Hello Everybody! I apologize for the long hiatus.
Today I wanted to focus on the importance of the Parent-Child Relationship. Over the years of providing counseling services in both private and community settings, I have noticed children are playing less and more glued to their electronic gadgets, having huge meltdowns when it is time to stop playing that dinosaur game or needing to finish that last episode of PJ Mask on Netflix. These electronic device seemed to have substituted the interaction with another human being. Not to say that these electronic devices are all bad, they do have their benefits to society. I am not saying children should not have access to these devices, but to limit the screen time and engage in more physical activities. It is important as parents to model and teach our children skills to regulate their emotions, be able to socialize with other peoples in their lives, and of course our hopes as parents is for our children to become well adjusted adults.
You might be wondering, what is the whole of point of this blog.
You might say, “I play with my kid all the time,” or “I don’t know how to play with my kid, because I never played growing up,” and the list goes on.
Over the years of working with children in the foster care system, many of these children have been hurt by relationships.
“Huh, what do you mean hurt by relationships?”
Well, many of these children in the system have been hurt by the people they trusted most, their parents. Whether they were physically, emotional, or sexually abused, neglected of basic needs, and/or witnessing domestic violence, children’s view of relationship with people become skewed.
You’re wondering, “how does this apply to me and my kid(s), I would never abuse my kids!”
The point I want to get across is that children are always sharing about how they are doing internally and externally, sometimes, we as parents are often busy in the moment to notice little Johnny trying to tell his mom something, or little Sally wanting to play with her dad. Natural Play is crucial as part of child development, children learn to practice adult skills in preparation for the real world, it provides them opportunity to make mistake and also a way to communicate to their parents how they’re doing.
Have you ever noticed your child play doctor with their stuff animals after coming back from a doctor’s appointment?
You might have noticed them reenacting their experience being at the doctor’s office with their stuff bear. It might not always be a 100% accurate interpretation of what happened at the doctor’s office, but notice the emotion or behaviors the stuff bear is displaying through you child’s voice. You might also notice your child comforting the bear because the bear is feeling scared or crying because they know that shot is going to hurt. That gives you a little glimpse of what your child might have been feeling when he/she had to get that flu shot or their annual vaccination.
Another example is when your child play school, your child might choose the role of the teacher and maybe you or their toys become the students. Imagine yourself as a child sitting in that classroom..what is happening, what are you feeling as your child mimics possibly her school teacher. Do you feel supported and encouraged? Defeated and scared? Or bored and you just want to take a nap? Your child may be giving you some clues about their experience in the classroom and they want you to know “Hey mom, I don’t feel safe in class, because the teacher is mean.” Or “Hey dad, my teacher is really nice and learning is fun.”
I encourage you to start having unstructured play with you child, maybe 10-15 minutes each day. Allow the child choose the activity and just be present with the child without directing the play to much and asking less question. It is okay if you do not know how to play, your child will guide you, even just being present with the child during the 10-15 minutes is enough…
Stay tune for the next blog, I will be talking more about Play, some ideas of activities that you can engage with your child, and so on.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or if you are noticing some changes in your child, such as mood changes, excessive worries and fears, or difficulty with regulating their emotions, I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation to see if your child can benefit from counseling services. Click here to schedule your phone consultation with me!