Saturday, March 03, 2007

Unruly Children? Just Pass the Bottle

If you have ever questioned the need to continue breast feeding a child to three or four years of age or older, then you will be "thrilled" to know that one primary school in the UK has decided that behaviorally challenged kids now need to be bottle fed up to the age of 11 (Hat Tip: Mecurior):

Pupils up to the age of 11 are being bottle-fed and mothered in school as part of a radical new move to address poor discipline.

A state primary school has become the first in the country to take part in the approach, which was developed in the US to give problem children the love and attention they may have missed out on at a younger age.

Instead of being given a sharp telling off or a few minutes on the naughty chair, they have one on one sessions with a trained school therapist.

The children - aged between six and 11 - are bottle-fed like young babies, nursed and encouraged to play games promoting patience and teamwork.

Parents who feel they no longer have control over their child can sign up to the Theraplay programme, which lasts up to three years and emphasises the importance of a strong and loving bond with a mother figure.

Apparently, the therapists who tout this "treatment" are convinced that children who are poorly behaved need to improve their self worth, but self worth or self-esteem is not tied to how well adjusted children turn out later in life and in fact, often high self-esteem is correlated to narcissism and later violence. I just hope the UK isn't raising the next generation of bottle drinking thugs. But I guess as long as a group of therapists can feel good about themselves and their ability to provide first rate nanny services at the schools, that's all that matters.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to see the research correlating high self worth to violence. I'd be particularly interested to see how they defined "self worth", as these days the term usually refers to causeless or inferred worth (you're great because you're a woman, you're great because your daddy is rich, you're great because superstud likes you, you're great because you're part of the gang).

And, based on the statement in your previous post, that "[a]nger is often a signal, to tell us that something is wrong, that we have been unfairly treated", and people with high self-worth are not "well adjusted" with correlations to violence, I'm wondering if there is an implication that people with low self worth might be more tolerant of suffering injustice, possibly in the sense that they feel they deserve it?

5:56 PM, March 03, 2007  
Blogger Coffee Joe said...

I suppose that actually disciplining children is out of the question at this point, I guess bottles will have to do.

6:08 PM, March 03, 2007  
Blogger Coffee Joe said...

On a more serious note, in response to saltedslug, I do think that I have been willing to suffer more (and sometimes when perhaps I shouldn't have) because I felt like I deserved it. I (without much self-esteem) have managed to still have confidence . I have always been baffled by the things that some people will fix problems.

6:13 PM, March 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I continue to bottlefeed to this day, mine is made by a company called "Camelback".

6:23 PM, March 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd post my snarky comment now, but I'm late to my "Rebirthing" session. Then I've got "Past-lives Regression", followed by another attempt to recover lost memories through hypnosis. But I'll be back. One of me will, anyway....

6:52 PM, March 03, 2007  
Blogger Bob's Blog said...

I especially agree with your comments about self esteem and therapists and nanny services.

9:40 PM, March 03, 2007  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I can't imagine how being bottle fed well past the normal ages for such things can improve a child in any way. I, also, can't imagine how screwed up most of these poor kids will be when they're adults.

10:07 PM, March 03, 2007  
Blogger Purple Avenger said...

One does wonder who actually requires the treatment here ;->

10:22 PM, March 03, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A second problem with this "treatment" -- giving an out-of-control child a weapon and holding them at close striking range.

Most probable outcome: a bruised therapist and an undisciplined child.

12:00 AM, March 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen, this is insane! I believe in creative resolutions...but bottle feeding 6-11yr olds for bad behaviour???

5:18 AM, March 04, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

That's scary. I know somebody who is still breast feeding, and her son is old enough to take it out of his mouth and say "other side mommy!"

7:18 AM, March 04, 2007  
Blogger Simon Kenton said...

I was observing in court one day and watched a 16-year-old who was in to be sentenced for some delinquency mouthing, licking, sucking on, extracting and contemplating, rolling between thumb and forefinger, a pacifier.

12:45 PM, March 04, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

Simon Kenton,

Are you sure it wasn't one of those pacifier suckers that are popular?

1:06 PM, March 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't I read a few years back that there are closet thumb suckers who sneak out of high stress meetings and situations for a few moments of relaxing - well, thumb sucking?

2:41 PM, March 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another generation of those who will think happiness comes in a bottle...sigh.

2:52 PM, March 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So taking a kid out of class to suckle a bottle and play baby games, all the while all the other kids get to know what it happening is going to make them disciplined. I foresee rather these kids are going to have to fight the rest of their way through school. No way they aren't teased and taunted as long as they are with their peers. Why not just rename the "Sue" like the father in Johnny Cash's song A Boy Named Sue. You'll end up in the same place.

