Alfie Kohn on "Supernanny" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 227 Old 05-19-2005, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought this would be of interest here: Atrocious Advice from "Supernanny"
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#2 of 227 Old 05-19-2005, 08:12 PM
 
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I have never seen either of those shows ( no tv) but they sound atrocious. this is a good article, even having not seen the shows.
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#3 of 227 Old 05-19-2005, 08:32 PM
 
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Great article- he really hit on quite a few things that have been discussed here!

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#4 of 227 Old 05-19-2005, 08:41 PM
 
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I don't watch the shows either but I've heard what they're about I love Alfie Kohn's response, especially this...
"These programs elevate viewer manipulation to an art form...We’re encouraged to pretend that living with a camera crew doesn’t influence how parents and children interact, and to disregard what it says about these people that they allowed their humiliation to be televised. We’re asked to believe that families can be utterly transformed in a few days and to assume that the final redemptive images reveal the exceptional skills of the nanny -- rather than of the program’s editing staff."

This part is sad but true though...
"We might just laugh off the implausibility of these programs except that they’re teaching millions of real parents how to raise their real kids. To that extent, it matters that they’re selling snake-oil."

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#5 of 227 Old 05-19-2005, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That last quote that you pointed out, Pigpen, really resonated with me. I've been to a few functions at my local mothers of multiples group & these shows get brought up a lot (as a good thing). So many people seem to be taking these shows' advice as gospel.
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#6 of 227 Old 05-19-2005, 09:05 PM
 
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I heard Alfie Kohn's interview on Diane Rehm (on NPR) and he also said he thought Supernanny et al were horrid, and very concerned that millions of people were taking parenting advice from these "reality shows".

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#7 of 227 Old 05-19-2005, 09:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadawg
I thought this would be of interest here: Atrocious Advice from "Supernanny"



Very well said. Raises some interesting points about our Reality TV Society

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#8 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 02:34 AM
 
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Funny, I stumbled on this too today, and I thought RIGHT ON!!

(admittedly I never watche dthe shows but... )
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#9 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 02:38 AM
 
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I like Supernanny.... : I honestly don't think she is bad. Those families are out of control.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#10 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 02:44 AM
 
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Oh AngelBee, honey, please go read the article!!
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#11 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 02:44 AM
 
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(It's not even that long!)
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#12 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 02:51 AM
 
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I did read the article. Twice.

I still like her. The parents that they show are spineless. Children spitting, hitting, swearing, etc. need the consistency and attention show by Spuernanny.

They are crying out for attention, but they need to also learn that bad behavior is not the healthy way to get the attentio that they are longing for. The parents also have to learn to be parents.....not victems (sp?) They are the reason their kids are out of control. They have to regain balance in there homes.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#13 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 03:04 AM
 
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Alright, but I'm with Alfie Kohn on this one! I dont think the quick fix is really going to address what's truly off balance in those families!

Quote:
Supernanny’s superficiality isn’t accidental; it’s ideological. What these shows are peddling is behaviorism. The point isn’t to raise a child; it’s to reinforce or extinguish discrete behaviors – which is sufficient if you believe, along with the late B.F. Skinner and his surviving minions, that there’s nothing to us other than those behaviors.
If she squashes the "bad behaviors" has she really solved what's amiss in those families? Raising kids is much more complex than that, to me!
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#14 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 03:10 AM
 
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I agree. But I do think that it is a start in the right direction.

What now needs to happen is figuring out why the behaviors were happening in the first place and fixing the triggers to those behaviors.

I honestly find Supernanny to be AP. She does not believe in spanking, yelling, or being disrespectful to kids. She wants families to play together and love one another. Isn't that what we are all striving for?

Yes. There is consquences/rewards. Many AP/GD families also use consequenses and rewards also.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#15 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 03:15 AM
 
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thanks for posting this article, it's great! he succintly summarizes all of my feelings that i've had about these shows.

i especially love the ending:
Quote:
If you can bear to sit through them, the nanny programs provide a fairly reliable guide for how not to raise children. They also offer an invitation to think about the pervasiveness of pop-behaviorism and our hunger for the quick fix. ?I guarantee you,? Supernanny earnestly, if tautologically, exhorts one pair of parents, ?every time you?re consistent, [your child] gets the same message.? Granted, but what message?
These shows rely on the dramatic, quick fix, instead of really getting down to the true issues. Am I being snarky to say that for the most part, America can't handle the truth? There is so much dysfunction going on in these families, and coming up with the same formulaic 'solutions' (rules, schedules, assumption that children's behavior is manipulative) is not really getting down to the true issues.

