Ross survived with the world’s strictest parents

Echo: Meet the family – Ross, third left, lived with the Garnett family in Alabama and had to abide by their very strict ways Meet the family – Ross, third left, lived with the Garnett family in Alabama and had to abide by their very strict ways

A TEENAGER flew to Bible belt Alabama to appear in a BBC documentary the World’s Strictest Parents.

Ross Torry, 16, will be on TV screens across the country next month as part of the reality series where he lived for a week with the family who live their lives exactly according to the Bible.

Bosses from the BBC3 show spotted Ross in Southend High Street and after a rigorous interview process and a series of psychiatric evaluations he was cleared to fly to the southern US state as part of the show.

Ross, of Feeches Road, Southend, said it was a real culture shock when he arrived as he is not a practising Christian and hates being told what to do.

The former King Edmund School pupil said: “They weren’t bossy, but they were really invasive. When I first arrived they said they wanted to go through my suitcase. I said that was fair enough, but when I went upstairs I caught them going through all the photos on my digital camera. I was livid!

“There was absolutely no privacy in the house. We couldn’t even watch TV without adult supervision.”

The US family the Garnetts have two sons and a daughter and if their children are caught breaking house rules, such as no swearing, they are sent to work at the local homeless shelter.

Insistent there should be no secrets in a family home, the Garnetts do not allow locks on any doors and demand to know all of their children’s internet passwords.

Even more invasive than the family, says Ross, was the camera crew.

“They literally filmed me from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. It was relentless. One day I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore, but they wouldn’t go away, even for a minute. I got really angry with them. I apologised later, but if they choose not to show that, so be it. They always edit these things to make people look worse than they are.”

On the last day Ross, who is set to start at South East Essex College in September spent some quality time with the father of the family, which he says has had a positive impact on his relationship with his own father and has cut down on the number of family rows.

“The dad took me quad biking and we went fishing ,I caught my first ever fish. I decided that when I got back I was going to spend a lot more time with my own dad.

“Since I’ve been home my family life has been much better. There’s a lot more talking going on. I help around the house a lot more than I used to and there are far less arguments.

“The weather hasn’t been very kind to us lately, but my dad and I can’t wait to go out together when it brightens up.”

World’s Strictest Parents begins in late September on BBC3.

Comments (9)

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11:24am Mon 1 Sep 08

margrete says...

'They were bossy, invasive, absolutely no privacy'.....

I am not sure where all this is laid down in the Bible, and if someone could point to the Biblical references where this is said to be essential, I should be grateful.

'House rules' including no swearing - well, one of the Ten Commandments says 'Thou shalt not take the name of thy God in vain'. We could do with a little less swearing in everyday life, never mind in the 'Bible Belt'! Some of us do find the constant 'Oh my God' 'Christ', and the frequent f word used unthinkingly and without the original meaning, very offensive indeed. What were the other misdemeanours that the family took from the Bible?
'They were bossy, invasive, absolutely no privacy'..... I am not sure where all this is laid down in the Bible, and if someone could point to the Biblical references where this is said to be essential, I should be grateful. 'House rules' including no swearing - well, one of the Ten Commandments says 'Thou shalt not take the name of thy God in vain'. We could do with a little less swearing in everyday life, never mind in the 'Bible Belt'! Some of us do find the constant 'Oh my God' 'Christ', and the frequent f word used unthinkingly and without the original meaning, very offensive indeed. What were the other misdemeanours that the family took from the Bible? margrete
  • Score: 1

3:23pm Mon 1 Sep 08

Marshwalker says...

