Its that time again… Thoughts for Thursday!
I have many moments in which I feel like a total slacker parent.
I have days where I spend way too much time cleaning the house.
Hours where I spend way too much time surfing the internet from the couch.
Mornings where I get Porter out of bed, hand him a cup of milk and a bagel, and crawl my own butt back into my bed and let him entertain himself for another hour in the morning.
I guess I could refer to these days as "lazy parenting for self preservation", but so many times I feel guilty and horrible for ignoring him.
It just seems like so many days I think to myself "Oh my word, can I be any further stuck up this kids rear end???" "I just want a little ME time!" On these days I feel like he’s constantly at my heels, whining to me to play with him or pick him up or read to him or get him a toy or… or… or….
Where does it end! I find myself thinking of how much I wish I *wasn’t* at home. And I hate feeling/thinking that way.
Here are some questions I’d like you to think about… then read the article on Benign Neglect Parenting…
- Is it wrong for a parent to expect their child to play alone when they’re clearly home and able to play with them?
- If the parent stays at home, should that mean that every second of the day that they’re home should be devoted to playing/entertaining the kid(s)?
- What about when parents work? When they’re away from the kids more often, does that mean that the time that they’re home should fully be devoted to spending time with the kids?
- Is it beneficial to give your child(ren) alone time… do you feel that this teaches them that you value your own "alone" time… that your time is valuable too?
I found this article on Benign Neglect Parenting from the Partners in Parenting website/blog (I love it… recommend it!) while I was searching for advice on toddler tantrums. It had some interesting things to say about "purposefully ignoring your children" (I guess you could put it that way)….(while I highlighted some great parts, you really should go read the whole thing!!)
"……I remember tea parties, with mum …. Lots of story-reading. Long walks.
But she never, as far as I could tell, felt guilty for saying, "Go
along and play now." Playing was something children did. …….She could and did play with us – when she felt like it. And
isn’t that what play is? Something you do because it’s fun? As soon as
play becomes an obligation or a demand, it’s not play any more, is it?
She wasn’t an aloof parent, by any means, but what she practiced, and
what I have perfected, is the much-neglected and ESSENTIAL parenting
tool of Benign Neglect."
"……Children who are scheduled and stimulated for hours a day never learn
the skills of boredom-avoidance. Entertainment is something done to and for them, it isn’t something they’ve ever done for themselves. By our hyper-involvement, we create
the child who will whine of boredom 90 seconds into a quiet moment,
because that child simply doesn’t know how to cope with free time! When
the constant barrage of stimulation ceases, something feels wrong, they
don’t like it – and they haven’t a clue what to do about it. Oh, except
"Mom! Mom? I’m bored!"
"…….Small children need a lot more hands-on care. There is no denying this.
But they don’t need your attention over their every waking breath….As a parent, you have the right to expect that your child
entertain themselves some of the time. You have the right to a quiet
cup of coffee……You have the right to read or talk on the phone (or blog!!) while they
play. You have the right to say, "Mommy finds that game boring, hon."
You have the right to do all this without guilt, and you can achieve it by introducing to the children a little Benign Neglect.
Start today. Your kids will thank you."
A lot of what this article/author had to say transferred over to how easily children are able to entertain themselves. I’m sure we all remember being kids and whining during the summer to our moms "I’m BOOOOORRRED!" (or, those of you with bigger kids at home, this is probably something you hear!). Kids who were encouraged (err… given no other choice) to play and think and create on their own were able to more easily entertain themselves, able to think of something fun to do to pass the "boring" times. I remember when my sister and I were younger we’d go out and build stick forts in the woods, or climb trees or go on adventure hunts in the corn fields behind the house (no, we didn’t grow up on a farm LOL). We were "forced" to think on our own and find fun stuff to do, and we did. Sure, there were plenty of times I can remember whining to my mom saying "I’m BORED!" but I remember plenty of times we were left to our own minds to find something fun to do.
So, maybe I’m just trying to justify my need for "unplugging my head from my childs rear end" on a daily basis, maybe I’m just trying to justify my lazy involvement in playing with my child every second of the day, but I guess I’d like to think its a step in a positive direction. A step towards raising a somewhat independent thinking child.
I guess it just seems like we, as parents, are always trying to do whats best for our children. And, in the end, thats what we all want right? We either feel inadequate as parents because we don’t/can’t spend as much time with our kids or we absolutely smother them with our attention and overschedule them. Just a few weeks ago I was feeling like a slacker mom (as usual) and thought "Oh I should schedule our day… wake up, breakfast, play with puzzles, read, play outside, storytime at library, lunch, park, nap, etc etc etc…" OH MY WORD! I mean, seriously. It sounds good, in theory, but is it really best to have all our attention on our children at every second of the day? I actually heard about a mom that doesn’t even allow the tv on when their child is awake… its sort of ‘frowned upon’ for either of the parents to watch a tv show of choice while the kiddo is awake… as its "the childs time to spend with them" when they’re home. Of course they are wanting whats best for their child, and of course it sounds like the best thing to do, but is it?
What are your thoughts? How do you feel about this article? What do you think about time spent with your children… should every available minute be spent with your kids, or do you spend part of the time you could be with them doing what YOU want to do?
And, just for fun… a little poll…
&amp;lt;a href =&amp;quot;http://www.polldaddy.com&amp;quot; &amp;gt;polls&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt; – &amp;lt;a href =&amp;quot;http://www.polldaddy.com/poll.asp?p=85988&amp;quot; &amp;gt;Take Our Poll&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;