What I'm Reading
This week I'm reading Playful Parenting by Lawrence J Cohen, Ph.d. This is a very thorough look at the role of play in childhood and its importance in learning, expressing emotions, and creating healthy boundaries.
In this comprehensive guide, you will learn how you can incorporate play into your repertoire of parenting tools in the most natural way possible. Dr. Cohen addresses why we should play with our children, how to connect through roughhousing, and how to use play as communication. Each chapter is packed with specific games and strategies for even the most challenging behaviors.
Chapters include, "Join Children in Their World," "Empower Girls and Connect with Boys," "Rethink the Way We Discipline," and "Play Your Way Through Sibling Rivalry."
"When we see a child who is fearful, or violent, or out of control, we usually don't stop to put the pieces together. We don't think to ask ourselves if she had enough chance to play it through or talk it through. Usually we just see the problem behavior, which angers or worries us so much that we don't think about using play to help solve it" (page 13).
"I'm always amazed when adults say that children 'just did that to get attention.' Naturally children who need attention will do all kinds of things to try to get it. Why not just give it to them" (page 36)?
"Many parents subscribe to some version of this cold-cruel-world philosophy, believing they have to prepare children for the hardships of life by getting them use to it. But if life is really that difficult, then we don't need more beatings and humiliations and losses than we will get anyway. What children really need is to be secure and self-confident, and that comes from being loved and well cared for. Not protected from every little bump or bruise, but not toughened up either" (page 66).
"Unfortunately when we say, 'I don't want to play,' they hear that as, 'I don't want to join you in your world'...The more we join them in their world, the more cooperative they'll be when we drag them along to ours" (page 158).
If you think you're incapable of playing with your kids, let this book be your guide. If you don't understand the significance of play in your child's daily life, this is the book for you. Lastly, I highly recommend this book to any professional who works closely with parents, children, or families. It's dense but packed with guidance which will be invaluable in your practice.