Thursday, 17 April 2008

Smacking discussion and phone-in on Radio 5 Live 18th April, 11.00pm

I have been invited to appear on the Stephen Logan show tomorrow night (Friday) 18th April. I'm on at 11.00 pm for up to one hour. It's a discussion and phone-in on smacking following the Bowens' decision to mount a legal challenge to Somerset council's decision to not accept them as foster parents because they smack their child (though they say they would not smack a foster child).

Opposite me in the studio, is a barrister called Mark Mullins, who is the London Chair of the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship. I understand he supports the Bowens' stance and is pro smacking.

I find it puzzling that many pro-smacking people are Christians. I find it difficult to correlate the work of Jesus and the teachings of the bible to the smacking of children, so I hope this will be an interesting discussion.

You can listen on DAB radios, or online at or by clicking here and following the on-screen links.

Hope you can listen in.
Regards to all - Clive

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Violent links to smacking

So I did the Richard Bacon show last night on smacking. I am anti smacking, Lynette Burrows is very pro smacking and she could be an extraordinarily dangerous woman were it nor for the fact she is so happy to dig holes and jump in them. It was a difficult discussion to get any meaningful points across and she clearly wound up Richard Bacon.

I wanted to pin Lynette down on the process of smacking - exactly when, and how. What triggers it, is she preemptive, ritualising the act, or does she just snap. She didn't answer. She doesn't know what attachment is. She admitted to hitting all her six children (it is necessary for a child's learning to experience a small amount of pain). Her eldest is special needs - a down syndrome baby. And she hit him too "but only when he was very small".

What was so clear (and no time to discuss on the show) is how damaged she is. She must have experienced a good deal of pain in her own childhood. Many victims of harsh parenting say - it never did me any harm. As if they have to validate it. How else as an adult can you square your mum or dad (or both) hitting you? You keep being told you are naughty and in time you believe it. You either become compliant and spend the rest of your life trying to get parental approval, or defiant and get angry with no outlet and all the mess we see around us. As I said last night you can modify the behaviour but you can't change the thoughts.

Interestingly as I arrived the receptionist said he'd shoot all the yobbo's hanging around out there and leave them to rot in the gutter where they belong. The security chap said "I'm from Africa and there all the children are smacked". To which I replied "Yes, and Africa is a very peaceful country isn't it?". "No it isn't," he came back, "it's very violent." "So now you know why." I said. He laughed and said "I'm not sure about that". But I reckon the thought registered. Treat children violently and they tend to grow violent.

I have started a discussion on this topic on our group. To apply to join, click here.


Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Claire Verity (bringing Up Baby) has no qualifications

TV bosses wash their hands of nanny with fake qualifications

Patrick Foster, The Times, 19th January 2008

A controversial television nanny whose "outdated and potentially harmful" childcare methods brought complaints from hundreds of viewers fabricated her qualifications, it was confirmed yesterday.

The Times disclosed in October that Claire Verity, who appeared in Bringing up Baby, a programme that explored various methods of infant care, claimed to hold numerous childcare diplomas from organisations that denied knowledge of her.

The NSPCC said that the nanny’s methods, which included leaving babies to cry and limiting cuddling to ten minutes a day, were "outdated and potentially harmful". The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said that her recommendation that babies should sleep alone in a separate room contradicted guidance from the Department of Health on reducing the risk of cot death.

Channel 4 announced that it would hold an investigation into Verity's qualifications after it circulated publicity material detailing the awards that she claimed to hold, and described her on its website as having a “string of nannying qualifications”.

Yesterday, 12 weeks after The Times reported the story, the broadcaster said that it had concluded its inquiry. In a short statement it said: "At Channel 4’s request, Silver River [the production company] has asked Claire Verity for documentary evidence to support the qualifications listed in a document her agent supplied and, thus far, none has been forthcoming."

The channel said that it had no further plans to work with Verity and had planned only one series of Bringing up Baby.

A source at the channel defended the length of time that it had taken to provide a response. The source said: "We had to give her a bit of time to produce proof of the qualifications that she said she had. It’s nearly three months later and she hasn't done that. I’m sure you can draw your own conclusions."

Ofcom received 752 complaints from viewers, some of whom accused Verity of child cruelty. The industry regulator said in December that Channel 4 had been wrong to describe her as a maternity nurse, adding: "Where there is the potential for harm, broadcasters should be careful when using terms which may imply participants have medical qualifications or other professional status."

In October The Times asked Chloe Cunningham and Simon Fairclough, Verity's agents, to confirm her professional qualifications. The list supplied by Cunningham Management, which described Verity as highly qualified, differed from the qualifications that Channel 4 claimed she held.

Verity, who has no children, claimed to hold diplomas in child daycare and preschool practice from the national awarding body ASET. But a spokeswoman said: "There is no trace whatsoever of this lady on our database." She said that ASET did not offer a diploma in preschool practice.

Maternity Nurse Training, from which Verity said that she had qualifications in maternity practice, sleep training and paediatrics, said that she did not hold any of its awards. A spokeswoman said: "This person never enrolled on any of our courses and as such has never been trained by us. We would like to make it quite clear that we do not in any way endorse the methods employed by Ms Verity in her work."

Goal, from which Verity claimed to hold a diploma in childcare, said that it had no record of her and had never offered the diploma.

In addition, Ms Cunningham admitted that Verity had not yet taken the postnatal depression or care of multiple baby qualifications that Channel 4 claimed she held.

The awarding bodies also searched their systems for Verity under the name Houseman, the name of her former husband, and Bradley, under which she is listed on the electoral roll.

In an interview with The Times, Verity claimed to hold a degree in business studies from the University of York, but a spokesman said that it had no record of her and did not offer a business studies degree.

Verity could not be contacted yesterday. Both Ms Cunningham and Mr Fairclough put the phone down and did not reply to e-mails, but Cunningham Management did remove from its website a profile of Verity containing claims about her qualifications.

The Times understands that she has enrolled on childcare courses since October