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Playful Parenting

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My natural inclination could be called a “German Dictator” style of parenting. And I married a goofball who seems to have an imagination the size of Texas. It’s sometimes hard to keep up. So, when I came upon the book Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen, I knew I would glean at least a few nuggets of information that would be valuable.

I was right. He has lots of suggestions on being silly for people like me – whose Gestapo tactics can be a bit overbearing sometimes (and not a little bit futile). I do think Cohen goes a bit overboard in his suggestions (Hello, without the German Dictator, nothing would ever get done, people!) – and as with all the parenting books I read, we took what parts work for us and incorporated only that.

But one thing that has proved to be invaluable was… wrestling. Simple as that. Cohen recommends regular roughhousing. It provides us a physical place to get silly, get aggressive, work out your frustrations from the day – and most importantly – it gives Declan a place to be the boss. He tells who attacks who, and we CHARGE. Cohen says “no tickling” be part of the rules because of the loss of control kids feel, so we skip that… but we definitely have lots of laughter and giggling. And if anyone yells STOP, we immediately cease and make sure everyone is OK (seeing as Bryan and I regularly sneak in extra punches on each other when Declan isn’t looking). And the other good thing for Dex is that, since he has never been a very physical kid – he is gaining confidence in his balance, strength and coordination – all while having fun.

Declan asks to wrestle or pillow fight all the time now.

And both Bryan and I feel like a million bucks after we’re through too. Maybe we’ve found the answer to the stress of a hard day’s work, eh?

So, what fun things to you do with your kid(s) to bring out the inner goofball?

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  • comment avatar Amber October 10, 2007

    We have always wrestled with our kids on our bed. Because there is nothing like riling them up before bedtime. 🙂 Good to know it is actually doing them (and us) some good!

  • comment avatar Gretchen aka mopsy October 10, 2007

    I don’t wrestle because they could take me in a heartbeat. Even the baby.

    BUT we love to have dance parties. I dance like a goofball—we do the Robot, the Puppetmaster, show them some of our slick 80s moves…

  • comment avatar nutmeg October 10, 2007

    Ah, you guys didn’t need that book!

  • comment avatar oktree October 10, 2007

    I like the no tickling aspect because it does indeed change the power dynamics in the situation.

    My inner goofball, which is somewhat more similar to yours, is simply doing silly kid-related things with him. One of the things we do together most is make up silly stories without the boundaries of reality.

    So you say you have a dinosaur. Well, where is he? What color is he? How big is he? What does he eat? Oh, it’s a girl? I’m sorry. I should have asked. Silly me. What does she do while you are in school? She shrinks into your shoe with you and helps you walk, but sometimes bogs you down and unties your shoe when she wants you to pay attention? That crazy girl.

  • comment avatar Aimee October 10, 2007

    Gretchen… yes, the boys can take me quite often. But I get my licks in too. 😉

    And Oktree, great ideas!

  • comment avatar Catherine Dix October 10, 2007

    I really hate it, but I am SO not a physical parent. The mere THOUGHT of wrestling makes me tired. But I play a MEAN Pokemon match. And can play Twister till the cows come home. Does that count??

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  • comment avatar Alisha November 13, 2007

    I love the idea of being a playful parent and just simply letting loose and having fun. I love being goofy with my kids – like wearing silly hats and playing music while we clean, or dressing up in costumes even when it’s not halloween and acting out a made up story! It’s great for my attitude and spirit just as much as my kids!

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