Playful Parenting Helps Children in Stressful Situations

January 4th, 2011 by Dionna | 8 Comments
Posted in Book Discussions, Carnival and Special Series, Children, Consistent and Loving Care, Eclectic Learning, Gentle Discipline Ideas, Successes, and Suggestions, Gentle/Positive Discipline, Guest Posts, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting, Preschoolers, Respond with Sensitivity, Reviews and Giveaways, Toddlers

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Due to a very long story, which I will not go into here, my family and I have been dealing with CPS for the past couple of months. They have actually removed my four girls from the home. My children are currently staying with my parents, but my husband and I have visitations with the girls two times a week.

These visits have been heart-wrenching both for us and for the girls. There has not been one visit in almost three months that the girls haven’t ended up crying, begging to come home. My husband and I have been looking for ways to help the girls process this situation. I joined Code Name: Mama’s online book club, and I have been reading Playful Parenting.

What I have read in Playful Parenting has changed my life: it has changed the way I view my girls’ behavior, and I have learned so much about how their stress and struggles manifest through the girls’ play. Putting principles into action like safe roughhousing, and being a complete goof just to see the kids laugh has been great, and it has made a huge difference in the way our visits with them go. We are able to validate their struggles and feelings in a much more positive manner.

One example really stands out to me, and I would like to share it with you. My three year old has had the hardest time with our current situation, especially since before this happened she and I were never apart. At the office where we have our visits, there is a Sesame Street Puzzle Book that my daughter always wants to sit and read. One day she had been particularly weepy, and I decided to put into action some of what I had been reading. Using the puzzle pieces, we were able to help her express some of her feelings, and at the end, all four of the girls were gathered around playing with us.

It became so much more than just figuring out which piece went into which cut out. The next time we saw them, my daughter went straight to the puzzle book. She sat down in my lap and started handing me pieces, repeating the things we had done the visit before. She remembered which piece had done which talking and which actions. It has been one way we have been able to communicate with her more openly on an ongoing basis. When she is upset, she frequently wants to sit and go through the puzzle book.

The main goal my husband and I have had is using whatever we can to make our family stronger and to gather as many tools as possible to help put our lives back together when all this over. The repercussions to the kids have been the most heartbreaking to see, and it is a situation where you pray for strength minute by minute to make it through. I just wanted people to know that no matter what situation you are in, if you have even minimal involvement with a child, there is always room to put these practices into action. Playful Parenting has changed things for us in this very difficult situation, and I am so grateful.

Photo Credit: DAVIDKNOX


Today’s gentle parenting post (#11 in a series) is a success story shared by Amber.1 The post is also one of the two winning posts from the Playful Parenting contest (the other winning post is Using Games to End Struggles). To thank Amber for participating, I am sending her a copy of Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids by Sura Hart. We’ll be tackling that book in one of our future online book club discussions.

Amber is waiting and praying for the return of her children, hopefully at the end of January. Think good thoughts for her family!

If you have a gentle parenting success story or a question on how to gently handle a challenging situation with your toddler or preschooler, please read the contributor guidelines and contact me.

  1. Not her real name.

8 Responses to:
"Playful Parenting Helps Children in Stressful Situations"

  1. Rachael   RachaelNevins

    Thank you for sharing your story, Amber. I wish all the blessings in the world on you and your family.

  2. Jen

    Amber, thank you for sharing. I will be thinking of you and your family. I think it is fantastic that you are using this very stressful time as impetus for making such positive change. Huge hugs.

  3. Melodie   bfmom

    I love to read about people’s experiences of turning what they read in a book into an applied reality. What a beautiful story! I wish all of you continued healing and blessings on your journey.

  4. kelly @kellynaturally   kellynaturally

    Hi Amber,
    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with a situation of separation from your children. i hope that you are reuinted soon.
    I too love the book Playful Parenting – and while I’m not consistantly awesome at following the guidelines of letting go & being free with my play interactions, it helps me feel more creative if I’ve hit a parenting wall.
    Peace to you & your family.

  5. Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves   ALotofLoves

    I’m glad to hear that the book has helped in such a difficult situation as this.

  6. Ruth

    Amber….thank you for sharing your story with us…I do hope that your family can be together on a permanent basis soon so that you can put all of your new skills to use on a daily basis.
    God bless you

  7. Amber, kudos to you for making the best of a terrible situation. I wish you continued success in communicating with your children, and joy in your time together.

  8. Thanks for sharing your strategies for dealing with such a difficult situation. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. Blessings to you and your family.

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