Sunday, February 3, 2013

Common Booby Traps & Troubleshooting

Our society is fraught with "booby traps" or traps that impede women's breastfeeding attempts. I am going to choose a few select common booby traps to explain and troubleshoot for you.

Tips and Troubleshooting to Ensure Breastfeeding Success


1. Read, Read, Read & See, See, See

Read as many books as you possibly can on it. The more you know about what is normal and what isn't, you will be able to troubleshoot most of your own problems at home or consult a Lactation Consultant who you can help by eliminating problems with them. It gives you a starting point.

Avoid books written or funded by formula companies. Many of the breastfeeding pamphlets and books supplied by hospital staff (whether it be in a hospital breastfeeding class, a birthing class, after birth, etc) are written or funded by formula companies. They will sweet talk you and attempt to come off neutral...but why bother? They sell formula. Who buys formula? People who don't breastfeed. They are not trying to get you to breastfeed, no matter how well-meaning or "factual" they come off.

See? See what? See breastfeeding in action. Go to La Leche League meetings while you're pregnant. Take a class (I highly recommend non-hospital associated), meet breastfeeding mamas. Ask questions, watch closely. Go to Mommy Cafes in your area, if any. Many have meeting for breastfeeding moms. It helps to take away the "unknown" in breastfeeding when you see others succeed. It takes away the "fear" of failing.

2. Have A Mama/Baby-Friendly Birth

What does this mean? This means, be as informed about birth as you possibly can. This doesn't mean you have to go without an epidural or pain relief if you wish (although it is ideal). It means, if you choose to get the epidural, know that it's best to wait to get it as long as you possibly can, and that getting it before active labor (5cm) can stall or slow your labor and require more interventions. Having a M/B-Friendly Birth just means to reduce the interventions as much as possible. Epidurals, C-Sections, and other such measures are known to cause lower breastfeeding rates. The baby does sometimes come out far to sleepy to suckle (this effect can last up to two weeks, which is THE most important period in establishing supply) and you want to avoid that. If you do have to have a c-section for whatever reason, ask for only the epidural, and make sure they give you skin-to-skin immediately and do not take your baby (of course, barring complications). It is your baby, and they do not get to tell you no.

All in all, the less interventions - the better the breastfeeding outcome.

2. Check and Check Again

Check what? Check your baby for lip and tongue ties, even the smallest one can impede breastfeeding. Many nurses and pediatricians will say "Oh, it's only a small one, no need to worry" or play it off as if there isn't one. For most ties (2nd Degree +) they will need to be clipped by a pediatric dentist or ENT. If the tie is even a 1st degree, you need to know anyways, as some can still cause problems. I don't advise doing anything for 1st degree ties except to know they are there, so you know what the problem is if it still needs to be clipped if problems arise later.

Check latch. Don't follow the nurse's instructions. Nurses are well-meaning most of the time, and yes they see many many women who breastfeed, but most are not experts and not trained on the matter. If you have the smallest hint of a problem, or just feel like it needs to be checked, ask for the lactation consultant. If there is none, you can call La Leche League and usually they will be able to help you.

3. Avoid Formula Samples and Breastfeeding Pamphlets/Books with Ties to Formula Companies

This means, do not keep formula in your house. If it is gifted to you or you get samples in the mail...give it away or donate it. If the temptation is there, you are more likely to take it. This means, when you're in the hospital, make it clear you are breastfeeding. Do not let the baby go to the nursery (it is shown that regardless of parents' wishes, NICU staff often force-feeds newborns formula without regard). See the above information about why those Pamphlets and Books are bad. ^^

4. Have Support

It sounds so obvious - but some women really feel they don't need support, and then end up needing it. Breastfeeding can be hard, especially in the first few weeks post-partum. It takes dedication, time, sometimes pain, and lots of love. For a while it can feel like you can't get out of bed to pee without a milk-vampire screaming for you. It can make a mom desperate and lonely and frustrated. Having a supportive partner, friend, or relative can really help. Someone who encourages you or soothes the baby while you take a shower is sometimes all a mom needs. Seriously, even if you feel you can handle it - why deny that shower to yourself? You will feel so much better when you take care of yourself (and feeling better will help you succeed). It's been proven that women who feel they have no support - oftentimes stop breastfeeding before reaching the 6 week mark.

