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I've heard the concept that American culture is too child centered, so that children grow up believing they are the center of the world and always want to get their way.<br><br>
I lived in another culture for several years, and since returning to the US, I've realized even more how much my extended family is child centered.<br><br>
So if you're trying intentionally to not be child centered, what are some things that you do?<br><br>
ETA: I clarified what I mean by "child centered" in post 17
 

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Hmm.. I hope I answer this the right way, but the way I see it is like this. I don't think we're intentionally trying <i>not</i> to be child centered. But children don't get free passes just for being children in some circumstances. If that makes sense.<br><br>
For instance, if the whole family is at the dinner table and my daughter tries to interrupt and speak, she has to wait her turn and politely say "excuse me" just like anyone else would. I know many families who will stop speaking and allow the child to talk because "they're just a child". Our conundrum is at what age do you stop "treating them like a child" and start expecting manners of someone older and more mature? So in our house, she is learning at an early age how to interact in socially acceptable ways.<br><br>
That is not to say that we're not accepting of age appropriate behavior, because we certainly are! But we're also not forgoing the teachings of what she will eventually be expected to do as a respectful adult "because she's just a child".<br><br>
I think in many ways this makes us not child centered, and certainly not consentual, because we understand that children are not adults, won't behave like adults, won't have the reasoning, comprehension, and decision making skills that adults have, and that guiding them through the lack of these skills means they won't be center of the universe all of the time. Like the dinner table example.
 

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When I think of child centered, I think of all the posts [myself included in this, I've made some] where the mum is feeling guilty because she wants some free time, or wants a babysitter, or doesn't want to be attached to her child 100% of the time.<br><br>
To me, that's child centered.<br><br>
My husband and I were here first, and DD is an addition to our family. We are completely devoted to raising her in a natural, whimsical environment but we also need to follow our own passions and interests. Parents can go out to dinner alone, take vacations, and have child care help because it takes a village.<br><br>
And I think that kids are kids, but that doesn't mean we get a free pass.<br><br>
I was in a store the other day and DD was running around playing hide and seek in the clothes. Adorable? Sure, but not for the workers who are trying to keep things neat. So I was like "lady! We don't play hide and seek here, we play in the woods!" and someone came up to me to compliment me for telling her to stop because apparently other parents let their kids run wild. So that, can be child centered too. A kid is a kid is a good, but that doesn't mean they can hang from the rafters because it's just so creative that Timmy Joe thinks the Amazon jungle can be reproduced in Gap Kids.<br><br>
Does that make sense? I need more coffee <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>North_Of_60</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14756487"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hmm.. I hope I answer this the right way, but the way I see it is like this. I don't think we're intentionally trying <i>not</i> to be child centered. But children don't get free passes just for being children in some circumstances. If that makes sense.<br><br>
For instance, if the whole family is at the dinner table and my daughter tries to interrupt and speak, she has to wait her turn and politely say "excuse me" just like anyone else would. I know many families who will stop speaking and allow the child to talk because "they're just a child". Our conundrum is at what age do you stop "treating them like a child" and start expecting manners of someone older and more mature? So in our house, she is learning at an early age how to interact in socially acceptable ways.<br><br>
That is not to say that we're not accepting of age appropriate behavior, because we certainly are! But we're also not forgoing the teachings of what she will eventually be expected to do as a respectful adult "because she's just a child".<br><br>
I think in many ways this makes us not child centered, and certainly not consentual, because we understand that children are not adults, won't behave like adults, won't have the reasoning, comprehension, and decision making skills that adults have, and that guiding them through the lack of these skills means they won't be center of the universe all of the time. Like the dinner table example.</div>
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This is exactly what I would say too.<br><br>
I had a friend who was a single mom. She was very child centered, and since she only had one child, it was just natural for her to be that way.<br><br>
BUT, in social situations, her son was very hard to want to be around. He felt like he should have anything an adult would have. If we went anywhere in their car, HE sat in the front seat and took over the radio. (loud enough that nobody else could talk) and the adults had to sit in the back seat.<br><br>
At five, he was parking the car in the garage. (seriously at FIVE) because he wanted to, so she taught him to park the car. He'd back it out, pull it in, back it out, pull it in.<br><br>
He made almost ALL of the decisions in the family. From where they ate for dinner, to where they went on vacation. It was never up for discussion. What he wanted was what they did.<br><br>
He was allowed to hit, push or do whatever it took to get to the top. He was kicked off the school bus (forever) he was kicked out of two daycare centers and the after school care for agression. HE COULD have controlled himself. But, it was not only acceptable to her, it was almost encouraged. She always said "what did Bobby to to make my son angry?". It was always justified.<br><br>
Now he's 17. He's a pretty good young man. He's a good decision maker, he's big and strong, and still always gets his way. He will be very successful in whatever career he chooses. But, his mom is still alone, and wishes she wasn't. She wanted to get married, or even have some great friends. But, nobody wants to be around her son, so she's alone..... he's out with his friends every night or busy at school.
 