Thank you margrete, There are some striced rule in the Christian bible, including what is know today as the ten commandments. These were given to Moses, when he was leading the Israelites to the promised land.
These were a lot more than we observe today, But with God sending his ONLY son to dwell among us. And then to Die on the cross for all our sins. It is now the responsiblity of us indivually to follow those basic ten rules and live our lives the best we can without affecting the lives of others by our actions. This includes the laws of this land in total, and not just the ones that we think we should follow, including the road speed limits, and giveing back money when we have either been given the wrong change, of over charghed. We all pick up these bad habits as children, and it takes a lifetime to stop swearing. Specialy when children see adults swearing & breakeing the laws. I just hope this exsperiece has not stopped this lad from reading the Bible, and finding out for himself the truth of eternal life in Heaven, and not believeing some of the rubbish some so call adults say we should believe.
Thank you margrete, There are some striced rule in the Christian bible, including what is know today as the ten commandments. These were given to Moses, when he was leading the Israelites to the promised land. These were a lot more than we observe today, But with God sending his ONLY son to dwell among us. And then to Die on the cross for all our sins. It is now the responsiblity of us indivually to follow those basic ten rules and live our lives the best we can without affecting the lives of others by our actions. This includes the laws of this land in total, and not just the ones that we think we should follow, including the road speed limits, and giveing back money when we have either been given the wrong change, of over charghed. We all pick up these bad habits as children, and it takes a lifetime to stop swearing. Specialy when children see adults swearing & breakeing the laws. I just hope this exsperiece has not stopped this lad from reading the Bible, and finding out for himself the truth of eternal life in Heaven, and not believeing some of the rubbish some so call adults say we should believe. Marshwalker
  • Score: 0

12:25am Tue 2 Sep 08

.jodie. says...

Well done Ross.
I actually have no idea how you done that.
Im watching that show! :)
I bet they all loved you as much as we do lol
Well done Ross. I actually have no idea how you done that. Im watching that show! :) I bet they all loved you as much as we do lol .jodie.
  • Score: 0

1:43pm Tue 2 Sep 08

Partyboy2 says...

Marshwalker wrote:
Thank you margrete, There are some striced rule in the Christian bible, including what is know today as the ten commandments. These were given to Moses, when he was leading the Israelites to the promised land.These were a lot more than we observe today, But with God sending his ONLY son to dwell among us. And then to Die on the cross for all our sins. It is now the responsiblity of us indivually to follow those basic ten rules and live our lives the best we can without affecting the lives of others by our actions. This includes the laws of this land in total, and not just the ones that we think we should follow, including the road speed limits, and giveing back money when we have either been given the wrong change, of over charghed. We all pick up these bad habits as children, and it takes a lifetime to stop swearing. Specialy when children see adults swearing & breakeing the laws. I just hope this exsperiece has not stopped this lad from reading the Bible, and finding out for himself the truth of eternal life in Heaven, and not believeing some of the rubbish some so call adults say we should believe.
Well said Dot.
[quote][bold]Marshwalker[/bold] wrote: Thank you margrete, There are some striced rule in the Christian bible, including what is know today as the ten commandments. These were given to Moses, when he was leading the Israelites to the promised land.These were a lot more than we observe today, But with God sending his ONLY son to dwell among us. And then to Die on the cross for all our sins. It is now the responsiblity of us indivually to follow those basic ten rules and live our lives the best we can without affecting the lives of others by our actions. This includes the laws of this land in total, and not just the ones that we think we should follow, including the road speed limits, and giveing back money when we have either been given the wrong change, of over charghed. We all pick up these bad habits as children, and it takes a lifetime to stop swearing. Specialy when children see adults swearing & breakeing the laws. I just hope this exsperiece has not stopped this lad from reading the Bible, and finding out for himself the truth of eternal life in Heaven, and not believeing some of the rubbish some so call adults say we should believe.[/quote]Well said Dot. Partyboy2
  • Score: 0

11:55pm Tue 2 Sep 08

mgarnett says...

Hi...I'm the father of the family Ross visited in Alabama (the Garnetts). First, let me state unequivocally that Ross is an incredible young man...I told him I would be privileged and proud to have him as my son. That said, this article does contain a number of inacurracies. Where to begin? Well, first, we don't send our kids to work at a homeless shelter if they swear (and frankly, they don't swear. Not because we're overbearing, but because they love Jesus and they don't hear us swear. Amazing how "modeling" appropriate behavior instead of saying one thing and doing another works). As a family we go work at the homeless shelters in Birmingham several times a year (including Christmas morning...to emphasize that Christmas is about giving, not getting!), but we've never sent our kids to work at one as punishment. It's a privilege to work with these individuals! Second, every door in our house has a lock, and they're used often! (LOL). Next, we don't demand anything...true, we know our kids' passwords to their FaceBook accounts, but they trust us, as we trust them. I've only seen their actual pages once in my life. This is about accountability, not invasion of privacy! Finally, Ross could and did watch t.v. without our supervision. What we did require is that he ask first and we do have password protected cable to ensure that inappropriate content is not accidentally viewed. And the initial poster, Margrete, misquoted Ross. He said we WEREN'T bossy...but we did ask to go through his suitcase to make sure he and the young lady didn't bring inappropriate material into the house. And he didn't. I found Ross to be smart, forthright, funny and keenly observational. A true joy! Like I said, I'd be privileged to have him as my son.

