Alfie Kohn blasts "Supernanny" - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 529 Old 08-22-2008, 05:43 AM
 
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I agree with Alfie.

I also appreciate the comments by Helen_A describing the complete UNreality of these supposed "reality" TV shows.

I am a 40 year old unschooling, belly dancing, artist-mama of one almost 8 year old. I just had brain surgery and blogging.jpg about it a bit because it's just so surreal.
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#32 of 529 Old 08-22-2008, 09:11 AM
 
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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.
So true! I'm glad you pointed that out.

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#33 of 529 Old 08-22-2008, 09:35 AM
 
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This is a false dichotomy. It doesn't have to be one or the other.
Hmmm...well, as far as I can tell, most people on Mothering don't believe in the parent being in control of the home. I believe Supernanny teaches good techniques to help the parents get control over their home and their children's behaviour. Obviously, the CL crowd and the no-punishment, no unnatural consequences crowd are not going to like Supernanny.

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#34 of 529 Old 08-22-2008, 09:57 AM
 
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Hmmm...well, as far as I can tell, most people on Mothering don't believe in the parent being in control of the home. I believe Supernanny teaches good techniques to help the parents get control over their home and their children's behaviour.
Techniques like telling a mother she can't lie down with her daughter while she's falling asleep? Supernanny seems to buy into the idea that you have to distance yourself from your kids -- which I guess makes sense, as intimate relationships are not about control. In intimate relationships, we feel our loved ones' needs are equal to our own.

So intimacy subdues the desire to get control and have everything exactly the way we want it ... the more intimate we are, the more we find ourselves wanting to understand the other person's point of view, and the more we want to adapt to the other person. The less need we feel to be in control.

Which I guess is bad news according to Supernanny.

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Obviously, the CL crowd and the no-punishment, no unnatural consequences crowd are not going to like Supernanny.
Obviously!

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#35 of 529 Old 08-22-2008, 10:05 AM
 
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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!).
Similar things have happened here, there are boards discussing it and the families who are actually on the show have to be careful what they say because they signed a contract and they can be sued.

I do think that she helps in some cases. Areas where parents were hitting their kids or swearing at them, she comes in and stops that. If parents are acting agressively to the kids she stops that too. Last night I was watching one where the dad wasn't spending time with his kids, he said he had no energy. She was getting on him about that. I feel that he was depressed and she should have been getting him to a counselor, but she seemed to be trying to fix it by berating him. At the end they showed him teaching his son to ride a bike, and therefore all was well.

I did get very irritated at the show where she "helped" a mother to wean her 14 month old by having her go cold turkey, switching her to the bottle, and she repeated talked about how any nursing over the age of one is just for the emotional well being of the mom.
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#36 of 529 Old 08-22-2008, 10:36 AM
 
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I did get very irritated at the show where she "helped" a mother to wean her 14 month old by having her go cold turkey, switching her to the bottle, and she repeated talked about how any nursing over the age of one is just for the emotional well being of the mom.
Wow! That's just too bad!

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#37 of 529 Old 08-22-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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I love alfie kohn, I hate supernanny. If you haven't read unconditional parenting by alfie kohn, you should. It changes the way you see parenting completely. That said, I don't know how effective it would be to start after 6 or 7 years of different parenting. I guess it's doable, but it would be hard if the kids are already out of control. I hate supernanny's attitude that children are beneath adults...not that she says it, but it's the vibe I get.
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#38 of 529 Old 08-22-2008, 12:30 PM
 
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the few episodes i have been able to watch involved forcing a child out of her parents bedroom....and the child was devastated. she was actually "on her way" out (had a mattress in the hallway) but that wasnt good enough for Supernanny...she had to be rushed out. the practice of putting kids in isolation over and over and over again is just too much for me to watch.

and yeh, there have been a few episodes where SuperNanny just simply said "stop nursing...he/she is too old" period. THAT really gets me.

