I know this is a bit off-topic for this site. But sometimes when we have an experience that teaches us a distinct lesson, it needs to be shared.
This weekend while we played at the park as a family, I learned how to play with your children the worst way possible.
How To Play With Your Children The Worst Way
It’s not as confusing as it sounds.
My husband was sitting on the grass with our baby while also playing with our 3-year-old as he ran around in the grass shooting at imaginary ‘bad guys’.
I had been walking along the path that circled around the entire park and playground with my 20-month-old, holding hands. He wanted to just walk and toddle along instead of go down the ‘scary’ slides.
I was grateful to just be out of the house and in a peaceful fun setting after being cooped up for six weeks with a new baby.
As we were walking back toward the playground, there were a few other moms with their children also playing. One seven-month pregnant mom was lounging on her blanket resting while watching clouds with her daughter. Some others were playing on the merry-go-round along the edge of the path.
We neared the merry-go-round and I noticed a few little girls standing atop it. One little girl, maybe four or five years old with curly blonde hair was standing up. She kept politely and nicely calling to her mother to “look at me, mommy!”
It’s the common phrase we hear with our children because they want our attention, our approval, and our validation with the feelings, abilities, and joys they’re experiencing. Yet this mother did something quite unexpected.
The mother that the girl was calling to had a distinct scowl on her face and frustration in her stance. The mother yelled back at her daughter, loudly, rudely, and with much irritation: “I can’t watch you; I’m looking for my phone!”
That little girl was quiet after that. I pulled my little boy out of the way as the mother huffed past, glancing at the ground.
The Worst Way Is Not Playing At All
What did this mother do? She:
- belittled and disrespected her child
- demonstrated that an object was more valuable to her than her child
- taught her child that she was not important or worth the attention
Of course, when you lose something valuable like your phone or car keys, it’s understandable to have some frustration boiling up inside.
℘ Maybe this mother had a terrible morning. She was still in her pajamas, actually.
℘ Maybe this mother was dealing with something far worse than just a lost phone.
I certainly want to give her the benefit of the doubt. We’ve all been there in moments when we let our tempers flare over things that don’t really matter in the end.
- But can this one act of upsetting anger toward her daughter over a lost piece of plastic change their relationship?
- Is the outburst worth the hurt that was caused?
- Can’t this have been handled another way?
We’ve all read the stories and blogs about people so focused on their screens that they lose all sense of presence in their life, even at the expense of their children. I’m not going to dwell on it.
There could have been other solutions to this situation.
- The mother may have suggested her daughter help her look for her phone–make a game of it, hide and seek. Just something to also show involvement and attention to her girl still.
- She could have more calmly expressed her feelings of needing to find her phone, validated her daughter’s request, then moved on with no outbursts.
The worst solution is not playing with your children at all. Or even pretending to play when your attention is really on something else–like your phone.
Resolve To Do Better
When you held your baby close or played with them on the floor, were you focused on your cellphone?
Did you let your baby cry and be alone in their playpen endlessly while you gave attention to ‘more important’ things on a screen?
I doubt it.
So what changes as our children grow older? That’s a discussion for another day.
But just promise me this:
Keep your love and focus on your children, your family, and your joys–or you may lose them. I’m resolving to do better.
If you lost your child, would you be too busy with your phone to look for them?
We don’t need more people in this world lacking in the love and attention they deserve. Thus why we start at the beginning with a natural birth; because we want to give the best of us for our children.
Please comment and share your thoughts. What would you have done?