So, Supernanny is back on our screens and I confess it’s a guilty pleasure of mine.
Partly of course, because I fully support the notion that parents can & should ask for help when they need it-and that should be WAY before they feel the desperation that most of these parents do. It shouldn’t be taboo, or shameful or guilt-inducing. It should be as common practice as accessing CPD at work to make you the best person to do your job.
And I do think Supernanny is interesting…there’s definitely merit in some of her methods.
However, there are others which I would actually fall out with her about. IMO, we’ve been sold some massive fibs when it comes to the wonderful world of parenting, and it’s time we debunked many of them. Here’s three things I’d personally tell Supernanny to stop doing, and why.
Insisting kids look at you when you’re talking to them
When a kid (any of us in fact) are under too much stress, our ‘survival response’ steps up a gear. ‘Survival mode’ will always take priority over being a rational problem-solver, making our kids feel hyper-vigilant, threatened & defensive. In other words, insisting kids look at you is an invite for an argument, a meltdown, or for your kid to feel shame as they forced to look into disapproving eyes.
Just sit next to your kid…. Talk in the car, while you occupy yourself with other tasks. It’s transformational for your kids and as a parent, it feels 100% better.
Forcing kids to say sorry
Insisting kids say sorry isn’t the same as feeling empathy and taking proactive steps to repair the problem.
As adults, the reason most of us often feel deeply uncomfortable with apologising is because we were forced into it when we were younger. Not only can it be humiliating to be forced to apologise, if we don’t really know why we’re apologising, agree with it or feel remorse, what’s the point anyway?
On the contrary, forcing kids to say sorry is much more likely to teach them to behave with no regard for others’ feelings, because a meaningless ‘sorry’ let’s them off the hook anyway.
Expecting behaviour to be transformed in three days
There are 86 billion brain cells in your kid’s head making up to 2 million connections every second. Consequently, ‘learned behaviours’; which are actually the result of well-established neural connections; can take months, even years, to master.
Yes, you can start to affect change immediately, but for a child to truly be the master of their own ship, they need to be able to practice, practice, practice. They need your permission to get it wrong and mess up sometimes. They’ll need your help & guidance again and again!
An endless string of ‘consequences’ might result in compliant, obedient children, but does it help them to choose their own behaviours independently, or to base those decisions on their own beliefs, morals & values? No, it does not.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not 100% anti-Supernanny. I think she does talk some sense, and I’m sure she’s got very sound reasons for doing things differently that I do.
But I also think parents-anyone who has a child in their lives, in fact-have a right to know why parenting in the way society expects us to isn’t always the best way (just my opinion of course) .
What I see in these ‘Supernanny approaches’ is fundamentally about ‘training’ children to meet the needs of the adult. It’s not a child’s job to make adults’ lives happier, more fulfilled or easier-as wonderful as that would be.
We are the grown-ups and; as frustrating and tiring as it often is; it is our job to meet the needs of the child.
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PS) You can tell I’m no Supernanny but I am a big fan on 1:1 support because parents should be a joy, not a test of endurance. Click here to find out more.