3:08 PM, March 04, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

i was stunned, shocked, i lost all words.

its infantilising children, turning kids into perpetual babies, (i question the breastfeeders who do it beyond a certain age, when does it become pedophilia), if you turn these children into babies, then they will be less able to think, and therefore make decisions, so will mindlessly go along with everything the government says.

3:11 PM, March 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear what dentists have to say about this practice.

4:12 PM, March 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may paradoxically work. Just think about the humiliation and the taunts of other children towards the bottle feed "babies". Were I in the program I would do anything I could to be released. I may even behave!!!

5:26 PM, March 04, 2007  
Blogger Mike said...

I think it would be a lot more popular if it were breast feeding instead of bottle feeding. At least with the boys.

9:09 AM, March 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprise to find schools hiring wet-nurses in a few years.

How lame.

2:46 PM, March 05, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dentists? This is the UK! I think they have dentists somewhere, but they don't take advantage of them.

2:53 PM, March 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they want to prevent bad behavior, couldn't they just use negative reinforcement and do a little spanking?

3:24 AM, March 07, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

of course this is a californian invention, not a UK just our "esteemed" leaders want to make everyone a nice intellectually neutered group.

(rightwingprof why the insults about the brits, people would think your racist against the british)

3:28 AM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bottle feeding 11-year olds? Do they burp, diaper, and change them as necessary, too? I guess "bottoms-up" discipline is still out, though.

3:29 PM, March 08, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last gym I lifted at, I complained to one of the desk people. Good gal. Late 40s, I think. I was complaining about the bloody diaper decks in the mens room & the 5-6 year girls who were showing up (again) in the men's locker room.

I wasn't humiliated for myself, leaving the shower (I used to be a life model), but I saw this little girl & she was shocked, being toweled off by her father with this naked man 10 feet away.

I got some shadow & dressed.

Then I complained to the woman at the front desk.

Turned out she had a similar experience. She'd been working out (this is a YMCA employee, remember), and was getting ready to dress in the women's locker room when she nearly gave a young boy of 8 or 9 years a heart attack.

This was the second day I made a complaint like this. And her reaction was similar to mine. We're all naked on a fairly frequent basis--we start to smell funky if we're not.

But being forced to expose ourselves thus to elementary school kids is really appalling.

It's not about us. It's about the kids. Kids who are just starting to figure out sexuality but really, really don't need adult organs forced in their face by their ignorant parents to take the next steps on the road.

It's appalling. It's evil. And it's the Central Bucks County YMCA.

If you have anything to do with it, cease activity. If you belong to an organization that supports these slugs, cease it.

This is an organization that terrorizes young men (I've called the cops on harassment charges against management) & puts the lie to its claim as a builder of "strong kids" by exposing them, and encouraging their parents to expose them, to stuff they don't really want to be exposed to.

I've posed naked for money in front of collegiate art students. I don't much care for over-enthusiastic daddies who bring their grade school girls into the mens locker room vis-a-vis the lure of the diaper deck.

Kids learn about sex. They don't need our help. They DO need a little bit of protection, at least during those grades when they're Seeing Spot Run.

Central Bucks County YMCA (215 348 8131), home of self-serving aggrandisement and yuppie accepted juvenile pornography.

NO MORE diaper decks.

Dads & daughters should have relationships. Just not in the locker room. And don't include me for a threesome.

Repugnant Yuppie idiot yuppies.

Thought we were done with you in the '80s. Guess we'll need to re-purg your Sodomite 30/50-something selves again.


But it's for the children.

8:56 PM, March 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was in the sixth grade my class would visit a local high school for about an hour a day for three weeks to go swimming in the high school's pool and to take swimming lessons.

The school had 2 of the high school senior girls and 1 of the senior boys teach us swimming techniques each day.

Each day at the end of the class we would go to the locker room (it goes without saying that the boys were in a different locker room from us girls) and the 2 senior girls were totally comfortable showering and walking around in the nude.

After a couple of classes a few of the girls in my class (but not myself) started to take the lead of the high school girls and would shower in the nude to try to look more mature in the eyes of the 2 senior gils.

On the very last day that we were going to the high school for a swim class we convinced our sixth grade teacher to go for a swim with us.

At the end of the class we all went into the locker room and were shocked to see our teacher strip out of her bathingsuit and shower in the nude. But beyond just showering nude she was having conversations with us while she was nude, and she was even blow drying her hair while standing in front of the mirror in the nude!

