Friday, March 9, 2012

2 Year Olds To Get Lessons In Anger Management?

Dear reader, why is it that every time there is some article online which catches my attention, it is about some utterly ridiculous theory by a supposed 'expert' on children and their behaviour?

This time it was the Mail Online (or should I say, as usual it was the Mail Online?) which reported that a UK Government 'discipline expert' - a Mr. Charlie Taylor, has drawn up a proposal which was designed to  "improve provision for disruptive youngsters in the wake of last summer’s riots". Fair enough so far?  Sounds good doesn't it.  But when you read through the article, you won't think it is quite as sensible as it sounds.  

Mr. Taylor thinks that children at risk of turning to crime and aggression "can and should be identified at the age of TWO" and that children who are likely to 'go off the rails'  should be "sent to specialist behavioural institutions at the age of FIVE - to stop their bad behaviour escalating"??

The most frightening thing about this is that the article states that Mr. Taylor's report was likely to be endorsed in full by the government.  Mr. Taylor does not hesitate to say that he thinks nurseries should be able to spot the ones who have behavioural 'issues' and to then "provide them with boundaries and social skills".  Hello, hello?  That is what we parents strive mightily to provide for our kids!

I don't know about you Mr. Taylor, even if you are the headmaster of the Willows School - I sincerely doubt whether you have had experience of an ordinary toddler going through the 'terrible twos'  or threes or fours come to that.   In my humble opinion it is simply not logical thinking to believe that we can identify future problem kids at age two.  I mean, for pity's sake, these are BABIES, who are learning what the word 'no' means, and learning that they actually have a separate identity from their mum.  They are bound to be little horrors at time, it is all part and parcel of the growing up process. 
If some nosy do-gooder like you told me that my two year old needed to be put into a 'specialist nursery' - well, gee I would want to give you the other side of my tongue to be honest.  As for your totally ridiculous statement about "some difficulties around speech and language very often as well. Often not potty trained".   The article didn't state at what age the kids weren't potty trained, or at what age they had difficulties with speech and language - but surely you simply CAN'T be talking about two and three year olds?  Surely not?   And what do you do about the little one who is behaving like a fruit loop until mum works out that she is having a reaction to chemicals in her food?  (And it took one of my daughter's acquaintances twelve months to identify and isolate 24 E numbers that were doing her child great harm.)  Would you have the love or patience to do this, or would you just keep her locked up until she turned 21?

Fair enough to say that some five year olds are disruptive and probably some younger ones as well.  My own reading of this situation is that you surely shouldn't be taking the children and putting them into what amounts to an institution - even if you try to get them back into mainstream school quickly.   Surely the ones to be taught are the parents?   Wouldn't it be far far better for schools to have parenting classes?  And if a child is proving to have problems with relating to others, aggression etc., wouldn't it be better to have classes which include the parents - most of us fly by the seat of our pants, and if a few have no idea what to do when their child throws a wobbly, then show them!
About the statement you made that "the aim was to help children early ‘rather than waiting until they are throwing tables around when they are 14 or 15"?   Quite a feat if you can do that, my lad.  It often happens (and if you lived in the real world you would know this) that a decently brought up child falls in with some not so respectable mates at school, and peer pressure does the rest.  All the early intervention in the world will not prevent this from happening.  Peer pressure is mightier than the teacher, on any day of the week.  And for heaven's sake don't forget hormones during the teen years!

As far as this intervention helping to prevent things like the riots happening again in the future - dream on kiddo!   It wasn't toddlers and tiny tots who were doing the rioting and thieving, as you well know.  It was disenfranchised youth - perhaps your government would be better served by someone working out how to help the underprivileged and the homeless, the jobless and the hopeless.  While these situations exist you have the potential for riots at any time in your future, whether you tame a toddler or not.
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