Alfie Kohn blasts "Supernanny" - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-21-2008, 02:10 AM - Thread Starter
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http://teachers.net/gazette/JUN08/kohn/

"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."

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 08-21-2008, 02:20 AM
 
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It sounds like Kohn is envious of Supernanny's success! LOL

And, a few links to studies would be warranted, here:

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In the course of researching a book about parenting, I discovered some disconcerting research on the damaging effects of techniques like the “naughty corner” (better known as time-out), which are basically forms of love withdrawal. I also found quite a bit of evidence that parents who refrain from excessive control and rely instead on warmth and reason are more likely to have children who do what they’re asked – and who grow into responsible, compassionate, healthy people.

Seriously.
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Old 08-21-2008, 02:59 AM
 
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I agree with a lot of what he says.

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She has no reservations about power as long as only the big people have it. Kids are the enemy to be conquered.
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The point is enforcement and order, not teaching and reflection. Thus, rather than helping a child to think about the effects of his aggression on others, he is simply informed that hitting is “unacceptable”; reasons and morality don’t enter into it.
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if relying on bribes and threats succeeds in making children obey, then there’s no need to ask, “But for how long does it work? And at what cost?”
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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.
Supernanny's whole thing is control. Kids are never given reasons for anything. We don't hit because it's against the rules, not because it hurts people. We go to bed because it's time for bed, not because we're tired. Oh, not sleepy? Too bad, it's bedtime, and if you cry you're just being manipulative.

The naughty spot is another thing she just loves. Plop the kid where you've decided they have to go when they misbehave. Don't give them any explanation beyond "You were naughty, so you have to sit here." If they get up and move, drag them back to the spot. If they cry, ignore them, they're just being manipulative. When they've worn themselves out crying, they'll stop. Then they'll apologize so they can get up. If they don't apologize, back on the naughty spot!

I have big issues with Supernanny.

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Old 08-21-2008, 07:41 AM
 
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But you have to keep in mind that supernanny usually shows families with parents who have no control over their kids or their homes.

While for most reasonable families with healthy boundaries, cosleeping is not an issue, an family with a bunch of kids who have no boundaries, no discipline (good or bad) would definitely benefit from the supernanny structure. A normal family with occasional tantrums, but overall order and peace? I doubt supernanny could do much to affect them either way.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:43 AM
 
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Good for Alfie Kohn. I can't stand Supernanny.
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:01 AM
 
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Good for Alfie Kohn. I can't stand Supernanny.
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lolalola View Post
It sounds like Kohn is envious of Supernanny's success! LOL

And, a few links to studies would be warranted, here:




Seriously.
I doubt he is jealous of Super Nanny's success...

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Good for Alfie Kohn. I can't stand Supernanny.
:
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Old 08-21-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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But you have to keep in mind that supernanny usually shows families with parents who have no control over their kids or their homes.

While for most reasonable families with healthy boundaries, cosleeping is not an issue, an family with a bunch of kids who have no boundaries, no discipline (good or bad) would definitely benefit from the supernanny structure. A normal family with occasional tantrums, but overall order and peace? I doubt supernanny could do much to affect them either way.
:

And I think that supernanny can do a lot of good. She stops parents from yelling at kids, she stops parents from washing their kids' mouths out with soap, she tries to get parents actively involved with their kids (mostly dads who are extremely disconnected from parenting), and helps provide structure for families sorely in need of it.

I don't like how she doesn't have parents explain things to kids and I've seen other things I simply don't agree with. However, in the grand scheme of "bad parenting advice" Supernanny is the least of my concerns. Lets save most of our ire for the Pearls, et al!
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:01 PM
 
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Control over my child is not my goal.

And I'm quite confident my ds would act as apparently unreasonable as the kids on tv in those circumstances.

(Personally I think those kids are behaving perfectly reasonable considering how they are being ordered about by a stranger, having their parents listening to that stranger instead of them, having sudden radical changes made with no warning or explanation.)

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Old 08-21-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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But you have to keep in mind that supernanny usually shows families with parents who have no control over their kids or their homes.
Not only no control but they are also typically yelling and screaming at the kids all day, spanking, shaming, threatening, expecting too much of their children for their age, etc. I personally do not use timeouts and don't prefer many of Supernanny's techniques, but at least they're better than what these families had been doing.