Make sure your child's pediatrician is supportive of your breastfeeding wishes. An unsupportive pediatrician will often try and get you to stop. They will give you samples of formula, those dreaded booklets we discussed, and use scare tactics on you that will attempt to get you to second guess yourself. Sometimes a pediatrician also doesn't know what is normal for breastfeeding. They use the CDC growth charts (based on formula-fed infants) and don't know that there are breast-fed baby charts (by the WHO). Oftentimes that small mistake can lead them to diagnosing your baby with FTT (Failure to Thrive) or other issues that your baby doesn't have - leading to supplementing - which will eventually lead to full-time formula-feeding. Make sure your pediatrician is either knowledgeable or willing to work with you.

5. Stick it Out! Set goals - or don't!

Oftentimes the first few weeks or months can be so hard. You may face latch issues, tongue or lip ties, allergies, thrush, mastitis, leaking nipples, sore boobies and other such problems. It may seem like forever - but those issues go away really quickly. It will be like the blink of an eye, and you will be SO proud of your achievement.

If it is helpful to you - set some goals. "Let's make it to the 6 week mark." "I will go a year!" Sometimes that doesn't work out - and that's alright. But if you think it will help - set them anyways. Stick to it! It's worth it. If you feel setting arbitrary goals is just going to put on too much pressure - skip them. Do what works for you! Find your inspiration somewhere.




Troubleshooting

1. My milk isn't in!!

Usually it can take 3-7 days for milk to come in post-partum. Until then, you will produce colostrum - and until your milk comes in this will satisfy your baby - even if your baby seems very hungry it is often just the sucking action that is soothing. Put them to the breast as often as you possibly can - this will ensure your milk will come in faster. Giving formula will just impede or destroy breastfeeding. You need your baby to breastfeed as much as possible for the first two weeks to ensure your supply. Breastfeeding is supply and demand. 

2. Why does it hurt??

Sometimes - it just does for a while. More often than not though, there can be an improper latch. Most of the time that is due to a tongue or lip tie, and usually a lactation consultant can diagnose it for you. In rarer cases - it can be caused by Raynaud's Phenomenon which is usually treatable and unconcerning (besides being painful, of course). 

3. What's this white stuff on my nipple and/or in my baby's mouth?

That's usually a sign of thrush, and there are many home remedies for it. In particularly stubborn cases an antifungal may be given to you by your child's pediatrician. Usually, just cutting out most yeast, gluten, and/or sugar in your diet will clear it right up though. Gentian violet is another common remedy.

4. I have shooting pains in my breast. The area is red and sore. What is this??

It could be a clogged duct - massage it and breastfeed often. Apply hot compresses (or take hot showers) to try and loosen it up. If not resolved quickly enough it can lead to mastitis - infection. Mastitis can be really painful, and takes antibiotics to treat. So if you suspect a clogged duct, try and help yourself out by getting rid of it. Your baby will often finally just suck it right out from your breast and you won't know.

5. My baby just eats and eats and eats every 20 minutes. I'm so frustrated!!

This is caused by a lot of things. In the beginning this is normal, a newborn's belly is only so big. And those tiny mouths get tired quick. Be patient - it will pass.

It can be caused by growth spurts - just remember you're giving them liquid gold! They will grow big and strong!

Your little one may be getting sick. Don't worry, her saliva will tell your breast to make antibodies - and you will pass those antibodies right along in your milk to help. Many times your little one will be over that bug before you even realize she may have been getting sick.

It can be teething. All that suction and motion may help relieve the pressure and pain in their tiny jaws. It may be the only thing that helps for a while. Again, remember....it will pass! Don't be afraid of them getting teeth - you can't suck and bite at the same time. Most babies only bite a few times and quickly get over it - they want their milk first and foremost!

Check again for lip and tongue ties. They may be just as frustrated as you because they don't know why their milk-nozzle isn't working right. In these cases they become frustrated with their own limitations and keep trying to satisfy themselves.



Most of all - have faith in yourself. Most women CAN successfully nurse with the proper support and determination. Only a very small percentage of women can't breastfeed due to hypoplasia/insufficient glandular tissue. Chances are - you are NOT one of them.



Not Everyone Agrees....

