My sons love watching nanny reality shows. Supernanny was an event in our house every Friday while it was still on. They were so bummed when it was cancelled. Oddly, we found Nanny 911 streaming on Netflix and have been watching it obsessively for a couple of weeks.
My boys live vicariously through this show because the nannies are tough. They want me to be as tough on my day care kids as the nannies are on their kids. It’s hard to explain to them why I can’t be.
Because those women are walking in to a family that was desperate enough to sign up for a little abuse. They’re there for a week and out. If you want to have a long-term relationship with a child, you can’t be in their face every day telling them how unacceptable they are.
And luckily, my child care (even when full of 8 kids, I’m proud to say) never looked as bad as some of those families.
But I was inspired by Nanny Deb the other day, just as another round of talk about the benefits of spanking came up in one of my facebook groups. She was dealing with a dad who didn’t like something his son had done so he swatted him across the head, screamed at him, and threw him in his room. Then the boys told Nanny Deb that they’d also been spanked and threatened with a belt.
I know it’s all for TV drama, I’m not fooled (even though I enjoy it just as much as my boys), but Deb immediately sat the parents down and told them this:
“That is abusive behavior and I won’t tolerate it. I need you to tell me right now that you are no longer gonna threaten your kids with violence, you are no longer going to hit your children…and you are no longer gonna grab them by the hair and scream at them. I will not do this until I have a commitment.”
I literally cheered. My sons looked at me like I was crazy. I defended myself by saying, “Look at what they teach on this show! EVERY episode they’re taking away the abuse and suddenly everyone’s happy.”
It’s really that simple. Show respect, and you get respect. I just taught a class about brain development and that’s one of the main themes: learning is not about stuffing facts into a child’s head. It’s about making them feel loved. When they are nutured and supported, they feel like they can do anything.
And by the way: spanking is never acceptable. If you’re confused on this, just watch some Nanny 911.