TV & Writings


Real Families is a unique, field-documentary reality television show about the most important – and most difficult – job in the world…raising kids.

Real Families is a window into the private lives of families from all walks of life. The viewer is allowed to peek in as noted developmental psychologist Dr. Michael Weiss helps families solve common but troubling childrearing issues. Candid interviews and family scenes taped with hidden cameras allow the viewer to be a fly on the wall, watching as Dr. Weiss and the families collaborate on tough childrearing concerns. The viewer has the opportunity to follow along in both the progress and setbacks typical in any real-life problem-solving situation. Indeed, it’s seeing both what does and what does not “work” for the family – along with the sometimes shocking hidden camera view – that makes Real Families so “real”. However, through persistence and intelligence Dr. Weiss and the families find a path that helps transform difficult family problems into manageable solutions. The result is parents who feel successful and children who feel good about themselves.

Raising kids to be happy and healthy, competent members of society is a challenging, sometimes overwhelming task. Parents are often at the end of their rope. How to balance love and attention with setting and enforcing limits is the key. Dr. Weiss believes that the combination of unconditional love, imposing high standards, being credible, and using meaningful consequences for children’s behavior, will lead to kids who like and respect themselves and who find their moral code – as opposed to simply following the rules to please someone.

In episodes dealing with issues ranging from kids who don’t listen, managing tantrums and sibling battles, to crying babies and angry teenagers, viewers and parents on-screen learn childrearing techniques and see their effect on the child simultaneously. Depressed children gain confidence in themselves and in their world, and high-energy kids learn to control their bodies and their impulses. Dr. Weiss shows parents how to balance affection, attention, and praise with a tough attitude about following the rules. He is strict, but he’s fun. Kids learn very quickly that they can either have a blast or be blasted. Both kids and parents “eat it up”.

Real Families has aired for its fifth season on the Life Network and now also on the Discovery Health Network, both in Canada. It has been broadcast in diverse countries including Japan, China, Australia, Israel, Belgium, Mexico, Finland, Portugal, the UK, and the U.S. This TV series is original and heartwarming, upbeat yet profound and intelligent. Viewers walk away with useful, practical information about raising kids and being in a family, yet most people watch because they are enchanted by these real stories and the show’s down-to-earth host.

Real Families…it’s about real life.