HELP! Grandparents Can't Understand The Concept of 'Wooden' Toys - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 39 Old 01-05-2006, 11:43 AM
 
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Amy:
"To respond to Chloe.
Just trying to digest everything I am reading here. Because we do not yet have our daughter enrolled in a waldorf school I am surprised to hear about alot of the things I am reading.
I do not want to manipulate my children anytime for any reason be it over behavior, toys or WHATEVER!!!
My first reaction was to defend myself for liking her advice but in a way I kind of see your point too. "

I know what you mean - the advice, IMO has a flavor of truth to it - the Waldorf idea that you don't talk about things "directly" with kids is what they are trying to tell you there. I just think they take it too far. I agree you don't have to have philosophical discussions with your kids about why certain toys are okay or not but they carry the whole nonverbal thing too far and it's easy for it to become manipulative without anyone meaning it to. Just my take.

"So I guess for now, I am just going to try to relax a bit and try not to put so much thought into her play PERIOD because after all it is HER play right???"

My opinion - just my opinion - is that "how" they are playing is a lot more important than "what." I don't think you need to be concerned what the theme is or whether it came from tv etc - assuming, of course, as i'm sure is true of all the mamas here, that your young child is protected from things such as horrible news on tv, violent movies and games, or really inappropriate adult conversations or situations etc. I would worry more that she seems self-confident and happy, that she explores, that she expresses herself, that she conquers her fears, that she is learning to get along with others etc. I wouldn't worry if she is singing a tv commercial or is obsessed with Shrek or princesses and ponies or whatever. It's NORMAL.


"I will say this. My parents brought her home to me Sunday wearing a very big and poofy cindarella dress. I smiled and told her she looked beautiful and she's been living in it ever scince. "

That is very cool. I'd say that makes it a good, healthy toy!
Chloe
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#32 of 39 Old 01-05-2006, 09:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe1961
"Fwiw I agree with this advice in general tho I think Waldorf certainly encourages a component of “thinking too much about this.”

{me to medeanj} "{the grandparents could} be reassured to see how the children play so well, even without the batteries and the gimmicky toys that are designed to scream LOOK-AT-ME, BANG-WALLS-WITH-ME, and MAKE-NOISE-WITH-ME to teach kids how to play. "

"I was always curious about the Waldorf idea that we have to 'teach kids how to play.' Playing seemed to come naturally to my child."

"To me, that's 'values' and for all the medieval chivalry stuff waldorf was kind of content-free."

"don’t let the Waldorf teacher fool you, she’s just upset because they might try to read the written instructions and that's bad unless you're 14 or something)."
Chloe, I'm not sure why this discussion has digressed into another tired WE critic vs WE fan wrestling match with medeanj's OP left completely forgotten by the wayside.

What constitutes the difference between good toys and bad toys makes for a very interesting discussion, and I encourage you to dedicate a thread to that topic. Discriminating between healthy and unhealthy toys for children is certainly not a concept unique to Waldorf. Mothering magazine has run numerous articles exploring some of the issues plaguing conscious parents when it comes to toys, including the manic consumerism pushing us to buy them and how to better make these choices to foster play which is healthy developmentally. It's probably difficult to find child development specialists of any stripe who don't have definitions of their own which overlap in some ways and are unique in others--but nearly all of them do have a philosophy toward toys. I notice you do as well (ie video games etc). I do also. That's all cool. I don't need to change your ideas about toys. You don't need to change mine.

But medeanj has her own ideas. Ideas that her children's grandparents haven't accepted. And while perhaps you and I have our own Waldorf experiences, medeanj has not indicated that Waldorf has pressured her about her children's toys in any respect whatsoever, and I think it's a little unfair to involve the children's teacher. There's nothing inappropriate or "neurotic" about trying to bring the principles of NFL to children's play and toys. As I read the OP, the only "pressure" I see applied here is coming from the grandparents who, with all the best intentions I'm sure, believe their grandchildren will be "deprived" if they don't get all the "trendy" toys!

