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Playful Parenting: An Exciting New Approach to Raising Children That Will Help You Nurture Close Connections, Solve Behavior Problems, and Encourage Confidence Paperback – April 30, 2002
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Tag, you're it! In Playful Parenting, Lawrence Cohen demonstrates that parents need to lighten up and spend a few hours giggling with their kids. Play is inherently educational for children, he claims, and parents can learn plenty by examining the games kids play--from peekaboo to practical jokes.
Cohen is quick to point out that no matter what your child's temperament, she has a playful side. In its most basic form, play is a way to communicate. The author examines, with plenty of hilarious personal anecdotes, the details of play at every age and across genders. From his daughter and a new male friend discussing how "cool" nuclear weapons are and how "gross" a love song is, to a younger child zooming full-speed around a park at a birthday party, we're shown the exuberant truth behind playing: not only is it just plain fun, it can spark a variety of important sensations. One short section discusses the common phenomenon of happy giggling turning instantly to tears. Cohen suggests that "the fun play opens the emotional door to let out the giggles, and a flood of other feelings come pouring out after." Some specific ideas for games are included, and you'll find recommendations for everything from play wrestling to gentle storytelling. One chapter focuses on how to cope with play you don't find enjoyable, and how learning to appreciate these games can lead to surprising emotional insights. This is where Cohen's years of practice come in handy--it may be true that we all play, but not everyone immediately grasps the underlying messages. This is not simply a book filled with family activities, but rather an exploration of play for all ages. --Jill Lightner --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
From Publishers Weekly
"Pretend... that we're really gonna be late and you're really mad," Emma, daughter of psychologist and play therapist Cohen, whispered one morning, cleverly transforming their morning ritual his grumpy attempt to get her off to preschool into a fun game. According to Cohen, children of all ages have an ongoing need for connectedness, security and attachment; playful interaction with parents is an important way to develop such bonds. Through play, parents can help their kids develop greater confidence, express bottled up or difficult feelings, recover from daily emotional upheavals, negotiate agreements, express love and not least have fun. In his therapy practice, Cohen has used play to help both severely troubled and securely attached kids negotiate the daily travails of life; he demonstrates how to prevent and address serious problems with silliness and laughter. Cohen acknowledges that it is sometimes difficult for busy and harried parents to relearn play, and that playtime is both physically challenging and tiring. However, using examples from his practice, research and personal experience, he intelligently guides parents through the possibilities awaiting them if they are willing and able to loosen up. The book explores play with compassion, but is often so funny that parents will find themselves chortling out loud with recognition and anticipation. Agent, Josh Horwitz. (On-sale date: May 29)Forecast: Cohen takes his practice on the road for a five-city author tour, which should help convince the Scrooge-like of play's primacy. His lessons on the deflection of anger are applicable beyond the mnage.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I should say that I have a 1.5yo girl with whom I easily connect and have a respectful and supportive relationship, and a vibrant 3.5yo boy. I practise with them RIE respectful parenting style (mostly) In it, independent play is highly valued - but one should be careful to find the balance so that the connection is maintained.
While RIE is for infants and toddlers, Playful Parenting is for, say 2.5 years and up (until children stop being that and stop playing). So it is very complementary.
Before I read this book I often went to bed with the disappointingfeeling that something was missing,that I wasn't enough with my children, even though I stay at home with them. The days were filled with power struggles between me and my son who obviously had a hard time getting used to having a sister. I wasn't happy. I felt that my child wasn't my child anymore. We drifted apart - no wonder he wasn't listening to me. He didn't want to play with when I was available and that was our circle of disconnection.
This book gave me some great explanations why my boy behaved the way he did and many, many practical tips on how to play therapeutically with him. Everything I tried worked like a charm - physical play, going with the pretend play, sibling teaming up, helping him understand and implement the rules of the play and relationships... many many more... also gave great tips on how to deal with fellow parents and how to better understand each other.
I finally managed to restore the beautiful relationship I had with my son before his sister was born, he is a happy kid now, I am the happiest mom, and he finally says back to me: I love you, too.
I find that when his need for connection is satisfied, he is almost always respects my directions (unless distracted). A perfect, loving discipline.
The book mostly speaks to working parents and it might get your guilt going if you are a newbie in parenting, but it also stresses the importance of self-care. Now I can easily feel when they child's need for connection is not satisfied, do something about it and we are back to happy and independent play.
I am a parenting book nerd and I value this one very highly.
One of the more eye-opening points for me is that when a parent is in punishment or overreaction mode, it's often an adult temper tantrum (parent isn't getting his/her way - even if they're right - so they have a fit that may or may not physically resemble the child's but is essentially the same thing: an emotional blow-up to either attempt to control the situation or inappropriately express anger/frustration). So true for me. Cohen's words and examples showed me (gently) how, in addition to being ineffective (which I had figured out, prompting me to buy the book), my reactions to my child's behavior are often immature and unfair. That was unexpected! It made a huge difference in my relationship with my child.
He quotes the physician's oath to "First, do no harm" and considers it a basic tenet of parenting. I feel like the reduction in my yelling/punishing and increase in my playfulness is not only avoiding further harm, but helping her in her development as well. And I'm much happier, too. I still lose my temper and yell sometimes, of course, but the time it takes to rebound back to a calm, gentle mommy has been reduced tremendously, and I always acknowledge to my child that I shouldn't have behaved that way and that I'm sorry. Modeling the kind of behavior you want to see in your child is considered one of the most important ways to teach your children, and now I practice what I was once so good at only preaching.