SuperNanny - Kids out of control

I hope that many of these episodes are extremes for TV, but based on the behavior of some kids I see IRL, I have a feeling these things may go on in many households. Please tell me I am wrong!

Last show a 4(?) year old wouldn't brush her teeth, she whined, cried, carried on for I think it was 1 1/2 hours with both parents up in the bathroom trying to get her to brush. Similar stories every week.

- Do these parents not see that the kids are controlling / manipulating them and the entire household. Why don't these parents get a spine? How do these parents stand up to other things in life if they can't stand up to a 4 year old? (In the long run it isn't 'easier to give in').

I don't have kids, and I have lots of childhood issues / repercussions from my overly strict parents. I get very uptight when I see snippets of this show (usually don't watch).

One one hand I want to 'force' the kid, (unhealthy control issues, learned from my parents). On the other hand I wish my parents would have let me have some emotions, decisions, control, etc.

- How long would you let your 4 year old, stall / whine / disobey?

- *Does anyone else get extremely uptight / frustrated with this show because it brings up your own childhood issues?

I realize the parents are prob just following their own parent's examples. But at what point does an adult come to their senses and say 1 1/2 hours begging my 4 year old to brush is crazy?
Grace sets apart Christianity from all other religions.

No other religion offers God's love and redemption coming to us free of charge, as a gift, with no strings attached, no performance required, no standard to meet.

Only Christianity dares to make God's love unconditional.

(Whelchel)
I sometimes get frustrated at the parents on the show and find myself screaming at the tv "C'mon!! Just smack him!!" but again, that's just the side of me that watches this for entertainment value.

In real life, I don't judge parents based on their kids acting nutty. I don't think any parent wakes up one morning and says "You know, I'm not going to discipline my kids because I want them to run wild and free and never respect me and scratch and kick me and make me cry." (This isn't directed at you, just my opinion)

I think sometimes parents get ideas in their head about how they want to raise their kids and somehow the theories just don't translate or aren't implemented correctly in real life.

Then, over time, things start to spiral far out of control. Then the parents call Supernanny!
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You should have been at my house for dinner last night! The question would have been "how long can parents spend trying to get a 3 year old to eat a spoonful of chili?".

We were all tired and hungry, and I think I just lost my mind. I didn't set out for this to be a 1 hour ordeal, but at some point I dug in my heels and toddler dug in his and the standoff began. 2 tantrums, 2 time-outs and tons of begging and pleading (on both sides) the kid relented and ate his dinner and was a perfect angel for the rest of the evening.

I find the Supernanny shows to be entertaining and I'll agree that lack of consistency (be it in disciplining, or in giving attention) is usually at the root of chronic misbehaviour. But every parent has bad days and I've certainly had my fair share of days that I'd rather not anyone else be witness to.


Kids out of control? Nope. Kids in control. Of their parents.
I don't know how it happens, but it happens a lot more now-a-days. I'm all for letting kids express themselves. Express away, but you are going to brush your teeth.


The dentist is expensive!
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It's very easy to see how other people are screwing up with their kids. You can give all kinds of advice and they'll give you all kinds of excuses. As with just about anything else, it's very easy to see the answers when it's not YOUR problem.

It's a lot harder with your own kid. You're invested, your ego is involved, and you want to get it right.

- How long would you let your 4 year old, stall / whine / disobey?

- *Does anyone else get extremely uptight / frustrated with this show because it brings up your own childhood issues?

I realize the parents are prob just following their own parent's examples. But at what point does an adult come to their senses and say 1 1/2 hours begging my 4 year old to brush is crazy?
I have no idea. Tooth brushing isn't an issue with my kid (her thing is sleep). What do you suggest? And remember, whatever you decide, you have to be willing to go through with it. How do you "make" a kid brusher teeth? Are you really going to sit on her, wrap your hand around the brush, and force it in her mouth? And how do you think that's going to make anything better tomorrow night, now that you've turned it into a battle of wills?

It seems like it should be so easy, or maybe it never should have come to this point in the first place but really, what do you propose?

I have a book called, "I was a perfect parent before I had kids." I've never had time to read it, I bought it for the title, because yeah, before I had a kid I thought I had all the answers too.
I have a book called, "I was a perfect parent before I had kids." I've never had time to read it, I bought it for the title, because yeah, before I had a kid I thought I had all the answers too.
Originally Posted by CGNYC

i couldnt agree more. before i had a child of my own i worked with children and went to school for human development and family studies. when the show supernanny was casting, all of my coworkes told me that i should try out. i could whip any kid into shape.

fast forward to now. i have a 15 month old daughter and there are plenty of times when i feel like i have no clue what im doing. then there are other times when i just dont feel like fighting with her. yes, i fight with an almost 15 month old. yesterday while making diner i pretended like i didnt see her coloring all over the kitchen floor with her crayons. i totally ignored it and it felt great! the professional side of me knows that if i were to continue to let that type of behavior continue id be on supernanny in about 6 months. but the mom side of me says, hey shes occupied, the crayons are washable, and i can get dinner done without sparking a meltdown.

