I love the TV show Super Nanny. Why? Because what she does really does work. It won’t work with teenagers, but it will definitely work on small children who don’t know boundaries and have never been taught rules. I do think that when those kids are taught rules, that they won’t be as unruly as teenagers.
If you don’t know her method it goes something like this; you don’t yell or hit. EVER. There is no need, as you use a warning, timeout system with constant follow through for discipline issues in almost all cases. You also incorporate trust activities to teach parents and siblings work together. As far as chores and the such, you use privileges and rewards. If a child won’t sleep in their bed and gets up constantly, you sit silently looking the other direction in their room constantly putting them back in their bed until they go to sleep. Kids get it. They learn so quickly, and it makes real lasting effects in their lives.
The real question is why? Why do we need some British lady who doesn’t have any children of her own to come here and teach us how to raise our own? Because we are confused. In this country women have only recently, in the past 60 years (since WWII) joined the work force in large numbers. These numbers have grown even more since divorce and the ‘single mom’ phenomena became more prevalent since the 1970’s. An era of one family households, or both parents working to support the household began, and parenting philosophies started splitting. Some people were all for coddling your child, some ignored their children. Basically, we are confused.
Our society is suffering from a generation of people that don’t want to raise their kids the same way that they were raised. The following list of parenting ‘techniques’ is in no way all inclusive! Some parents believe the fundamentalist Christian teachings about ‘spare the rod spoil the child’ and hit their kids, thinking that it will teach them self control and discipline. Others, ironically (most of them raised the way I just discussed), go the polar opposite and don’t parent their kids at all. Another section of working parents simply leave the majority of their parenting up to daycares and schools feels guilty for spending so little time with their kids that they make up for it by spoiling them with material goods.
I have babysat for a couple in that last category. Their daughter slowly took over with her unhealthy desires until they realized that it was a problem. It snuck up on them. See, they thought that they were doing their daughter a favor, allowing her to eat favorite sweets and watch her favorite TV show when they were home, but they weren’t. Soon she wouldn’t eat anything but chocolate, and only wanted to watch TV. I saw an episode of Super Nanny on Hulu and sent it to her parents, apparently just in time. Her mother, rather than being offended that I mentioned that there was a problem, was incredibly thankful and said that using her advice they had made real positive steps in helping to change bad habits. Kids can change, they are adaptable. Habits can be moderately easily unlearned. It is when we become adults and have 30 years of these bad habits that things become hard to unlearn.
Who were your parents? Ha…mine were the recovering alcoholics that frankly had no clue what they were doing for a long time. I have to give my mum props though, she knew she didn’t want to raise us like she was raised and she did everything in her power to make that happen. My brother’s having ADHD I think was a big reason my mom was forced to have so many rules and boundaries, otherwise life would have been completely out of control.
We can’t leave our parenting to the school systems. Your child’s teacher is just that, a teacher not a parent. Learning self control, boundaries, self esteem and other virtues have to begin at home. Well laid boundaries and rules are what teach us self control, not hitting your child. A timeout is just as effective and less traumatic to both of you. Teaching your kids boundaries instead of stifling their independence allows them to learn self reliance, patience and trust.
I really really hope I can be the parent that I want to be. I have heard people say that, “you know everything about parenting before you become a parent,” but I think that my unique experiences will help me. I was a nanny for three years—I know what it is like to spend long periods of time with infants. I am okay with it, and really enjoy it. I’m not prepared so much for the sleep depravation, but no one is. I have taught. My best friend’s had a baby and I spent huge amounts of time walking around with him when he had colic, getting puked on, loved on and generally being his best friend. All of those experiences should help me with being a parent.
What kind of parent do you want to be? Do you have a philosophy? What type of parents did you have? Did you know anything about babies before having one?