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Supernanny (TV) seems really questionable in hindsight - am I wrong?

(50 Posts)
NotTheBelleoftheBall Fri 17-Mar-17 09:30:34

I just caught five minutes of Supernanny and by my current beliefs about child rearing it seems really outdated.

I agree with the key elements: boundaries, communication, eating together as a family, helping children understand what behaviour is unacceptable (or 'unasseptable' as Jo says).

But the naughty step? Forced apologies and forced hugs post punishment? That all just seem a bit weird to me. I think I found forcing a stroppy child to hug most jarring.

I know SN is called in when the children/family really need help, so we're not talking about 'normal' behaviour management requirements - but still...

Disclaimer - DD is five months old, I might be all about the naughty step in five years!

steppemum Fri 17-Mar-17 12:19:48

I think you hit the nail on the head with 'I know SN is called in when the children/family really need help, so we're not talking about 'normal' behaviour management requirements - but still...

When a family is massively out of control, then there needs to be much clearer boundaries and lines drawn (including naughty step) than within a normally functioning family.

I used naughty step, there is an age where it is useful - up to a point. And it depends ENORMOUSLY on the personality of your child.

I have 3. They are very different. dc1 - say NO and he tried it again and again and again and again.
dc 2 say - NO and she stopped. dead. never repeated it, never did it again, never ran off, never broke rules etc.
dc 3 say - NO and her response was entirely dependant on the time of day/ audience she had/ if she saw it was funny etc etc.

I have a great deal of respect for Super Nanny, as I think if you watch it carefully you see there is a lot of making parents engage and play with their kids as well as boundary setting. That was often edited down to a minimum, but I think it was pretty key in her approach.

ElspethFlashman Fri 17-Mar-17 12:25:22

Tbh I absolutely agree with making a child say sorry. Saying sorry is something we have to learn socially - we all know people who never ever say sorry. They're usually known as assholes.

Kids have to learn that Sorry is a positive thing and that admitting you were wrong is not going to lead to censure, but to reconciliation.

And kids rarely say Sorry without being taught to. Occasionally they will mimic you doing it, but won't really learn WHY it's important unless it becomes a lesson to be learnt.

Lovelongweekends Fri 17-Mar-17 12:25:33

I agree that the naughty step only works for specific ages and specific personalities. We never used it with dd1, she responded better to star charts etc but we do use it with dd2 and it's very effective.
I think the cuddle at the end is very important as it says right, the punishment is over, mummy isn't cross anymore, we're not holding any grudges, let's start again with a clean slate.

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 17-Mar-17 12:29:29

Child care theories and practices are constantly evolving though.

My eldest is 23 and my youngest is 10. Loads of stuff that was considered good practice with DS1 was considered dodgy for DS2.

Astro55 Fri 17-Mar-17 12:30:21

I think the hug is the make the child feel better - as above it shows forgiveness and moving on.

Most kids feel awkward saying sorry - it should become second nature so issues don't blow up out of proportion in future!

We as adults must say sorry a lot over the day!

ElspethFlashman Fri 17-Mar-17 12:31:46

I also agree with her theory that a bedroom should be dark and free of stimulation. I remember one episode with a child who was hyper in their bedroom and SN said "Of course she is! Its like a carnival in there!" The kid had all the lightshow toys and musical lullaby toys etc.

I also agree with returning a child to bed wordlessly and not engaging.

Oh and not giving too much choice if they're very young. One kid used to kick off at bath time and Jo observed and the Mum spent the entire time making the kid choose. "Which shampoo do you want honey? Which towel do you want honey?" Jo was like "she's two - her brain is tiny. She cant cope with this. This isn't the kindness you think it is".

QuackDuckQuack Fri 17-Mar-17 12:32:00

Are we not meant to use the naughty step any more? It worked well for DD1 until she was able to lure DD2 to join her and keep her amused.

Witchend Fri 17-Mar-17 13:50:20

Most kids feel awkward saying sorry - it should become second nature

Does the word then potentially lose it's meaning though?

I had friends who were very strong on using the word "sorry" and for both their dc it ended up being the word you say when you've done something you know to be naughty and you want mum to stop telling you off. In once case he'd use it as he did it-"sorry" meant I'm hitting you and so I shouldn't be in trouble.
Yes, he was still in trouble and it was short lived phase-but saying "sorry" really backfired there.

As others have said it depends on the child.
With mine you could have drawn a line and told them not to go over:
dd1 wouldn't have gone within 3 feet in case she accidently went over.
Dd2 would have stood on the line.
Ds would have run as fast as he could to see how far over the line he could get before stopped.

So if I didn't want them to go over the line I used different techniques to stop them.

Batteriesallgone Fri 17-Mar-17 13:55:48

I think sorry is meaningless if the child hasn't developed empathy yet. I strongly believe 'sorry' is one of those things that can only truely be learnt by example and positive reward, much like empathy.

I find forced sorrys from young children a bit distasteful tbh. Not that that's something I'd ever admit on a non-anonymous forum!

HerrenaHarridan Fri 17-Mar-17 14:12:36

I don't beleive in forced sorry.

Ever. Anonymous forum or it.

Work it through with them till they are actually sorry, refuse to let them reintegrate with the group until they have made recompense with the victim but don't just force them to utter the word sorry.

This doesn't not teach them empathy, it teaches them submission to authority.
IMO these are the adults who refuse to say sorry. To them saying sorry is like having the pants pulled down and their bum smacked. It's a humiliation they endured when they were bullied into it.

We have a 3 step process

1) I'm sorry
2) are you alright?
3) is there anything I can do to help?