I don't post certain things to be controversial. I don't go looking for backlash and arguments. I want to educate and inform, even if a parent chooses differently from me. I come from a place of care - I just want everyone to have access to the same information, and have the same chance to assess both sides of an issue before making a decision. I don't set out to judge other mothers. Of course it happens, it happens to everyone where they catch themselves making judgments. However, I do my best not to judge unfairly. Sometimes a mom just doesn't know better, or has been misinformed. It is in incredibly mind-boggling cases where a mom does know better or resists looking at information - that one who chooses the poorer path where I find myself judging. How can you not want to look at more information, and be informed? It's your child's well-being in the balance sometimes. it's mind-boggling, truly!

That said, I hope that people can also come from a place of understanding. A lot of my methods are brusque. I'm not trying to be judgmental or bitchy. I'm trying to present information matter of factly. I shouldn't have to sugar coat it for people to be willing to read it. I shouldn't have to try so hard to make people want to read it. If they don't want to hear it; they won't look or they won't listen. Those who come with an open mind are going to be the ones who gain the richness of the information. It is not my responsibility to try and coerce the one who doesn't want it, to drink the water I have brought. That's idiotic. And mental.

Sometimes, even with the information I have presented...a parent will choose differently. Sometimes there are many methods, and reasons for those methods...and that's okay. I'm cool with that. Just be informed. Truly informed. Constantly look for new information - even if you don't feel it will change your mind. Being knowledgeable about a subject won't hurt. It can only help you and provide you with tools.

There is of course, that line to cross where a parent may no longer be looking out for their child's best interest. That's always sad. But as I said, you can't make them drink what you want them to. Some people are just not going to listen to anyone else. I try not to pay mind to those people and to contact appropriately when I feel a child is in immediate danger.

So please, for the love of Gallifrey... do not insist I am seeking drama. Or judging you. Or something else idiotic. I am trying to inform people and let them know (honestly, a lot of the time parents just don't know) that there are other ways of doing things, or more information to be had about subjects they never thought about before. I have my opinions - but they are all based on fact and not judgment. You can have your opinions too. Don't base them off of cultural ideas and myths, misinformation and judgments. Do your own research - come to your own conclusions. Don't accuse the one trying to help others, or one who disagrees with you as being a sancti-mommy. Some people are just trying to help.



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Super Nanny 911?

I know that this blog is generally reserved for health and other related topics - but I feel strongly the need to talk about this topic.

Growing up, and before I had a child... I had seen many shows such as Super Nanny and Nanny 911. I adored many of the nannies, thinking that the majority of their methods worked fantastic and that their strict, albeit "loving" methods were just the thing to do when you had kids.

Even after becoming a mother I did not see anything wrong with their methods until doing research myself. It was hard to reject my preconceived notions and felt somewhat set in my opinion of their methods being non-harmful and definitely helpful. It was a post that sparked my interest, I honestly could not remember where I read it or who it was by - but it basically came to the summation that the methods used in such shows are based in terrible methods which do not follow science and can actually be detrimental; that they contradict modern child psychology.

It took me a few days of going through the motions. It was almost like grieving those preconceived notions because they were what I knew. However like always, I know I must reject what I had previously known until I research things and come to a conclusion on my own. At first I denied that there could possibly be a problem in their methods. Of course not! I mean, they worked, right? Then I felt a tweak angry, why were people picking on these nice, talented ladies? What could they possibly be doing that was so terrible? Then I bargained with myself - well if I just let the doubt go, then I can go on believing that there's nothing wrong with their methodology and I can employ them myself when my daughter gets older - guilt free! I then felt like, "why should I even bother reading this stuff? It only makes me feel awful and question myself! It also brings negativity to me and I mean, why do I need more negativity in my life?" After a few hours of that I solemnly resigned myself to doing the research I knew was required to be informed of the topic. After just poking around another couple of hours over the next few days and thinking about what I had read, I accepted the fact that their methods were not scientific and perhaps may be damaging - at least.

Let me explain a bit.

Every week a nanny (usually British) will come to a household in turmoil - with screaming kids, disobedience, sometimes violence and worse. The parents are usually portrayed as clueless, mindless morons who shouldn't be raising kids. Then the prim and proper, exotic and knowledgeable nanny steps in to employ methods to "fix" the parents and children.

