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I was having a chat with a friend today, and our parenting styles aren't the same to say the least. I'm not entirely sure how she was raised and why/how she thinks the way she thinks, but we don't see eye-to-eye on raising kids. Which is fine. We don't all have to be and won't be clones of each other in this vast world.

I did a little research online about "entertaining your kids", and I found this article. Please read the article! Parenting By Trial and Error » Blog Archive » How much time should we spend playing with our kids? While reading it, I could relate 100%...and it felt like she took all the words out of my mouth in how she was raised and how she's raising her kids.

We are active in our 6-1/2 year old and 9 year old girls' lives by talking....being silly....singing to them, eating dinner with them, setting them up with activities when they can't seem to make up their mind what to do next, sometimes bringing them to extracurricular activities (like soccer or swimming), sometimes bringing them to a nearby playground for an hour or so and sometimes playing board or card games with them. But I personally don't think it's a parent's responsibility to have to play with their one-on-one for every waking moment every day. I don't think it should make a difference whether you work all day, your kids are in school all day or if you're a SAHM.

Our girls play VERY well together. They're happy, chatty kids who love to play together and make up stuff to do. I just don't think it's important to jump into their games and think I need to be a kid like them and play with them all the time. And I don't understand the parents that have kids hanging off of them discontented saying, "Play with me!...Play with me!..." We don't have that problem. When they need us, we are there physically and emotionally. But I'm their parent...not their playmate for every second of the day. KWIM?

Is it just me or is this the way a lot of parents are raising their kids today? Basically, that they're not an ideal parent if they're not on the floor for hours playing lego or Barbies right next to their kids. Why do you think this mentality has creeped into our generation?

I'm wondering if this could be a contributing factor into kids being so self-centred these days.

Looking for thoughts and ideas...from young and old parents...to give myself more information while being a parent.
 
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wow. good points!

I was not that 'interactive-with-everything' kind of parent. I gave them opportunities to play - such as adequate games, toys, activities - and showed them new stuff and how to do it - but essentially, they were on their own.

They've grown up to be healthy, well-adjusted adults.

I wonder if the amount, type, quality of playtime which a parent gives to a child is the cause of the self-centered children these days or is it more of the parents providing everything that child could possibly want. In other words, falling prey to the 'I want my kids to have all the things I didn't get to have as a child".. well.. that turns out to be quite a lot of things the parent never got, it seemed. lol. It's hard to break that habit. I really think that is what has created the self-centered- 'I'm all that' - attitude of the younger generation. They have not developed proper social skills and delayed gratification. It's the 'Me! Now!' generation. A wee bit spoiled.

Not all of the children growing up suffer from the Me! Now! but a bulk of them do. I do see children, amazingly, who have developed well and appreciate things. Rare. But possible. and I credit the parents in their proper upbringing. I know it was tough to do in today's peer pressure society.
 

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when mine was little I played every moment she wanted too..then she grew up and she played with her friends.. then when she became a teenager she wanted me to play with her..and I did..we played cards and board games long into the night... and now she is 23 and I stop what ever I am doing to be with her....

so however much time the child wants...

she had almost everything that other kids had, she wanted me...and she tells everyone to this day that I stop turn off dinner, ect to spend time with her....

she knows she is my number 1 priority....

I believe this has given her high self esteem and confidence...

she knew she was important to me..and so she felt like she was important to herself....

I believe there has to be a balance..give them all the love and affection they can stand...give them respect and they will respect u..Punish a child with in reason and walk away when u may blow your top... things within reason.

Paige is not self centered but she has a strong sense of self awareness and a strong sense of confidence....

I hope I helped....
 

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The "play with them every moment" when taken to an extreme means that when a parent MUST do something else, the child does not know how to entertain themselves. I've seen kids who do not know how to make up games and play on their own because when Mommy is on the floor with them, the kid has gotten into the habit of looking to mommy for direction on how to play.

The balance must be there whether you like more hands-off or more hands-on. I tend to be more hands-off but I have fun when I do get down and play with them. We have had board game nights and built castles, etc.
 

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I have fun playing with my girls when I do (board/card games, baking with them on occassion or reading them books). But like you, MissSeetonFan, I'm more of a "make sure your kid is happy and busy kind of mom" (even if it's playing with their sibling or a neighbour kid in the backyard) than a "play with them every waking moment of the day mom". IMHO a lot of parents these days are so guilt-laden that they can't teach their kids to play on their own. I just don't understand it. Maybe I should feel guilty (and maybe I someday will...although I highly doubt it), but I don't feel guilty when I see my daughters happily playing together. It reminds me a lot of when I was a kid. And I had a happy childhood. I don't remember my parents hovering over me and making sure I was played with by them all the time. kwim?
 
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I'm definitely not my children's playmate. I think that the most important value you can instill in a child is independence, so I go out of my way to encourage that in my children.

