Or they are not thinking, at all? This has been done before and the results are not definitive. However, as Senior Mothers of adoption loss, many of us have seen the disturbing results of the pre-verbal trauma to an infant or toddler, placed with strangers and with the vital connection to their mother broken. Why don't they just give these kids some birth control and accept that, no matter how good the teen, sex happens. It's built into us in our hormones and need to replicate our genetic heritage. This is PAST ridiculous. Teach them how to be good parents if they find themselves expecting. Quit trying to hold back Nature with psychological theories.
THE FOLLOWING EDITORIAL NOTE APPEARED IN NEW JERSEY'S BERGEN RECORD
Donson, Costa: How low will reality TV go?
Friday, June 27, 2008
NBC calls this new program a 'social experiment.' It is certainly an experiment, but in the worst sense of the word. WE ARE CONCERNED and outraged at the launching of "Baby Borrowers," the latest in NBC's "reality series" programming. In this macabre new form of media "entertainment," a number of infants and toddlers are being subjected to a three-day separation from their parents and placed instead in the hands of total strangers. Teenage strangers. NBC calls this a "social experiment."
It is certainly an "experiment," but in the worst sense of the word. More than 80 years of child-development research convinces us that such obvious neglect of a young child's need for continuity in his family life will result in severe emotional and developmental harm for these very vulnerable young children. Everyone working in the field of infant mental health is familiar with the series of films created by James and Joyce Robertson, working with John Bowlby, made in the Sixties, graphically demonstrating the confusion, protest, sadness, despair and eventually profound and prolonged depression resulting when young toddlers were separated from their parents (even through parental hospitalization) for "only" a few days.
As the bonds of attachment with parents are disrupted, so, too, will the infant or toddler become severely disrupted in her sense of security, sense of self and confident expectation that she will be cared for and relieved of distress. Stability and reliability in addition, the child's confidence to explore the world with feelings of safety, as well as her future ability to form secure and healthy relationships, is dependent on the stability and reliability of trusted parental caregivers.
The failure of society to understand that infants and young children require consistency, predictability, reliability, respect, developmentally appropriate expectations and loving care is evident in all too many ways. This program perpetuates the notion that babies can be moved, like property, to any home, any person, at any time. Even when infants, toddlers and children who have been maltreated are removed from their caregivers for their protection, they suffer separation and need healthy ways to remain connected to their families. Babies and toddlers are invariably distressed when separated from their parents. They cry and become angry. They can become depressed and unable to sleep or eat. The longer the separation, the more prolonged are these reactions.
A three-day separation in the hands of strangers is clearly far too long. NBC sets a dangerous precedent in our media-dazzled society, which has apparently become more and more indifferent to the care necessary to the healthy development and emotional lives of our young children.
We must request that NBC take immediate steps to withdraw this series.Nathaniel Donson of Teaneck is a child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst and is a faculty member of the Columbia Psychoanalytic Center for Training and Research. Gerard Costa, also of Teaneck, is a developmental psychologist and a professor at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. ("To which I added a response to a reader's comment: " *comment of original poster)
1. Nathaniel Donson, MD says: Unfortunately, Midge misses the point of our protest, as does NBC, as she overlooks the experience of these infants, emphasizing instead only that of the teenagers. In day care, infants and toddlers are not only given time to become familiar with their caregivers, they become familiar with them from day to day, and are picked up by parents at the end of each day. Even so, for parents, as well as for their infants and toddlers, even the best daycare care is often a difficult stress - which, understandably, most daycare parents would rather avoid thinking about. In fact whenever I've asked mothers about missing their daycare cared for children, tears come to their eyes. And every professional who works in the field of Infant Mental Health knows that there is a parallel emotional experience going on in the baby. Unfortunately, Midge apparently knows nothing about the traumatic effects of even brief abandonments of very young children - which we see over and over again in our Infant Mental Health treatment centers, and which are so very difficult to reverse in subsequent therapeutic work. And why in the world would parents agree to loan their very young children for such a "social experiment?" Are they being paid? Nathaniel Donson, MD (good question, Doc. rw)
""Call NBC at 212- 664- 4444 and ask for the comment line. It is checked every 30 minutes. Share your concern!! ""
I've called and I hope their ears are still ringing.