Where a dad of two great kids (one on the autism spectrum) muses about life.
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.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.