the past two seasons, the show has featured families in countries as disparate as Belize, Ghana, Israel and South Africa. This would be the first episode filmed in East Asia. "From what I understand, education plays a really important part in Hong Kong life," said Crampton, and she expects the fast pace of life and emphasis on extracurricular activities to be a shock to "laid-back" British teens. Though filming lasts for only eight days, some families who participated in the programme have described it as a transformative experience. Nicholeen Peck, a Mormon mother of four who runs parenting workshops in the American state of Utah, took in two teens last year. After two difficult days - "they started having fits, running away, yelling, and trying everything they could to have a power struggle with us," she said - the teenagers calmed down and began to grow close to the Pecks. One of the teens, a high school dropout, was inspired to return to school and study towards becoming a designer. "I was shocked, in a way," said Peck, who has taken in several foster children. "I've done foster care so much and I told the BBC it usually takes a month or two [to see changes]. I didn't know if I could do it in eight days. I think coming to a different country and a completely different culture makes them more receptive to looking at things differently. They come here and try not to change and stick to their guns, but at some point they realise that their old way doesn't fit with things here." The World's Strictest Parents is one of the most watched shows on British television. Its most recent episode, which aired on March 8, drew 1.8 million viewers.

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