And so, the dumbing down of the US continues.
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#16 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 03:19 AM
 
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Like I admitted, I haven't watched the show. But the examples quoted by Kohn in the article don't seem respectful to me at all. (little girl crying it out, boy playing with the hose) Maybe she does a better job of helping the families connect, and that's not portrayed in his article?

I'm in the middle of a big Alfie Kohn study right now, so I'm flipping over a lot of his ideas. Just really thought provoking!
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#17 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 03:21 AM
 
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I have watched the show and do not agree with how the examples are being presented.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#18 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 03:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee
I have watched the show and do not agree with how the examples are being presented.
I'm still not going to watch it!! Thanks for sharing your perspective. Maybe you want to hop over to the Alfie Kohn Unconditional Parenting thread... I'm reading through it now, and it's really fascinating. : )
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#19 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 03:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pamelamama
I'm still not going to watch it!! Thanks for sharing your perspective. Maybe you want to hop over to the Alfie Kohn Unconditional Parenting thread... I'm reading through it now, and it's really fascinating. : )
Thank you pamelamama.....I will check it out!

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#20 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 11:17 AM
 
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Wonderful article! What I've been trying to articulate about the show for so long!

I have watched the show (both Supernanny and Nanny 911) and I believe Alfie Kohn hit the nail right on the head. You can't get away from Supernanny these days. We talk about it at work and most of us don't have children. Not surprisingly, I'm the only one that doesn't like the show. Everyone praises the nanny for getting those horrible, no-good parents back in line and say "Wow, if only I had supernanny when I was raising my kids" or "that family need supernanny" . Gimme a break. It's TV, not reality. She's not turning those families around, editing is. And when she leaves, what then? Like Alfie Kohn said, if they aren't getting to the heart of the matter, then it's all surface.

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#21 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 12:00 PM
 
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I admit it, I've used the "naughty corner" : but RARELY and only with what I consider to be extreme behavior (like mistreating other people by hitting or something.) That being said, I don't agree with most of SuperNanny's techniques. I've watched it a couple of times and Nanny 911 one time. Both shows stress me out to no end. One of the nannies actually said that the parents were TOO attached to there kids! I was so upset and broke into a rant about it.
And to see those poor families be exploited in such a way. I realize they've chosen to do it. But I know there are times I feel like I just want someone to tell me how to do it right - when I'm feeling completely desparate. And with what some of these parents seem to be dealing with, I can understand why they would feel like they need to do something extreme.
Anyway, I thought this was a great article and thanks for sharing!
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#22 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 12:21 PM
 
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Great artical! I e-mailed it to my husband who loves to watch these showes. Why? I am not sure. I can't stand watching these crazy families and I think the advice given to way over simplified like te artical points out.
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#23 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 12:26 PM
 
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Quote:
The little girl in one family is accustomed to having Mom lie down next to her at bedtime. Forget it, says Supernanny, and the tradition is ended without warning or explanation. When the girl screams, that only proves how manipulative she is. Later, Mom confesses, “I felt like I was almost mistreating her.” “Do not give in,” urges the nanny, and misgivings soon yield to “It’s working; it’s getting quieter” – meaning that her daughter has abandoned hope that Mom will snuggle with her
What he didn't mention, is that the MOM no longer wanted to go thru the nighttime routine of putting her daughter to bed and having to sleep with her. They were spending like 3 hours trying to get her into bed. There are 2 sides to every story. I have only seen 2 episodes and I think this just happened to be one. The other was the neighbor of a lady in my BF group.

Just like every other bit of parenting advice, there are things that will work for your family and things that won't. I have never read a parenting book and thought it was the end all. I have extracted bits and pieces form many sources and applied the things that I felt my children will respond to individually. My 2 yo is very sensitive and you can not raise your voice to him. It hurts him as much as a spanking would. My DD however thinks timeout is a joke. I do think the Super Nanny gives these families a chance to restore some kind of order so that they can begin to deal with the underlying issues. (quick judgement) IME most children work better on some sort of a schedule (though not set in stone as SN does) again, I reflect on my 2YO who stresses when anything deviates from routine. My other 2 are pretty much go with the flow. I know I am rambling, sorry.
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#24 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 01:19 PM
 
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I'm reading Alfie Kohn's book, Unconditional Parenting, as we speak. The notion of punishment and conditional love and their negative impact on the child is the basis of his book. My dw and I are parenting in such a way as to support the concept of unconditional parenting.

