Saturday, December 31, 2005


The kid and I watched Supernanny last night, one of our favorite Friday night treats -- we love to get appalled together by how bad the parenting is, and how Jo Frost makes the parents act right.

Last night was particularly appalling: a stay-at-home mom (I love how folks think that's a cure-all: so long as mom is at home full time, that's ALL she has to do! Be there! Nothing else is necessary!) with three boys; Dad was deployed in the Iraqi war.

Home was chaos. Why? Mom's solution -- to everything! -- was to hit the boys. Wallop them, for everything. Hit them, with her hand, with a belt, or threaten to hit them, for every transgression. And? Ignore them otherwise.

What did the boys do, when they weren't getting hit? Well, they beat on each other, of course, and they screamed and attacked their mother. What else were they going to do?

Mom didn't talk to them, or play with them, or read to them (no books in the house -- that's one thing I've noticed about every household Jo Frost gets called to: not a single bookshelf in any of them, not a single book: hmm!): the four year old watched TV all day, the school-age kids came home from school and started beating each other up right away, until Mom, literally, locked them out in the back yard.

Jo's solution? She established a no-hitting rule. Not only that the kids could not hit each other -- Mom could not hit the kids. No yelling either. What a concept!

She also established rewards -- a pie chart thing -- for following the rules, and got Mom to start talking to and hanging out with her kids. (Reading to them too, I noticed. Heh!)

Astounding transformation.

She also taught Mom to compromise with the kids -- not do this or else, but, okay, you don't want to do this: what about this?

In other words: not perfect obedience or I'll beat you, but let's see how we can work things out, why don't we? Let's treat our children like human beings.

That Jo. She's clever.


zelda1 said...

Mr. Zelda and I watched that one too and my worst nightmare was when she closed her bedroom door, leaving the boys to their own devices while she did what, not read a book but got online. HELLO! I wanted to scream and even if she had read a book, HELLO! When is it ever to leave children unattended? NEVER! I can't believe these families and last week's was even worse. A man who hit, yep, hit his sons right on the hand and he had a special needs daughter. It was heart wrenching to see these little children trying to get attention by the only means necessary, acting out.

Unknown said...

I love that show too, haven't seen it in a while though. When my kids watch it with me, they're appalled at the kids' behavior. Why do they do that? They ask. I wish some people (right wing nutjobs) would make the connection about women staying at home and some of them not doing a good job. It's my assessment that some of these women just stay at home because they feel they ought to not because they want to. No one can do a good job at something they really don't want to do.