i think there is a fine line between picking your battles and having kids that dont respect the parent child relationship. that line is very very fine. and sometimes people cross right over it without knowing until its too late.
I love the title of that book! I couldn't agree with it more!
As a mom of a 3 year old, I can definitely relate to the constant battles over EVERYTHING. I spent months battling with him over the toothbrushing thing. It was a wrestling match every night and even though I "won" every night, it took my son a long time before he finally caved and realized he wasn't winning this one. But wow, did I have to be strong! It was exhausting.
It's pretty much a normal part of their development at this age and some kids are a bit more "outspoken" than others. They've gone from being helpless babies that depend on you for everything to realizing "hey, I'm my own person and I have a mind of my own". Then they take it to an extreme in their quest to gain some independence. It is absolutely mind boggling how strong willed and persistent these little people can be.
Like Subbrock posted, as a parent you definitely learn to pick your battles because if you don't you'd be butting heads all day. The important thing is to realize which behaviors you will absolutely not bend the rules on and then stick to your guns like mad cause it could take days or even weeks before these little steel willed people realize you're not giving in.

From what I've heard, it happens all over again during the teenage years.
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Thank you for your enlightening responses. I know you all to be pretty level-headed and to hear you explain how / why these things can naturally happen sheds light for me.

I don't propose that I have any answers as I don't even have kids. I think that is why this show gets me so uptight. Because I know I wouldn't be able to handle it well and in a mentally healthy manner. I really admire those of you who wisely pick your battles, have patience, let the child have some sense of being its own person, etc.

*My therapist thinks I get soo uptight / nervous when this show is on is because on some level I am (still) terrified (in my mind) of the severe punishment that would have occured in my house for the things that happen on the show...And so in my mind I want to force the kids on TV to quickly behave to "avoid" punishment.

Yet I know that forcing kids to behave out of fear of punishment is incredibly damaging (as evidenced in my own life). So I am torn between the two.

I guess it will be lots more therapy before I can reconcile this!
Grace sets apart Christianity from all other religions.

No other religion offers God's love and redemption coming to us free of charge, as a gift, with no strings attached, no performance required, no standard to meet.

Only Christianity dares to make God's love unconditional.

(Whelchel)

Last edited by Priscilla; 09-04-2008 at 06:43 PM.
Since there's so much talk about brushing teeth in this thread...

I thought that 4-year-olds aren't supposed to brush their own teeth, anyway. Kids aren't very good brushers, and a lot of childhood cavities are caused by letting them start too early.

I don't think that anyone mentioned here is being a bad parent in regards to tooth-brushing. I'm just a little confused about what I'm missing here.
Since there's so much talk about brushing teeth in this thread...

I thought that 4-year-olds aren't supposed to brush their own teeth, anyway. Kids aren't very good brushers, and a lot of childhood cavities are caused by letting them start too early.

I don't think that anyone mentioned here is being a bad parent in regards to tooth-brushing. I'm just a little confused about what I'm missing here.
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
I didn't see the show specified but I think most parents start by letting the little one brush their own teeth and then help them finish the job. That's what I do. My kid starts (aka. he eats toothpaste and chews on his toothbrush) and then I go in and actually brush them properly.

It can be a battle in my house somedays - my kid will clamp his mouth shut or start gagging.


I think the "I Was a Perfect Parent" book needs to be a series. The second would be "Please Ask Me For Parenting Advice, I'm just DYING To Give It" and "I Could Probably Make Your Kid Mind, Would You Like To Try With Mine For a While." It's just so hard to think in the moment when it's your kid flailing around on the bathroom floor. Or the Target floor. I can tell you they both suck.
I didn't see the show specified but I think most parents start by letting the little one brush their own teeth and then help them finish the job. That's what I do.
Originally Posted by mad scientist
Thanks, that's what I thought. I do know someone who was left to brush her own teeth at a young age, and she has a lot of cavities from it.
Because I know I wouldn't be able to handle it well and in a mentally healthy manner. I really admire those of you who wisely pick your battles, have patience, let the child have some sense of being its own person, etc.
Originally Posted by Priscilla
Oh, trust me, I don't always handle it in a "mentally healthy" manner. I have my days when I absolutely lose it!
I think it's great though that you are able to realize this and can work on it prior to having children. My parents weren't abusive but were extremely strict and my dad could be very critical at times so I can sort of relate. I think this is why I have a tendency to be so hard on myself.

Btw, I don't watch that show cause I deal with a crying 3 year old enough that by the time he goes to bed, the last thing I need is to watch and listen to someone else's 3 yr old having tantrums!
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I never watch the nanny shoes (are there two or three of them?). I've seen a few minutes here and there and I just don't feel the need to rubberneck at someone else's disaster of a homelife (disaster of a wardrobe? yes). The families are usually SO out of control and the fixes seem pretty obvious, and if things didn't work, we'd never know anyway thanks to the magic of editing. They just don't intereste me.
I was just as headstrong and stubborn as most of those kids I see on the shows, and my parents still got me to brush my teeth, etc. I don't know if it's just a lack of backbone, or they don't want their kids to be upset, but their parenting styles vary bigtime from most I know. I guess coming from a household where I was disciplined and then seeing kids that aren't, it bugs me, but I can't really talk seeing as how I have no children on my own. My biggest thing though is when a parent tells their kid "no" or "stop" and the kid continues and the parents just throw their hands up and say "what can you do?", I had the misfortune of babysitting those kids, ugh!

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