I do see how these families need help but i dont think it needs to come at the expense of children's self confidence or security (not that all the kids had that to begin w/ but taking away boob and/or bed is taking away a security that may be hard to come by in that home).
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#39 of 529 Old 08-22-2008, 02:26 PM
 
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Hmmm...well, as far as I can tell, most people on Mothering don't believe in the parent being in control of the home. I believe Supernanny teaches good techniques to help the parents get control over their home and their children's behaviour. Obviously, the CL crowd and the no-punishment, no unnatural consequences crowd are not going to like Supernanny.
I'd say that "most" MDCers don't believe in spanking, but that doesn't mean that most MDCers don't believe that the parents are in charge.

That said, when you've got a situation where there is violence happening in a house, I really don't see how using rewards and non-violent punishment to get to a place where the hitting, kicking and biting is stopping as quickly as possible is all that terrible. Drastic circumstances and drastic measures and all.
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#40 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 01:16 AM
 
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Or maybe he just disagrees with her?

I know I do. And I'm not the least bit envious of her.
Obviously, he disagrees with her. I'm assuming that you do not write parenting (and other) books for a living? If he is so against/above competition, why the need to blast someone else for their opinion?

I just don't get why he cares? It's a T.V. show. And, his writing style is very abrasive... sarcastic, really.
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#41 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 02:41 AM
 
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The roboticness (is that a word??) of her methods is hard to swallow. It would be great to see her ask the parents what they perceive as the problems and what they want to work on rather than her observing for a day and determining the problems herself. I think folks are much more empowered if they make those decisions...even if they're asking for help in following it all through.

I agree with many here that a lot of what you see is checked out parents who are completely overwhelmed and kids who are shouting out for help for their family.

I dunno, I have been working hard not to pass too much judgement on these things because there's just no one way to do this. I think that's what grates for me about both Alfie Kohn and Jo Frost.
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#42 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 04:19 AM
 
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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.
My mom has mentioned more than once that she often wished her mother would hit her, instead of ignoring her. My grandmother didn't do time outs, as such, and I don't think she had a "naughty spot"...but she was really big on punishing her kids by withdrawing all her affection and attention, sometimes for days at a time. What little I've seen of Supernanny seems like more of the same, albeit on a smaller scale. It gives me the creeps.

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#43 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 04:37 AM
 
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I only watch her a few times a year, so this is my take--

While what Jo is doing isn't ideal to most of us, in many situations shown it is better than what was happening. The parents are at least getting some tools and ideas to think about. Perhaps it will be a stepping stone to other ideas.

I'm surprised that some of these households haven't been visited by CPS, some of them were very upsetting/abusive/neglectful.
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#44 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 03:06 PM
 
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I think SuperNanny's techniques make for "good television" not good parenting.

Team Alfie!
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#45 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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Obviously, he disagrees with her. I'm assuming that you do not write parenting (and other) books for a living? If he is so against/above competition, why the need to blast someone else for their opinion?

I just don't get why he cares? It's a T.V. show. And, his writing style is very abrasive... sarcastic, really.
I think he cares because parents are often influenced by these things.

Also, since it's obviously a show of interest-for-many, people might be more drawn to read his column if it's about a popular TV show? I don't know that he's totally opposed to self-motivated competition, I think he's just opposed to people pushing other people (i.e. parents pushing children) to be competitive.

I honestly don't think Kohn's comments will hurt the success of Supernanny ... I mean, he obviously follows the show -- so others who disagree with Frost are probably just as likely to keep following it.

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#46 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 06:21 PM
 
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I enjoy Alfie Kohn and Supernanny; they both have some ideas that I identify with and some that I don't. Must be because I was raised by a mother who yelled, ranted, raved and ignored me.
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#47 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmmm...well, as far as I can tell, most people on Mothering don't believe in the parent being in control of the home. .
That's an extreme assumption.

And, what is "control" anyway? Do you consider a baby who needs to co-sleep being "in control" of the sleeping situation? Is a parent who refuses to CIO "out of control"? Or is the parent just recognizing the very human need for socialization? Parents need to know when to "pull rank" and when not to. Seems like S.N. is trying to "pull rank" all of the time.