I honestly think a lot of the "play with your kids all the time" bit comes out of the Mommy Wars. On the side if the SAHM, you want to prove to the other side that being a mother is hard work. There's also the "mompetition" to be a better mom than everyone else, so you have to spend all your time playing with your children. It's the same idea as climbing the corporate ladder to be CEO. You are going to be the best mom ever... So you focus on mothering to the detriment of your household, your marriage, everything else.

Not that I think that's right, but I think that's where it comes from.
 

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As a family therapist, I spend a lot of time helping families at both ends of the spectrum (over-connected/helicopter parents to under-connected/disengaged parents), so in my personal life a primary goal is balance. I love playing with my child. Play is an essential language of childhood. I learn amazing things about his world when I take the time to engage in play, especially when I step back, slow down and allow him to guide the experience. However, I don't believe it is helpful to devote my life to keeping him happily entertained all hours of the day. He needs time to be bored, to have quiet time to experience and integrate his thoughts & feelings, to create his own fun, to explore interests independently, to connect with other family and friends, etc.

My focus is not on the amount of dedicated play time with my child, but the overall quality of our relationship. Play is just one of many ways to connect with my child.

Dr. Laura Markham > Great Parent Child Bond
 

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My DS is 29 yrs old now - he is one of my best friends. (And I believe I am HIS best friend). He comes to me with his problems (no matter what type) - and we talk openly and honestly about anything. I think that is because I was his friend growing up (just the older & wiser one - sometimes)....

And it has been this way since day ONE of his life. I was not a SAHM - but, after school & on weekends - I did devote my life to playing, and interacting with him in any way that I could. I never treated him as a 'little kid' and family/friends always commented on how I talked to him & treated him like a 'grown-up' (even when he was very little). No baby talk here.

I had him at 19, and made it my goal to 'grow up' with my child. I only wanted one kid, and I knew exactly how I would raise him. He was the type of child that was never afraid to show affection in front of others to his mom. I got hugs/kisses in front of his friends (heck, his friends gave me hugs/kisses too - and they came to me with all their problems) - I was the 'mom' for the entire neighborhood. Our house was like a bus station, kids coming all hours of the day & night. It was nothing for them to come in and park themselves on the couch with the DH & I and hang out for hours on end (even if DS wasn't home).

Some say that being your kid's friend is wrong - you need to be the parent. I disagree... being a friend is the most important thing that you can be to anyone in life. They are only little kids for awhile - steer them right when they are growing up - but they will be adults for many more years in life than they will be children - and starting a friendship when they are young will last an eternity...

I have not a single regret, and I would not change one single moment of any of it ...
 

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Our theory on parenting is that we are raising adults, not children. We don't want them to be children when they grow up, we want them to be responsible adults. We figure that childhood is practice for being an adult and have always treated them that way.

I tend to be a very silly mom. When they got hurt when they were tiny, I would ask pretend like I was going to bite or lick their owie instead of kissing it. I would pretend to cut off the hurt extremity using my hand as a knife and saying "here, I will just cut it off, then it won't hurt anymore". I still offer to hurt someone's toe if they stub the other one on the premise that it will make the stubbed one not hurt as bad. These days, I tend to get eye rolls (and a smile) instead of chuckles though.

We have always played with them, but they also were expected to play on their own and with their siblings. Because my guys are so close in age and because two are a set of twins, it did take them all longer to learn how to play by themselves. That same set of circumstances also meant that they always had playmates. I fully believe that children should have lots of play time for imaginitive play. My guys used Dad's old short sleeved button up the front nice work shirts as tons of different types of costumes. They were capes, tunics (with an old belt over the shirt), armor (with a belt and a sword tucked into the belt), and a zillion other things. The guys were always creating some storyline and acting it out, usually with some sort of imaginary bad guy or dragon and they had to fight it off.
 

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I have been seeing the exact opposite of ss experience. I have dil's whose parents wanted to be friends and they are having alot of problems with life's experiences. They don't know how to be an adult in alot of ways. My one dil told her mom that I taught my son things she didn't learn in front of me and told her she wasn't trying to offend her.
I do think you need to let kids play by themselves and together with friends; thats how they learn about the world and how to interact with other people and use their imaginations.
I have 3 adult sons that I am now their friend and they come and talk to me about alot of things; but if I had been their friend as teenagers; imho would have been a disaster.
 

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My husband and I will get down and play with our daughter when she wants us to, but otherwise, I'd rather get her involved in what we're doing if she wants to be part of the experience. She helps us with all our baking, cooking, cleaning, laundry, goes with us to run errands, etc. Sometimes she and I will sit and play with her toys, such as building castles with blocks or brushing her toy pony's hair, and she loves for us to read stories to her, which we happily do. But she can quite happily play by herself in our back yard with minimal toys or supervision (we've made sure it's safe and the gate outside is locked and out of reach) for hours.

I think the more important thing than playing with your children constantly is to be there when they ask for your presence. If you're sitting on the floor with them playing on your cell phone while they're screaming at you for attention, that's not being present. Same with watching television, or listening to their stories. We don't use our phones at the table or when we're cuddling or talking with her. We try to be present for her when she needs us to be and give her lots of opportunity to be involved. But the dishes need to be washed, the floors need to be swept, the laundry needs to be folded, and dinner needs to be cooked. She can participate in those activities and see that as play just as well as anything else. But if she's not interested in that, she's on her own.
 

