Saturday, 29 September 2007

Channel 4 uses respectable organisations to add credence to Bringing Up Baby

I'm concerned that Channel Four are intentionally misleading the public by offering the information in this link FIND OUT MORE where they have Organisations, Websites and Books.

We are listed under websites (with a dead link, which may be sinister) and The Social Baby is in the books section along with others. I am not happy about being associated with the site or the programme, as I am sure the other organisations would be if they were aware.

A job for Monday...

Friday, 28 September 2007

Channel 4's Baby And Me website

A look at this website confirms Channel 4's complete indifference about the information they put out. It is so deeply flawed I hardly know where to begin.

I received written assurances from Channel 4 that they take the welfare of children... very seriously. However they refused to answer who their experts are.

On their site he is Dr Harvey Marcovitch . This is his response to a serious question about Truby King and the Continuum Concept from a mum. You may note Dr Marcovitch seems to have omitted any comment about the Truby King question.


This question refers to the Truby King method. The mentor was adamant that babies be put to bed from 7pm to 7am but when they are objecting and crying how can a parent be sure they don't have wind, colic or another issue which is keeping them from sleeping? The mentor just seemed to insist on leaving them to cry. Where the Continuum Concept is concerned is it good idea for a baby to be curled up all day in a sling when car seat advice stipulates that baby shouldn't be in the seat for more than two hours at a time as this may restrict spinal growth?
Rachel (Northampton)

Harvey Marcovitch: The fact is that mostly you can't work out why a baby cries at night – only sometimes can you find a reason, like a soiled nappy making their bottom sore, hunger, an awkward position or wanting cuddling but even then it is usually a guess. As to being in a sling, I know of no evidence that it adversely affects head control, neck muscle strength, the shape of the spine or increases cot death risk by restricting breathing. Car seats may be different. A recent survey of 409 unexplained deaths of babies in Quebec over 10 years found just 10 were sitting in one at the time (which did not indicate an obviously increased risk) but 5 were aged under a month old and for them this meant a much greater risk than when lying down. It's not known if they were asleep at the time but keeping a small baby sitting for too long may interfere with their oxygen supply. Some parents in the survey had kept their child in a car seat for as long as 16 hours. Two hours is the recommended maximum.

SIDs risk in Channel 4's Bringing Up baby

In addition to the concerns we have expressed about Channel 4's Baby And Me are the increased risks of SIDs (cot death). The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) has issued a statement that the advise given on last Tuesday's programme puts babies' lives at risk.

Click here to read the story.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Petition to 10 Downing Street about Bringing Up Baby style shows

Please sign our petition to 10 Downing Street, and forward this message to as many people as you can.

The petition reads:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to take urgent action to protect infants and their parents from television programmes that promote outdated and discredited parenting theories.

The description on the petition page explains in more detail the reason why everyone should sign.

Click here to sign the petition

If you want to email the url (link) to others, copy and paste this

Thanks for your support

Guns, Gangs, Bringing up Baby and Claire Verity

Amongst all the outrage over Claire Verity's obsessively literal interpretation of Truby King's discredited theories (who by the way only had the idea, based on observing calves, no science), there is a much darker and sinister issue.

The same media who promote harsh parenting practices, also demand action to end gang culture, and get the yobs off our streets. If they looked into the reasons why teenagers and (increasingly) young children behave like they do they would most likely find these teens to not come from caring or loving families. There would be marked similarities between their experience and those of Claire Verity's charges. The main difference is that the remoteness CV advocates in infancy continues throughout childhood with these troubled teens. They grow without a sense of belonging, of being cared for and loved.

Children are incredible survivors - from South American Street kids, to survivors of violence and abuse, to neglected kids on housing estates, all children crave living and being loved. When care and love doesn't come from an adult, the child is unable to develop a secure attachment and has to become self reliant in order to survive. In Truby King's time (a hundred years ago), millions of people were dying in war, and it was essential to raise children in ways that would make them never question authority, and willingly volunteer to be good soldiers (and die).

Gangs are groups of children who do not have a secure attachment figure. The pain and anger this causes young children as they struggle to find someone who will care for, and guide them is unimaginable. Their behaviour becomes more extreme as they vie for attention in what becomes an increasingly alien place for them. Their behaviour gets them flagged up as trouble-makers in school, and the response from under-resourced and poorly trained schools is exclusion. It is no surprise that on meeting someone in the same situation - socially excluded and disliked - they are likely to form a bond in their pain. It is also not surprising that the frustration and anger from years of neglect manifests itself in violence. Seemingly mindless to the rest of society, this excluded group simply vent their feelings in ways that make no sense to the rest of us. And to be fair, neither to the perpetrators.

Claire Verity's methods do work. An infant's brain is at its most vulnerable and most active following birth. All experience is wiring the brain to understand what to expect out of life. In the case of her babies, abandonment, neglect, remoteness - emotionally crippled and without attachment. Most importantly though, a quiet baby that sleeps and makes no demands of its parents.

