Children are FUN. All they want to do is play, smile, and be happy! But you’re just not there with them. Why can this be? Use this therapists’ trick to have more fun with your children EVERY DAY.
When my child is pulling all of his games from his bedroom and into the living room, I, sometimes, get distraught. Why? Why can’t you leave your games where they should be? Why can’t you play in your room? Want to be next to me? Great! So do I, so tell me, and I’ll come.
When my little one spills water all over the floor and starts tap-dancing around the house, making more and more mess – I get agitated. Why would you do it? Why can’t we get the mop and wipe the floor dry?
When all I want is to get his clothes on, and he starts running away from, laughing, playing hide-and-seek around the house, that’s when I get really and royally upset. Come on; we have to leave the house! You have to be there and there, and I have to be there and there, why can’t you follow my lead, just this once?
Does any of these scenarios ring a bell? Do you find yourself standing and staring in your child’s happiest smiles and just wishing they would be, well, less happy? Less playful?
While it still happens to me now and then, I’m working with so many amazing moms from whom this is a real and everyday life challenge. And I get it, I do. The world we live in is not meant for happy children.
The World We Live In
Our world is meant for obeying, quiet, and well-behaved children; children who are mimicking the adults around them. This is what we were taught, but is this how it should be?
I know the answer is no, and I know it because of the guilt mothers’ all over the world feel when they can’t seem to have fun with their kids. They feel something there isn’t right, but they can’t put their finger on it and make a change, a small difference that will make their lives, and the lives of their children, much better and more relaxed.
So What’s The Difference Between a Child and An Adult?
The difference between a child and an adult is the ability to judge. When we, adults, look at the world, at things that happen around us, we develop thoughts about the situation in less than a millisecond.
The first reason for which we do this is our verbal abilities – when we put situations into words, the words we use are ours; they reflect where we’ve come from, what we were taught, the way we were parented, and the lessons we grew up to learn. Moreover, these words reflect our expectations, hopes, and fears.
The world of expectations, hopes, and fears is a world of past and future, the world toddlers and little children have no access to because they only live in the present. Small children don’t expect, hope, fear (the future), or verbalize their experiences – because they don’t have the words and the global understanding of how things work.
The Biggest Mistake Most Parents Do
Expecting children to live the world of adults is the biggest mistake most parents do concerning their children – we hope for them to see the world from our eyes, an expectation as unrealistic as waiting for a fish to stand up and walk away.
Not having words, or not having enough words, means not having the ability to judge and not having the ability to judge means that the only thing we have is the present moment and the way it makes us feel. Moreover, even after mastering speech, it takes a few more years for the judgmental mechanism to develop. Years during which life is nothing but the present moment.
Can you imagine how beautiful this world is to a child?
Why Children Do “Childish” Things
Kids don’t throw food around to upset you; they do it because of the sight of, well, flying food is the most exciting thing in the whole wide world. Kids don’t smear water all over the place to upset you; they do it because the water feels so lovely on their feet, because the transition from dry to wet is super exciting and because it’s just too much fun not to do.
Kids never do anything against us, their parents, all the want is to have their needs met. As do the rest of us. But, analyzing it from our adult-centered approach, we interpret the word “childish” as immature, infantile, or juvenile, and as you can sense – all these words have negative meanings.
Let’s Redefine Childhood
Our adult prism has robbed us from what being a child really means, what it should and can be like. We look for order, consequences, and results. Things a child can’t ever care for. And our expectations clash, and we fight and fight.
When instead of fighting with our children, we could be having fun with our children – a lot of fun!
So How Can You Have More FUN with Your Children?
I will share a mindful practice with you that might be powerful enough to change your whole life.
Your Inner Child
Did you know there is a child within you, underneath the years of learning and experience, years of getting hurt and disappointed? A child who is very vividly living within you, ruling your thoughts and actions in ways you’ve never imagined?
Therapists often practice the practice of the Inner Child as a means for healing; I’ve shared my journey to healing through my inner child right here, but healing is not only where the inner child comes into play. It also comes into play teaching us how to live in the present, how to enjoy the smallest joys, and how to find joy even where it doesn’t seem to be.
Did You Notice How Kids Are always Happy?
Kids are always happy because they don’t have any expectations. They don’t experience life from an “okay/not okay” point of view; they experience it for what it is. If they don’t like what they see, they move on to something else. They don’t judge what they saw, filling their hearts with unpleasant feelings. It’s a waste of time for them, as it is for us, but we’ve forgotten this years and years ago. Our inner child, however, still remembers it very clearly. We need to remind it to her kindly 🙂
One Practice That Will Allow You to Have Fun With Your Kids
There is a simple way, a single question that will allow you to connect to your inner child and open your heart at the heat of the moment, and that is: what would the little me do in this scenario?
When your child is learning the rules of physics through the practice of throwing food on the floor (or the ceiling), your “adult you” tells you that’s it’s not okay, that the house has to stay clean, that this is disrespectful to food. All this might be true, but your little one doesn’t know it. If your inner child would be there instead of you, she’d say something like “Whoa! Tomatoes fall faster than rice, don’t they?”, “and rice sticks better than tomatoes, right”?
When your child is tap-dancing in spilled water or milk, your “adult you” would tell you this is not okay, you have to be more careful, the milk has to be cleaned, and we can’t smear it all over the house! All that might be true, but compared to the pleasure of our wet dancing feet, this is nothing.
Life is about perception; it’s about the lens through which we see the world. You know how they say “when in Rome, do as the Romans do“? It’s because you cannot change the Romans, and trying to do just that will cause YOU pain and suffering. Let’s assume parenting to be Rome, and all children are Romans, and allow ourselves to have more fun with our children.
Having Fun Is How Kids Learn 🙂
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Hope to meet you soon 🙂