Thursday, 30 July 2009

some questions for nigel latta

ok, i'll be the first to admit that i haven't watched his tv programmes & have only heard about them second hand. some people who had watched it were not impressed with the advice he gives about not "mollycoddling" our kids, and allowing them to take more risks. so we developed a list of questions for mr latta:

in the event of my child getting injured because i followed your advice:
1. will you take the time to take the child to the doctor, including the time needed to sit in waiting rooms, stay at hospitals etc?
2. will you pay for any related medical costs?
3. will you take time off work to look after the injured child so that i don't have to.
4. if the child is injured during exam time, will you study and sit exams for that child?

if the child breaks a bone because i followed your advice:
5. will you come and shower the child every day?
6. will you do the share of household chores that this child can no longer perform?
7. will you carry the child up steps of inaccessible dwellings?

if the child sustains a permanent and disabling injury because i followed your advice:
8. will you quite your job to come and look after this child?
9. will you take all the emotional burden so that no-one who is connected to the child needs to cry a single tear or have a single sleepless night?

in fact the most basic question we had for mr latta was: will you take personal responsibility for all the consequences of your advice? because many of the tasks i've mentioned above will fall on women, and it's often women who are blamed for the "mollycoddling" (though i have no idea if you personally do so).

perhaps mr latta gives clear definitions of acceptable risk and over-protectiveness, so that we can all be absolutely sure when we're doing the first and not the second. personally, i don't think it's such an easy line to draw. but i would think it entirely reasonable for people to want to reduce the emotional and practical burdens of injury and to take reasonable care in regards to the safety of their children. if you expect me to be "politically incorrect" in raising my kids, then i expect you to carry the full costs if things go wrong.

24 comments:

Ange said...

I've watched a few episodes, and what I get from it is the same as what I get from reading Celia Lashlie or any number of these advisor/expert-types. The kid who learns to make a good decision him/herself is better equipped for later life than the kid whose parent(s) remove the decision-making process, in the name of safety. And I think a lot depends on what you believe constitutes 'mollycoddling', too. Well, that's how I see it and apply it, in any case ...

M-H said...

Being in Australia I can't watch this program, but I do think that in general children are more protected now, and I don't think it's a good thing. Life is no more or less dangerous now than it ever was; my own children had their share of broken bones, which was a drama at the time but doesn't seem as bad as some of the other things that might have happened, now in retrospect. It taught them how to avoid getting hurt, which is another way of saying they were learning how to take care of themselves.

I see lots of kids in their first year at Uni now who don't know how to find a room or follow a sign. There is a lack trust in themselves; they are very anxious a lot of the time, and have very little confidence in their own ability to make a decision or state an opinion. This has definitely changed over the years.

Than again, I may just be another middle-aged woman yearning for the 'good old days'. (I'm not, the 50s and 60s were horrible times, but I suppose this post sounds like it.)

Boganette said...

I don't have kids but I do actually watch the show just because I can't get my head around Nigel Latta. I watched Beyond The Darklands for the same reason.

I think the title of the show is rubbish.

And I think the majority of it is just attacking parents for just doing what they think is best for their child.

Incredibly he seems to repeat throughout the show that he's trying to make parents LESS hard on themselves.

So to me it's a very mixed message.

Maybe he means parents OTHER than those who are careful about safety with their kiddies?

stargazer said...

yeah, i think you can teach kids to make their own decisions about a whole lotta things while still making sure they're safe. i'd give heaps of eg's about my own kids but that would be unfair to them. as ange says & as i say in the post, there aren't any clear lines. but i don't see why i should be made to feel like i'm being "PC" or overly protective just because i take reasonable care and think about the consequences which can be quite considerable.

and yeah, m-h, i don't think there were any "good old days" - i think that's just a very human tendency to remember the good and forget the bad!

oh and i thought of a simple example: you can teach kids not to touch things that are hot without them having to burn themselves. you don't necessarily have to learn by being hurt yourself.

Hugh said...

One thing Latta wrote in the Listener article a few weeks back that I did heartily approve of - "Don't worry about your male child not having a strong male role model. If he does, great, but if he doesn't, just give him a strong female role model"

stargazer said...

yeah? what's wrong with a "weak" female role model? is it so bad to be meek, quiet, unaggressive? will a child be psychologically deformed for life if the female role-model doesn't fit whatever the definition of "strong" might be? wierd.

sorry, i just read that as saying "as long as the female role-model shows male traits, the boy will be fine". hmmmm.

