Monday, March 29, 2010

Little Angels

Little Angels is a BBC reality program about parenting, where a psychologist is called in to help the parents learn some techniques to cope with an out-of-control child. Like many BBC shows (Life's Laundry comes to mind), it pulls no punches. It is horribly painful to watch. You can only feel smug for so long that these parents are clueless before it begins to dawn on you that you have been there yourself in some way or other.

Single mothers and absent fathers abound on the show. This is Britain after all. However, it is not just limited to the usual suspects. Some of the parents are actually married!

I am not talking about little Peregrine having mere temper tantrums. I am talking about little Peregrine having major meltdowns, trashing the place, hitting his grandmother, kicking and biting and spitting, refusing to eat and tossing the plates on the floor. Little P. and Little Olivia run the show, they are monsters, but then it all begins to fit once the psychologist spends some time with the parents. Mother and father are ineffectual, to say the least, responding angrily when it is not called for, and failing to respond adequately when it is.

In other jurisdictions these tiny tykes run the risk of being put on antipsychotic medication, but thanks to the Mary Poppins swat team, instead, the parents are taught how to set limits, how to negotiate, etc.

That these children will grow up and develop psychosis, is anyone's guess. Prison is always a possibility, as is also what used to be called juvenile delinquency. Or, these children may be perfectly fine, despite the rotten parenting. What I am convinced of is that a Mary Poppins psychologist to teach young families how to parent is state money well spent.

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