April 21, 2018

Research shows that Supernanny does not produce better behavior and does not create less stress for moms

Research published by the British Medical Journal evaluated the parenting style advocated by British Supernanny, Jo Frost.  They found that Supernanny methods did NOT produce better behaved toddlers and parents were NOT less stressed.  They also showed that forcing disobedient toddlers to have “quiet time” to reflect on their bad behavior, a technique that has been widely adopted by British parents, made no difference to children’s behavior.

Researchers in Australia looked at the effects of disciplining 700 children from the age of one. The mothers of half the children were allowed to bring them up as they thought best.  The other half attended parenting classes and were taught how best to develop “a warm and sensitive relationship” with their toddler.  Advice included abandoning “smacking and yelling” in favor of ignoring or distracting a misbehaving child. The mothers were also encouraged to praise children when they did something right, rather than punishing them when they did something wrong.  Parents also attended two two-hour classes designed by experts at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria which aimed to prevent defiance and aggression among toddlers, while reducing the stress felt by mothers.

By the age of two, youngsters whose mothers had attended the classes were no less naughty than the others. And the mothers who had attended the parenting classes were just as stressed as the other women. However, the program did reduce harsh parental discipline and lessen parents’ inappropriate developmental expectations of their children. The researchers said that while it was important to tackle bad behavior at an early age, there was no evidence to support introducing such disciplinary programs on a wide scale. “It did not lead to more nurturing parenting,” their report said. “We showed no significant impact on externalizing behavioral problems in two-year-olds or on maternal mental health.”

This is one of many parenting styles that are publicly promoted and widely accepted among the general population.  It shows that we MUST evaluate those things that we are told work in child-rearing.

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