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July 11, 2005 permalink
The Orangeville Banner, cannot directly criticize social services. But here is an article from their Canada Day editorial page.
Do parents need instruction manual?
Karen MARTIN-ROBBINS, Great EXPECTATIONS
I was flipping through the TV channels the other day (looking for Dragon Tales or Poko) when I came across one of the latest reality shows -- Supernanny.
The show is one of several that gives viewers a voyeuristic look into the homes of dysfunctional families.
Each episode you meet a family whose children have outrageous behavioural problems -- like a child that spits at his mom and tells her he "hates her".
Then the parenting expert -- Supernanny, in this case -- swoops in and in about 20 minutes saves the family from itself.
As someone that is not a fan of reality TV, I have to admit the show is addictive.
It is fun to revel in other people's problems and sit smugly back and say, "My kids will never do that".
But that is exactly the problem with shows like this.
It feeds into the idea that parents cannot possibly cope without an expert.
At one point during this particular show, the mom says, "I am so grateful to Supernanny. I feel like I finally have an instruction manual for my kids".
Do parents really need an instruction manual to raise their children?
I certainly believe that it is difficult to raise children in isolation.
I have a cousin that is living away from family and friends with her husband and six-month-old son. The family is having some problems.
They have no one to relieve them from their parenting duties. No one to ask, "Does this poop look normal?".
As a mom of two rambunctious twins, I am grateful for my family and friends whom I can vet stuff with.
I can ask them, "How did you get your kids to sleep through the night?".
Or my favourite these days, "Did your children refuse to eat anything but Cheerios?".
But I also believe that my parenting skills will develop from me being a loving parent.
And besides, haven't people been raising kids for, well, forever?
We have a tendency to criticize parents.
We like to gossip about our friend's kid that "should be on Ritalin". It makes us feel better about oruselves.
Which is probably why shows like Supernanny exist.
But when the day comes that my kids tell me they hate me, as they most certainly will, I plan to turn to the best expert of all -- me.