So respectfully--maybe we can move these debates someplace else? Perhaps there we can debate whether there exists anywhere any such thing as a "fun" toy that encourages "bad" play (besides the one you don't like- video games ), or debating about why it's healthy for parents to let the megabillion dollar motion picture industry and megabillion dollar plastic toy industry advise us about what is or isn't healthy or age appropriate for our children, but if Waldorf educators venture forth to give such advice, it's "neurotic" or "mind control".

But what this thread is for is simply to offer suggestions and support for a particular problem.

Linda
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#33 of 39 Old 01-06-2006, 02:39 PM
 
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"Chloe, I'm not sure why this discussion has digressed into another tired WE critic vs WE fan wrestling match with medeanj's OP left completely forgotten by the wayside."

This thread has been interesting, friendly and totally on topic, spot on what the original poster brought up. Most threads veer a lot more than this one has. I don't have a problem with your disagreeing with me. Unless the moderator feels something inappropriate has been said, I think it's been great.

Chloe
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#34 of 39 Old 01-06-2006, 03:09 PM
 
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I'll try to smooth over my own ruffled feathers and go on with the discussion if it is still of interest to others, despite Linda's apparent feeling it should end. Judging from a couple of discussions I've been having on private mail I know that others have been reading it reflectively.


"What constitutes the difference between good toys and bad toys makes for a very interesting discussion, and I encourage you to dedicate a thread to that topi"


That topic was the subject anyway. The OP had a dispute, or relatives who did not see it her way or did not understand her views about "healthy toys." Opinions on "healthy toys" seem to me quite on the mark. Are we required to reply agreeing with her versus the grandparents? What if the grandparents are right? What if the grandparent's *aren't* right but they're still the kids' grandparents? I think it was pretty relevant. Others have chimed in that they've gained from considering the question of "healthy toys" from several angles.

" Discriminating between healthy and unhealthy toys for children is certainly not a concept unique to Waldorf."

There is a great deal of merit to Waldorf toy philosophy. Irony is, Linda, I am largely in agreement with Waldorf's "healthy toy" advice so long as it remains undogmatic. I prefer natural toys, I prefer simple toys, I think that the simplest toys are the best for younger children, etc. I dislike electronic gadgets and have always strictly limited media intake in my family. Ironically, we limit media intake quite substantially more than many waldorf families I know. I once had an unpleasant discussion with another Waldorf mom, whose child we had invited to play at our house, and she wanted to quiz me first about media becasue she'd heard that I "allowed some media." She wasn't sure it was safe for her child to play at my house! She had to hash out the media thing with me before she could allow her kid in my house. I might have a bad environment! We got into one of these "I don't really think a little media is so bad" and she was absolutely horrified. It took about a half an hour to get the whole thing out, and it finally turned out that her child watched "only" a half hour in the morning before school every day, Saturday morning cartoons of course, and an "occasional" video. And then, of course, at the dad's house (divorced couple), he watched god knows how much since the dad thought tv was cool. This added up in a normal week to about 8 more hours per week than my child ever watched.

This is definitely about attitudes.

By way of saying that in my view - and mine alone, of course - apparently you see it quite differently - this thread has been about *attitudes* about toys, and enforcement (including with relatives) of "waldorf toy advice." It is about attitudes and relationships. I don't question the OP's choice of toys, nor yours. I probably largely agree with her choice of toys but we aren't here to say, You should use this toy and not that one etc. We *can* share our experiences and perspectives - I think it is beneficial to do this even when they are in disagreement.

"Mothering magazine has run numerous articles exploring some of the issues plaguing conscious parents when it comes to toys, including the manic consumerism pushing us to buy them and how to better make these choices to foster play which is healthy developmentally."