Ginger said...

Maybe the point is, a child should have a strong role model. Obviously what constitutes a "strong role model" is completely up to interpretation...

From what I've watched/heard/read, the main point of the whole thing is not to encourage your kids to live in fear, maybe instead giving them a healthy respect to the outside world and having a relative degree of independence.

Y'know tho, I don't have kids and am not entirely sure if I want to so any involvement in this is entirely hypothetical.

Alison said...

I heard him make a very similar comment on RNZ National, Hugh, and was pleased. Unfortunately when I compare it to his slot the week before that, when I left the room to avoid hearing him bashing mothers and teenage girls' "insanity", I can't help being a bit confused by the contradictory messages.

P M said...

Presumably you would do exactly the same had your child been injured in the normal course of the child's activities as your own parenting regime dictates.

If you are going to hold Latta or anyone to their advice, even if you haven't actually seen or heard it...then it appears you are using that as an excuse to abrogate your own responsibility. One could reasonably expect the parent to have power of veto over any outside advice on parenting.

Have you ever given any sort of advice in your musings on this blog?

stargazer said...

i don't believe i've claimed to be an expert in any area and then given advice on that area on this blog. where i do give advice is in my workplace & have the appropriate disclaimers in place. if my advice is faulty and the client has to pay interest or penalties to the IRD because of that, the client would expect me to pay. i have to take personal responsibility for the professional advice i give. why shouldn't mr latta?

P M said...

Reading between the lines, I presume you do work along the lines of financial advice, perhaps accounting or in that field.

I understand that that the IRD does not accept that anyone has responsibility for tax issues other than the actual tax payer.

My point is that parents are in a similar position. They have ultimate and sole responsibilty. No point in crying that an 'expert' suggested a course of action that has resulted in a situation you don't like any more than expecting IRD to forgive you for not filing a return because your accountant forgot...

stargazer said...

your understanding would be wrong then, in terms of the terms of agreement being tax agents and their clients. it's quite common for tax agents to pay penalties and interest for mistakes that are their responsibility. professional liability insurance is also a requirement, and is quite expensive, because professional advisors are expected to take personal responsibility for their advice.

Bruce Hamilton said...

As a mere male probably posting in the wrong location, I'm concerned that some people expect a TV show by an obvious entertainer to meaningfully help them become better parents.

Didn't their life experience teach them what worked and what didn't?. If they aren't confident, don't they discuss issues with trusted sources, such as other parents, friends, and family?.

What they gain from a TV programme might be some ideas to try, but they surely would validate the suggestion before trying?. It's their choice to change their parenting style/behaviour.

How many would invest hard-earned funds in TV-promoted money schemes without seeking wise counsel from trusted sources, or recalling bitter/sweet past investment experiences?

As well, why is it that NZ currently has a surfeit of older males trying to tell families how to raise children, eg smacking law debate?. It's almost as if they were scared of Helen, but now feel the climate has changed. Should you really take notice of them?

P M said...

I am wrong then am I?...that the ultimate responsibility with lodging one's tax form is with oneself.

And that the ultimate responsibilty for making the decisions that affects one's children are with oneself.

Who knew...

Anonymous said...

I'm a mother of two kids, 4 and 6 years of age, and yes I've watched the last two of the Latta's shows. While I wouldn't be brave enough to go as far as Latta would argue (I'm a mother after all, men have different tolerances to risk/danger), I agree that kids are too protected now.

I've managed to stop myself from making my son put on shoes or a helmet when he is riding a trike or whatever form of vehicle he finds (or makes) while flying down our concrete driveway - normally while trying to cut across his older sister on her bike. Guess what, there has only been the odd little scrape, now he has learnt how to stop himself from being hurt, amazing how he call fall off and get up now unharmed, not even a stubbed toe.

No doubt some people would call me irresponsible for not forcing him to wear his helmet, but you are forgetting that we all roared about on trikes/bikes without helmets/shoes and we are still here to tell the tale.

And if you still insist on saying that under no condition should a child be riding anything on concrete without a helmet, then you would also be demanding that kids wear helmets when playing games on concrete as kids often trip up and when they fall they could easily hit their head on the concrete!

Anonymous said...

