Yesterday, in between all the Fourth of July family celebrating, my sister and I relaxed in front of the television and happily got sucked into a Supernanny Marathon on the UP Network, only something between us had changed. Jo, the brilliant nanny from England with all the answers seemed to be doling out absurd advice. Back when our kids were toddlers, it all seemed so usable. Now it just seems so…enabling.
I guess it could have been the burgers, the hot dogs and all the loud fireworks, but my Irish mother was channeling through us from the grave and for each Supernanny tip, I swear I could almost hear Rose Sheehan respond with a confident, sarcastic retort of dissent (probably coming from my sister’s mouth) and I found myself agreeing with committed solidarity. I guess Jo’s the tips and tricks work for children, but moms from my mother’s generation, and mine, committed themselves to creating self-sufficient adults. That meant no rewards for good behavior because adults are expected to be good and no one gives you anything for that.
Here are a few other ideas we dug up from our upbringing that Supernanny Jo might want to incorporate into her tool box or at least, see how Supernanny and Supermommy differ in philosophy.
Supernanny Tip: “When brothers and sisters fight constantly it can be upsetting for them and a noisy nightmare for you. It could help for them to get more [one-on-one] alone-time with you.”
Supermommy Strategy: Mom didn’t play with us or have “one-on-one” time with any of us. She was mom. She slayed dragons, gave us food, cleaned the house, demanded obedience and hugged us before bed.
Supernanny Tip: “Use the Reward Chart to award stickers for good behaviour, and when your child has collected enough stickers to get them to the top of the chart, you can reward them with a treat or an outing.”
Supermommy Strategy: My Irish mother would have said something like, “I’ll give you a reward…” If we ever asked for something for being good. She wasn’t crafty enough to create a big chart, and she was pretty clear about what she expected. As in life, you’re usually only called out for your screw-ups, so my mom prepared us well for this.
Supernanny Tip: “When your child misbehaves explain what she’s done wrong, tell her that her behaviour is unacceptable, and warn her that if she behaves in the same way again, she’ll be put on the Naughty Mat. Make sure your voice remains calm, not angry, and use a low, authoritative tone.”
Supermommy Strategy: Mom always gave the first warning done with an angry tone, a mean face and sometimes her pointer finger was up in the air and her lips were pursed when she was speaking. If that didn’t take care of it, she would make you stand next to her while your siblings stood in the background laughing. There was no need for a naughty map.
Supernanny Tip: “When the children are well behaved in the car, you can give them a sticker. Each stickers equals five points. Points add up to rewards, which you can discuss and decide beforehand. However, make sure they need a reasonable amount of points (25 upwards) to be rewarded.”
Supermommy Strategy: If your kids don’t behave in a car, you’re doing it wrong. The car should be respected since distracting the driver could lead to death.
Bottom Line: Life doesn’t give stickers.