Until the aggressor has worked through this process with the victim they are not welcome as part of the group. 'I don't want to be with someone who hits, I don't feel safe with you'

If they don't feel ready they are free to go off by themselves or with an adult to calm down and work it through. They can take as long as they need but they will not be made welcome at the dinner table or in any group fun until they have.

Yes it can be pretty long and labourious but we only have to do it occasionally. Usually it's pretty swift and effective.

steppemum Fri 17-Mar-17 14:13:48

I think you have to teach sorry. It is a bit meaningless to start with, as is anything learnt by copying. But then you follow it up with explanation. Sorry means you won't do it again. Sorry means you know you shouldn't have done it. and so on.
These things evolve, so a kid goes through a phase of saying sorry just to stop mum being cross, and to get out of trouble, but then as they get older they understand it more.

To me the bigger issue is when older kids still don't understand it, and don;t get tat they are supposed to stop that behaviour now!

And I was always really careful about 'forcing' them. You can't force a reluctant child to say sorry. If you try you end up with an impasse, which doesn't help anyone. mediating can mean modelling.

steppemum Fri 17-Mar-17 14:19:06

x posts with you Herrena. I love your approach. Sounds great.

I like the don't rejoin the group until you are genuinely sorry, I think that is sort of what we did. You can't force a sorry, but you can ensure that the child isn't in a place to repeat behaviour until they have calmed down and understand it isn't acceptable.

ZilphasHatpin Fri 17-Mar-17 14:22:28

I agree OP. I still catch some old episodes of SN and I agree with most of what she does but the forced apologies and naughty step aren't those I do agree with. I used to. And I followed her methods with my Dc but experience has shown me they aren't the best way. They create angry frustrated children.

we all know people who never ever say sorry.

They're possibly people who were forced to do it as children and now they have a hang up about having to. Now it's their choice they're choosing not to.

Oblomov17 Fri 17-Mar-17 14:36:34

I still very very occasionally point to the bottom step of the stairs, (I have never referred to it as the 'naughty step', but it basically is) and tell ds's to:
"sit right down there for a couple of minutes and calm down".

''Tis quite effective.

ftw Fri 17-Mar-17 14:41:58

Doesn't that then just mean they're sorry they're being excluded, not they're sorry for whatever they did?

PamBagnallsGotACollage Fri 17-Mar-17 14:44:36

I used to make my eldest say sorry but a while ago I read somewhere that it's pointless if they haven't calmed down, haven't thought about what they've done and its effect and they don't actually mean it. Now he knows he needs to calm down and say sorry once he's ready. He is able to say sorry and say what he's sorry for and why what he did wasn't the right thing to do. He's 5 but we've been doing it this way for about two years.

My youngest is not quite two and I never make him say sorry either. He will always say sorry though and can say what he is saying sorry for, when asked. He had a tantrum this morning and hit me in the face while I was trying to get him in his buggy. He carried on for a bit then, when he had calmed down, he apologised without being prompted. I asked him why he was sorry and he said, 'face'.

Making children say sorry doesn't teach them to be sorry. Giving them time to calm down and get to thinking about what they've done by themselves after they have seen you're upset with their behaviour can really help.

So yeah, SN is old fashioned and unasseptable.

MakeItStopNeville Fri 17-Mar-17 14:55:35

But Supernanny didn't use to make them say sorry until then calmed down anyway, did she? That was the whole point of the time out. I used time outs very successfully with my lot. They sometimes just needed to be alone to calm down.

However, I found a proactive approach the best. Be aware of how they are, if they're getting hungry, if the game they're playing is over stimulating, etc. If you're on top of that, the need for "punishment" is greatly reduced.

QuackDuckQuack Fri 17-Mar-17 15:18:14

My 2 DDs have had quite different approaches to saying sorry at about 2 yo. DD1 refused to say sorry and would sign it instead, despite knowing no other sign language and being very verbal otherwise. DD2, now at a similar age occasionally hits me very gently just so she can say a very coy "sorry mummy". It's very cute but obviously not to be encouraged at all as it is just a game to her.

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 17-Mar-17 15:21:15

I told my kids that sorry meant, "I won't do it again". So they did something undesirable, were told off and mostly said "Sorry", and we could draw a line under it.

ZilphasHatpin Fri 17-Mar-17 15:23:55

But Supernanny didn't use to make them say sorry until then calmed down anyway, did she?

She made them say sorry at the end of their 3/4/5 minutes. She would say "I want an apology" and they would whine it through tears or grunt it if still angry and she always accepted it which baffled me as clearly they were just saying it to get off the naughty step.

Kleinzeit Fri 17-Mar-17 15:31:45

Forced apologies are important for the same reasons that forced thank-yous are important. Having to say thank you is part of learning that you should feel grateful for a birthday present even if it wasn't something you wanted at all. Saying sorry is part of learning that you should feel sorry you hit someone however much they annoyed you and stopped you doing what you wanted.

Do none of you intend to insist that your children say thank you?

Batteriesallgone Fri 17-Mar-17 15:33:51

No I don't Klein. But they say thank you anyway, I never had to force it. Children copy manners naturally.

Kleinzeit Fri 17-Mar-17 15:36:04

Children copy manners naturally.

Some do. Some don't.

tthey say thank you anyway, I never had to force it.

If your children always say sorry anyway then that's fine.

TinklyLittleLaugh Fri 17-Mar-17 15:37:16

Well I teach my children to say "Thank you" out of politeness. But I don't insist that they feel gratitude if it wasn't something they wanted. Appreciate the other person has made an effort, yeah. But no need to actually feel gratitude unless you are actually grateful.

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