Playful Parenting Book Discussion, Chapters 10-12

October 18th, 2010 by Dionna | 5 Comments
Posted in Book Discussions

Welcome to the fourth discussion of Lawrence Cohen’s Playful Parenting. Today we are discussing chapters 10-12. Questions and scenarios for discussion are below, but please don’t feel limited by our talking points.

Chapters 10-12 Summary

When a child is stuck in feelings of powerlessness or isolation, when she is unable to take the lead in play, when she is unable to make a connection, a playful parent may need to take the lead in play for awhile to get things back on track. Parents can take the lead by giving the child a gentle push, by insisting on connection, by presenting a challenge or introducing a theme, or by making play fun.

Chapter 10 Questions

1) Let’s discuss “gentle pushes” – can you give some examples that have worked for you? When have you noticed that your child needs a gentle push?

2) Have you ever held your child through aggression? What are your thoughts about holding a child who is hitting rather than putting him in time-out?

3) Have you talked to your young child about (or somehow introduced the theme of) differences in people? (Race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) Do you have any favorite books, tips, articles, suggestions on how to do this? (I personally love the post “I Spy Race” by Arwyn at Raising Boychick. She also has a whole series devoted to books that are preschool-appropriate and introduce themes like LGBT issues, race, etc.)

Chapter 11 Questions

1) Have you experienced periods of excessive dependence and/or independence with your little one? Have you used play to help deal with it?

2) Does your child like to make up games with “rules”? What kinds of rules have you had to follow? Can you connect these rules to something that might be happening in your child’s life?

3) Are you good at turning aggression into play? Or have you ever had a positive experience? If so, please share your tips and tricks with us, or just share that one experience. Let’s all learn from it!

4) Let’s brainstorm ways to make a connection with your child through aggressive play. For example, how would you connect with a child who was throwing toys? Playing “good guy, bad guy” (or superhero/villain)? Using sticks as “guns” or “swords”? Acting like mean dinosaurs (or lions or dogs)?

Chapter 12 Questions

1) What is the hardest part for you of letting children feel their strong emotions? Is it when you are out in public? Is it hearing their tears and screams? Is it not being in control? What do you usually do when your child is upset? What can you do to feel more accepting of your child’s strong feelings?

2) How do you handle your own big emotions?

3) Have you ever handled whining playfully? What methods have been most/least successful?


Stay tuned for a few questions from the last 3 chapters. Depending on the feedback I get in the comments, we’ll either start the discussion for those last chapters a week from today (Oct. 25) or two weeks from today (Nov. 1). Please let me know which date you would prefer. Thank you for the thoughtful discussion we’ve had so far!

5 Responses to:
"Playful Parenting Book Discussion, Chapters 10-12"

  1. Sheila   agiftuniverse

    A playful solution to whining that my mom and I have used with my little brother is to tell him to use his “big Grandpa voice.” He adores Grandpa, and often pretends to be him, talking in a deep, gruff voice. So when he starts to whine, we say, “That doesn’t sound like Grandpa,” or, “Why don’t you ask in the big Grandpa voice?” He immediately switches over to the Grandpa voice and asks nicely like Grandpa would.

  2. I’ve tried a mix of timeout with being with my kid. My boy 2.5 yrs, can have a hard time with throwing and hitting. I’ve recently been asking him to sit in a chair for 1 minute so he can take a break. I’ll squat down beside him and be there with him.

    How this isn’t something I always do it depends, if he is angry I have help him sometimes. Other times I’ll let him work out his anger on his own.

    I think as parents we need to just be “tuned in” and work hard at being able to adjust our approach to our children at the moment based on what will deal with the situation best.

  3. Sunra   mamajedisunra

    My 16mo is quite the hitter when he is angry. He doesn’t have much language yet so attempting to reason with him is not going to work. I hold him and offer a safe place for him to be angry. I have three much older children that I used a rather strict time out with and have come to realize that it probably wasn’t such a good idea after watching how various aspects of my previously ‘traditional’ parenting has turned them out. We’ll see how my little one learns to handle his anger as we go. He’s still very young.

    With my older three the hardest time for me to deal with emotional outbursts were indeed when we were out in public. I was very adamant that we have no public scenes. They knew mommy would allow more freedom in expressing negative emotions at home, but out in public – when the really quiet low voice insisted they handle themselves or we go home immediately – they would get a grip if they wanted to stay out because otherwise we were going home. I am not sure how differently I will handle it this time around with my little one because that insistent low quiet voice was a very controlling one where I had asserted my power over them.

    I’ve handled whining in various ways depending on the situation. Mimicking has worked in the past. Not a mean sort of mimic but a silly sort of mimic. At first it is all about showing them how the sound of their voice was irritating and not conducive to getting what they want; how it makes mom all the more upset and unwilling to work with them. I would make a show of the difference in the tone of voice between the whine and a calm even conversational tone. I made sure to use lots of description so eventually they understood that they could not always get what they want, and they were more likely to get a yes out of me if their voices were calm.

    Any sort of manipulative whining would have to be ignored. I am not really sure how else to handle an out of control manipulative type of whining.

    If they were whining about something totally out of my control I would make sure to sit with them till they worked out their feelings. Offer love and comfort till they felt better and could deal.

  4. Olivia   OliviaStreaterL

    Re your last questions on Chapter 12—

    The absolute hardest things for me when my children feel strong emotions are (1) battling the feeling that I have somehow “failed” either because my son is feeling a strong emotion (eg anger or sadness) or because I have not dealt with it right; (2) finding it unbearably painful sometimes to “hear” his strong emotions (maybe it triggers my own memories but it makes me want to fix it, control it or make it otherwise go away now!); and (3) feeling under pressure from others to react to him in a particular (ie disciplinarian) way (or feeling I have failed for not living up to my own values).

    Love to hear others’ tips on dealing with any of those!

    p.s. It’s not like that ALL the time LOL!

    Re own big emotions… well, sometimes with gentleness and acceptance, and sometimes not….!

    And re whining… I think playful is great, just as long as it is properly playful, and not nasty teasing.

    What is the hardest part for you of letting children feel their strong emotions? Is it when you are out in public? Is it hearing their tears and screams? Is it not being in control? What do you usually do when your child is upset? What can you do to feel more accepting of your child’s strong feelings?

  5. Michelle @ The Parent Vortex   TheParentVortex

    In theory, I really agree with staying with and even holding a child who is upset and out of control. But I’ve found that with my 4yo daughter, sometimes when she’s angry or upset with me she will ask me to leave her alone for a while. I think it’s important to honour the attachment relationship and be playful, but it’s also important to honour the child’s need for space and autonomy, even when she’s upset.

  • Grab my new badge!

    Visit Code Name: Mama

  • Visit Natural Parents Network
  • Display & participate!

    Visit Code Name: Mama

  • Carnival of Weaning

    Carnival of Weaning