Saturday 6 April 2013

The Sunday Parenting Party - Loosening your grip

Taming the Goblin

Its time for the Sunday Parenting Party. Please link up your parenting posts and check out some that are already linked up - don't forget everyone loves comments. Please don't link kids activity posts, they can be linked to Kids Coop instead. This week I'm linking the following:
(Goblin is 42 months)

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine put this as her facebook status

 "I just let my son mix the playdough colours!" 

It made me laugh because I remember posting pretty much an identical status a while back. 
At the time one of the comments I got from a close friend without kids was basically

"Oh my goodness what is wrong with you, why does it matter".

And I thought, yeah why does it?
Some people do like order and neatness in their lives at all times (and that is fine), but I think becoming a parent sometimes tips the balance. There is so much about being a parent that you can't control, that the 'intense' genes start taking over with the smaller things. 
Lets face it what exactly was I afraid would happen if the pink playdough was mixed with the green playdough?
Today I have a little experiment for you. 
Do you have playdough in your house? If so, go and get two different colours. 
  1. Take the two different colours
  2. Squish them together so the colours blend irreversibly
  3. Acknowledge how that makes you feel 

And that got me thinking, if I'm controlling that minor and inconsequential thing, are there other aspects of Goblin's life that I am controlling unnecessarily. 
Kids learn by exploring. If we try and control their environment too much we can restrict their ability to explore, and limit what they learn. We can accidentally restrict learning and discovery if we control too much.
How our children play with toys: Always showing a child how a toy works rather than letting them work it out for themselves; Not allowing them to play with a toy in a  different way to that for which it was designed; Restricting toys to indoor and outdoor toys so a child doesn't have an opportunity to play with toys in different environments.
How much our children eat and how they eat: Sometimes there is a need to ensure a child is eating enough, but we don't always need to insist on finishing a meal, that takes away opportunities to listen to their body saying its full; Restricting a child's sensory experiences with food by insisting they always use cutlery.
How dirty they get: Restricting opportunities to explore freely in nature because they might get their clothes dirty; limiting these experiences to planned outings.

I'm not saying that its wrong to exert some control in these areas, but its useful to be conscious of why you are exerting that control. I was doing it unconsciously to try and maintain control over the little things? Holding life a little loser has led to many more fun times.
My five faves this week are
Everything I wish I'd known about Breastfeeding ~ Mums make lists
10 Parenting books recommended by real mums ~ B-Inspired Mama
The Catastrophe Scale ~ Picklebums
Travelling with kids without a car ~ Mums make lists
Play Space: Mini Centres ~ Kz and Me

And now to the linky


  1. This activity makes me SO uncomfortable, but ever since I became a preschool teacher I recognized how inflexible and controlling I can be! Now that I'm a Mama, I daresay it's gotten worse. I continue to work on it, slowly but surely...

    Thanks for featuring our "baby circuits" haha.
    Krissy and Kz

  2. That totally stresses me out just looking at it. So sorry. Not gonna do it.
    But I heart you for trying!

  3. Thanks for posting this it's something I think about.

    My husband has his way of restricting and indulging our 2 yr old that mainly revolves around her being safe, healthy and happy (he'd cover the world in bubble wrap if he could) and my style is somewhat a reaction to his, letting her take more risks and trying to be less interested in what she eats or doesn't eat. There are things I totally try to control though, like crafts that I want to look like what we are "supposed" to be making, or having constant vocab lessons in Spanish. The differences in what we want to control and not control is a big source of tension for us. We take turns chiding the other one, "Just let her do it!"

    So while I would be fine mixing the playdough I might have a harder time with an exercise of not trying to "fix" my spouse's parenting style...

  4. This is so funny! It has been the topic of many 'mum to mum' conversations around here, and I was really surprised to find it was an issue! I have friends that will only issue one colour at a time even :-) We always end up with a funny brown or grey from all the mixing!

  5. Monko, this is brilliant (you're on a roll). Like Jen said above, the picture TOTALLY stresses me out, too. I have NO IDEA how moms/teachers keep the playdough colors separate, because I have never been able to. I gave up a long time ago and just make one color at a time or make two analogous colors that will not turn gray WHEN they get mixed together. :)

    My inlaws recently bought the boys a Play-Doh pack called "The Mountain of Colors." When I saw the box in the recycle bin, I just laughed and asked my husband if it was now "the mountain of gray."

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  7. I love it, "How does this make you feel", lol! I am definitely a mixer. I put out all the play dough at the same time. It's fun to see the other parents reactions.

  8. The hard part is they go ahead and mix the colours, but then next time ask for pink or green playdoh. You have to tell them, "You mixed it, so there's only brown playdoh now." "But I want greeeen!"

  9. I appreciate your thoughts here. Parents often think that kids have to finish everything on their plate to ensure they are full. A little freedom on the amount and kind of food choices they prefer can help especially if you want them to learn healthy eating.


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