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#48 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 07:05 PM
 
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I enjoy Alfie Kohn and Supernanny; they both have some ideas that I identify with and some that I don't. Must be because I was raised by a mother who yelled, ranted, raved and ignored me.
I like them both too.


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#49 of 529 Old 08-23-2008, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I just don't get why he cares? It's a T.V. show. And, his writing style is very abrasive... sarcastic, really.
Because so many people buy into it. That's why he cares.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#50 of 529 Old 08-24-2008, 12:31 AM
 
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I think he cares because parents are often influenced by these things.

Also, since it's obviously a show of interest-for-many, people might be more drawn to read his column if it's about a popular TV show? I don't know that he's totally opposed to self-motivated competition, I think he's just opposed to people pushing other people (i.e. parents pushing children) to be competitive.

I honestly don't think Kohn's comments will hurt the success of Supernanny ... I mean, he obviously follows the show -- so others who disagree with Frost are probably just as likely to keep following it.
Sure, parents (people) are influenced by many things. You're right --parents would be more apt to read his work if he references a popular TV show.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by "self-motivated competition?". I'm serious, because, you have admitted that Kohn likely wrote his piece on 'Supernanny' beause he 'knows' that it will garner publicity. How is that not competitive (in the traditional sense)?
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#51 of 529 Old 08-24-2008, 12:34 AM
 
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Because so many people buy into it. That's why he cares.
So? And, how do you know that "so many" people buy into it?

And again, let's not forget that Kohn makes a living selling his opinions.
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#52 of 529 Old 08-24-2008, 01:02 AM
 
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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!
Seriously! I totally agree with you. She *prevents* parents from hitting their kids. Disagree with the naughty spot all you like, at least it is not physical abuse. It gives the parents *some* tool to use to maintain some kind of order in their home.

As for the scheduling thing; Kohn's comment about that really, really irritated me. Kids *do* do better when they know what is coming next. It's not so much about forcing them to do something WHEN YOU WANT as it is establishing a routine that is predictable, something which is secure and comforting for most children. Most children will do better through the day if they know what is next. That's why bedtime routines are so important and helpful.

I do see a smidge of jealousy there IMO. I wonder how Kohn would handle his own show? Bet he would jump on it if offered!

Also, I do not think that Jo thinks kids are "the enemy." She clearly *loves* children and works on having the kids show more affection to each other and their parents and vice versa. You always see her hugging and kissing them when she leaves.

ETA: One of the first things I noticed about her show was that she walks in and immediately introduces herself to the children in a friendly, happy way, gets down to their level... I think that is *very* respectful.

I don't agree with everything she does but clearly her goal is to enable the family to live together happily, not so much to destroy the children!
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#53 of 529 Old 08-24-2008, 01:04 AM
 
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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.)
But that is not even what happens... do you WATCH the show? Do you see the part where she sits down first with the parents and then with the children and discusses the new "rules" and schedules and things?
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#54 of 529 Old 08-24-2008, 01:11 AM
 
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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.
I actually agree with you on this, except that I think the Supernanny style of parenting is way better as a standard than the "get me my belt" style of parenting. So it's sure not perfect, but IMO a step in the right direction.
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#55 of 529 Old 08-24-2008, 02:36 AM
 
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I'm serious, because, you have admitted that Kohn likely wrote his piece on 'Supernanny' beause he 'knows' that it will garner publicity. How is that not competitive (in the traditional sense)?
Good point. I think there is often a lot of hypocricy with these philosophies.

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And again, let's not forget that Kohn makes a living selling his opinions.
Again, another great point.

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As for the scheduling thing; Kohn's comment about that really, really irritated me. Kids *do* do better when they know what is coming next. It's not so much about forcing them to do something WHEN YOU WANT as it is establishing a routine that is predictable, something which is secure and comforting for most children. Most children will do better through the day if they know what is next. That's why bedtime routines are so important and helpful.
Absolutely. I'm not a big scheduler but I know many families who schedule things throughout the day and it works best for them. Again, it's all about what works for a particular family.
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#56 of 529 Old 08-24-2008, 09:45 AM
 
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From what I've noticed, Jo got kids out of the parent-bed when the parents wanted it. And, she stopped moms from lying with their kids when it was disrupting a possibility for a peaceful transition into sleep.