Clive Dorman, The Children's Project

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Link to Ofcom for complaints about Bringing Up Baby

If you wish to complain to Ofcom about Bringing Up Baby on Channel 4, this is the link

Ofcom complaints form for a programme you have viewed

Don't expect miracles, but do submit your concerns. Remember the outrage over Big Brother. Complaints are more likely to increase media interest than to stop the programme, but this can be a good thing.

What to say?
Say what you feel! If you were upset or offended let them know. If you have facts, state them. Try to be objective, and avoid being overly sensational. Not always easy when you are emotional about a subject. Spread the word. Get everyone you know to complain. The more complaints, the more likely Ofcom are to act.

Unite/CPHVA Official letter from Unite/CPHVA to Silver River re Bringing Up Baby

The following is a letter to Silver River from Unite/CPHVE (Community Practitioner and Health Visitors Association. I (Clive Dorman) am a member of their Interest Group for Parenting and Family Support, and have been given permission to publish the letter on this blog. They too received a similar dismissive response to the one I did.

6th July 2007

Silver River
Silver River Productions
4th Floor, Brook House
2 – 16 Torrington Place
London WC1E 7HN

Dear Tanya,

The Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association is very concerned at the proposed making of the documentary film ‘Bringing Up Baby’. Although the programme purports to be a serious documentary it appears that important ethical issues may have been overlooked.

We are concerned about babies being used in an experimental way by your production team. Babies cannot give consent but parents can and do on their behalf. Have they been allowed to give ‘informed consent’? Have the parents been warned of the possible damage to their babies by the use of methods such as those introduced by Truby King? His methods may have gone ‘out of fashion’ but there are reasons why.
Science has progressed. We now have the opportunity to investigate baby brains and to see the physiological effects of attending to babies or not.

As science has progressed we are now more able to see the damage caused to baby brains by parental failure to respond to the baby needs. I would ask you to read a book called ‘Why Love Matters’ by Sue Gerhardt or ‘The Science of Parenting’ Margot Sunderland, to help you to understand how crucial it is for babies to be responded to in a sensitive way so that their needs are met and they can form a secure attachment with their parents. This is the foundation for their sense of security and the ability to empathise with others. Babies who are responded to when necessary grow up secure in relationships and do well in their learning. For others who are not the opposite is true.

We would ask you to reconsider your programme in the light of new knowledge. This is a child protection issue. The programme may also be breaching the Unicef United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child particularly in relation to Articles 3 and 19.

Babies should not be used as subjects of experiments to see what methods are ‘best’. We already know this from science and the studying of cared for and neglected baby brains.

We trust that you will take the appropriate action.

Yours sincerely

Maggie Fisher
on behalf of the Interest Group for Parenting and Family Support
Professional Officer
Professional Officer
33-37 Moreland St
Tel 020 7780 4081 (d.l.)
Fax 020 7780 4142

cc. Hamish Mykura
cc. Al Ainsley Green

Hamish Mykura is Head of History, Science & Religion at Channel Four
Al Ainsley Green is the first appointed Children's Commissioner for England

Complaint to Ofcom re Bringing Up Baby

The following was sent to Ofcom via their website on Wed 26th September.

Some babies in this programme are being subjected to harsh parenting regimes that if allowed to continue, will put the infants at high risk of sustaining brain damage, emotional trauma, and social and emotional difficulties throughout life. I had major concerns about the welfare of the infants in this programme, and whether or not the parents were given enough information to make an informed decision. But the show was far worse than I could have imagined. It was the most shocking and horrifying abuse and neglect of babies I have seen broadcast in the name of entertainment.

We were approached by the production company, Silver River at the earliest stages of the programme as they were looking for a supporter of Truby King's work. I explained at length the concerns in following Truby King's methods to the letter. We sent them a copy of our book The SocialBaby, and the DVD of the same name, to support my argument. Produced in partnership with NSPCC, the DVD supports parents in understanding infant cues, and stresses the importance of positive contact and interactions for the future well-being of the developing child.

My concern is the flippant, arrogant and patronising way both Hamish Mykura (Head of History, Science & Religion at Channel Four) and Daisy Goodwin at Silver River have refused to acknowledge my concerns, or to answer my questions about safeguards to protect the interest of babies in the programme.

New babies whose needs are not met will not form secure attachments, and if left to cry produce high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This is highly corrosive to a developing brain, and left unchecked, can result in permanent damage to the parts of the brain that control the emotions. The orphans of Romania are extreme examples of this, where scans have shown parts of the brain are completely undeveloped.

The show contravenes the Unicef Convention on the Rights of the Child, and is in complete contradiction with every Government initiative in the UK. There must be regulations in place to prevent child neglect and abuse being broadcast as entertainment. There are some who will believe this is accurate information, and in putting it into practice will be harming their own babies.

The troubles of the UK's youth have its roots firmly set in early childhood experience and this show undermines every piece of current thinking on infant development.

I can break down specific detail of the programme if you wish, and I have copies of my correspondence with Channel Four and Silver River, both of whom have been deliberately misleading and deceitful in their treatment of my concerns.

Clive Dorman, Director and Co-founder, The Children's Project

Appeal to celebreties who've employed Claire Verity

According to the publicity for Bringing up Baby, and media exposure about Claire Verity, she has been a Nanny to the babies of Mick Jagger/Jerry Hall, Mark Knopfler, and Sting.

