Friday, February 2, 2007

Why I hate "The Supernanny"


I've really got nothing personal against Jo Frost, the person who plays "Supernanny" on the ABC show of the same name here in the US (UK readers can find her here). But after watching a few episodes of the show, I've got to say that I just can't stomach it anymore.

Yes, I know, it's only a TV show and entertainment and all. Don't take it so seriously, Joe. But it just seems to me that "Supernanny" represents a lot of things that just aren't true, at least not in my world.

According to the "Supernanny" website:

...Jo Frost, as Supernanny, can tame the wildest toddler, soothe the savage six-year-old and get the most difficult child to overcome problems with behavior, sleep, mealtime, potty training and other challenges that have vexed parents around the world for centuries. ...

Well isn't that just great. And she gets it done every week in 60 minutes (42 minutes not counting commercials)!

The world of "Supernanny" does not allow for kids on the autism spectrum. And the way I read the world of the "Supernanny":
-All kids behavior disorders are due to their parents bad parenting (do I hear echoes of the "refrigerator mother" hypothesis here?).
-All of these behaviors are simple to correct.
-If you've tried correcting your kids behaviors and haven't been successful, then you're either a) not trying hard enough, or b) still a bad parent.

As a family we're fairly successful in helping Buddy Boy self regulate his behaviors. He's made great gains over the last couple of years. It's slow, but when I look back at how he interacted with people two years ago and how he does now, he's really come a long way. In fact, the only place where their still seem to be major behavioral issues is at school. Not at home, not at gymnastics, not at swimming, not at church services. Hmmmm.

Yet, when we talk to the "experts" at school, they blather on about perhaps we should be trying positive feedback, negative consequences, time outs, star charts, etc., etc. I can't help but think that they've been conditioned by the "Supernanny" to believe that my son has a behavioral or emotional disorder, and not a sensory processing disorder, and inherent emotional regulation problems directly related to his autism and ADHD. And, of course, that we are just Bad Parents.

And then of course there's the fact that he ONLY "misbehaves" at school. When I bring this up to them, they just can't process that, and never directly respond. I'm sure they don't believe me.

Does "Supernanny" make shows about dysfunctional autism experts at schools that need to be reigned in? If she would do that, I might just tune in again.

7 comments:

kristina said...

Ha, ha, ha! I'll wait for that----she's not my "cup of tea" either.

David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

"And then of course there's the fact that he ONLY 'misbehaves' at school. When I bring this up to them, they just can't process that, and never directly respond. I'm sure they don't believe me."

Um... I'm an educational psychologist. One of my interests is challenging behaviour, especially in the context of autism.

If there's a behaviour problem that only occurs in the one setting (whether it be home or school or play group or whatever), the problem is not that the child is prone to misbehaving. When so-called misbehaviour occurs across two or more settings, there's still no proof without a functional behaviour analysis that the child is prone to misbehaviour.

Anonymous said...

It just doesn't surprise me some of you parents don't like taking the blame for your inability to parent. Look at these people who are on this show, please these adults weren't good parents. And the people that have special needs kids like Autism don't take it so personnel. Normal children shouldn't run over the parnets! I hate going out to dinner and being subject to kids that have no mannners what so ever, I blame the parents, who by the way just tune out the screaming and bad behavior. God forbid someone goes up and says anything, they become nasty and defend the childs behavior. I may not be a parent but I was a child of good parents. I have nieces and nephews that I have alot of fun with but they all know I have rules and they will follow them. If not they know I follow through with the punishment. My niece ruined a new comforter that I had told her not to sit on, the punishment was she had to give me one of her prized possesions. Guess what she got it.

Anonymous said...

People shouldn't be so harsh to judge. I am an educated women of 2 boys. I love them, teach them, spend time with them, wake them up and put them to bed with both wisdom and love. And yet, they are not perfect.

TV shows can show what they choose. Good times and bad. Do you think that these parents are all so bad? Or perhaps, maybe, tv got the best of them?!

The same parents that are on this show are the same people that you and I are. The same kids....

I happen to know that the taping of this show happens over a 2 week period! A TWO WEEK PERIOD THAT IS SHOWED FOR 45 MINUTES!

THINK ABOUT IT!

pizza said...

As a teacher, I dont think that autisim or any other engrained problems like this matter. We are taught in college to use positive reinforcement not because of Supernanny but because it shows respect for the child and how you expect them to act. We were also taught that behavior problems or issues should be resolved in a way that personally helps that particular child not just cut and dry. The reason it looks as if Supernanny is implimenting the same diciplinary actions, it is because certian touch points children experience (responsibility, power struggles, etc.) can be dealt with in a simmilar matter with desirable results. It doesn't have anything to do with teachers mimicking Supernanny, it has to do with child psychology. Children with other emotional/physical/behavioral factors are set up with an Individualized Education Plan that helps them.

Karen said...

hear ye hear ye supernanny tackles autism. google the archives if you dont believe it. maybe not the way i'd have handled tristan, but she admitted that SHE couldnt do it alone :)

Anonymous said...

There is a brilliant episode of Supernanny dealing with Autism on YouTube (separated into 8 chapters). I learnt so much from watching it and highly recommend it to those who struggle with their autistic children.