For me, UP is a great fit. But I'm not sure if everyone is ready to wrap their mind around it. For those people, I'd rather see age-appropriate routines, calmly and consistently enforced (age-appropriate) rules, and non-violent punishments like time-outs vs. hitting, yelling, inconsistent and inappropriate expectations, and chaos.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:43 PM
 
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I don't think the supernanny uses good discipline techniques, but at least it's an improvement over what the families had going on before. Maybe if her techniques were used as a first step rather than a final ideal it would be better? I don't know. I'm not a fan but obviously I've watched the show several times.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:44 PM
 
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Good for Alfie Kohn. I can't stand Supernanny.
I agree.

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Old 08-21-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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I don't mind (in theory) the help Jo Frost gives to certain families who seek it. After all it's their choice to invite her into their homes. I'd invite Alfie Kohn instead.

BUT what I don't like is how televising it does make it "the standard" for childrearing. That's the part I don't like really. I don't mind the parts about routines and even a lot of the behavioural stuff, although it doesn't sit well with me, is ok.

The huge battles where you continually place the child back on the naughty spot or let him or her scream in his or her bed really bother and upset me. I think they are desensitizing to children's distress. I really don't know how people watch the show while the child is screaming on the screen. I find it disturbing.

Reminds me why we don't have cable TV.

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Old 08-21-2008, 03:14 PM
 
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But you have to keep in mind that supernanny usually shows families with parents who have no control over their kids or their homes.

While for most reasonable families with healthy boundaries, cosleeping is not an issue, an family with a bunch of kids who have no boundaries, no discipline (good or bad) would definitely benefit from the supernanny structure. A normal family with occasional tantrums, but overall order and peace? I doubt supernanny could do much to affect them either way.


I totally agree. Super Nanny is not for all families. But she is WAY better then the abuse that is occuriring in many of the homes.

Can you imagine the inability to even processs something like Alfie Kohn during that kind of turbulence? No way would it work. They would quickly resort back to the abuse.

Super Nanny to me is at least a step in the right direction. I actually find it more of a stage setting for the chance at consentual living. With the families as they are, there is NOTHING consentual about them. They are unhealthy. Super Nanny simply tries to reztore some balance.

Then it is up to the families to continue to progress. That is where Alfie Kohn can come in to play

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Old 08-21-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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I love Supernanny. I'm all for parents actually being the one in control of the home.

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Old 08-21-2008, 05:23 PM
 
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While I don't 100% agree with Supernanny's discipline style. It is, IMO, a HUGE step in the right direction for parents. At least she's non-hitting. Thats HUGE for some people. I hope that every spanking family in the world could watch a few Supernanny episodes and at least realize there ARE discipline techniques beyond hitting.

While I *love* Alfie Kohn I truly believe that going from hitting to fully non-punitive is truly just too much for many families. SuperNanny provides a nice little middle ground for them to ease into more non-punitive ways of parenting.

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Old 08-21-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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Good for Alfie Kohn. I can't stand Supernanny.
I agree.

But also...

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I totally agree. Super Nanny is not for all families. But she is WAY better then the abuse that is occuriring in many of the homes.

Can you imagine the inability to even processs something like Alfie Kohn during that kind of turbulence? No way would it work. They would quickly resort back to the abuse.

Super Nanny to me is at least a step in the right direction. I actually find it more of a stage setting for the chance at consentual living. With the families as they are, there is NOTHING consentual about them. They are unhealthy. Super Nanny simply tries to reztore some balance.

Then it is up to the families to continue to progress. That is where Alfie Kohn can come in to play
I agree with that as well. Especially the highlighted bits! I have friends who are the average mainstream 'normal' when it comes to how they 'raise' their children. Nothing as bad as the stuff you see coming from the families on Supernanny...and they even have a hard time trying to process something like Alfie Kohn lol

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Old 08-21-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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I'm just trying to imagine how Alfie Kohn would have dealt with last night's SuperNanny family...
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:36 PM
 
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IThe huge battles where you continually place the child back on the naughty spot or let him or her scream in his or her bed really bother and upset me. I think they are desensitizing to children's distress. I really don't know how people watch the show while the child is screaming on the screen. I find it disturbing. .
That's it exactly. I've never watched a whole show but stopped on it while flipping around and it's always been either a mom crying, a dad totally checked out or a screaming and/or crying child. Who wants to see that? And there's Nanny Jo, the cause of the televised emotional crisis, who's going to solve everyone's problems that have developed over years in 30 minutes or less. Blech!!!
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Old 08-21-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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Well the thing is there isn't just 3 options- abuse, supernanny, or Alfie Kohn.

