Wednesday, 26 September 2007

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

1 comment:

Debbie F said...

I agree with Clive in relation to the development of secure attachments! I work with foster carers who look after very damaged children and see the effects of parental neglect on the child's behaviour and their emotions (or lack thereof).

Just because this way of bringing up children was developed by a so-called professional does not make any less abusive and neglectful. We don't leave children with parents who are drug/alcohol dependent (and neglecting their children) so why just because a parent is a home owner with a steady job do people think it's ok for them to treat their children in such a way?!?!?