Q&A with Bernadette Zantey from Wife Swap Australia

Why did you choose to be a part of Wife Swap Australia?

We chose to be part of Wife Swap as we had watched it on television and thought it would be interesting to see if other Australians were as crazy as the UK and American versions. We thought that other Australian families would probably be more laid back and similar to us and our friends... we were wrong!

How did you find the experience?

It was an experience to say the least, I enjoyed spending time seeing how another family live, but it was also confronting and sad to see how they have very different priorities. In our family our number one priority is the happiness of our children, spending time with them and making their lives fun and exciting, the other family was more concerned with money and controlling their kids.

What was the highlight of being involved on Wife Swap?

The biggest highlight of the swap was seeing how the kids changed, how much fun they had, experiencing a totally different way of being a 'family'. Being able to show them how my family are at home, watching your children really enjoy themselves, have fun and laugh… that’s what life should be about, fun, laughter and enjoyment NOT chores!

What was the hardest obstacle or challenge you faced?

The hardest challenge was trying to talk to someone who is so set in their ways, it becomes pointless to even try and get through to them. When people are blind to see that their children's happiness should be more important than making money - I don’t know whether they can see it, or if they just don’t care?

What one thing did you take away from your experience that you'll apply to your own family life?

I haven’t taken anything away from the other family at all, but I have learnt that my family life is great! It has really confirmed what we already believed and had, and that’s your children are the most important thing you have. That a family who is loving, fun, out for adventure and laughter far outweighs a family who constantly work, clean and do chores, hardly spend time together and don’t like to encourage freedom!

What do you think you taught the other family?

I would be surprised if they took anything away from me, which would be pretty sad. But I hope that they spend more time with their girls, I hope they let them be who THEY want to be and not what their parents want them to be. I hope they encourage their dreams rather than crush them. I hope the girls have more freedom and are allowed to have friends visit. I hope they've learnt that spending time with their children is more important than work and cleaning!


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