So I’m watching Supernanny with the kid, as is our wont of a Monday evening – the kid loves Supernanny, mainly because the kids that the Supernanny shows up to reform are just so appalling, and I like hanging out with the kid, so it’s become our weekly thing to do, watch Supernanny together (mr. delagar doesn’t get it, I’m afraid).
Anyway, we’re watching Supernanny, and the kids this week are not so bad, it’s the parents who are appalling, a prime example of people who really ought not to have had children – Mom obviously isn’t exactly interested in children, and he, while he is, isn’t really sharp enough to figure out how to handle her obduracy.
My advice would have been for them to invest in a good all-day pre-school, or, barring that, an excellent full-time baby-sitter, but Supernanny always visits the sort of people who have bought into Dr. Laura’s manta that it’s e-e-e-evil to send your kids to preschool or use daycare. When Supernanny suggested a few weeks ago to the control-freak mama with the two sets of twins under the age of four that, ah, she might want to bring in some sort of mother’s helper, mama had a quietly rigid fit. They were her kids and she was going to raise them—or if she couldn’t, because she was at work, then by God her husband was. Never mind what her strictures were doing to those kids, nope, that was the rule and her family was going to follow it.
Oddly enough, it’s always this sort of family, with these sorts of strictures, that ends up needing Supernanny’s help.
Where was I?
Oh, yes. So we’re watching Supernanny nearly get defeated by Mom’s utter lack of interest in Supernanny’s methods, and I’m thinking, hmm, clinical depression or just low IQ? and suddenly this commercial appears – a well-done, very cute commercial – the kid loved it – these adorable kids telling their parents to watch out, they’re going to be hard to handle, the parents need to get some help, learn how to handle them, pronto! There’s the inevitable line about throwing a tantrum in the supermarket. At the end? It’s an advertisement for Focus on the Family.
Yep, James Dobson’s organization.
Needless to say, I’m bemused. A little appalled.
“I like that commercial,” the kid says with delight.
“You wouldn’t like the organization,” I say.
“Why? Why not? Why wouldn’t I?”
“Never mind,” I said, which of course never works.
“No! Tell me! Why?”
Obviously I should have beaten her for disobeying me, beaten her until she cried with true submission and then thanked me for the beating and then apologized for challenging my authority, as Mr. Dobson advises, because otherwise she will grow up with the seeds of rebellion in her heart.
Instead, I explained briefly that Focus on the Family was an Far-Right Christian organization that believed in beating children to make them act right, and that it was a mystery to me why they were advertising during a show like Supernanny.
Back to the show, where there was one scene with Dad smack his kid on the hand, and Jo looking shocked at this action, and this action, BTW, having no good effect on the kid. Jo, in the end, managed to teach the parents something about effective discipline (which of course does not involve smacking or beating your children) and about effective parenting (which is as important as effective discipline) and things got somewhat better in this particular dysfunctional household – but I still say Mom needs to put that three year old in a nice Montessori pre-school. The three-year-old would be happier, she would be happier, and what exactly would be wrong with it?
Then the next day, I went to the FOF website, to see if I could get a clue about what James Dobson was up to, and found a few mentions of the ads, and, interestingly, a disclaimer, saying that “just because” FOF was advertising on the show Supernanny did not mean that FOF “endorsed” the Supernanny’s methods.
Heh. You can see what this means. FOF Dittoheads are writing James anxious and/or pissy emails about the ads.
And why? Because not only does Supernanny go against everything they believe, she disproves their favorite false dilemma.
Go read the reviews of Dobson’s hideous book on Amazon.com, Dare to Discipline. The negative ones are revealing, but the positive ones even more so – nearly every positive one says the same thing: “You can choose between out-of-control children or spanking – it’s up to you!”
Right. Because those are our only two options.
Oh, wait. They aren’t. And every single Monday night, at 10 Eastern time, Supernanny demonstrates otherwise.
She takes hideously out-of-control children, and without one single smack, without even raising her voice (in fact, that is her point, that one should not raise one’s voice, that one should not behave violently toward children in any way) she turns those children into well-behaved, happy kids, mainly by (hey, imagine this) working on their parents.
Not to mention Supernanny inhabits a secular universe. No praying. No church. No invoking Jesus as we whip the daylights out of six-year-olds for the high crime of looking moody as they obey their father. And yet – cheerful, happy, well-behaved kids by the time Jo Frost walks out the door.
This must disturb FOF dittoheads to no end.
(See DEDspace and Digby for more on this:
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