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Web Letter

What unhinges me is the number of people that are willing to take advice on something as important as parenting from a reality TV show. Really, consider the source.

Even if this horrible advice came from a scholarly source, has no one ever heard of getting a second opinion, or verifying the information that you get than just swallowing it?

If that were not bad enough, think about it. Would the show be as popular were it not as shocking, and if the idea was to be shocking, does it not follow that people will go to any lengths to add that shock value? Even if it means painting a grossly inaccurate picture of what goes on in these people's lives?

I cannot help but be very disturbed by what these shows are trying to do. The whole idea is that you come to hate the children on the show and want to use brute force against them, and this extends to all chilren, as this is what children supposedly become if you do not forget the fact that your children are human beings and not dogs. Dogs deserve, and can handle, better treatment than this.

The idea is that you hate the parents for breeding such "monsters" rather than helping them and by extension learning about the real character and lives of the people you are supposed to hate.

The whole idea is that you hate permissiveness, i.e., the attitude that sometimes it is wise to pick your battles, that some things can slide, that some things really are of trivial importance, or that something really are just a matter of disagreement and preference than black-and-white matters of truth or fiction, right or wrong. Aside from the dire effects that this uptight attitude will have on the mental health of many, it is an invitation to a lot of mishaps that reallly need not happen.

I also am not too impressed with the fact that we teach children that it is wrong to name call yet we routinely refer to them as "spoiled brats," "little monsters" etc. Children do not have evil natures. Evil is learned. Children are still learning about the world, and will learn better how to interact with the world if learning to do so is pleasant. And they will form a better bond with the people from whom they learn if they are treated well, and hence learn better.

Especially when the parents often behave in similar ways that are condemned in children. I don't know about you, but when I hear an adult yell, shame, insult and forcibly drag a child because the child wants to remain a few minutes longer to look at something pretty, to me, that is a parent having a tantrum when things do not go their way.

Oh, wherever do they learn it?

Super Sweet Sixteen is very similar in the respects in that the idea is to hate the youths and the adults involved with them and advocate "putting them in their place." Regardless of whether or not any of the content is real, which much of it undoubtedly is not.

Children are much smaller and weaker than adults, and it is shameful that adults are so insecure and spiteful that they must resort to force and coercion, physical or otherwise, to get what they want, or even that it is always appropriate to demand what you want from children.

Beware, Supernanny, copycats and fans and fans. There is an entire generation of youths--and adults, like myself, for that matter--that would love to catch you down a metaphorical blind alley.

And yes, we vote.

Adrianna Hey

Northwood, NH

Feb 2 2008 - 4:02pm