As with anything to do with parenting advice from any quarter, I take what I need and discard the rest. At the end of the day Mr Latta doesn't get a vote in our family any more than the well-meaning family friend who tells us how we should be raising our kids. We make the decisions based on information from many sources, and our own experiences, not one guy on the TV.
In parenting, everyone who has had kids seems to be an expert. I won't be holding them to account any more than Nigel Latta for my decisions.

Hugh said...

Stargazer, generally when people talk about a 'strong role model' they mean somebody who has strengths as a role model, not somebody who's physically strong, aggressive etc etc.

stargazer said...

i think the main point of my post is that it's very easy to give advice like mr latta does, when he doesn't have to bear any of the consequences of that advice. he doesn't have to bear the personal consequences, and he won't have to pay increased health costs to society if we all suddenly decided to follow his advice (and thankfully most of the commentors here don't seem to favour it).

anon at 4.14, i'm talking about reasonable care and falling off a trike on your own driveway is not likely to cause much damage to a toddler. being on the road on bike, more likely to do so. but i does piss me off that the notion that you'd want to take some reasonable precautions to keep your kids safe is somehow a bad thing. isn't teaching them to keep themselves safe teaching them personal responsibility?

hungrymama said...

From what I've read (I haven't watched the show) Nigel Latta exaggerates the extent to which kids are overprotected so that the average parent listening to him gets to feel smug about how they are not "bubble wrapping" their kids unlike those other (fictional) parents. It does a lot for his popularity but very little to actually improve anyone's parenting.

P M said...

Oh for heavens sake. Latta doesn't give specifics. If you take your troubled child to him and he attends to that child on a professional basis, as a clinical psychologist, then he would be responsible for his actions and advice. His professional body would hold him accountable and no doubt he has insurance up to the eyeballs.

But he doesn't do that on his show. He gives bland generalised advice. Just like any number of professionals do each day in whichever medium you care to avail yourself of. There are plenty of say financial advisors who say to sell stocks when they are high and buy when low. That in their opinion interest rates are low but going to go up so fix your mortgage now etc etc. Does anyone honestly think they are to be held accountable if things don't turn out they way they suggested? People like Bernard Hickey wouldn't last ten seconds.

The point of Latta's show is to let folk know that parenting isn't a walk in the park...but it needn't be a climb up Everest either.
All he does is provide a few footholds and point the way from time to time.

The rest is up to us.

katy said...

I have listenned to a couple of his segments, I found his comments quite interesting. Obviously no-one wants their children or anyone else's to be hurt or harmed and I think it is ok to be charitable in terms of where he is coming from. I also agree that learning to make good decisions involves having a good understanding of the consequences of what you do on yourself and others and that this comes from guidance from those around you (family, peers etc) and experiencing the consequences of mistakes that you make.

stargazer said...

yes P M, and when these advisors give advice that is shoddy, it's extremely pertinent to call them on that, to point out the consequences of the advice they've given and to question them as to whether they'd take responsibility for those consequences in light of the advice they've given. i'm not not talking about any legal responsibility, i'm talking about being honest about the consequences of what you advocate. i can't see why you have such a major problem about that. if i were in any way interested in bernard hickey's pronouncements and found his advice to be faulty, i'd call him out on that too. in fact i've done so here.

N L said...

I've watched his show and read his book about teenagers.Awesome book and past it around my friends who all seem to have gone and bought there own. He gets my teenage son perfect and given me and my husband a good laugh about it. My Neanderthal is normal we now call him Captain caveman he has also read the book and I think it help him to understand himself I even get the odd cuddly yippee.Thanks Nigel

Vojka said...

I've seen just a few of Nigel's TV appearances. And I agree. Both my children (now 14 and 9) were and are into exercising/dangerous mode. My so is playing rugby (to my disgust), my daughter can spend hours on monkey bars. Both my children look like I don't feed them ever.
When I did watch some of Nigel's TV shows reassured me and gave me confidence to continue. My children love me for always letting them go outside the comfort zone. My son had his first stitches above his eyebrow when he was 17 months old. Broke this and that.... Now that he is 14, I drive him and his friends in the car and for some reason they talk as if I am not present. Those stitches and casts are something to be proud of. He is still alive, growing in hight and I feel proud of myself.
Children must be allowed to be children. My daughter is not allowed to climb trees at her PC decile 10 school so she can do that at home.