January 11, 2007

Messages of Love: Play with Kids! (Part 1)

All People Who Love, Play!

Seek opportunities to play with you children. That is what people do when they love each other… they play! All too often we find parents who take the job too seriously. They seem to think that every conversation has to be loaded with lots of guidance and advice. That is not true. Play and laughter is a great way to build a relationship with a child. (It is also a great way to extend our own childhood!) Just let your hair down and play with your kids, for no other reason than to have some fun.

Don’t Wait… Play Today, and Play Every Day!

I learned way too late in life that adults could buy water balloons too! Imagine this: You have left work early some sunny afternoon and you have filled up 30 water balloons and you have them in a bucket on the roof where you are hiding in wait for the school bus to drop the neighborhood kids off at the corner. As the kids unload you start launching your ammo at them. Did you know that you can get about six in the air before the first one lands? By then you are out of sight and the projectiles begin to hit. All of the kids are dodging and tryint to find out where they are coming from.

Then one of the kids spots you on the roof as you continue the bombardment. I will guarantee you that not one kid at the bus stop will be telling your kid, “Your dad is so dumb!” what they will be saying is, “Your dad is so cool, my dad would never throw water balloons at us from the roof… let’s get him!”

Play at Every Opportunity

My gosh, turn off the stove and go out and make a snowman! It is snowing! And in the life of an eight-year-old that is exciting and fun… and it is fun for parents too. Dinner can wait. As a matter of fact, a late dinner might be really fun for the whole family.
Play tricks on your kids and let it be known that you are fair game for tricks. Short sheet their beds, put surprise toys in their shoes, put blocks of wood in their sandwiches, and get ready for some fun tricks to be played on you. (It might be necessary to establish some rules and guidelines for tricks because they might get out of hand.) Don’t be surprised if you try to get up from Thanksgiving dinner and find that someone has been under the table and tied your shoelaces together.

In the process of the laughter you have established a relationship of laughter and fun in your family and with your kids. Play is magic for building lasting relationships. Remember that the ones that you laugh with are usually the ones that we seek out in times of difficulty. If you have built a tradition of laughter with your kids don’t be surprised if your kids come to you during times of need or tragedy.


Laura said...

Greetings! Thank God you also have a blog! I am very anxious about one thing in parenting: bullying. My older boy (4 years) has been bullied about being fat. He doesn´t like other kids to call him fat. He does sports and eats balanced but he is a little bit chubby which doesn´t worry me because I know he eats nicely what worries me is the OTHER kids and even some adults calling him fat. How should I talk to my kid or what should I do so he doesn´t take it so personally? yosiam@hotmail.com

Mac said...

Dear "Yosiam@hotmail.com",

If my volume of e-mail is any indication, BULLYING is one of the most pressing issues facing parents of school-age children, so please do not feel that you are alone in your worries.

I also want you to know that I view your situation as a critical issue in the healthy development of your son!

Now for some help...

Asking your son to try to fix or stop this bullying behaviour would be futile; just about as futile as it would be for me to ask you, as one lone mother, to attempt to fix this huge problem!

As I see it, this problem will never be fixed if we all try to make the change alone! Asking you to do something, in your home, with your son, to combat a huge societal problem would be as silly as Martin Luther King trying to do away with racial prejudice by talking to his son in his kitchen!

Do you see my point? Bullying is not a problem of just your son, or just your family. Yes, your son is a victim... but you must attack the big problem at it's source. Bullying is far bigger than you, your son or your family!

This is a huge societal problem! It needs a societal solution!

Now, don't think for a minute that I am telling you to throw up your hands in helplessness... because I am not!!

What I am telling you is that you need to get started in helping to CREATE THE COMMUNITY THAT IS RAISING YOUR SON! Do not accept what is going on, but change it by taking positive action! Just like we teach you in Rule #1 in our curriculum, Figure out what you want you community to be like and start building it that way, with a group of families.

How might you do this? Simple, get a copy of our Parenting with Dignity Curriculum and start a parenting class!

This is a very simple concept to understand. It is so much easier for you to teach a simple word like "please" to your own children if every home they visit uses that word in a similar way! Your child will use PLEASE because everyone else uses it!

It is so much simpler to expect your child to make good choices with regard to drugs, if lots of other children do likewise.

It is so much simpler for you to expect your child to behave appropriately while on a date to the Prom, if he is dating a young lady who has been taught the same appropriate dating behavior!

And... It is so much easier to protect your child from bullying if he is going to a school and interacting with children who have also been taught to respect the rights and feelings of others!

"How do you get there?" you ask. Well, it is pretty simple... you must open a discussion with other parents! A parenting with Dignity Class does exactly that! Parenting with Dignity classes are a stimulation to discussions about what you all wish to teach your children in your community! You must come to some agreement about what all of you are going to teach your children. You cannot leave this to chance! Leaving it to chance is resulting in Bullying! You must take positive action to create a positive community!

Please subscribe to this blog and i promise that I will do a series of columns in the future about how to set up and effectively run a Parenting with Dignity class!

The plan is on our website at: www.parentingwithdignity.com


Mac Bledsoe