First off - they are trying to make you okay with a stranger entering this family's home and taking control of their lives with imposing methods that you cannot argue with. Is this not priming for totalitarianism? Making it more of a household theme? More acceptable in the masses? Honestly, what these people don't need is control or a stranger telling them what to do. They need guidance and the resources to educate themselves to find something that works for them outside of the "norm" and outside of what the nannies employ. The show does nothing but teach that the parent is more important and should have "control", that the child should just bend to the will of their parents or be broken, and that parenting is for the parents to live their lives conveniently...not for actually raising a child. Do you get what is wrong with that picture? Parenting for the parent, instead of for the child? Teaching to put the needs and wants of the parents first in order to raise children "effectively" is twisted and disgusting.

In many instances the nannies make the parents feel ignorant, stupid, and like they can't and shouldn't parent their own kids the way they think is okay. They rub the parents' faces in it, with things like "well you called us, remember, because you're moronic. So you better listen to me because I know better, and I have all the power." The nannies make it as if the parents should follow their word to the letter without any deviation - and I have seen them physically force the parents to do so. Um, what? Assault, much? Not to mention that the verbal and physical derision and disrespect to the parents is not going to teach the children that their parents are capable and their "superior" as the show aims, nor is it going to teach them to respect or listen to their parents. In fact, it is going to teach them that their parents are morons and that they, the child, must know better than their parents because they had to have someone come help them...if they needed help, why listen to them in the first place?...I mean if they're doing it all wrong, then the child must know best for themselves after all. Do you see where this is leading?

So, why do we blindly accept that those families are going to interact "normally" with a camera crew sitting in every room of their house, and a stranger watching their every move? If you have a child - you know - you must, that each child will react differently to the situation...and that many times the child will attempt to act out, show off, feel strange or encroached upon (as there is obviously no privacy, which can and will affect a child's behavior), and will try and communicate this through their actions. Usually - this means temper tantrums. Big ones. Temper tantrums are a normal childhood behavior - it is the child learning to vent their emotions effectively, even if it is annoying and inconveniencing to us as parents. Our society looks down their noses at it now - where and when that started I am unsure...but I am positive that it is doing nothing but emotionally stunting our children as we try and force them to be "civilized" and "polite" by not having a tantrum or crying.

As children - especially toddlers and babies - we do not have the words to express our feelings and frustrations well enough to vent to someone verbally. That in itself is incredibly frustrating even to adults - who sometimes can't pinpoint or find the right words either, am I right? Now, imagine not even knowing the words to express your emotions - what will you revert to? You are going to be angry and frustrated, especially if the one or two people you expect to try and understand tell you not to communicate with them. That is essentially what a tantrum is. Whatever emotion they are having a tantrum over - is still an attempt to communicate their feelings...sadness, anger, frustration, uncomfortable-ness, sickness, disappointment, etc. etc. That is good. That is normal. It is natural, and it means the child is attempting to broaden their spectrum of communication (in the majority of cases.) When a child has a tantrum, they are asking for understanding first and foremost, and then help. They want their caretakers to understand their feelings and address them, even if there is nothing they can actually do. We want the same as adults, don't we? Among our friends, family, and spouses? Understanding and compassion? Ultimately and annoyingly, we must realize that these shows must have one hell of an editing team. There is no way that they radically make a happy home in 7 days, complete with cooperative, "polite/civilized", communicative, etc children and parents who know just what to do. I'm sorry - but that is not reality especially with the circumstances of having strangers in your house at all hours watching every move. If I were one of those parents, I would be pissed and bull angry with how the nannies treated me and my children. I would not be smiling and thanking them about how they've made life all unicorns and rainbows again. Yet, the producers would have you believe that the nanny fed them sparkles and sunshine and that the family shit out all of the unicorns and rainbows of the world.

Then, at the end of the show, the family is rewarded. Such things like exotic vacations, trips to Disney World, new houses, money, etc. are given to the families as "reward" for their behavior... oh, I mean their "hard work" (ie. listening to the nanny and doing exactly as the nanny says, putting up with the abuse.) *insert eyeroll* All of this undermines the parents' confidence in their abilities - which is very obviously part of the problem, or else why would they phone a t.v. show to be publicly humiliated? It is the same for the parents as it is for the kids - the parents consider their kids "bad" and so they call the nanny to "fix" them; and the nanny considers the parents "bad" and employs their methods to "fix" the parents, so that they in turn can "fix" their kids. Not very logical, is it? Not very helpful, is it? If the parents aren't made to feel confident, understood, and capable...then they will never be able to parent their kids as is necessary because they won't have the confidence to do so; even if they continue to use the nanny's methods. In much the same way that children who do not feel confident, understood, and capable will not function emotionally well in the long-term even if their behavior "improves". It is just a one big cycle.