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You've seen this?<br><br><a href="http://www.continuum-concept.org/reading/whosInControl.html" target="_blank">http://www.continuum-concept.org/rea...InControl.html</a>
 

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<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;">That is not to say that we're not accepting of age appropriate behavior, because we certainly are! But we're also not forgoing the teachings of what she will eventually be expected to do as a respectful adult "because she's just a child".<br><br>
I think in many ways this makes us not child centered, and certainly not consentual, because we understand that children are not adults, won't behave like adults, won't have the reasoning, comprehension, and decision making skills that adults have, and that guiding them through the lack of these skills means they won't be center of the universe all of the time. Like the dinner table example.</td>
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This is us, too.<br><br>
We are not "child centered". Family-centered maybe. God-centered, definitely. Other-centered, working on it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
In a way, the way we do things is for the benefit of our children and their good is central to our family style, but it is a long-term benefit. We don't believe that meeting their every want and desire, making them the center of our universe, dropping everything to please their momentary "I want", is good for them. We don't feel that we need to entertain and delight them 24/7.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>nextcommercial</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14756545"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is exactly what I would say too.<br><br>
I had a friend who was a single mom. She was very child centered, and since she only had one child, it was just natural for her to be that way.<br><br>
BUT, in social situations, her son was very hard to want to be around. He felt like he should have anything an adult would have. If we went anywhere in their car, HE sat in the front seat and took over the radio. (loud enough that nobody else could talk) and the adults had to sit in the back seat.<br><br>
At five, he was parking the car in the garage. (seriously at FIVE) because he wanted to, so she taught him to park the car. He'd back it out, pull it in, back it out, pull it in.<br><br>
He made almost ALL of the decisions in the family. From where they ate for dinner, to where they went on vacation. It was never up for discussion. What he wanted was what they did.<br><br>
He was allowed to hit, push or do whatever it took to get to the top. He was kicked off the school bus (forever) he was kicked out of two daycare centers and the after school care for agression. HE COULD have controlled himself. But, it was not only acceptable to her, it was almost encouraged. She always said "what did Bobby to to make my son angry?". It was always justified.<br><br>
Now he's 17. He's a pretty good young man. He's a good decision maker, he's big and strong, and still always gets his way. He will be very successful in whatever career he chooses. But, his mom is still alone, and wishes she wasn't. She wanted to get married, or even have some great friends. But, nobody wants to be around her son, so she's alone..... he's out with his friends every night or busy at school.</div>
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I knew a family like this. The kids got EVERYTHING they wanted, even when their parents couldn't afford it. The family was in horrible debt but the kids had 4-wheelers, dirt bikes, a huge house, a huge TV, etc... The kids ran that house. They made all the choices and ran all over their parents.<br>
The daughter (the oldest) still hasn't gotten past that...and she's 24 or so now. She's still living with family without helping that family, has no job and isnt' looking, and has a child of her own...The boys (3 of them) are apparently really good kids now.
 

