Anita Rani, the presenter of Channel 4’s Britain’s Best Parent?, has said that the parenting styles showcased in the new parenting competition are bound to create a nation-wide debate.
The five-part series, which premieres tonight, looks at three sets of parents with different attitudes to parenting each episode, and tasks them with looking after another family’s children for a day. At the end of every episode, a studio audience will vote for their preferred parenting style.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Rani said: “We’ve got a parent who believes in bringing up a child in a gender-neutral fashion, then we have some strict parents who smack their children.”
“We have lazy parents who think it’s alright to let their kids have free rein to the snack drawer if they want to and watch as much telly as they want, and a chaotic household – that’s beautiful to watch.”
“It’s going to make people really think. I think some of it will make people angry maybe. I think lots of it will put a smile on your face,” she added. “But it’s going to be really fascinating.”
Rani, who is best known for presenting BBC One’s Countryfile and does not have children herself, said that Britain’s Best Parent? will make entertaining viewing for both parents and non-parents.
“Every single person, whether you have children or not, is interested in parenting because we’ve all been parented and everyone sort of has an opinion on it,” she said. “I think it’s a subject area everyone’s fascinated by.”
However, she added that the show will be of particular interest to those who’ve been stuck at home with their kids for the past nine weeks. “This will just be an interesting way or maybe an enlightening look at how other people are doing it,” she said.
“We do have some home educators on – that is their strong belief. Pre-lockdown it was a very different world, and now they’re kind of smashing it, aren’t they? Because they’ve already been doing it.”
The series, which finished filming a year ago, will explore all the “big subject areas” that parents stumble across when raising children, such as “discipline, screen times and meal times”.
Self-titled ‘lazy’ parents Kevin and Kerry, who appear with their two boys in episode one, told RadioTimes.com that they think although the ‘lazy’ term comes with negative connotations, but hopes that the show clarifies their parenting approach.
“I think once people watch the show, they’ll understand that [lazy parenting] doesn’t mean that we allow the children to fend for themselves and go out partying,” Kevin said. “What it actually means is we allow our children to make their own decisions and make their own mistakes and learn from them – to promote them being reliant on themselves.”
Kerry added that with the cross-section of parents involved in the series, every parent watching will be able to pick something from somebody’s style that they already do.
“I think right at this very moment in time there is a lot of parental guilt going on with the current situation – ‘I haven’t got time to homeschool? Am I homeschooling enough? Am I spending enough time with my children?’ – I think there’s a lot of guilt and anxiety around at the moment,” she said.
“I think it will open up a debate as to is there really a right way of parenting? There isn’t a one size fits all so I think people will be able to look at [the show] and go, ‘actually this is the way I do it and I’m not that bad at it after all.’ I think we’re all very critical of ourselves and others,” she added.
Britain’s Best Parent? airs Thursday 28th May at 8:05pm on Channel 4.