Now, I don't consider there to have been anything wrong with her showering and being nude in front of her female students. In fact I can honestly say it helped me the very next year when we had mandatory showers after gym class in junior high since it made it easier to accept the idea of being nude in a locker room with teachers and piers.

But I totally agree with the gentelman who said that those little girls should NOT be taken into a men's locker room! There is a HUGE difference between young girls seeing nude females and nude males!

I would never allow my husband to take our daughter into a men's locker room, and I know my husband would never dream of doing so either!

Rebecca H

8:56 PM, March 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog post! Thanks for intesting info!

2:29 PM, April 01, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

rightwingprof said... "Dentists? This is the UK! I think they have dentists somewhere, but they don't take advantage of them."

My favorite British sitcom is "My Family," about a dentist.

2:33 PM, April 04, 2007  
Blogger Onideus said...

You really are a moron and quite frankly you should not be allowed to practice psychology (in any form). Rather than take the time to actually research a subject you arbitrarily dismissed, outright attacked it and then proceeded to encourage others to do the same...based on little more than some biased, sensationalized media coverage.

Rather than repeat what you could have simply looked up yourself I'll just post it right in here for the benefit of your laziness:

"The Theraplay® Institute in Wilmette, IL, USA, is aware that several newspaper articles concerning Theraplay have been published recently in the UK. Unfortunately, these articles misrepresent the Theraplay process. Theraplay is a well-established treatment model for helping children with behavior and relationship problems, primarily through improving the parent-child relationship. It is based upon research that demonstrates the critical influence of early relationships on brain development and child behavior. Theraplay has roots in the work done at the Tavistock Centre in the late 1970’s and with John Bowlby’s foundational work in attachment theory.

The recent articles depict Theraplay as consisting primarily of bottle feeding school children and assert that such caretaking will prevent the child from growing up and becoming independent. The reality is that while we believe that Nurture in various forms is very important, bottle feeding is used only in a minority of select situations. The goal of Theraplay treatment is to make an active and emotional connection between the child and parents, resulting in a change in the child’s view of himself/herself as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding, with resulting improvements in behavior. The parents’ viewpoint and behavior often changes as well. Children with a positive view of themselves and others grow up to be the healthiest adults.

Theraplay is a unique treatment for several reasons: Parents are expected to participate and are guided to make a better relationship with their children. The therapist and parent are the leaders of the sessions, helping the child to accept appropriate adult leadership and limits and setting an organized, well-regulated example for the child. The sessions focus on the delight of being together and playing simple interactive games, not on toys, teaching, or electronic pastimes. The sessions incorporate physically challenging movement activities that appeal to children, allow them to “burn off some steam” and feel good about their accomplishments. Because Theraplay involves parents and is so direct, treatment often is completed in months instead of the years typical of child-only, non-directive therapies.

Why do we Nurture and ask parents to nurture their children? Nurturing helps the child feel valued as a human being, which decreases the child's anger and need to misbehave. With troubled children, we agree with others in the therapeutic field that when an adult expects more cooperation or compliance, the adult must increase nurturing as well. Nurturing in therapy and in real life is frequently done through food. Feeding and sharing treats tells a child that we value him and builds him up inside. We want to change the child's feelings of self-worth. Nurturing in Theraplay does that.

We would never force a child to accept a bottle, a juice box, or a food treat of any kind. When offered, it is done playfully or kindly. If a child accepts it, it tells us that child has a need for that early nurturing. We also provide nurture in many other ways, such as checking for and taking care of hurts and singing to the child. Children who feel well taken care of are able to develop empathy for other people and the ability to be gentle with and respectful of others.

Nurture is only one part of Theraplay. A 30-45 minute Theraplay session might include two nurturing activities in addition to six active, cooperative games from the Structure, Engagement and Challenge dimensions, depending on the specific child’s needs.

It is unfortunate that an increasing number of children come to school with emotional problems, developmental delays, past trauma, disorganized family life, multiple family placements, and other challenges. Theraplay can help them become self-regulated and ready to learn. Parents and teachers report improved behavior and happier children after Theraplay treatment.

Theraplay is not silly or controversial. Thousands of mental health professionals from all over the world have been trained in the Theraplay method over the past 40 years. Theraplay is used with biological children, children in foster care, families formed by adoption, and for children with developmental challenges. Theraplay has been used preventively to strengthen the parent-child relationship in the presence of risk factors or the stresses of everyday life. There are Theraplay therapists working with AIDS orphans in Botswana and South Africa, victims of disasters such as the 2005 tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, SOS Children’s Villages, adoption preservation agencies, schools, early intervention programs, daycare, residential, community mental health, private practice and family therapy to name a few. For more information:"

4:52 PM, December 12, 2007  

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