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Interesting thread. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
We are not a child-centered family. DP and I are the backbone of our family; we are the authority figures, we set the limits; we provide for our children, teach them, and model responsible behavior. Ultimately we have the final say in decisions, although our kids' wants are absolutely taken into consideration. I don't believe it's my job to make or keep my kids happy - I give them the tools and a safe, secure, loving environment. But you will never see me doing that "dance" around my children, offering them this, bribing them with that, begging, pleading, reasoning til I'm blue in the face, trying anything just to make them happy. I don't need to ensure my kids' happiness 24/7. I see parents doing that all the time, and it's ugly.<br><br>
I also don't wait on my kids. They're only 2 and 4, but I teach them age-appropriate responsibility. They are responsible for keeping their room clean, picking up after themselves (toys, clothes, clearing the table), and helping with some housework (mostly the 4yo there).<br><br>
The biggie - being polite and respectful of other people. I have a friend who will drop everything when one of her kids wants something, and I *hate* talking to her on the phone because half of the time she's stopping in mid-sentence (or cutting me off) to talk to one of her kids or to get them something, and it's just incredibly rude. They do that when we get together, too. If I'm on the phone, I give my kids a heads-up and they know to keep quiet unless something's wrong. In stores or other public places, I expect them to walk and keep the noise to a reasonable level. They need to say "please" and "thank you". They're children, and I don't expect them to behave like adults, of course; but I do expect them to behave as well as they're capable of. Just being kids doesn't give them the excuse to run wild whenever and wherever they want. You don't learn things like patience and not-throwing-tantrums-in-the-grocery-store-just-because-you're-tired by being catered to and having excuses made for your behavior. I do not believe that expecting my kids to conform to societal standards of acceptable, considerate behavior will quash their self-esteem, curiosity, or individuality. They are very happy kids despite not being permitted to play cave beneath restaurant tables!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>cappuccinosmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14756678"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is us, too.<br><br>
We are not "child centered". Family-centered maybe. God-centered, definitely. Other-centered, working on it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
In a way, the way we do things is for the benefit of our children and their good is central to our family style, but it is a long-term benefit. We don't believe that meeting their every want and desire, making them the center of our universe, dropping everything to please their momentary "I want", is good for them. We don't feel that we need to entertain and delight them 24/7.</div>
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Yes, this.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dantesmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14756792"><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 do not believe that expecting my kids to conform to societal standards of acceptable, considerate behavior will quash their self-esteem, curiosity, or individuality. They are very happy kids despite not being permitted to play cave beneath restaurant tables!</div>
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Yes!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/clap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="clap"><br><br>
And as for the poster above who talked about adults and parents following their own passions and interest, I agree 100% with that as well. It makes me very sad for parents, mothers especially, who feel so bound by their children that they can't even go grocery shopping alone without being riddled with guilt. More so, I worry about how the children in situations like that will learn the importance of relationships - both creating them and maintaining them - if a mother feels so guilty for leaving her children for an hour with a non-parental family member or friend. If the parent is not capable of fostering a trusting relationship, how will the children be capable of fostering trusting relationships?<br><br>
Plus there's the issue of children watching their caregivers act in selfless ways so much so that they either expect it, or end up completely devoted to <i>other</i> people themselves. I want my daughter to learn to say no, when to say no, and how to say no, and the only way I can do that is to model it myself and allow her to experience what it's like to be said no <i>to</i>. By the very definition of that we are not child centered.
 

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I have one challenging child and one easy one. It's been harder not to be child-centered with the challenging one! But for me, anyway, a big part of this is allowing children to learn to play by themselves. This is not to say I never sit down and play with my kids (although this is less common now that I have two), but I do try to "fade out" a lot. If they aren't asking for me, I will certainly happily ignore them for a while. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> We spend a ton of time in the yard, and usually I am working on the garden or something and the two kids are just wandering around doing their own thing. I have noticed that other moms hang much closer to their kids, even in their own houses/yards, and spend more time asking them if they need things, starting activities for them, etc.<br><br>
I also am not shy about saying no when they ask me for something (nonessential) but I'm in the middle of something else. They learn to wait. They don't always like it. They also come with us on outings even when they don't particularly feel like it. We talk a lot about the family's needs as a whole and the family team.
 