I'll never forget this one mom who spent hours lying with her child every night, hating it, but not wanting to stop b/c her kid would become violent and ruin the evening further for the family. I had no qualms about Jo putting an end to the behavior. And, the mom felt a little guilty, but obviously, she was gonna feel guilty no matter what. She had a difficult time enforcing and meeting her own personal need for space. *shrug*

I don't agree with everything Jo does and says, but I don't harbor contempt for her, either. Those families are in need of change and she offers it. You have to get to a point where everyone in a family feels safe before you can go the Alfie way, IMO. That's not where those families are when Jo gets to them.

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#57 of 529 Old 08-24-2008, 11:07 AM
 
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Can you elaborate on what you mean by "self-motivated competition?". I'm serious, because, you have admitted that Kohn likely wrote his piece on 'Supernanny' beause he 'knows' that it will garner publicity. How is that not competitive (in the traditional sense)?
I honestly don't know what Kohn's views are on what I called "self-motivated competition." I just know there are fields (such as the one Kohn's in) where I think you have to be somewhat competitive, in the sense of finding ways to make your particular "product" stand out from all the others and get chosen.

I've heard some people object to Kohn's writing-style ... and yet I imagine that that is partly what draws many of us to read him. A parenting-writer who says, "This just happens to be what works for my family -- but there are many other ways that are probably just as good" doesn't tend to sell.

And frankly, I'm more interested in parenting-writers who really believe in what they're saying.

I see what you mean, though, about the competitiveness seeming to go against the philosophy he's advocating. I definitely think it's wrong to step on others as a means of seeking success.

But I honestly didn't see Kohn's article as stepping on "Supernanny," or as hurting her success in any way. And I don't think Kohn did it with an intent to hurt the show ... he surely knows (like everyone else does), that the more a book/show/idea gets blasted, the more of an urge people have to find out for themselves if it's really that bad.

As an analogy, many religious-leaders blasted The Davinci Code when the book came out, and also have been warning people not to watch the movie now that it's out. I think all the talk (even from the pulpit) just makes people even more eager to see what all the fuss is about. One religious-leader even wrote a book about it for people who didn't want to read the book, but wanted to know enough about it to discuss it intelligently with others who had seen it.

How much do you want to bet that lots and lots of fundamentalist Christians are going to end up breaking down and watching that movie, just to satiate their curiosity? With this in mind, Kohn may actually be "helping" Supernanny more than "hurting" her.

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#58 of 529 Old 08-24-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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And again, let's not forget that Kohn makes a living selling his opinions.
I think Jo Frost probably gets paid well, too.

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#59 of 529 Old 08-25-2008, 03:00 AM
 
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I have tried a supernanny technique, the bedtime thing, it sucks. Here let me act like I will just ignore you until you sleep, sweet dreams honey. It's a little too detached for me.

But other stuff she does, does make sense. She tends to get these parents more active in the children's world, then the kids feel important and act better. I have watched a ton of shows and like Caesar Milan with the dog walking skills show after show, her key element is getting the family involved -togevah (together-my husband will rewind and play and rewind and play just to hear her say it)

I dunno, I think it is conventional, most of the show focuses on a conventional family, struggling with conventional issues. The parents aren't usually very involved with their children. I'm sure they'd flame me. I've only seen a couple of shows that deviate from the norm American society. We watched a season and grew tired of it. After a while I looked up her credentials because things seemed a bit ...well I don't have a good word for it. But I am glad she tells these parents to spend time with their children.

Oh and in the end, when the kids are told to say "thank you, supernanny" for the camera really creeps me out, almost as much as children in TV commercials.

In our house I think Alfie's logical, albeit a little snarky, ways of seeing things help us discipline. And I understand his remarks about the nanny. The way I see it, he wants to impress upon the nation that we need to CHANGE our parenting styles instead of doing what hasn't worked in the past.
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#60 of 529 Old 08-25-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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I like some of SN's ideas, certainly not all. Alfie on the other hand....ummm...crackpot!
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