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Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Common Thread in Super Nanny

As I've mentioned before, I get the 'opportunity' to sit through "Super Nanny" on Monday nights. Believe it or not, I actually like it - unlike the show which proceeds its, "Ho-in Around with Some Cute Guys", AKA, The Bachelorette.

The past episode had perhaps the worst child yet - a 2+ year old with absolutely no respect for any human being. One of the biggest differences in this case was that the mother was actually attempting some discipline - but they were pretty ineffective. For example, she would put him in his room, for 30 minutes (30 minutes! It is a 2 year old! Five is enough!) and had to hold the door closed the whole time. If she felt that it wasn't successful, she would grab the boy and essentially pin him down for the time period she selected (which I can't recall). Additionally, she seldom praised the boy, violating every reasonable child-rearing procedure I know. Of course, no single or double swat on the behind was ever considered.

However, while Super Nanny did her usual great job of ironing things out, I noticed that every single episode has something in common. Well, a couple things are in common - faily well-off families who can't control their kids - but one was glaring. In every case, there is an uninvolved father. He was there, he mayhave even occasionally contributed, but as a whole, the fathers were passive and detached from the children.

My current courses this, my last, semester include Marriage and Family Therapy. What should be clear, but often isn't, is that families with improper roles work poorly. If there is a detached family member (who is often the father) the rest of the family skews as well. I would propose that not only do the detached fathers have a lot to do with these particulary poorly behaved kids on the show, but they always will have negative effects, no matter how hard mom tries.

We'll see if the Super Nanny shows a family without a parent operating in an improper role. That would falsify my position. I don't expect it to happen. We'll be watching, though!


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