Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pride and Playtime aka The Fixer's Nightmare!!!

The male peacock is a beautiful creature, and fancy dresser to boot! They strut around the peahens all day, spreading their marvelous plume of feathers for all to see, as each one proves they are the suitable mate and would-be father to a plethora of chicks. And why shouldn't they be proud? They have stamina, drive, been in the game of being male for as long as they can remember, right? We all know this pride as parents.

The first time our little one rolls over. Holds their head up. Shakes a toy that was "meant" to shake. Crawls for the first time, only to be surpassed by them walking, running, catching and throwing balls. The list goes on as to the accomplishments our children strive to and blow us away with. And we have every right to be proud of them. In the grand geneological scheme of things, our children are a perfect mirror image of our success as parents. Who wouldn't be proud of their child as they learn to use the bathroom, or sleep all the way through the night. These are highlight moments that we shall forever treasure.

And yet, as proud parents, we still take our own sense of responsibility and accomplishment with the natural progress our children have done. We, after all, were there for them when they needed us most, right? When the ball fell out of their hands, we picked it up and put it right back for them. What handy helpers we are to our children! 

There comes a time, in children's play and exploratory practice, whether it be in the classroom/daycare or at home, that the parent needn't assist in what is or could happen to your child. This is not to say that if you see a toy about to fall on their noggin that you should merely ignore said toy and "see what happens". That's simply cruel. And besides, you would expect your child to yell a resounding "Look out!!" were it about to occur to you, right?

All too often though, we as parents, and as fathers as well (we are the "fixers, by nature's engineering), find an inherent need to step into the picture of our child's discovery periods and right what seems wrong.

For example: Child A grabs a plastic ring, while experiencing some well needed tummy-time, while CaveDad sits idly by, and monitors his child's playtime. Child A drops the plastic ring, due to some manueverability issue affecting their gross motor skills. CaveDad assumes it is time to "help" Child A, and picks up the plastic ring and puts it back into Child A's hands. Child A drops said ring once again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

The "problem" here is CaveDad's preconceived notion that Child A wants to hold on to the plastic ring. Perhaps Child A was testing to see what noise it made when they dropped it on the ground. Perhaps it was too awkward for them to carry, and they wished to try something different. Perhaps the texture wasn't what they liked to feel at that time of the day. The idea here is that we don't know, and should've taken a little more time putting less energy into "helping/fixing" the situation, and more time into waiting and watching.

We, as parents and care workers, have a sense of pride that, at times, can be our downfall when attempting to relate to the smaller people in our care. We take on the role of "assistant" to their desires, even when we don't necessarily know what those desires are. It's high time we sit back and wait and watch for a while. Perhaps a long while. Remember, trust is key here. We have to take the time and swallow our pride if we are ever going to learn what our children are trying to teach themselves.

So, when your child rolls off the rug during playtime, and you put them back on the rug, only to have them roll off once again...take a moment, breathe, step back, and watch your child become nature's scientist.


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