I was up all night last night and this wasn’t due to the little man. I was engaging in a 24hr photobox mission on facebook (which I will write more about in another post a bit later on)! So,with no company but my own and those in cyber space who like me where pulling their homes apart in a bid for picture inspiration, I decided to pop the telly on.
Lucky I did, as BBC3 were showing a documentory (which I gathered was a repeat) called, ‘ Cherry Healeys Parenting Dilemma’ Fantastic. I remember being contacted by a PR when the show was in the piloting stages, at the time I had no interest in documenting my own parenting dilemma to the world, as Little man was really testing them parenting skills and my overall sanity, school was a huge issue and I was pretty worn out. Having seen the press release I was excited to see how it had all planed out. I was now gripped by a tv show and a photo challenge (good job I can muti-task)
Yet, I wasn’t fully prepared for what I was about to view.
The show was presented by Cherry Healey. I love this presenter, I first saw her present another bbc3 documentry on binge drinking which was brilliant. She has since covered an aray of topics even the journey through her own pregnancy, the debates surrounding breast or bottle feeding! Another recent one was a documentory on how womem see their own body image, which again proved to be fantastic viewing.
I quickly got my next photo challenge out the way (will again explain what the hell I’m referring to a bit later). I then settled down to watch the show. Cherry met a number of different families all with their own degree of problems or parenting style.
I just want to share my opinions on just one part of the documentary which covered a couple who had two young boys, I’m guessing the youngest to be 3 or 4 at a push.These parents believed that a very strict parenting routine was needed to keep the boys in order!
Firstly, let me state, “I’m not a judgemental person and I hope no one see me as one” I know as well as anyone, how it feels to be looked upon and have your parenting skills judged. I understand everyone has their own way/style in doing so, and I think that’s just fine! However, if you are willing to have your families day to day life broadcast on national television, then you expect people to watch and have an opinion. My opinion, These parents punish they’re children like a dog.
Cherry met the family at their home during meal time. Both parents were happy to contribute their views on “how children should be raised, and what works for them as a family” The family had previously been sent a video camera to film their day to day routine. During the interview mum states how both her children are made to sit and eat at the table (a fair request and rule, I think)! She told Cherry that the children have to eat all food including snacks at the table, there is no point ever when the boys are allowed to eat on the sofas! Friday is sweet or treat day and the boys are occasionally able to eat sweets while sat on the carpet. fair enough! Dad went on to say that the children are always picked up on their manners if they every slip. Please and thank you are at the up-most importance. He stated that the boys rearly need reminding when it comes to the little things like, taking their shoes off when coming in the house or not eating on the sofas, etc. Great, sounds perfectly normal and reasonable to me.
Then the subject of discipline was raised. I was both shocked and horrified By the parents approach to this issue, so much so,I cried throughout the rest of the programme. If the boys didn’t sleep or did something considered to be,”naughty” like getting out of bed more than once, etc… a disturbing action, (which at first I thought was a nasty threat) took place. The two young boys were told if any unwanted behaviour continued then they would be shut out the back door in the garden amongst the darkness. They quite willing filmed themselves following through with the threat.The Mother said at one stage, “stop it or your going outside in the dark” and that’s just what happen! The child was filmed screaming and you could see and hear the little boys heartbreaking pleas as he begged his mummy not to put him in the garden! Shit, I was horrified. It lasted just minutes but was enough to scare the little boy to death, he sobbed trying to hug his mummy as she tucked him back in his bed telling him to remain there.
God, he is a pre-schooler his brother not much older! These are children not dogs! The father states that he doesn’t like doing this but it’s never for long and does the trick they don’t get up again during the night!
“I’m not bloody surprised are you?” I had visions of the children needing to use the toilet but holding it in till daylight through fear of the back door and the cold darkness it brings.What if the child had a nightmare and woke up, would he be handled in the same way. What hurt me is strangely these parents didn’t see it as wrong, I actually think they love them boys a lot and really do believe it’s for their own benefit.
I’ve worked hard to help little man battle his fears and phobias and to see a child being punished by sticking them out in the dark makes me livid. No, seriously it made me so angry I didn’t know what to do with myself! Little man suffers from anxiety and to see those parents actually inflicting it, while I’m trying to help my child decrease such fears, hit me hard.
Another punishment inflicted on the boys was smacking. One of the parents stated that it’s only used as the last result in an attempt to stop the behaviour from escalating to far. I know parents smack, there’s a massive debate that will always surround smacking. Yet this little boy was smacked on his hand (the second time quite hard) for behaviour that I saw as nothing other than just child like behaviour. The youngest wanted some crisps, he was told no, he continued to ask and climb over his mother. He was then smacked on his hand lightly. He then went to where the crisp were (he was clearly just seeing how far he could go and was rather hoping he could gain access to the crisp) he was then smacked hard for a second time and then carried to his room. He sobbed and throw his arms about in an angry manner. His father was stood their obviously filming him causing him even more stress. Both parents said they were smacked as children and it didn’t do them any harm (umm, I beg to differ) Cherry was clearly shocked especially when they openly admitted smacking both boys up to three times a week (well I see two smacks given over the one small incident, so I’m guessing it’s more). I can get why some parents may snap and lose it for a second, I do understand that many parents do engage in smacking.
When a child has special needs parents with no help from the local authorities, deal with behaviours far more challenging than displayed by them little boys and smacking them would just make things worse.
The parents views were pretty far off, with mum stating she would rather use her form of punishments than have a child who can be seen as demanding and giving the parent the run around in public. Gosh, I wonder what they would make of my little man and me, what with the added addition of my daughter and demanding toddler she may have something to say! Sadly the parents seem to believe that any child engaging in behaviour seen to be challenging was a result of bad and non consistent parenting.
Although I agree, consistency is 100% best. I don’t agree it is always possible. I firmly stand by my opinion, that in my view such punishments (shut outside in the dark) shouldn’t even be threaten in the first place, let alone enforced. Yes, be consistent with routine and discipline but it’s worth remembering that if your child keeps getting out of bed (there just maybe a reason)!
There are times I’m a bit soft but on the whole I tend to stick to my guns. I just really hope that them little boys don’t grow into bullies as sticking your child outside in the dead of night dosent seem like a loving nor effective parenting technique to me. Does it you?
- Discipline from a child’s perspective (universalscribbler.wordpress.com)
- Is publicly humiliating your child a form of abuse? (theglobeandmail.com)
- What have Cherry Healey and Dawn Porter taught us? (guardian.co.uk)