Local family to appear on 'World's Strictest Parents' Friday
by Marie Nesmith
Oct 13, 2010 | 6040 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Tuesday, Scott and June Allen chat while a visiting group to Pettit Creek Farms wait for the hayride Allen is pulling to continue. The couple, who hosted two teenagers for a week in July, will be featured on the second season premiere of Country Music Television’s “World’s Strictest Parents” Friday. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Even though they have not owned a television in 10 years, the Allens are going to be glued to a friend's set Friday evening for the second season premiere of Country Music Television's "World's Strictest Parents."

Airing at 9 p.m., the hour-long episode is chronicling the Cartersville family as they take in two Chicago teenagers -- Zach and Kelsey -- for a week. As demonstrated in the first season, the show highlights how rebellious youth can curb their attitudes and mend relationships after following rules set by their surrogate parents.

"We were anonymously [nominated] through an e-mail," Scott Allen said. "I didn't really want to participate in it. I didn't care nothing about it. And then my kids thought it would be cool, would be fun. ... It just kind of grew from there.

"Next thing you know ... we were being filmed," he said, adding in July the show filmed 150 hours of footage, which will be condensed to 42 minutes. "They just mirrored our day, stuff we do on the farm here -- stacking brush and splitting firewood, feeding animals. We didn't have them do anything that my kids aren't asked to do."

As the owner of Pettit Creek Farms, Allen manages an 80-acre operation at 337 Cassville Road in Cartersville. Along with a petting zoo, the site offers school tours and various outreach events throughout the year, such as this weekend's Pumpkinfest. Allen and his wife, June, have seven children between them, with two -- Claire, 16, and Sarah, 14 -- still living at home.

During their stay, Zach and Kelsey started their day at 8 a.m. and participated in a wide range of activities with the Allens and their children, from gardening and deworming camels to tubing at Lake Allatoona.

"The Allen family was [a] compelling choice for the series," said Dan Peirson -- co-executive producer of Shed Media, the production company of "World's Strictest Parents" -- in an e-mail. "As well as raising their own children, Scott and June have taken in many other wayward teens over the years, so although we didn't require previous experience, we knew they'd be ready for whatever challenges they'd face. The nature of the Allens' business requires everyone pulling together for the common good. From feeding their array of animals to setting up a bounce house for a field trip, being part of their family is a fantastic lesson for any teen who thinks they have all life's answers and can go it alone.

"We thought the unique backdrop of zebras, camels and other animals on the family's farm would be striking but in the end, it was Scott and June's parenting skills and innate wisdom that turned this into such a memorable episode. The Allens have a blended family and know firsthand how to connect with surly teenagers. Their no-nonsense approach to parenting, coupled with solid values and life experience made them ideal candidates to take part and provided an incredibly emotional and truly inspiring episode."

In addition to their own children, Allen said their past experience caring for more than 25 youth in the community over the last 20 years more than prepared them for the show.

"Honestly, it was just another day on the farm because I've had some unruly ones here. I've had some that were a royal pain in the neck. ... [Zach and Kelsey] had never worked a day in their lives," Allen said. "It wasn't too terrible bad. They figured out pretty quick that if they crossed us or bucked up on us then it got ugly, got ugly quick. If they behaved and did what they we're supposed to do, it was a walk in the park. It didn't take them long to get in line."

Reflecting on the experience, Allen said he hopes the show will have a positive impact on the teenagers' relationships with their parents.

"Next to the last day they were here when the little girl told me she was sorry, that's one of the most rewarding [moments]. She said, 'I'm sorry for the way I treated you and thank you for putting up with me.' And I guess that was the most rewarding part of it. When they got here they were nasty," Allen said, referring to the teens' attitudes. "There was a change [throughout the week], a genuine change. It wasn't just lip service. ... Part of the show is we sit down with their parents.

"The kids were a prodigy of their parents. All kids are. All kids are prodigies of their parents. They're a mirror image of what they've been taught all their life. If you're confrontational, you have confrontational kids. If you don't make them mind, don't make them do -- there's a quote from one of the child therapists that says, 'There are no argumentative children, there's only argumentative parents.' And that's part of the philosophy that we use raising kids."

For Peirson, the show demonstrates how a family can make a difference in the lives of its teenage participants.

"Each episode, two teens who have never met, spend a week living with a family whose strict parenting methods -- and solid values -- differ greatly from what they're used to. Over the course of the week, the teens' usual attitude and demeanor is challenged as they're forced to fit in with their new family," Peirson said. "Invariably they're [not used] to the expectations the family has and struggle when they're held accountable for their actions. Conflict is not uncommon but it generally leads to resolution and some serious soul searching.

"As the week progresses, the teens reflect on their own lives, their family and the part they play in what's happening at home. Their thoughts are usually thrown into sharp focus when they receive a letter from their mom or dad, outlining the pain they're causing. By the time they're reunited with their parents at the end of each show, their experience has usually given them fresh perspective. With a break from the 'noise' of their usual parental squabbles, the teens often realize their own role in the family's arguments and they've learnt to express what they need from their parents with a clearer and more considered voice. 'World's Strictest Parents' has had a profound impact on many of its participants and this week's episode is no exception."