And...oh yeah...don't worry about this experience stopping him from reading the Bible. Ross didn't own one when he arrived, but we gave him one when he left and his father has reported to me that he's very proud of it and looks to it for direction and guidance. He is indeed reading the TRUTH, and finding that he was created by a loving God who wants nothing more than a personal relationship with him through his Son, Jesus. One of the greatest joys of my life (and the single, most impactful thing our family has ever undertaken)was having the privilege of being Ross and Naomi's "Mum and Dad" for a week. They blessed us more than they'll ever know, and the episode should make for pretty good viewing ... that is, if you consider hearts being softened and changed and relationships between children and parents restored good viewing!
Hi...I'm the father of the family Ross visited in Alabama (the Garnetts). First, let me state unequivocally that Ross is an incredible young man...I told him I would be privileged and proud to have him as my son. That said, this article does contain a number of inacurracies. Where to begin? Well, first, we don't send our kids to work at a homeless shelter if they swear (and frankly, they don't swear. Not because we're overbearing, but because they love Jesus and they don't hear us swear. Amazing how "modeling" appropriate behavior instead of saying one thing and doing another works). As a family we go work at the homeless shelters in Birmingham several times a year (including Christmas morning...to emphasize that Christmas is about giving, not getting!), but we've never sent our kids to work at one as punishment. It's a privilege to work with these individuals! Second, every door in our house has a lock, and they're used often! (LOL). Next, we don't demand anything...true, we know our kids' passwords to their FaceBook accounts, but they trust us, as we trust them. I've only seen their actual pages once in my life. This is about accountability, not invasion of privacy! Finally, Ross could and did watch t.v. without our supervision. What we did require is that he ask first and we do have password protected cable to ensure that inappropriate content is not accidentally viewed. And the initial poster, Margrete, misquoted Ross. He said we WEREN'T bossy...but we did ask to go through his suitcase to make sure he and the young lady didn't bring inappropriate material into the house. And he didn't. I found Ross to be smart, forthright, funny and keenly observational. A true joy! Like I said, I'd be privileged to have him as my son. And...oh yeah...don't worry about this experience stopping him from reading the Bible. Ross didn't own one when he arrived, but we gave him one when he left and his father has reported to me that he's very proud of it and looks to it for direction and guidance. He is indeed reading the TRUTH, and finding that he was created by a loving God who wants nothing more than a personal relationship with him through his Son, Jesus. One of the greatest joys of my life (and the single, most impactful thing our family has ever undertaken)was having the privilege of being Ross and Naomi's "Mum and Dad" for a week. They blessed us more than they'll ever know, and the episode should make for pretty good viewing ... that is, if you consider hearts being softened and changed and relationships between children and parents restored good viewing! mgarnett
  • Score: 2

3:01pm Mon 8 Sep 08

jade1990 says...

i am the proud sister of ross :) after his fantastic experience he realy has realised the qualities of his life he has and respects people such as my mum and dad for what he has been given. i know at first he found the experience tough but by the end of it he realy enjoyed it and learnt new things. the family ross stayed with were wonderful people! well done ross!!! cant wait to see it :D
i am the proud sister of ross :) after his fantastic experience he realy has realised the qualities of his life he has and respects people such as my mum and dad for what he has been given. i know at first he found the experience tough but by the end of it he realy enjoyed it and learnt new things. the family ross stayed with were wonderful people! well done ross!!! cant wait to see it :D jade1990
  • Score: 1

1:21pm Fri 19 Sep 08

Dijennings says...

