Therapy by social contract

The image http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2007/08/01/Brat_070718085132892_wideweb__300x300.jpg cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.I found my ten year old watching the end of a TV show about kids tonight.  He was watching it because he was anxious that he wasn’t doing his homework.  Sound familiar?  Anyway, the show was Brat Camp is a reality TV show that aired tonight. The blurb says that it’s been on before.  If it’s been on in oz, I’ve not noticed it. Anyway, I only saw the last five or so minutes of the first episode of a new four part series. I guess some readers here will think it’s corny, but it’s about troubled teens (all girls in this series) being taken out into the wilderness (they’re British, but the wilderness is American) and have a bunch of rules imposed on them designed, it seems, to bring them to various realisations – realisations kind of like, you know, sort of that I’m not the only person in the world – right?

The rules mean that if they don’t do some things that are asked of them, they don’t get basic privileges – like hot meals.  But they want hot meals.  So they have to figure out what to do.  I saw one girl saying that she just couldn’t believe that she was there.  That she was just telling herself that she wasn’t there.  But she is there!  That’s the issue she’s got to deal with.  Presumably they’re not literally prisoners.  But they’ve all got some figuring out to do and I for one am interested to see how it goes.

If I can get the time I’ll watch some more. It looked pretty interesting.

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Niall
13 years ago

Yes, it was on several months ago, depicting the before & after of the bunch in the pic. Frankly, I’m amazed that a culture exists among the upper middle classes in the UK which basically fosters these brats because parents are spineless. Well, maybe spineless is the wrong term, because they do – out of sheer desperation and patent inability to realise their parental responsibilities until it’s too late – send their loin-fruit to another country to be handled by complete strangers and disciplinarians.

The show is interesting from a variety of angles, particularly from the point of view of someone like myself, who brought up my own children in what I regard as a strict, disciplinarian environment. I was brought up to do as I was told, when I was told or suffer the consequences. Sometimes those consequences were rounds of the kitchen with a leather strap, sometimes deprivation of liberties, but questioning of adult decrees was totally unknown. I and my brothers, knew our limits and once tested, were never exceeded. My own children were raised in a similar manner and have all told me at different times, they’re grateful for the grounding their mother & I gave them.

Bratcamp, to me, is a graphic depiction of a failure in some societies, mainly western societies, of parents to take proper responsibility for raising their children, thereby placing untoward strain on a society which doesn’t know how to cope. Children, in my experience should be seen and not heard. You’re an adult when you can fend for yourself, and not before. As much as I used to hate hearing it, the truism of “while you live under my roof, boyo!….” is more pertinent today than it has ever been.

Joshua Gans
Joshua Gans(@joshua-gans)
13 years ago

We watched most of the first series. ‘You’ve just gone one step closer to Brat Camp’ has become a useful shorthand in our family for a much longer lecture. This is not so much because it’s a credible threat, but because the boys hate to think they could resemble those horrible teenagers in any way.