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Interesting thread. I must have a very different definition of "child centered", I think! The families described in some of the posts above don't sound "child centered" to me, they sound more like families without boundaries. Letting a child run around wild in a store or letting a 5 year old park the car (!) or letting a child interrupt a conversation isn't "child centered" at all in my opinion - it's families letting kids behave in a way that is without boundaries. It doesn't meet the needs of anyone - child included - nor does it help them learn to get along in the world.<br><br>
My understanding of "child centered" has more to do with meeting the needs of the child (real needs - not the "need" to be destructive or rude), recognizing the child's individuality, recognizing that a child is not a miniature adult and responding to that appropriately. In practical terms, it means meeting a child's need for sleep (and not dragging around a kid who clearly needs a nap or to go to bed), making sure a child has plenty of opportunity for movement and exercise, respecting their emotional needs and not putting them in situations that are overwhelming or inappropriate for their age (like taking a 5 year old to a movie intended for adults in a movie theater at 8:00 PM and then getting mad when they start getting restless), etc.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lurk.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lurk"><br><br>
this is an interesting thread, and a constant struggle for me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"><br><br>
I grew up exactly like every worst description of "child-centered" in this thread! My parents were older, and I'm the only child. I *did* play cave under restaurant tables, interrupt adult conversations, pitch horrible fits if we didn't do whatever i wanted, the whole nine yards.<br><br>
I think, at age 28, I'm mostly over the ill effects <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> but this colors my parenting in ways, and sometimes I'm not even aware of it. DH points out that I let the kids disrespect me and each other, or that I'm trying too hard or going out of my way to please them, and we both logicaly recognize that that's not good. However, it's like I get stressed out or distracted, and revert to parenting in the way that I was parented <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
I also never helped out in the least, and so when the kids complain about doing chores or helping out, I am all too easily convinced that I'm too hard on them, mean, demanding, or whatever. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I have one challenging child and one easy one. It's been harder not to be child-centered with the challenging one!</td>
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YES! My 2nd child is the "spirited" one, and she certainly ran all over me and everyone else when she was smaller, for lack of my ability to deal w/the ensuing tantrums if I didn't let her <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamadebug</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14756996"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Interesting thread. I must have a very different definition of "child centered", I think! The families described in some of the posts above ... [are] letting kids behave in a way that is without boundaries. It doesn't meet the needs of anyone - child included - nor does it help them learn to get along in the world.<br><br>
My understanding of "child centered" has more to do with meeting the needs of the child ... In practical terms, it means meeting a child's need for sleep (and not <b>dragging around a kid who clearly needs a nap or to go to bed</b>), making sure a child has plenty of opportunity for movement and exercise, respecting their emotional needs and not putting them in situations that are overwhelming or inappropriate for their age (like <b>taking a 5 year old to a movie intended for adults in a movie theater at 8:00 PM and then getting mad when they start getting restless</b>), etc.</div>
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You make a good point--needs of the family/everyone being met v. "needs" of the child to do whatever they please...that's a good way to think about it.<br><br>
I know people who do things like what I bolded above, only they consider it "respecting the child as an adult" or something. To me that is going to the other extreme of disregarding the legit needs of the child, and that's not teaching them how to behave or cope in the world either..
 