The Nanny shows are really just more mainstream American commercial television. Nothing more than another shock show. It is American pop-culture. Shallow, no substance, edited for one's viewing sensory fix. Did you ever notice the homes in which these parents reside? They are ALL NEW McMansions. The parents are the worst!! Totally lost and clueless on how to parent (hmmm, just like most of the parenting I witness in the real world). The nanny comes in and performs her formulaic behavioral vodoo tricks and cures the kids and parents in a couple of days. Yeah, right.

My general advice to anything the American mainstream likes is this:
IF THE GENERAL PUBLIC LIKES IT, IT'S GOT TO BE BAD FOR YOU and the Earth!
Some examples: fast food (destroying our health), SUV's (destroying our environment), conditional parenting (destroying our children, TV Nanny shows(destroying our children)......

Sorry for the rant, but oye! Had to vent. Love the thread.
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#25 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 02:19 PM
 
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There is nothing wrong with a mother realizing the nighttime situation is not working for her, and being committed to changing it.

What is wrong is the disrespectful, hateful, punitive and vicious way of forcing a one-sided change that occurred on SuperNanny.

I have watched every episode of both shows to compile articles on how shamefully damaging and sickening these shows are.

I am sorry, but what universe does one live in to claim that SuperNanny is AP? These shows are so disrespectful to children and parents alike. Yes, these families need help. Quick-fix, behavioristic, punitive approaches are not going to solve anything for them...and are light-years away from AP. I don't know if the person who said this is aware of it, but AP is much more than just not spanking or yelling. It's about BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP. Which this Supernanny trash completely fails to do
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#26 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 02:29 PM
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Awesome!

I'm looking for a dissertation topic. I'm doing my PhD in philosophy. I was thinking of writing on oppression and children -- whether they are oppressed in our society -- but think I would prefer something more specific. I could argue against the rampant behaviourism in mainstream parenting (and even in a lot of "expert" parenting/child rearing). I think that would be fascinating. Food for thought.
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#27 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 02:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papapoochie
My general advice to anything the American mainstream likes is this:
IF THE GENERAL PUBLIC LIKES IT, IT'S GOT TO BE BAD FOR YOU and the Earth!
Some examples: fast food (destroying our health), SUV's (destroying our environment), conditional parenting (destroying our children, TV Nanny shows(destroying our children)......
I'm coming to this conclusion as well--I think if it is mainstream, we should boycott because there must be something wrong with it :LOL

Thank you for posting the thread to the article. I saw the Nanny once when we were staying in a hotel (no TV at home ) and it made me so sad. She kept punishing a child for disrespecting her mother, but the nanny never once noticed that the child was yelling at her mother because her mother was not listening to her. It is a very sad thing when mainstream america is watching these shows and implementing these things in their homes--argh--their poor children.

Barbara:  an always learning SAHM of Ilana (11) and Aiden (8) living in Belgium with my amazing husband.

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#28 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 02:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AngelBee
Those families are out of control.
No, they *look* out of control.

That is half the point of the article.

I guarantee you that if you let their camera crew in your house for a week, they would be able to edit together a half hour (hour?) episode that made you guys look like total chaos too.

I further guarantee you that even if the "parenting expert" they brought in gave you no advice but to stand on your head twice a day, given another week they would be able to edit together a half hour or hour episode that made you guys look like your lives were 200% better.

You're being fooled by their editing. You're being fooled if you think what you see has anything to do with reality. Sorry.
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#29 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 03:02 PM
 
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if high-quality, low-cost daycare was available.
"if high-quality, low-cost daycare were available." That type of bad grammar is not acceptable in this house! Now go sit on the naughty stool, Alfie.

Single mom of 2 boys
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#30 of 227 Old 05-20-2005, 03:11 PM
 
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I actually had a stranger say I needed a Nanny911 intervention because my 4 yr old was crying at dance class.
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