Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
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child can be good. They need [sic] discipline, rules, and boundaries.” These
are Jo Frost’s celebrated principles for childrearing.
is Supernanny (C4, Wednesday). She confronts some of the worst
examples of misbehaving children, and attempts to bring order to their
unsatisfactory lives in this new series.
who is two, controlled the Woods family. His constant screaming tantrums meant
that his mum and dad never got a night’s sleep; that every mealtime was a
battlefield; and that the older children never had a moment’s peace.
Frost was allowed to live with and observe the family for two days. I suspect
that all she really needed was about two minutes.
hopelessly indulgent parents, terrified of making their little boy unhappy, and
giving in to his whims by offering a bewildering range of choices. Armed with
what she saw, Miss Frost was given a week to impose order.
the whole family together and set guidelines. The parents had to decide when
the children should get up, when they should go to bed. The parents had to give
time to all their children, not merely to naughty Charlie.
He had to
be told very clearly what was expected of him, warned what would happen if he
failed to do it, firmly sent to sit on the “naughty stair” if he didn’t and,
just as importantly, praised when he behaved properly.
Frost in charge, it worked like a dream. The outbursts reduced dramatically.
For the first time in months, he ate his meal with the others, and got a proper
Frost withdrew for the second week to allow Charlie’s parents to apply what
they had learned. To start with, all went well. Quickly, however, they found
that they couldn’t bear to sustain the discipline. Within a few days, chaos
Finally, Miss Frost — having watched the mayhem by CCTV — came back to
restore order. This time, it really seemed to work. The parents have accepted
the need to be consistent, to expect reasonable order in their children’s
lives, and to take responsibility for creating it.
predominant emotion was distress at the sheer level of unhappiness in the
bewildered little boy. His screaming tantrums were possibly the symptom of not
knowing what was expected of him, or who was in charge.
a particularly well-made programme. There was a silly attempt to set up the
nanny as some kind of Victorian ogre, and crucial bits of the story were simply
insights overcame these failures. We can all draw up a list of where Jo Frost’s
talents are sorely needed: the Archbishops’ Council, General Synod, and Lambeth
Conference come immediately to mind.
Five is preparing us for the delights of the Olympic Games by presenting
something of the cultural setting of the competition with
The Treasures of Athens and
This is an
earnest series, with a repetitive narration that tends to speak down to the
viewer. But the assembling of experts and artefacts, in order to remind us of
the achievements of the Age of Pericles, quickly silences any criticism.
good to be shown, without any punches being pulled, the simply stupendous
significance of ancient
: its architecture, poetry, drama, politics, and philosophy
reaching levels of excellence rarely, if ever, surpassed.
much of the achievement has a religious context, the crucial theme is the
importance and wonder of being human. We are still illuminated by this
explosion of light.