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~As a parent of special needs kids who have never received formal diagnosis's, I find these kinds of comments disturbing and rather offensive. The amount of pressure on me as a parent to turn out kids that won't have them or myself judged unfairly by others is almost impossible to bear sometimes.
In theory I agree that as a parent I am not responsible for "entertaining" my kids every second. But I also see nothing wrong with playing with them a lot. In fact, my oldest needs me to play imaginatively with him since it is beyond his instinctive ability. Otherwise he'd spend 100% of his free-time alone building toy train runs or begging me to watch videos. So much of play is educational if you know what you are doing as the adult. You can teach and reenforce social behaviors, listening skills, interpreting non-verbal cues, physical fitness techniques, teamwork, finance(playing store!), compassion(playing zookeeper or my favorite as a kid, orphanage worker with dolls),etc. There's also this little thing called "bonding". I went out a few days ago and just jumped on the trampoline with my kids, laughing and wrestling.
My kids have tugged on me and asked them to play with them. I guess others are reading that as bratty behavior. Personally, I take their pleading as a high personal compliment to my commitment to teach them in the ways they can best learn. They love me and my interactions with them. They strongly desire to learn and interact.
The way a child "turns out" is due to too many factors to place any blame or credit solely on parenting(except in cases of abuse and neglect of course because there is actual evidence to support that connection).
Parents who let their kids amuse themselves are right because that suits their own personality as a parent and needs as a person, the child's personality and needs, and their own educational/relationship theories. The child doesn't expect anything different and adapts.
Parents who play with their children a lot are right because that suits their own personality as a parent and needs as a person, the child's personality and needs, and their own educational/relationship theories. The child doesn't expect anything different and adapts.
I wish everyone would try to remember that at least 1 out of 5 children has some kind of special need or learning disorder. Many are undiagnosed and the numbers are most likely much higher. People don't go around with labels on their chests that say "Hi my name is ADHD" or whatever. Most adults don't "outgrow" disorders either. Unless a person is an expert at these disorders and truly knows how all the symptoms of all the disorders can present themselves in children and adults as well as appropriate therapies for such symptoms, I don't think anyone has any business analyzing the relationship of another parent and their child in terms of wrong way/right way even if you think you know the people and that relationship very well. Unless you are a professional actively involved in their relationship, you really don't know. Most parents are doing the absolute best they can and worry enough about the future of their children and do not need the social fear of judgment from the ignorant to add to their worries.~
 

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I played w/ the kids when they were little a lot and also took them on a lot of interactive experiences. i think its extremely important. As the kids got friends and grew I spent less time. By the time they are about 10 their friends mean more to them than you (as it socially should be) so I wanted to get them a solid base of certain core values. I found that my kids noticed that they were fortunate that way even if they had less monitary means. DD often made comments that we knew each other and that her friend and their families did not. That a lot of them spent a lot of time alone and left to their own devices. My kids felt they had a solid base below them. They brought all the "strays" here for home cooked meals and baked goods.
As they got older I reinforced that I was always there but not in their face. And if they blew it to call me or come to me. No teen wants the mom in their face.
So more time when they are little then receding as they get older but always ready to help if really needed was my method.
FYI-I found the interactive play was a great way to pass info. Dollies and puppets can get info parents cant have. And kitties and doggies always know when to be there for kids when parents are "meanies"
I feel I must have done soething right because they are good people and have never had law scrapes,drug issues or anything like that.
 

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It's all about balance and what's going on that day around here. I play with my kids a lot. They are young and still learning to play independently. I encourage using imagination and trying new things. But sometimes I need to clean the house, cook food....or whatever. Then my dd plays on her own, does crafts, goes outside. As they grow older they will play together more.

My fondest memories of my mom is when she played with me. It was more when I got older with card and board games, and reading. One memory I have is how she never made a snowman with me even though she always said she would. I don't want my kids remembering how we never had fun with them. But I also want them to have the independence and imagination I had as a child. I played by myself a lot...and enjoyed it.

Balance.
 

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I didn't mean to imply that totally directed play by the parent is all wrong. I'm sorry if that is how it came out. That is part of the problems with talking about things in generalities. :) I think the better way to say it is, find out what works best for your family and go with it. Find YOUR families balance. And I think that is what most of the personal experiences people are sharing shows.
 
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nuisance, I know what you're saying. My oldest son (now 6) is high functioning autistic. So yes, there's a lot more "hands on" parenting than with a "normal" kid. Because you're right - there's a lot of things you can teach (like social skills) and a lot of those things are taught during playtime.

I think in some ways, this means I focus more on teaching him independence - because I worry about him becoming dependent on others. He has an aide at school, and I know I hover over him a lot at social events and in public because of who he is. I worry a lot that he won't be able to live independently as an adult, so I go out of my way to give him opportunities to play by himself or with others his age.
 
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