Let me break apart some of the so-called "methods" and some obvious things that these nannies "overlook" (ie. leave out, and I will explain why.)

Each episode is treated as if the child(ren) is/are the enemy, and that they need to be conquered and tamed like wild animals, the control to be put completely in the adults' hands. However, children are not wild animals and they are not our enemy (how can you honestly consider any child, much less your own, your enemy over their age-appropriate behaviors?)

1. Strict scheduling. Often the nannies employ this "method" of helping the children cope and somehow regulate their behavior. While it is true, children learn through patterns and sometimes thrive under schedules...strict scheduling actually will not help your child in almost all cases. Forcing your child to eat when they are not hungry, sleep when they are not tired, and to a certain degree force them to do things that they don't want to do is not going to cut their tantrums and improve their behavior. It is going to make them angry, frustrated, resentful, and depressed. Of course they are going to act out! Try having someone point at you each morning at 9 am and say "eat" and then "play" then point at you at 11 am and say "sleep" and then "eat" again at 2 pm, then "play" until you must again "eat" at 6pm, and "sleep" at 8 pm. Even as adults we cannot wire our own clocks to be so stringent - forcing a child into such a schedule "no matter what" (as the nannies enforce) is not going to help. A loose schedule might - wake up around the same time, and eat around the same time if they are hungry, and nap about the same time if they are tired. As adults we do not eat around the same time every day in the majority of cases, we don't go to bed every night at the exact same time. We wouldn't like it if someone expected us to! As parents it is right for us to make sure our children are eating, playing, sleeping, learning enough...but there is a line, a boundary, that we ourselves would not like crossed. Being a child does not mean that boundary is okay to be crossed, and being a parent doesn't mean we get to cross it.

2. A list of "Rules" that usually are "don'ts." Rules are okay. Every child needs boundaries, but when do we, as parents...go overboard and actually prevent our children from learning experiences and such consequences? It suffices to say "Don't run inside of the house." However, it is even better to say "It is better if you could act calmly and walk inside because you can .... (somehow hurt yourself, someone else, break something, etc.) If you would like to run we can go in the yard/take a trip to the park/dance the wiggles out." See, one implies totally dictatorship - you are in control and your child has no voice in the matter (I am not saying that they should be given a say in certain situations such as running in areas of the house; that could be dangerous...instead I am talking about undermining the child's sense of choice and self as an individual.) The first also lacks reason, it doesn't give any logic as to why this could be bad, ie. while you're cooking in the kitchen they could run into the stove, or you (and injure you), or fall if you are mopping, etc. It is just a command, a demand. It implies your child is incapable of understanding logic and reason - a fact that is disproved every time a child asks you "why?" as they are capable of understanding why and when there is a time and place for certain behaviors. A child who does not feel as if they get a choice and does not understand why they are not supposed to do something is not going to be able to make choices later in life. If you don't learn to make choices as a child, it will lead to indecisiveness as an adult; as research has proved time and time again. The second offers not only an acceptable alternative, but does not make your child feel as if you are bossing them around (even if that is what you are doing indirectly, you are not making your child feel as if they are inferior, which will again cause anger and resentment and acting out.) Posting rules like I demonstrated only demands order and enforcement - which as adults we would consider cruel and ridiculous. Helping a child develop a sense of others and things (what effects his actions will have) is going to help him understand when and why a behavior is - or isn't - appropriate. Not blind obedience.

3. Encouraging inappropriate expectations based on a child's age. Expecting all children from ages 1 year to 10 years not to throw a tantrum is condescendingly arrogant. It is normal for children to have tantrums up through 7 years old, sometimes more based upon their maturity and individuality. See above for why. Expecting all children to apply a certain behavior (such as sitting still or being quiet for prolong periods of time) without regard for their age, maturity, and individual personalities and capabilities is not only ridiculous...it's irritating. Most 2 year olds cannot sit still or be quiet, and that is normal!! I can't believe that a two year old must sit on a "naughty step" based on the nanny's ludicrous idea over what is behaviorally appropriate for that child without knowledge of child psychology and individuality of the child (after day 1 she makes expectations, hardly long enough to remember the child's middle name, I'd say!) Sometimes the parents go into the show not realizing that some of their children's "bad" behaviors are developmentally appropriate and do not need remedying. A shift of perspective often "remedies" many "bad" behaviors. The show only plays up the stupidity of America by playing to this ignorance. You wouldn't expect a 6 month old baby to walk or talk, because it's not on their developmental timeline. A 9 month old baby may say a word or two or take a few steps, and some babies don't walk or talk until closer to two years old. There is always deviation in individual children. If you have a child - this should be a huge DUH for you. People need to realize when that sometimes you need to just count to five - your child isn't ready to "use his words" instead of tantruming at 2 years old.

