Playful Parenting chapter 3

I’m reading Playful Parenting of Lawrence Cohen together with Jennifer at InspireMama. Since she already posted about chapter 3, I will somewhat refer to her posting here.

As she mentions, the chapter is all about connection. My favourite passage from this chapter is: ”[children] need to feel connected and confident before they can make any positive changes. So once again, get down on floor and play what they want to play. With older children, tuning in may mean sitting with them and listen to the music they like and watching the movies they rent. Yuck. But do it.”

When reading this I have been thinking about the importance to spend time with your child. Giving somebody of your time is sort of a precious gift, since it is almost the only thing that you will never be able to get back (I am grateful to Laci Green for pointing this out).

Jennifer talks about the ”love gun”. We play that game quite often in my home. The child attacks the adult with something, like a gun or a spear, but the twist is that this is a ”love gun” or a ”love spear”, so when you get shot by it, you have to love the person that shot you. And the more they shoot the more you love them, so you end up chasing the child screaming stupid declarations of endless love…

The more I read in this book, the more I want to recommend it to all parents. The book is really full of very creative examples of how you can turn difficult situations into play and connection. The love gun is one of these beautiful suggestions of Cohen. It is probably normal for parents not to feel comfortable with their children running around playing with weapons. But this way, by playing ”love gun”, we can meet the child and engage in a play that they like, and at the same time we don’t endorse any excessive aggressiveness.

I forgot one of Cohen’s main rules today. I was laying jigsaw puzzles with my son, and there were two puzzles, so since he prefered not to have my help, I started with the other one, and at first, he wanted to compete, but then I was faster, and I got carried away and lay the puzzle faster than him, which he didn’t like, and I could see that this made the experience less rewarding for him. Probably a common mistake especially for men. What Cohen points out all the time, is that the play has to be totally according to the wishes and perspective of the child. We have to learn to put aside all our distractions and worries and stress and just tune in to the child and his/her needs. That is probably the most important reason why I am reading this book again, to remind myself of the importance of this.