Mary Poppins Family Values: Do They Exist Today?

Mary Poppins seems to be more of an era than a nanny’s name if you consider what she represented, especially in 1964 when the Walt Disney movie was made.

But what about the nearly 40 years which have passed since then? Are there any households in America which still adhere to the Mary Poppins strictures and attention to detail, like in the movie?

In 2014 rearing children is an altogether different experience from what it was back in the 1960’s. For example, the prevalence of technology in children’s lives these days means that a nanny type figure, like Mary Poppins, is more or less redundant in a “household of 2014.”

So is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well, it depends who you ask. Some people would say that discipline, routine and structure are vital elements in the upbringing of children. Others contest that children should be left to their own devices, be the priority of the family, and that life should center around them and their whimsical needs.

As a modern example of what you might call “Anti-Mary Poppinsism” there is The Nurtured Heart Approach, employed by some parents to bring their children up with. They say that by putting the needs of the children above those of the adults in the family they are able to transform negative behavior to positive behavior in kids.

The founder of that system, Howard Glasser, claims that parents give far too much attention to negative behavior in children without noticing, encouraging and rewarding positive behavior thereby not offering their child a well-rounded rearing.

In a Mary Poppins type family, children are seen more and heard less, and are taught that adults needs come before theirs. At least when it comes to decision making and all the other elements that traditionally made up a functional family.

What approach do you think is the best one? Have Mary Poppins values been totally lost and if so, is that a good thing? Share your thoughts on the debate in the comments feed below.

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