4. Time outs/Naughty spots - and apologizing. As the parent we sometimes need "time outs" or a few minutes to gather our emotions and thoughts sometimes. However, enforcing "time outs" and making them sit on a "naughty stoop" or in a "naughty corner"... for a child does the exact opposite. It shames them, it humiliates them, and it doesn't teach them why what they did was wrong, or impolite, or "bad." It teaches them that if they do a certain behavior etc., they are going to be penalized and humiliated. In the show this often means that the reason for the behavior doesn't matter - the root cause is irrelevant. There's a lot I can put on this. Under no circumstances is it okay to humiliate or degrade a child for any reason, no matter their behavior. That is all a time-out is. It's an imposed time-frame where you tell your child they are bad and watch them suffer for it, and by doing so enforce that punitive behaviors for those who we deem "bad" is okay...even necessary. No decent parent wants to punish their child for any reason, nor humiliate them...and honestly to Bob many don't realize that that's all a time-out is. Brainwashed by popular expectations and trendy methods of discipline - they think that it is actually helpful and good for their child. That's another topic - however this show enforces that it is okay to humiliate your child, make them feel inferior, and "break" them if you have to. Then forcing them to apologize - without regard to why they behaved a certain way, did a certain thing, etc. is showing them insincerity. If they don't feel sorry - it is because they don't truly understand why what they did was inappropriate. Forcing them to apologize won't teach them why. Neither will forcing them into a time-out. What will teach them why a certain thing was inappropriate? Natural consequences. A time-out is artificial. In the adult world, we don't get time-outs for shouting or running or staying up or being late. A good way to apply natural consequences is this situation... a four year old boy knows that being nice is important (say one of the rules is to Play Nicely), but his 6 year old sister keeps taking his favorite train. After a 5th time of asking for his train back, he hits his sister on the head with a block out of frustration and feels bad that he hurt her. She drops the train and runs crying to a parent. The parent comes in, and asks both of them what happened. The boy tells that he asked her for his train back many times and she ignored him; and she admits that she didn't want to share the train. Here's the thing ..the train belongs to the boy, and in the real world we don't have to share our car, or our house, or anything because someone wants us to.  Forcing the boy to share it would be artificial punishment. Forcing the boy into a time out for hitting his sister is also an artificial punishment. A parent might say "I'm sorry you felt so frustrated and ignored. However you know the rule, by choosing to hit your sister Tommy, you choose to play in your room for the rest of the day alone, because you know that it hurts and is not okay. If you cannot play nicely you have to play alone." But that same parent would turn and say "Sally, by choosing to ignore your brother and taking his things without asking, you hurt his feelings and violated his privacy to play with his own toys, so you choose to give Tommy one of your favorite toys to play with for the rest of the day. You know that the train was Tommy's and that you should not have been playing with it when Tommy wanted it." And addressing them both, "If one of you is not acting appropriately, or you get angry and don't know what to do, come see one of us and we will help you." This way, Sally understands why what she did was inappropriate and Tommy understands why what he did was inappropriate - neither is made to feel shamed or humiliated and, both not only know that there are consequences.... but that their parents are there to talk to and help them when they don't know what to do about something and will be fair no matter what. There are other ways to handle this other than the way I described, however it is just an example about what is more effective the majority of the time. Positive reinforcement, understanding, and natural consequence will work! A child is not always going to follow the rules - that is normal too. They push boundaries because that is normal psychological child behavior. Being too harsh and unfair will only make them want to push them more. Forcing them to apologize, especially when they are not sorry makes them feel as if they need to be sorry for sticking up for themselves (such as in Tommy's case) and teaches them insincerity...to say something because it is "proper" rather than meaningful. That will lead to tons of issues later, they will learn to suppress sincerity and thoughtfulness.