I agree with you so am not sure why you're declaring these topics inadmissible in this thread. Did the OP ask that nobody who didn't agree with her toy philosophy should answer? People come here for various viewpoints and advice. No one has to agree with the advice offered, or take it. She can take my view or yours or neither or tell us (well, hopefully not in so many words) to go to hell. She did come here asking opinions!

There was supposed to be a thing where posters could write "Support only" in the thread title if they didn't want to hear anyone say anything bad or even mildly critical about Waldorf? Critics of Waldorf were asked to follow certain rules and guidelines here and have totally respected them.




" It's probably difficult to find child development specialists of any stripe who don't have definitions of their own which overlap in some ways and are unique in others--but nearly all of them do have a philosophy toward toys. I notice you do as well (ie video games etc). I do also. That's all cool. I don't need to change your ideas about toys. You don't need to change mine. "

Right so what's the problem? Do you find me asking you not to post, or to post somewhere else?

Perhaps we need a moderator's opinion here. I don't feel anyone's been rude or unfriendly up till now, I must admit my feathers are ruffled by the suggestion that I have written something inappropriate here or should not be explaining my view here. I guess that's enough from me - but too bad this is the tack taken by Waldorf supporters here. It seems amazingly easy to get them suggesting critics take a hike. It seems to have to do with *what* critics say, not how it is said.

If Mothering forums cannot contain questioning views on Waldorf, it would be a good idea if the administrators would clarify that once and for all. Why not just say so if you do not welcome dissent on Waldorf? That is fine - just say you are Waldorf supporters and these forums will not host critical views. Moderators and Waldorf enthusiasts would feel better never being challenged, and critics would know not to waste time writing any post critical of Waldorf here. Chloe
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#35 of 39 Old 01-06-2006, 03:35 PM
 
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I'm going to respectively bow out of this conversation, but I just want to make a comment that comes fresh out of another thread in which a short post I made was taken as invasive. There have been lots of times in life that I look back on and wish people who had kept their opinions to themselves would have just trusted me enough to realize I was perfectly capable of hearing their opinions and dealing with them - either taking some wisdom from them or ignored them or getting a whole new idea from them or whatever, but not being offended because they were respectively offered. Several times, people have said to me "Well, I don't want to influence you," and I've wondered "Why the heck not?!" I think we all grow in various ways from hearing all sides of issues and being able to express our own thoughts on them respectively and thoughtfully - and sometimes the growth isn't even a matter of learning another point of view from the other person so much as reformulating our own thoughts from the process of the discussion. Sometimes it's the unexpected little thing that stings our reactions the most that hit onto something we've been wrestling with, and sometimes that can give us a new perspective that can help with resolution one way or another. And it might even be exactly the opposite resolution that the person who spoke to us had meant to encourage! If anything, it hasn't been what people have said that has been the most disturbing to me in my own experience, but the things they held back from saying. We all change over time, and convictions I once held dear have morphed to entirely different ones, so I don't hold them all that precious - the one thing we can count on in life is change.

Ha! This just reminded me of the time I told a friend we were still thinking of names for the coming baby, and she said, "Well, I have a friend named Eden - I like that name a lot..." As she said that, the name Ethan flashed into my mind because hearing "Eden" had reminded me that Ethan was a name I liked. I blurted out "ETHAN! YES!" She was stunned - since that wasn't the name she'd mentioned - but she had actually helped me a lot. Lillian


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#36 of 39 Old 01-06-2006, 07:46 PM
 
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Chloe, for heaven's sake .......chill.


I didn't tell you to "take a hike". I asked if you could please take these extraneous debates to a new thread.

You may not feel uncomfortable doing it in this one, but I do. And since you mention my name in every other post, and are asking me to give my own opinions to things unrelated to the OP, I think it should move to another thread. And if you want to "duke it out" about Waldorf education, (which your final comments seem to confirm), I say go for it...but does it have to be here?