If this is the case, and they have followed her regimes it would be very interesting to hear about how their children are doing.

It's very clear from this blog that I worry about Claire Verity, as I believe she is selling child abuse and neglect at £1000 per day to celebrities who, with punishing schedules and sufficient funds, are likely to lap up the prospect of a regime that appears to shut up a baby.

I would like to hear from anyone who has been a client of CV and to get feedback about the experience.

Claire Verity in conversation

Claire Scott - CS (Continuum Concept Mentor)
Claire Verity - CV (Truby King Mentor)
Dreena Hamilton - DH (Dr Spock Mentor)

CS: It's an anthropological study. They look to their parents for love - to be held, to be bonded with their parents, because that's what they're born to expect.

CV: What, at 2 or 3 weeks old?

CS: At birth...

CV: (shakes her head) Disagree

CS: ...babies want parents to respond to them and when they don't, they realise thier communication doesn't work and they give up.

CV: Maybe at 2 or 3 years old they do, but not at 2 and 3 weeks they don't.


DH: But if you're going to have a baby and then you're going to shut it out of your life for half of its day, what's the point of having it?

CV People pay me (£1000 a day) to put a baby into a routine - that's what I get paid to do. That's what I firmly believe in.

Claire Verity from tonight's 'Bringing Up baby'

The biggest mistake a parent can make is allow a baby to dictate to them. A baby should fit into your way of life, not you into its.

No Touching

How can you let someone so tiny rule your life.

Put it outside in the garden.

I don't understand why anybody needs to touch or pick up a baby.

A baby doesn't want to be cuddled all the time, all they want to do is to be left alone to grow.

People pay me to put baby into a routine - that's what I get paid to do - that's what I firmly believe in.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Claire Verity reveals her true colours

So... Claire Verity burst onto our screens tonight, triumphantly and exclusively expounding her chronically misguided advice to new parents which amount to how to brain damage infants into early compliance. Believe me, brain damage is exactly what she promotes.

It is outstanding that here in the UK with a government that is pouring millions of pounds into early intervention, that the media is sufficiently unregulated that it is possible for Daisy Goodwin (Silver River) to produce a programme for Channel Four (commissioned by Hamish Mykura - Head of History, Science and Religion) that, after the first show (of four) promotes the contrived neglect of infants.

From the time I was first approached by Silver River, I have been seriously concerned about the implications of broadcasting parenting practices that are outdated. Let's put this in context. Coca-Cola was created by John Pemberton in the 1880's (more here) It contained cocaine and an aphrodisiac stimulant from the kola nut. Versions of this drink continued until 1914 when it became illegal as part of the Harrison Narcotic Act 1914. Truby King graduated in 1888. Full story here. See also my blog on the man.

Very simply, would we suggest our children drink the Coke of the late 1800's in the interests of a television experiment? Why did the pregnant mum not drink and smoke during pregnancy as was the norm at the time?

Who is consulted to protect these babies and their poor uninformed parents from the child abuse Claire Verity is exposing them to?

Channel Four loves controversy. Bringing Up Baby will never gain the sort of exposure that Big Brother gets, and Ofcom was slow in its response to the public outrage at racist statements by Jade Goody towards Shilpa Shetty.

There are very serious issues here.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Bringing Up baby

Bringing Up Baby is broadcast on Tuesday 25th September 2007 on Channel 4 at 9.00 pm UK time. I dread viewing it. Not because of The Continuum Theory, or of Dr Spock, but because of Truby King. We were contacted by Silver River (Daisy Goodwin's production company) because they were looking for a supporter of his theories. If you Google Truby King on a UK search, we are top of the list. Not because we approve, but because of an excellent piece (Resilience, by Sebastien Kraemer) that refers to him, and his well-meaning but misguided theories.

Science has for decades refuted most of Truby King's ideas, including strict 4-hour feeding regimes, proving beyond question that his theories are not in the best interest of infants (indeed, some premature babies are reported to have died following these regimes). We now understand that babies are born with emotions and feelings the same as adults, something unknown in Truby King's time. The only problem for a baby is they lack the ability to communicate this in ways adults can easily understand.

This counts for nothing with Daisy Goodwin, or Hamish Mykura at Channel Four who commissioned the programme, who I suspect may themselves be victims of harsh parenting. So what is it with these people? Why is it acceptable to neglect the emotional needs of a newborn baby in the name of entertainment? I have asked and asked for reassurance during the pre-production phase of this programme, but have been ignored, patronised and dismissed by both. Clearly they value the added promotion of controversy above the welfare of infants and their parents.

Is it not time that the media was regulated to protect infants and children from the relentless onslaught of car crash TV? Will Daisy Goodwin, Hamish Mykura and Channel Four be interested in 12 years time to see if these potentially damaged children turn out to be functional or dysfunctional?

I have no point of reference from C4 or Silver River, as they refuse to reply meaningfully or responsibly. In the circumstances I have been remarkably reserved about what I'd like to say, as at time of writing programme has not been aired. I have major concerns.