the not wanting them to depend on me for happiness is pretty self explanatory. same reason we don't use praise to control their behavior. just thank you if they do something helpful. or sharing our feelings if they upset us. i hope they will really get to know themselves without constantly looking back over their shoulder for me to be clapping/smiling. they deserve to feel intrinsically good about the things they do. not looking for outside motivation constantly. so the not playing fits into this. i know a mother who is the exact opposite of me and her children are incapable of sharing. they've had every single toy related conflict mediated by a "professional" and never learned for themselves WHY sharing is important. now she cant even leave her kids at their friends because they melt down with out a mediator navigating their conflicts with them.
i used praise with my first and she definitely suffers because of it. She will only do things when she thinks someone is watching and there to tell her what great work she did. Its very sad. My son. hah. He will grab a basket ball go down to the 10 ft tall hoop and at two years old throw the ball 25x without ever looking back to see what I think. And he will exclaim, "Happy" randomly when he's doing thing. It's just so refreshing to see how he doesn't need my approval to feel good about what he's doing. And thats really what "playing" with kids is. Telling them they are "doing a good job" through your actions and thats cryptonite for independence and intrinsic motivation.
Respectfully, I don't see how "playing with your kids" means they will depend on you for happiness. And I totally disagree that "playing with kids is telling them they're "doing a good job" through your actions". If that's how you feel when you play with your kids, then maybe you're doing it wrong...?
DH and I played tons with DS when he was little. Of course, DH and I also enjoyed board games, crafts and building projects together even before we had kids, so maybe we're unusually geeky? In any case, we still enjoy lots of playing as a family to this day, and for the record DS is a happy, well-adjusted, thoughtful 14yo kid who's incredibly self-motivated and independent-minded.
My mom rarely played with my siblings and me past the toddler years, and we turned out just fine. But this doesn't make the converse true, and I wouldn't want to see new parents become fearful of playing with their kids based on unfounded generalizations like this.
Not "doing it wrong," I don't think. It's just a case of who you are and what you enjoy. Again, as I said earlier in the thread, I think it comes down to authenticity. If you genuinely enjoy playing with your kids, then it's definitely healthy and natural to do so. If that's not who you are, if you don't take delight in connecting with them through sports or imaginary play or whatever, if you would do so only in order to consciously model for them that you value what they're doing, then you're best to find other ways to connect with your kids.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
Yeah im not saying dont play ever if you like it. im saying dont feel obligated to do something if you have to fake it. But people with just one kid are living a completely different life than people with 2 or more. its easy to play with one kid. i will make crafts, i like that. but if i spent the day playing, my house would be a disaster area. there would be no healthy dinners. maybe its just my kids. but if i do something ONCE, they will MELT DOWN if I dont "be consistent" and i just cant handle daily meltdowns because i am cooking or cleaning instead of playing. I do hide and seek and dance with them. But when they get their toy boxes out, I hit the kitchen. and i like to stay out of their imaginary worlds. its much more entertaining to see them create things on their own.
DD1 9 years, DS1 5 years, DS2
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