Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Baby Mindreader

There was nothing on telly last night, except a repeat of Waking The Dead, Big Brother or the Baby Mindreader: I remembered the Waking The Dead episode too well to watch it a second time, and Big Brother makes me feel slightly soiled :D.

So I switched over to watch this so-called psychic do his thing.

What a lot of absolute hooey.

The things he said sound specific, but when you really think about it, like newspaper horoscopes, it could apply to virtually anyone. The victim was supposed to give him no clues other than yes or no, but he had her body language to go on and when he was getting no response he would keep repeating words out of his initial sentence, making them vaguer. Once she made a connection, she didn't stick to yes, she did expand, giving him something to work with and positive-looking feedback.

So for example, he started "cutting a hedge, cutting, cutting" and getting a blank, but continued to pursue it until she did make a connection.

Another thing he said was "handcuffs, I see someone in handcuffs" and she jumped on that as her ex's arrest before the child was born. It does sound like a link, but is it really?

I'd find it a lot more convincing if he specified who was arrested. After all, if your baby was aware of her father being arrested, and understanding enough (to be able to picture handcuffs?) while in the womb, (which seems an absolutely massive stretch of the elastic) why wouldn't the word "daddy" get in there? And a lot of us have seen people arrested, know someone who's been in trouble, had some sort of interaction with the police or indulged in some handcuff-play ;) at some point during our lives. If that part of the conversation hadn't got a hit, I'm sure he would have moved on, as he did with other things.

When people get a reading they tend to only remember the hits.

The narrator emphasised that the mindreader knew nothing of the woman's life, but things like her being a single mother would be fair guesses, for she had no wedding ring or anything and was unaccompanied. Not that I am aware he made any such statements about her.

Also given the mother's age and socio-economic group, which you could make a good guess at from her clothing, hairstyle and the child's, you could make some pretty good stabs at her background. Not that I am aware he made any such statements about her.

I got increasingly angry with the programme as it went on, as it became clear that the mother was having serious difficulties with her child and need some help with her parenting skills. The toddler was hitting her out of frustration, as young children sometimes do, and she was just taking it and asking the baby why she was hitting her. 8)

I think what she needed was to put the child down when she hits and say "No!" in a firm tone.

And she was eating her cereal and the child came over, crying and trying to put her hands in her bowl. Well, small children do that - they want whatever someone else has - and maybe she was hungry, she wanted to be part of what was going on. So what you do is you give her a taste of yours, or get her a bowl of her own and eat together. You don't shrug her off and expect her to understand. Of course she doesn't understand.

The mother seemed to have much too high expectations of her toddler's abilities and at the same time, because the father had been violent towards her, seemed to have the idea that her child was re-enacting those things and doesn't love her. When actually it's a false connection, and lots of young children hit out of frustration, with no darker reason than they are unable to express themselves. It's quite normal, and can be addressed reasonably easily.

I turned off after a while as I couldn't stick any more of the psychic: just before he went to see them a second time, he was pacing about and scratching his head in a Rainman-esque manner, and I was wholly repelled. I felt he was a fake and that what he was doing was very irresponsible.

I hope that he actually gave her some good advice to deal with the problems with her parenting in the end, cos I felt she needed practical help, not telling that her daughter was freaked out by things that happened before she was even born 8). She came over as somewhat depressed as well, I felt.

I think there's a lot to be said for SuperNanny and those sort of programmes, having watched this show.


Abby said...

I like "the house of tiny tearaways" best of all because Dr Tanya Byron's so nice and sensible and pretty she could turn my head, oh, yes. I am glad I missed that programme but I did watch "The Craft" which was a load of hokey rubbish about witch craft. It left me feeling soiled myself. :)

Hippernicus said...

I like those programmes quite a lot too, and their stock with me has gone way way up after that utter drivel I watched last night. :D