Born Naughty?, TV review: Does this child have a problem - or is he just a very naughty boy?

GP Dr Dawn Harper and consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram combined their expertise to diagnose some very challenging children

Ellen E. Jones
Thursday 14 May 2015 23:46 BST
Spoilt or sick? Six-year-old Theo was a master of how to make a nuisance of himself
Spoilt or sick? Six-year-old Theo was a master of how to make a nuisance of himself (Channel 4)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


In the simpler times of Supernanny, it was enough to place a child on the naughty step for two minutes and all behavioural problems would be instantly cured. Born Naughty?, Channel 4's latest parenting programme, takes a more nuanced approach.

GP Dr Dawn Harper (of Embarrassing Bodies fame) and consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram are combining their expertise to diagnose, and perhaps treat, some very challenging children.

From the viewers' point of view, however, the aim is to decide whether the child in question has an undiagnosed medical condition (ie it's not the parents' fault) or is just plain naughty (it's all the parents' fault).

Six-year-old Theo, for instance, had tantrum-throwing down to an art form. His pièce de résistance, was climbing out of the bathroom window stark naked and standing, shivering on the roof, until his granddad rescued him.

Mum suspected attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which, we were told, is the most commonly diagnosed child behavioural problem, but Gran was more included to put it down to her daughter's inconsistent discipline.

Theo was cherubic compared to Honey, a foul-mouthed nine-year-old who was expelled from her last school after she threatened to kill her classmates and had to be restrained by two police officers.

Could it be that Honey's fierce objection to any sort of routine change actually has a name and a treatment plan? When the words "pathological demand avoidance" were finally uttered, Honey's mother burst into tears of relief.

So Born Naughty? not only provides schadenfreude-solace for parents of slightly better-behaved brats, but also hope for all. Apparently, there's no wild child who can't be tamed with some intensive professional help.

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