Ally Langdon on Navigating the Challenges of Motherhood

"My kids don’t listen to me!’
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Having spent more than 20 years on our screens as a journalist reporting on the big issues that Australians face, Ally Langdon is used to people stopping and listening when she has something to say. That generally happens everywhere – except at home with son Mack, 6, and daughter Scout, 4.  

Watch Below: Parental Guidance is putting 12 parenting styles under the microscope in 2023

“There are definitely moments when neither of the kids want to listen to me,” the A Current Affair host, 44, confesses to WHO with a laugh. “So sometimes I will resort to bribing them. Not with lollies and treats, but if they are dragging their heels getting ready in the morning, I’ll say we can play a game if they’ll get dressed and we have some spare time.”

As a busy working mum, Langdon knows the struggle of juggling the demands of her high-profile job and raising her little ones with husband Michael Willesee Jr, while sometimes feeling like she’s not giving enough to either. When it comes to taking advice on strategies that might help her become a better mum, the former Today host is all ears. So Langdon didn’t hesitate at all when it came to joining parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson for another season of Nine’s Parental Guidance.

Ally Langdon kids
Langdon says the one thing she is always reminding herself to take note of is to slow down and be in the moment with her little ones. “The one thing I think our kids really want is our attention,” she says. “These years go by so fast.” (Credit: Instagram)

“I have Justin on speed dial and I call a lot,” Langdon admits. “One of the best pieces of advice I got from him was about when my kids are getting all worked up or upset, I would always just tell them to calm down. 

“Justin pointed out that if someone does that to me, it makes me ready to blow my stack. So now I try and get down to be on their level with them and acknowledge their feelings. They definitely seem to be getting over those big emotions much quicker this way,” she explains.

Ally Langdon kids
Langdon and Coulson help to guide and advise parents on the show. While things on the set of Parental Guidance can get heated as the different families defend their way of doing things, Langdon says she loves that everyone comes on the show for the right reasons. (Credit: Instagram)

When the second season of the show hits screens, it’ll be introducing viewers to 12 new sets of distinctive parenting styles and the families that practice them. From Honest to Spiritual and Influencer approaches, the broods will then be put through a series of controlled challenges to see which is really the best. Having now been introduced to a total of 22 parenting styles on the series, Langdon admits there are some surprises in store. 

“Before [Parental Guidance], I didn’t even know there were parental styles. I thought everyone was just trying to do their best like I was,” she says. “When I heard some of them, like the Influencers, I admittedly came in with some preconceived ideas of what they’d be like and thought I’d never be anything like them. But after seeing them interact, it’s changed my mind and I can see how it works for the right situation now.” 

Ally Langdon kids
Her co-host, Dr Justin Coulson, is one of Australia’s most trusted parenting experts and a father of five girls. “He’s full of such great advice,” Langdon says. “I go to him for advice – probably too much, so when I call I say, ‘So, (Credit: Instagram)

As for her own parenting style, Langdon admits that she doesn’t rely on just one. Instead, she’s taking what she learns from her co-host and the families, and cherry-picking the best bits from every approach. 

“I don’t think there is one magical style which is going to give you the perfect end result in every situation,” she says. “So I take little bits of everything and use it when I think it works best, but the main thing I am trying to work on is being consistent, so that Mack and Scout know what to expect and don’t get confused.” 

On top of addressing important topics like bullying, tantrums and sibling rivalry, the new season of Parental Guidance is moving with the times. It’s set to shine a spotlight on raising children in the digital age, and shedding light on the dark side of online gaming. “The online gaming episode is very confronting and distressing,” she says. “I think it should be compulsory viewing for all Australian parents.” 

As a co-host of the show, Langdon is spared from having to put her own parenting skills under the spotlight, something she is extremely grateful for. “Just when I think I’m doing it right and everything is going along great, along comes a major parenting fail,” she admits. “Last year, an ad for Parental Guidance came on which was about Stranger Danger at the park. Mack turned to me and said, ‘We never go with strangers do we, Mum?’ – which sounded great until he added, ‘Unless they have a puppy.’” 

Parental Guidance premieres on Mon., Jun. 5 at 7.30pm on Nine

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