I feel I share responsibility for hijacking this and watching the same tired supporter/critic back-and-forth unfold. While I simply meant to reassure a new Waldorf parent that though Waldorf does advocate simple toys of natural materials, it does not require its parents to become "neurotically judgemental" about it, looking back I see how that comment helped further push this thread off course into the same ole, same ole.

Medeanj has not said a word to suggest one way or another what kind of guidance Waldorf teachers have given her to handle the issue in the OP. Yet you keep going back there. "Don't let the teacher 'guilt trip' you." "Waldorf is moralizing". "Waldorf has limited ways imagination is supposed to look". "It's not healthy to control [children's] minds so tightly as Waldorf does". "[in Waldorf] it's basically control freakery". "The Waldorf teacher will say [a rasp] is bad because it’s a tool with only one use, and it’s wrong for her to do this fixed thing that isn’t imaginative. " "Our crazy Waldorf teacher said that 'drawing' was bad for children. " "[in Waldorf it] seemed like no one was ever supposed to laugh really loud, anyone else notice that? "

When I described the flashy toys designed to condition children to play by pulling draw-strings and pushing flashy buttons, (my phrase was "teach kids how to play"), you heard it as a reference to Waldorf, not the toys with the strings and buttons, and charge ahead, "I was always curious about the Waldorf idea that we have to 'teach kids how to play.' Playing seemed to come naturally to my child. "

And when I describe my children's approach to Legos, which was to build them exactly according to the instructions in the box, (ironically, this in effect is explicitly "teaching children how to play" with the blocks), first you accuse me of exaggerating, and then..........surprise, surprise, go off again dragging Waldorf into the discussion, and blaming my own perspective of my own children on some Waldorf teacher-- "don’t let the Waldorf teacher fool you, she’s just upset because they might try to read the written instructions and that's bad unless you're 14 or something."

You seem intent to pull this in a predetermined direction--one that you can only get to by reading more into the OP than is there, imho. You argue that threads often head in different directions. To a limited extent, yes. But I don't think it's cool at all to surf for threads seeking advice on breast feeding, for example, in order to post one's own complaints about the "neurotics" in LLL, or surf for threads seeking advice how to deal with teacher's homework load to deliver diatribes how everybody should homeschool. If you've read much on other boards (though I notice this is the only one you've posted to), you'll find that posters get really ticked off when their threads get repeatedly sucked back into same side debates between the same handful of people. So while trying to accept my own responsibility for the conversations so far, I'm not comfortable squatting here further to argue with you ad nauseum about how supposedly intrusive or manipulative it is for parents to prefer or disapprove of one kind of toy over another, nor about how supposedly universally humorless, controlling and neurotic Waldorf teachers are.

Kapiche?
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#37 of 39 Old 01-14-2006, 10:31 AM
 
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I've read this thread with interest, because, of course, after the holidays, some "not ideal" toys have made it into our household. DS is only 7 months, but, intuitively, I found myself leaning toward wooden and fabric toys in general because I, personally, find them more well-made, aesthetically beautiful, and open-ended. Also, it's the kind of toy I remember having at home. My parents are German, and therefore I had a lot of German toys, so, to me, those toys are what "childhood" looks like. I did have Barbies, and my mother hated it, but she did also make clothes for them, like an elaborate cheongsam.

As parents, we offer all kinds of judgments about behavior, etc.... if the way a toy is made, looks, etc. is important to you as a person why should you not have a right to pass that aesthetic sense on to your children? Everything one gives one's child is an indirect statement as to what we think is OK or not. The Hummers are an interesting situation because it's not only the TYPE of toy (battery-operated, plastic, huge) but the OBJECT it represents (a very expensive, gas-guzzling car) that I'm inferring you object to.