Powerful tv. I have total respect for the Garnett family and took many things they said on board in the hope it will make me a better person. My kids are good and I dont have any real issues with them but everyone can be better and if only a few more families were like the Garnetts we would be well on our way to getting kids to have and show respect to others and to stop this teenage gang culture that we have now. Would like to shake you by the hand Mr Garnett for standing up for what you believe in.
Powerful tv. I have total respect for the Garnett family and took many things they said on board in the hope it will make me a better person. My kids are good and I dont have any real issues with them but everyone can be better and if only a few more families were like the Garnetts we would be well on our way to getting kids to have and show respect to others and to stop this teenage gang culture that we have now. Would like to shake you by the hand Mr Garnett for standing up for what you believe in. Dijennings
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Fri 19 Sep 08

carla street says...

i would like to say that allthough i am not religious,i have total respect for mr garnett,he was the most respectfull,nicest,m
ost caring person that i have ever seen.the way that he listened to those children was amazing,yes he was strict,but only because he cared passionately about them,and their welfare.his children are so lucky to have such a nice man as their father.i would be proud to call a man like that my father,and i wish that my teenagers could spend some time with such a lovely family,maybe they could learn something from them.
i would like to say that allthough i am not religious,i have total respect for mr garnett,he was the most respectfull,nicest,m ost caring person that i have ever seen.the way that he listened to those children was amazing,yes he was strict,but only because he cared passionately about them,and their welfare.his children are so lucky to have such a nice man as their father.i would be proud to call a man like that my father,and i wish that my teenagers could spend some time with such a lovely family,maybe they could learn something from them. carla street
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Fri 19 Sep 08

English Guy says...

I came across this program by chance and like many people, I'm sick to the back teeth of TV (un)reality progams. But I was fascinated by this one.

Like the poster above, Carla, I was very impressed by Mr Garnett. I am about as far away from Mr Garnett's beliefs and culture as it is possible to be, but the overwhelming impression left by his words and deeds was of sincerity and care, towards his family and equally to people in general.

Things like a 9pm curfew and the no-smoking rules are almost inconceivable to most families in England and at the start, I was cringing at the little talks he kept giving to Naomi and Ross.

But as the program went on, it became very clear that the man CARED and worked very hard to keep in touch with his children, both his own and those he had temporarily "adopted". I wish we had been able to hear a little more from the rest of the family, but within the constraints of time, that was probably impossible. But the same impression - that of caring commitment towards each other and a determination to live by a code of decency - came over strongly. Very thought-provoking and very impressive.

The other impression that would have hit most people is that Naomi & Ross were brought up against parts of themselves they didn't like and managed to do what most of us fail to do in those circumstances - to be honest about it and to become bigger & better people for it.

I hope the two families keep in touch. This program was one of the strongest arguments I have ever seen for people from radically different ways of life being able to learn something from each other. Well done Ross, well done Mr Garnett, well done everybody involved.
I came across this program by chance and like many people, I'm sick to the back teeth of TV (un)reality progams. But I was fascinated by this one. Like the poster above, Carla, I was very impressed by Mr Garnett. I am about as far away from Mr Garnett's beliefs and culture as it is possible to be, but the overwhelming impression left by his words and deeds was of sincerity and care, towards his family and equally to people in general. Things like a 9pm curfew and the no-smoking rules are almost inconceivable to most families in England and at the start, I was cringing at the little talks he kept giving to Naomi and Ross. But as the program went on, it became very clear that the man CARED and worked very hard to keep in touch with his children, both his own and those he had temporarily "adopted". I wish we had been able to hear a little more from the rest of the family, but within the constraints of time, that was probably impossible. But the same impression - that of caring commitment towards each other and a determination to live by a code of decency - came over strongly. Very thought-provoking and very impressive. The other impression that would have hit most people is that Naomi & Ross were brought up against parts of themselves they didn't like and managed to do what most of us fail to do in those circumstances - to be honest about it and to become bigger & better people for it. I hope the two families keep in touch. This program was one of the strongest arguments I have ever seen for people from radically different ways of life being able to learn something from each other. Well done Ross, well done Mr Garnett, well done everybody involved. English Guy
  • Score: 0
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