Thursday, August 28, 2008

Must Read

One of the blogs I frequent currently is Crabmommy, I love her sarcasm, her wiliness to admit she is not super mommy. That seems to be the current fad in parenting try to prove to other moms how we are super mommy. I am not super mommy, nor do I want to be. She had this interview, at the bottom of her blog, this is how she phrased it, "As many of you know, I've been quite taken by this recently published book, Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting. So I interviewed the author, Hara Estroff Marano (who is also the editor-at-large of Psychology Today), about her thoughts on child- and teen-rearing gone wrong." I started reading it and it was exactly what I need to read. Monday I was freaking out because my son was bored and this must mean I am a bad mom. Remember how unpleasant it was to be bored as a kid, I wanted to save my child from that. My husband in perfect Brentness said if you don't want him to be bored buy cable tv and let him watch it all day. I was horrified, after reading this interview I understood what he meant. Apparently its not bad for children to be bored.
I regard boredom as an important event. It's an aversive, uncomfortable state. People don't like to be in it. The value of aversive states is that the unpleasantness forces people to experiment and/or explore to find things on their own that they do like to do. And so if you're bored you discover something you like and you also gain the mastery of yourself and know you have the ability to handle all kinds of unpleasant situations. So a lot goes on when you're given the opportunity to be bored sometimes.
The interview continues here for part 2 and here for part 3.
Here is some more fascinating information,
To adults play looks like a waste of time. And to kids it's extremely important.
To the point that there are psychologists theorizing that a lot of teenagers diagnosed with attention deficit disorders might actually just be play deprived. There's considerable evidence for it. And I don't think parents are particularly receptive to it. They'd much rather, somehow, give their kid a drug.
...they haven't stimulated that portion of the brain that develops in response to play. They haven't had the experience of regulating themselves through free play, so their circuits of attention are not developed. And we know from studies that attention can be trained. And so play is one of the ways that attention gets trained.
I can't wait to get the book. Thank you public library. (If you want to read the interview in one complete piece, I copied and pasted it to my mom, so I already have it on my email.)

Here is my thing about boredom. I think part of being a parent is wanting to give your child a better life than you had. Well last time I check most people in middle class grew up never wanting. I mean you know sometimes I did want that pair of Gap Long jeans and my mother told me not this month, and well also my parents only spend a $100+ on me at Christmas, not a $1000+ like most kids I went to school with. But I was never hungry I went to college via my parents help. So when I think of how to be a better parent, the only thing I can get rid of is boredom, I'm not going to take away chores, because heck if I want to clean the house all by my lonesome. I already say the same thing as my mom did to my son about the Gap Jeans, except his jeans, was the toy jelly fish at the Michaels, because I'm not about to raise a child that uses credit card debt as a surrogate parent in 20 years. So the only thing I can get rid of boredom. But apparently that is not something good to do for my child. Not that I'm trying to purposely make him bored, but if sometimes he doesn't want to do what I'm doing, and he doesn't want to play with his 50 million toys, then oh well.

To end this was my favorite line which is also how the interview ends. "
And knee pads? Knee pads for what? Bike riding? Absurd idea. They actually interfere with agility. Children don't die from scraped knees." Which is the same reason I kept letting my son roll off the couch on purpose. The first 50 times he kept his roll so it didn't hurt, the 51st he didn't and it hurt, has never done it since.

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