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Ok, so I'm just lost about parenting my son... it seems that in infancy and toddlerhood even... I had time to read and learn. Now it seems my son has arrived at childhood (age 3+), and I don't know where to begin. I don't mind feeling things out to see what works, but I'm also wanting some pointers, some general this is what's happening in this age so doing "these kinds of things" tend to be well received kinds of ideas...<br><br>
For instance: when I explain why things need to be done it tends to be a safety issue or health issue... and I don't want to scare my son or be all doom and gloom.<br><br>
I don't know if playing mean guy, mean monster, shooting, all the time is a sign that he's too young to make sense of things (I'm a nanny for an older boy whose 5 who has introduced these things)<br><br>
I want him to feel good about himself, like he can do things... I want to help him make sense of what he sees other children doing or playing. I don't want to be overprotective, but I want to provide somewhat of a shield.<br><br>
Oh, and perhaps teh biggest thing I see is that I'm not as interested in what things he wants to play as I used to be... is that normal?<br><br>
Anyways, I"m not aiming for perfect... but I'm hoping to make some good choices on my part. All your thoughts, tips, suggestions and resources are welcome!<br><br>
TIA-Heidi
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jaidymama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9888229"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">For instance: when I explain why things need to be done it tends to be a safety issue or health issue... and I don't want to scare my son or be all doom and gloom.</div>
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I think there are ways to discuss safety issues and health issues without being doom and gloom. Just keep it on a level that a 3 year old can understand. I have explained the concept of death to my daughter for safety situations, because I need her to know, if she runs out in front of a car, it has the potential to kill her, and death means that I'll never get to see her again and that would break my heart. That it's a VERY BIG DEAL.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jaidymama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9888229"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't know if playing mean guy, mean monster, shooting, all the time is a sign that he's too young to make sense of things (I'm a nanny for an older boy whose 5 who has introduced these things)</div>
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It seems a lot of children go through this. I think it's completely normal (albeit it frustrates the ever living snot out of me) I constantly remind my daughter that we don't shoot people, we don't hurt people, etc. when she wants to play power ranger shooting guy <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jaidymama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9888229"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I want him to feel good about himself, like he can do things... I want to help him make sense of what he sees other children doing or playing. I don't want to be overprotective, but I want to provide somewhat of a shield.</div>
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I tell my daughter that she does a great job at things, I tell her I'm so proud of her, I vocally reaffirm her so she has confidence in her accomplishments. Something that simple has a huge impact. IMO, 3 years old may not be old enough to "make sense of what he sees other children doing". I'm not quite certain what you mean by that.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jaidymama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9888229"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Oh, and perhaps teh biggest thing I see is that I'm not as interested in what things he wants to play as I used to be... is that normal?</div>
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Yes, I think this is VERY normal. I think in part the biggest problem I have with staying actively engaged with my daughter during play is the repetition. Children love repetition, me... not so much. It remains a struggle for me.
 

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I would suggest some reading on childhood years kinds of stuff.<br><br>
Books that have been helpful to me in these years are:<br>
Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen<br>
How to Talk so Children will Listen by Faber and Mazlish(sp??)<br><br>
I'm currently about half way through "Great Kids" by Stanley Greenspan and like it so far. It talks about the importance of/how to foster engagement, curiosity, empathy, communication, emotional range, self esteem and internal discipline.<br><br>
Playful Parenting has a nice chapter (section of a chapter?) on what gun/sword play is useful for, and why we shouldn't ban it, and how to deal with it. You can shoot "love guns", for example. Kids <i>need</i> some of this kind of play because in their lives they are relatively powerless (who decides where they live, when to buy groceries, what food is in the house, etc.?) Some kids do it with guns/swords, some kids do it with dinosaurs, some kids with power rangers.<br><br>
One of the most effective things you can do to help you child is to assume he's competent and involve him in real activities (my kids love to help cook, mop the floor, do the laundry; they're less thrilled picking up their own messes, however!).<br><br>
I try not to intervene unless my child asks for help, or unless its life threatening. So, I don't intervene when they're standing on the swings; I do when they forget to stop at the corner and look for cars. If my kids ask for help, I give it to them. I still help my 3 year old dress, even though she can do it herself. It helps her feel loved and cared for. Our ds was 5 before he dressed himself consistently. Even now, he likes us to be in the room while he does it!<br><br>
There's also value in spending time (I try to get in 30 minutes a day or every other day) playing with them where you follow their lead in play. This "floortime" helps you connect and see what themes/issues your child is working on. Both Playful Parenting and some of the other stuff I've ready by Greenspan suggest this, and it really works. You don't have to be passionately interested in what he's playing, but you do have to follow his lead some of the time. Genuine interest and attention to what they're interested can help build true self esteem and connection -- both of which are essential skills for development.<br><br>
For health/safety issues, I focus on "keeping your body safe" -- I don't go into what can happen unless I really have to. My kids are pretty sensitive, so I don't want to scare them. If they ask, I answer their questions honestly (which has lead me to tell things like 'cars can crush your body').
 
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