I think the topic is philosophically not confined to whether you're a Waldorf parent or not. We do go to Waldorf class now, and it has reinforced how I feel about toys. I want them to have a certain integrity. We'll see how Waldorf goes for us, because I do feel a bit uncomfortable about a school "telling" me how to dress my child, what toys to give them, etc. However, for the moment I am looking at Waldorf as a place that reinforces the way I feel about certain things and I like the feeling that at least at school, DS will not be pressured to have the newest plastic superhero. I'm not terribly concerned about the stray "objectionable" toy because I don't want to confer a mystique on "the unobtainable." But, in the end, my #1 complaint about those kinds of toys is that they're all about *consumption* and marketing. Hummer being a great case in point.

Another problem with toys like Barbie, Thomas, Masters of the Universe, etc is that they're designed to sell more stuff..... kids start wanting *every* Barbie, accessory, etc not only because they're marketed it, but also because kids are naturally interested in collecting things. My parent's rule was if I really wanted something, I could have *one* Barbie or Strawberry Shortcake character or whatever and that was it. I'd rather have my child collect shells or wildflowers and learn about biology rather than 50 polyster outfits (or even fancy wooden playfood for that matter).

As for what to do when someone gives you something objectionable: it depends on the thing. A Hummer? Personally, I'm not sure I could do it just because of the TYPE of car. I'd just phase out the toy. I don't think it's necessarily worth a confrontation with family, but I am a little surprised that they'd give it to you.... Who gives a Waldorf-schooled child a Hummer for Christmas??? I'd take the passive-aggressive approach and just keep nudging them in the right direction when the opportunity arises.

I liked one of the PP's suggestions to offer catalogs. One of the problems with Waldorfy toys is that it can be hard to find them in person, and, understandably, grandparents like to choose toys in person. My mother bought a few things at a craft fair, which I thought was a great idea.

Chloe -- What you posted seemed like reasonable, well-thought-out debate to me. I haven't posted a lot on THIS particular board, but I've got over a thousand posts on another board, so I'm familiar with how these things go, and I can say that when I'm an OP I just love getting *responses* so I'd be thrilled if my post kicked off a lively discussion, which hopefully, we can all get back to now.
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#38 of 39 Old 01-14-2006, 10:45 AM
 
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I have made a point of talking about my childhood and the toys my siblings and I loved most- and that all the neighborhood kids would come to our house to play with. These were all very highly imaginative toys- mostly wooden or cloth (which is purely incidental in my stories, as it was in my childhood). And I talk about what dh has told me about his favorite things to play with as a child... he liked to play with the grown-up tools if he didn't have a smaller set, and his favorite things to do were to go outside for nature hikes and explore. Both of us have fondest memories of time spent with our grandparents, but the toys they got us- we can't even remember what they were.

So, it's my hope that in praising them for what they did right with dh, and telling them what meant the most to us, it will help encourage them to go along the same lines for their grandchildren.

Of course, I'll also probably be signing them up for the catalogs of toys that I know to be tried and true, and if they ever ask what to get her, I will have a bunch of recommendations at hand
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#39 of 39 Old 01-15-2006, 11:54 AM
 
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LindaCL I concur with comments on this thread. Major reason I don't come here much anymore. That being said,

I found the same thing to be true that by offering my parents and in-laws choices on what my kids want, we got the kind of toys we liked having in our house. One of the best presents my daughter received was a refrigerator made by her Grandpa out of wood. It sits next to her wooden stove/oven in her kitchen. Someday the refrigerator will make a nice end table.

Also, I will say, that after my children went to grade school, we added some plastic toys that allowed for open ended play such as Playmobil and LEGO. My daughter had some Barbies but she soon became bored with them and found them very difficult to dress. She now really likes the American Girl dolls and their generic Target cheaper versions (Our Generation dolls). These she can dress on her own plus Grandma can make clothes for the doll and for dd that match.

Our house has no TV or video games and simpler toys, yet many of the kids in the neighborhood who are not Waldorf come here to play all the time. They seem to prefer our toys to the ones they have at home.
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