Dissed for Dissin' Supernanny

What the 'eff is going on?

I had originally championed New Zealand in their child advocacy role on my Facebook page after reading School 'no place' Supernanny techniques, an article about Pauline Bishop, a lecturer who rebuked the idea that the tools of the dominant paradigm (naughty step, time-outs, praise etc...) should be used in schools. Well, duh.

But apparently down under, Pauline Bishop was not as lauded by others as she was by me, including Dr. Sarah Farquhar, the chief executive of the Early Childhood Council, who told the NZ Herald that Bishop's remarks were "a bit off."

The article goes on to quote Dr. Farquhar as saying, "This appears to have provoked quite a response and so far no one who has contacted me about this agrees with Pauline Bishop…."

Although I am not from New Zealand, I contacted Dr. Farquhar to let her know that I agree with Ms. Bishop and I can name dozens of child development experts, educators and authors who would not only agree with Ms. Bishop but who would take it even so far as to assert that these methods should not be used in schools OR in homes.

I find this all so ironic because one of the great contributors to this work in my home city of Los Angeles is New Zealand native, Ruth Beaglehole. She and her Center for Non-Violent Education & Parenting would certainly agree with Ms. Bishop.

The paradigm is shifting - the behavioral view of children is out-dated, emotionally insufficient and potentially harmful. There have been numerous studies proving the long-term, damaging consequences to a child’s emotional intelligence because of dominant paradigm thinking.

Punishment, reward systems, praise and time-outs – these are the tools of a control, rule-based system that demands obedience without regard for a child’s feelings or needs - a system shown to negatively impact the success, self-esteem and intrinsic motivation of children and most importantly the emotional connection to their primary caregiver which affects brain growth and the development of crucial neural pathways.

In this day and age, I am still astonished to find educators who are not aware of or aligned with this view of child development. Alfie Kohn, Daniel Siegel, Naomi Aldort, Dr. Brazelton, Marshall Rosenberg, Joseph Chilton Pearce, John Gottman, Meredith Small, Lise Eliot, Robin Grille, Alice Miller, Sura Hart & Victoria Kindle Hodson, Barbara Coloroso & David Elkind are but a few who have written extensively on this topic.

Pauline Bishop is not alone in her thinking.

I urge Dr. Farquhar to further explore these concepts and begin to lead her community toward a non-violent future because our children deserve the best. 

Talk soon,

What do you think? Post your comments below!

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