It’s heartening to see that writing letters can still make a difference.
After the first episode of the British ‘documentary’ series Bringing Up Baby aired on the ABC last week, outrage has been building. The show purports to show how modern families can follow the techniques of three popular baby-trainers of yesteryear in an attempt to demonstrate which method is best. One of the ‘mentors’ used on the programme is Claire Verity, a disciple of the Truby King method, popular in post-war England. Ms Verity takes this outdated advice even further in some cases. I found myself screaming at the telly when she told a new father he couldn’t kiss his own baby and when she encouraged parents of a three-day old to sit back with a glass of wine while their daughter screamed herself to sleep in alone in a cold room. To Verity, cuddling is a no-no. As is following safe sleeping guidelines, apparently.
After parenting forums ran hot with outrage all week, the ABC decided to continue to air the series – with a disclaimer. ‘Verity is not qualified. SIDS and Kids guidelines should be followed, not what this mad woman does’ pretty much sums it up.
That’s all well and good. But a disclaimer aimed at would-be parents who are viewing the show can’t save the participating parents and the non-consenting babies who were subjected to this ‘experiment’. That damage is already done. The question I’d like answered is, how can any public broadcaster support something so unethical in the name of entertainment?
I really hope those parents gave their babies some cuddles off-camera. It’s heartbreaking to think that they didn’t.