Ignore Supernanny, not your kids.

I recently attempted to watch an episode of Supernanny.  I thought it might at least give me some insight and some blog material.  I think I managed about ten minutes.  I was horrified by it.  It was ten times worse than I expected.

Supernanny decreed that the children needed to play a game (of her choosing) together in order to ‘learn’ how to play ‘nicely’ with each other and not get frustrated if they were losing etc.  The children didn’t want to play the game they were being told they must play.  This was treated as bad behaviour which resulted in them being put on the ‘penalty spot’.  If a child became upset or frustrated they were put on the penalty spot.

And so it went on.  The adults decided what the children should be doing and how they should be behaving.  If the children didn’t want to do it or didn’t behave the way the adults wanted them to they were shunned, rejected, made to feel bad about themselves.  There was no attempt to try to find another method that worked for the child, to talk or listen to the child, to try to reconnect with the child, to address the cause of the behaviour, to help the child with the feelings they were having difficulty managing.  No. The adults were completely intent in their persistence in ignoring any unwanted behaviour.  At one point the child on the penalty spot started hitting himself on the head.  Supernanny’s advice?  That’s right –  ignore him.  Well, yes Ms Frost, because to address this, or even think about it for a minute, might identify your own behaviour as the cause. Just how bad you have made these children feel about themselves.  Just how desperate for their parent’s attention.

Only in Supernanny are we advised that self-harming behaviour is bad, attention seeking behaviour that should be ignored.  Bad, bad advice.

2 Responses to Ignore Supernanny, not your kids.

  1. Ang says:

    From the looks of it, they weren’t doing to good of a job before she showed up. Parents were actually embarrassed to be seen in public with their children. Maybe her message isn’t a message of sit and play my game, do as I say or your in trouble. Maybe the children were in trouble for not playing nice with each other. Yes, there are other methods, but how will the parent know the right one until they start trying? If they never try, then their household will be in chaos. You have to remember, these people ASKED supernanny into their homes. If you don’t like her methods, don’t invite her in!

    • Jo says:

      Families invite Supernanny into their homes because they are having problems and are seeking help, advice and support. It is therefore particularly regrettable that they are given such dreadful advice, and told to use methods that will further undermine any hope of building a trusting, empathetic relationship – essential for any family wishing to get back on track.
      I am vehemently opposed to Supernanny’s methods, in particular the use of time-outs, naughty steps or penalty spots, and ignoring children who are crying out for attention and connection. These methods will further alienate children, sabotage family relationships, fail to address underlying issues, and have the potential to cause considerable, lasting emotional harm.

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