The families forking out $80,000 for strangers to spy on their kids.

Thanks to our brand partner, KnowMeningococcal

When your find your son scribbling on the wall for the umpteenth time, or catch your teenager telling lies about where they spent the night again, you start to wonder whether you’re getting this parenting thing wrong.

But when the lies start to get bigger, and the innocent scribbles turn to criminal behaviour, where do you turn?

If the Supernanny isn’t answering your cries for help, there is another number you can call. No, not Ghostbusters.

It’s the family architects.

On this week’s episode of This Glorious Mess, Mamamia’s podcast about family life, Holly Wainwright and Andrew Daddo discuss this extreme (and expensive) new parenting manoeuvre.

What is it? Would it work? And most importantly, should you try it?

The family architects come in two at a time, and stay 24 hours a day. Watching. Observing. Judging.

They specialise in behavioural difficulties, and believe the answer lies in telling parents everything they’re doing wrong. The architects are parenting experts, and they take notes on how families interact to find areas where they could improve. At the end of each day, they deliver their findings, and collect a whopping pay check of $125 per hour.

And it really is a ‘fly on the wall’ setup. The architects also set up cameras throughout the house so they can see EVERYTHING. Nanny cams get an upgrade to ‘nest cams’ that capture every bedtime routine, every conversation and every fight.

I hope you don’t like your privacy. Because the architects will scour this footage for hints to why your kids are misbehaving. They use this to devise a set of rules your family needs to follow, and they’ll be watching to make sure you follow through on their advice.


One company that offers these services says they will “teach you how to become an expert in the field of your personal life.”

According to their website, some programs span the course of a week; others, an entire developmental phase. Yep, that’s right. These people are moving in until your kid leaves for uni.

Next step? Putting a baby monitor in your teen's room. Image: Getty.

With some families racking up bills well into the six figures, who exactly needs these services?


In an article published on The Cut, we are introduced to Shep. A 13-year-old whose affinity for petty theft soon developed into $10,000 debt on his parents credit cards. With an internet addiction and history of anxiety and ADHD, his parents were clueless as to how they could solve his behavioural problems. So they called the family architects.

Since using this system, parents Elizabeth and Jason have seen a marked improvement in their son. But that doesn't mean they felt comfortable doing it.

Elizabeth "went from worrying what her kid was putting on her credit card to what Cognition Builders did."

And all those cameras everywhere? Well they weren't exactly conducive to happy families.

You might not like what they have to say about your parenting. Image: Getty.

So if we have a few hundred grand up our sleeves to spare, is this a viable option for the rest of us? Do parents of naughty kids need their parenting reviewed by a panel of professionals?

"I don't know all the answers," mum of two Holly Wainwright admits.

"I often find myself when I'm confronted with my kids doing something I don't want them to do... I seek out advice and I'm not afraid to do that."

Holly and Andrew are all for bringing in the experts, but only if you really don't have anything better to spend your money on.

Listen to the full episode of This Glorious Mess here:

You can subscribe to the show at

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Parents, make sure to ask your GP about meningococcal disease, and what vaccines your child can get to protect them.

For further information, visit KnowMeningococcal.