Playground News

by Marilynn Halas on October 4th, 2013
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The playground is a wonderful place where kids laugh, have fun and stay totally unplugged.  It’s fun for parents too.  It’s like group therapy on the benches punctuated by providing snacks and wiping noses as needed.  Talking with other moms and dads while our kids play is a guilt free way to have a little grown up time in the midst of a busy day.

I’ve learned a lot during my playground visits.  I’ve learned that running up a slide is a bad idea (because emergency rooms are no fun,) I’ve learned that I cannot play tag in heels, (same reason) and I learned that kids aren’t the only ones making great friends.  Lately I’ve been seeing some amazing new developments and I was wondering if you noticed the same trends at your playground.

For years our playground has been a hotbed of what I call Concierge Parenting.  These are the parents who long to fulfill each and every desire of their offspring, immediately.  You want a new ball because yours is pink and her red one is better?  Sure.  You want a Baby Grand because you have taken two piano lessons?  Absolutely, I completely encourage your passions.

I’d like to say all this pleasing and satisfying has produced gratitude, kindness and joy, but my mom told me never to tell a lie.  The results I’ve seen are insecurity, rudeness and a sense of entitlement second to none.  And even worse for parents who over time have become helpless.

Lately though, I’ve witnessed a new approach at the playground.  The Concierge style seems to be giving way to what I call Empowerment Parenting. 

We seem to have embraced Dr. Seuss’ wisdom and are teaching our kids to smile because it happened, rather than cry because it’s over.  You like her red one?  Me too, let’s share our toys so we all have even more funI am so happy you like piano lessons.  Maybe you can play Happy Birthday for Grandpa.

Parents are empowering and redirecting their kids from a feeling of lack, to a sense of security.  And since this shift, gratitude is replacing attitude and joy and kindness now make regular appearances on the playground.

I have been an advocate for Empowerment Parenting for years and it’s so exciting to see it in action.  What about you?  Is it catching on in your neighborhood too?


Keep me posted.



Categories: General