5. Rewards to "balance" their discipline. I'm going to run with Alfie Kohn's example. If a child receives praise for each and every mouthful of food he eats to please his parents - he is going to over-feed himself for that praise. A child always wants to please their parents and setting unrealistic expectations "eat your entire plate of food, Ralph!" when Ralph can only eat half his food, and then praising him for each and every extra spoonful past half - is poor "reinforcement." It is teaching the child that it's okay if they're suffering, or need to suffer so long as they are pleasing their parent. They will go for that praise no matter the cost to themselves. Why is this okay?

6. Disregard the child's feelings. In one episode, a child was playing "cleaning" with the outdoor hose. The mother just walked over and said "You're done!" When the child protested the mother meanly turned off the water. The child kicked over a wagon (in clear frustration and anger) and Supernanny said "JUST over the water being turned off?" No, dear, he was upset because his mother talked to him like the family dog, ignored his attempts at communication and emotional connection, and was incredibly cold. Not actually because the water was turned off. His mother could have come out and said "Honey, the water's been running for too long. Why don't you come help me/do this instead?" If the kid wanted to "clean", why not give him a "big boy" job of cleaning the windows with water in a spray bottle (supervised, of course)? Why not say "Honey, if you want to clean, why don't you help me pick up your toys and clean your room?" If you don't teach your child how to clean and have houseskills, but expect them to know how to clean their room by themselves at 4 years old, you're going to get no where fast. Again with the unrealistic expectations.

7. Sleep "training". Sleep "training" is very controversial in all parenting circles. However, medical evidence is clear that children should not be left to CIO (cry it out) for any amount of time, as it stunts them emotionally. When you leave your child in their crib, bed, or room alone when all they want is some form of comfort (whether suddenly or in "steps" as "Supernanny" suggests)...you are not teaching them to "self-soothe". You are teaching them that the one person they look up to and can count on - isn't going to help them. That person isn't going to come to their rescue. So give up. By not giving eye contact or talking or touching, you are teaching them that you are going to watch them suffer, that they can cry for comfort again and again, but you don't care. It doesn't matter if you're sitting next to them or in the next room. It is the same exact message. Forcing a child to wean from their comfort zone isn't going to teach them independence...and why the hell do we expect 2-6 year olds to be independent anyways? A child again, has his own developmental timeline. A child is dependent - that is what a child is! We can't set unrealistic expectations of any kind (especially not sleep-wise) and then bitch because our child isn't independent enough and you don't have your freedom. Sorry - that's parenthood. Why do we want our kids to grow up so fast? They're only little once. This time will pass. And it will only take a blink.


The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has evaluated Jo Frost's methods. They found it did nothing but harm. It didn't make parents less stressed and didn't "improve" a child's behavior.


With that all said, upon leaving the show this is what Jo Frost had to say about her leaving the show and about her replacement. "She has teachers who are the real ones who do the work. She sits behind a desk. Until you have dealt with the sick and the mess of children, it is very hard to advise anyone else. I have been a nanny since I was 14. I've been in the trenches. What qualifies her to offer advice?" Wow, way to go out classy and dignified!! (Or...not.) First off, I think this statement says all it needs to about Jo Frost's character. She's prone to jealousy, spite, rudeness, and has a superiority complex. Children don't just produce "sick" and "messes," they bring joy and love like nothing else in this world can. How you choose to look at parenting really shows your character as a person. "Trenches?!" Since when is there a war against children? You aren't battling them. You are cooperating with and guiding them to try and help them become a happy, well-balanced person. You aren't trying to teach them blind obedience. If you are, there is something wrong there. What qualifies Deborah Tillman (her replacement) is that she doesn't think she's Nanny Goddess of the All-Knowing Discipline, where children should just bow down and obey her every command. She actually realizes that discipline is more than obedience, and is a concerted family effort to find constructive and healthy methods. That's what makes her qualified. She's willing to learn different ways and adapt to help each and every family, rather than employing her dry, harmful, across-the-board methods. Why is it Jo's call over whether or not someone else is "qualified?" It's not her business anymore. Bye bye.


I beg each and every parent not to listen to these shows. Watch them, and know what not to do. They are nothing more than reality tv shows trying to indoctrinate the population with terrible parenting methods and political ideas of what is proper and acceptable.