I agree Alfie Kohn is not for everyone, but I think Supernanny is awful.

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Old 08-21-2008, 05:40 PM
 
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Before I had my DS - I used to watch it and tell DH that I was learning and preparing for when we had a terrible two year old.

Then I had my child.

We try to live consensually...so very far from anything you see on Supernanny! lol

I cant even stand to watch it now. It is far too distressing. The last time I watched it, it made me cry. I just couldnt do it.

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Old 08-21-2008, 06:19 PM
 
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:

And I think that supernanny can do a lot of good. She stops parents from yelling at kids, she stops parents from washing their kids' mouths out with soap, she tries to get parents actively involved with their kids (mostly dads who are extremely disconnected from parenting), and helps provide structure for families sorely in need of it.

I don't like how she doesn't have parents explain things to kids and I've seen other things I simply don't agree with. However, in the grand scheme of "bad parenting advice" Supernanny is the least of my concerns. Lets save most of our ire for the Pearls, et al!
Big ditto to that!
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:29 PM
 
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It sounds like Kohn is envious of Supernanny's success! LOL
Or maybe he just disagrees with her?

I know I do. And I'm not the least bit envious of her.

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Old 08-21-2008, 07:43 PM
 
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Argh!

I'm just so so sorry that you lot in the US have this awful woman as well now....

She is just awful. She has no qualifications, and was barely 'experienced' as a 'nanny' when she got the TV series here in the UK. Lets just say that UK based peeps with proper qualifications who are anything but crunchy think that the things she espouses are simply bad ideas in the main.

And if your series is edited in anything like the way that the series here is edited... you are seeing only the 'best' of her and the 'worst' of the families...

Personally - and I have talked to my children about this - I would rather a parent ranted, raved and had a yell; than a parent withdrew from their child. Moving your child to the 'naughty' step is *not* a gentle process (and an early show here had the child lifted really rather roughly and taken to said step and then held down. There were complaints and we were told that it would not happen again. All that happened was that we were not shown it being done like that again, it continued just the same just that now its edited....)

And the 'results' simply don't last. There have been families here who have been used and chewed and then spat out by the programme makers. The results were filmed, and there was/is no follow up. The children in these families are hung out to dry, the programme publicity sees them spread across the tabloid press etc etc etc and being on the programme follows them for years. People remember, to the extent that families have had to move, or ended up with SS involvement (sorry, our CPS) on the extent of what was seen on screen (remember a highly edited, highly storyboarded view of them). Families have no rights to view the programme before broadcast, to have changes made where they are pictured inaccurately... the only recourse they have if untruths are depicted are by law (and that will go with the programme makers because its civil law which is extremely expensive to persue in the UK, plus you've signed a contract so bleph! ) or by going to the media themselves (and our tabloid press will see them hung out to dry in public opinion, whatever whatever!).
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:14 PM
 
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I would rather a parent ranted, raved and had a yell; than a parent withdrew from their child.
I've only seen it a couple of times so maybe what I saw wasn't representative, but on the ones I saw she was encouraging the families to play outside together, play games together, read stories, do art projects, etc. rather than just plopping the kids in front of the tv and going about their own lives.
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:17 PM
 
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BUT what I don't like is how televising it does make it "the standard" for childrearing.
Yeah, I do agree with this. It becomes "common knowledge" that you "have to" punish children to keep them from becoming wild beasts.
And when I challenge that idea with ideas I've found from well-researched books rather than from a tv show I hear "you read too much."
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:18 PM
 
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I'm just trying to imagine how Alfie Kohn would have dealt with last night's SuperNanny family...
what was teh episode?

i love Alfie Kohn...i cant stand supernanny.
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Old 08-22-2008, 12:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I love Supernanny. I'm all for parents actually being the one in control of the home.
This is a false dichotomy. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 08-22-2008, 01:55 AM
 
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I've only seen it a couple of times so maybe what I saw wasn't representative, but on the ones I saw she was encouraging the families to play outside together, play games together, read stories, do art projects, etc. rather than just plopping the kids in front of the tv and going about their own lives.
I don't necessarily agree with her discipline techniques but I do think she does what you said. Lots of the parents just seem zoned out and overwhelmed and she encourages them to be more involved.

Let them sleep in the middle, Let them be little
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Old 08-22-2008, 03:25 AM
 
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what was teh episode?

i love Alfie Kohn...i cant stand supernanny.
Mentally checked out parents, violent children.
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