|7 Days Newspaper - Dubai|
You give her sweets in the hope it will quench the rage. It doesn’t.
You tell her she can stay up past bedtime and decide not to reprimand her for biting your youngest in a vicious unprovoked attack in the vain hope she’ll calm down. But she doesn’t. She’s jumping on the sofa, screaming at the top of her voice and attacking anyone who comes near her.Despite her tender years, Lana rules the roost.With no respect for authority and an ability to manipulate every situation to her advantage, it seems the six-year-old is a lost cause who will never submit to adult discipline.
Enter Supergranny.You may have heard of Supernanny, TV’s professional nanny who goes into homes to help parents learn how to manage their unruly brood. Andalene Salvesen is the South African version. And now she’s in Dubai. After setting up a school in her native country and running unique exercise workshops for babies for 12 years, parenting coach Andalene decided it was her passion to help families have better relationships.
She says: “I worked out my parenting course with three occupational therapists and people would say to me ‘you must come to my house and see how my child screams’ and I used to say: ‘I can’t do that - just come to my course and do it that way’.
But then I saw Supernanny on TV and said to my husband, I can do that!”Andalene, who has four children and five grandchildren, with a sixth on the way, says her main aim is to help parents see that discipline is a good thing. “My take on it is that children need to learn to respect authority in the home. Your home is the first government you have to submit to. Then you go to school and have to respect your teacher. If kids haven’t learned how to do this at home, how are they going to do it at school?” she explains.
“You have to, at all stages of your life, submit to authority and the best place to start is in the family where you’re loved.” With bad behaviour exhibited by many kids in the UAE, it’s easy to assume once a child has got into a particular pattern they can never change. But Andalene says it’s never too late. “There’s always hope and it’s always easier to rectify problems the sooner you begin. The quicker you find cancer, the easier it is to deal with - it’s the same principle.
“Children need boundaries but the scale of these boundaries depends on each family - some have narrow ones and some have wide ones. I don’t come into people’s houses and say ‘you won’t jump on that couch,’ You will go to bed at 8pm,’ ‘You will eat all your food.’”Andalene says she helps families work out consequences for when boundaries are overstepped. “You have to tell children it’s their choice what they do but tell them if they step over that boundary what the consequence will be - calmly and in control. “A happy childhood involves a child knowing what the consequences are. They’re allowed to test boundaries, but if they know for sure their parents are consistently going to impose consequences, calmly without anger, then they feel safe and that is a happy childhood.”
Andalene says many parents confuse a happy childhood with a child having everything their own way. “Many parents think that if they give their child everything he wants he’ll be happy but a child cries out for boundaries, not for what he thinks he wants.”She’s seen some crazy sights in her time! , but Andalene, who says she empathizes with parents rather than chastises them, says she enjoys the challenge of helping dysfunctional families. “I’ve seen a four-year-old child stand up on the couch, scream in his mother’s face, spit in her face and slap and bite her while she’s calmly saying: ‘Please don’t do that, this is a very kind lady who’s here and she doesn’t like it when you do this’,” she explains.“The saddest part for me is when the mother is totally out of control. She’s been browbeaten by children and decides she doesn’t want to crush their spirit and wants them to be her friend, so doesn’t discipline them. But I believe friendship comes later. “First you go through nurturing, then disciplining, teaching and training and then coaching and then you’re a friend. You have to change your parenting style as the child grows - you don’t coach a three-year-old and likewise, you don’t have an authoritarian stance with a teenager.”
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 18:21|