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I seem to have a different view of it too...<br><br>
For me "Child Centered" is about the family working around the child instead of working as a whole. Parents that spend their day playing on the floor and neglecting themselves, bringing their kids to swim class and soccer and ballet and gym and always needing to entertain the kids.... It is when kids are not able to entertain themselves because they are have never needed to. It is having nap times and quiet times and play dates and bedtimes and separating the children from the parents and family unit.<br><br>
We follow a lot of the ideals in the Continuum Concept. In our home, parents are the guides, we are not dictators, kids don't always get what they want but we don't say no all the time either. Though there are times that I sit down and play, it is rare, but they are always invited to join in the things that I am doing. My kids don't have chores, or a chore list but they do help around the house because they know it is part of family life. They learn to cook and prep food (yes even cutting food) early on... they come and watch me sew, we search for things together on the Internet, they play by themselves etc...<br><br>
With an infant, to many it might seem "child centred" to breastfeed, co-sleep, babywear pretty much all the time etc... But for me it is just a way to go about my normal routine and take care of the baby without taking care of the baby... I don't need to entertain or having something to occupy the baby to get things done, I don't need any of the gear etc because baby just becomes an extension of me...<br><br>
I also see in these posts that many people think that the opposite of child-centred needs to be parent-centred and I don't agree with that either...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamadebug</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14756996"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My understanding of "child centered" has more to do with meeting the needs of the child (real needs - not the "need" to be destructive or rude), recognizing the child's individuality, recognizing that a child is not a miniature adult and responding to that appropriately. In practical terms, it means meeting a child's need for sleep (and not dragging around a kid who clearly needs a nap or to go to bed), making sure a child has plenty of opportunity for movement and exercise, respecting their emotional needs and not putting them in situations that are overwhelming or inappropriate for their age (like taking a 5 year old to a movie intended for adults in a movie theater at 8:00 PM and then getting mad when they start getting restless), etc.</div>
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If I'm understanding this right, your basic definition of child centered would be to meet basic needs, like the need to sleep as opposed to staying out late with parents who aren't ready to go home? If this is correct, what's your opinion on being NOT child centered?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for all the great responses!<br><br>
I can clarify a little what i mean about being "child centered".<br><br>
In the other culture I lived in that was NOT child centered, kids would normally amuse themselves with very few toys, not interrupt adult conversations, were not demanding or sassy, and I never saw a tantrum there (not saying there were never any tantrums, but definitely fewer than here, and a public tantrum would have been very out of place). the children were also very respectful.<br><br>
I realize some of these things might be more cultural, but when I observe my extended family some of the "child centered" behavior I saw was:<br><br>
- asking a 3 year old where she wanted to sit for thanksgiving, and then taking 15 minutes to try and figure out how to arrange all the kids and adults so that she could sit where she wanted.<br><br>
- asking a toddler what they want for lunch instead of having them eat what everyone else is eating<br><br>
- kids who pick the music every time they are in the car - so it's always children's cds playing and never adult music<br><br>
- adults not being able to have any kind of meaningful conversation when the kids are awake because the kids are the center of attention and always interrupting<br><br>
- when my mom comes to babysit my one year old daughter she feels like she has to play with her and entertain her constantly, and hovers so that she doesn't do things like walk with the cordless phone in case she trips and the antennae pokes her eye out<br><br>
to me, this kind of behavior would encourage kids that they should always be the center of attention and always get what they want - which is not messages i want my dd to get.<br><br>
i'm asking for examples because i realized my own family is so child centered and i really want to do things differently with my dd, but i'm not really sure what to do practically<br><br>
ETA: I don't think the opposite of child centered is being parent centered, but maybe being family centered - where there is a balance of everyone's needs and children learn that other people's desires and opinions matter so they won't always get their way<br><br>
i don't think the parent's needs should always trump those of the kids, just as the kids needs should not always trump those of the parents or siblings
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Parents that spend their day playing on the floor and neglecting themselves, bringing their kids to swim class and soccer and ballet and gym and always needing to entertain the kids.... It is when kids are not able to entertain themselves because they are have never needed to.</td>
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See, I'm with you here.<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;">It is having nap times and quiet times and play dates and bedtimes and separating the children from the parents and family unit.</td>
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And I am totally not with you here! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> For me, my kids having nap times and bedtimes and quiet times is alllll about not being overly child-centered/child-indulgent.<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;">I realize some of these things might be more cultural, but when I observe my extended family some of the "child centered" behavior I saw was:<br><br>
- asking a 3 year old where she wanted to sit for thanksgiving, and then taking 15 minutes to try and figure out how to arrange all the kids and adults so that she could sit where she wanted.<br><br>
- asking a toddler what they want for lunch instead of having them eat what everyone else is eating<br><br>
- kids who pick the music every time they are in the car - so it's always children's cds playing and never adult music<br><br>
- adults not being able to have any kind of meaningful conversation when the kids are awake because the kids are the center of attention and always interrupting<br><br>
- when my mom comes to babysit my one year old daughter she feels like she has to play with her and entertain her constantly, and hovers so that she doesn't do things like walk with the cordless phone in case she trips and the antennae pokes her eye out</td>
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I agree with you--to me, these are examples of being overly child-centered.
 

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I'm a solo mom with 1 child, so our dynamic is a little different. We are not child-centered but more family-centered.<br><br>
To me, family-centered means recognizing the needs, desires, responsibilities, and abilities of every family member. Fulfilling each member to the extent possible. Supporting each other in age/role appropriate ways.<br><br>
It means recognizing the validity of adult time and adult space. I've read it here so often that someone "wouldn't go where kids weren't welcome" or that they haven't spent 1 minute apart from their children in 15 years. To each her own, but adult interaction without children does not devalue children. It's not a zero-sum game.<br><br>
It means guiding children in their learning how to live in the world, be friends, make friends, recognizing that there are million of people and things happening outside their little sphere, exploring the great big wonderful world, and to have a humility about their place in the "grand scheme."<br><br>
I don't think that a myopic child-centeredness does the child, the parents, or the family unit any good.
 

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We are working through this everyday!<br><br>
I think it was a lot easier to be NOT child-centered when most people lived in multi-family homes (Grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) AND when there was house-work going on all day (cooking, cleaning, mending, wood-working, farming/gardening, etc).<br><br>
I notice when I am my most busy with housework, my DS is best at entertaining himself and not demanding this and that. But when I am tired or sick (like now) and need to rest, he becomes very whiny and demanding. I imagine in a multi-generational house even when some were sick others were still busy and the kids didn't feel the "change" in energy so much.
 
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