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Playful Parenting (2001)

by Lawrence J. Cohen

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501749,979 (4.06)10
Family & Relationships. Psychology. Nonfiction. HTML:Parents have heard that play is a child's work—but play is not for kids only. As psychologist Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., demonstrates in this delightful new book, play can be the basis for an innovative and rewarding approach to parenting. From eliciting a giggle during baby's first game of peek-a-boo to cracking jokes with a teenager while hanging out at the mall, Playful Parenting is a complete guide to using play to raise strong, confident children.
Have you ever stepped back to watch what really goes on when your children play? As Dr. Cohen points out, play is children's complex and fluid way of exploring the world, communicating hard-to-express feelings, getting close to those they care about, working through stressful situations, and simply blowing off steam. That's why "playful parenting" is so important and so successful in building strong, close bonds between parents and children. Through play we join our kids in their world. We help them express and understand deep emotions, foster connection, aid the process of emotional healing—and have a great time ourselves while we're at it.
Anyone can be a playful parent—all it takes is a sense of adventure and a willingness to let down your guard and try something new. After identifying why it can be hard for adults to play, Dr. Cohen discusses how to get down on the floor and join children on their own terms. He covers games, activities, and playful interactions that parents can enjoy with children of all ages, whether it's gazing deep into a baby's eyes, playing chase with a toddler, fantasy play with a grade schooler, or reducing a totally cool teenager to helpless laughter.
Playful Parenting also includes illuminating chapters on how to use play to build a child's confidence and self-esteem, how to play through sibling rivalry, and how play can become a part of loving discipline. Written with love and humor, brimming with good advice and revealing anecdotes, and grounded in the latest research, Playful Parenting will make you laugh even as it makes you wise in the ways of being a happy, effective, enthusiastic parent.
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Really good advice on how to play and be silly with kids. I've found these strategies to be useful and effective - and fun. The book gets a little bit repetitive in the early chapters - I don't recommend reading it in one sitting. But one chapter a day worked really well. ( )
  suzannekmoses | May 20, 2022 |
Overall I really liked this book. It gives some incredible tips on becoming more engaged with our children and how play is the language that our children use to express and deal with big and small hurts, disappointments, and trauma. It's definitely an extremely kid-centric theory of parenting.

Cohen stresses over and over again the importance of actually connecting with our children. He stresses that physical engagement in play is not only appropriate, it's absolutely necessary. He recommends that we embrace types of play that we as adults may be uncomfortable with (such as gun play or aggressive play) as a way to allow kids to get it out of their system in a safe and understanding environment.

I'm skeptical about his thoughts on discipline. Naturally he's against corporal punishment, which I am in agreement with, but he also forgoes time-outs. He makes a compelling case that 'bad' behavior by children is a result of loneliness, confusion, or anger that they don't have the verbal capacity to express. So by sending a child to time out who is acting out because he is lonely, Cohen argues that the parent is actual compounding the problem. Instead he advocates 'Meeting on the Couch', it's a calm time where the parent reconnects with the child and tries to understand the child. That's all well and good, but where are consequences?

I also felt like Cohen focused disproportionately on boy behavior.

Overall this book has some fantastic ideas, I would recommend taking a look. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
Pleasant refresher on how to find the joy in being a parent and a child in any situation/scenario. Many of the the suggestions and tips you may already know and want to use in your everyday parenting technique, so it may seem a bit redundant. I found that it showed me how little I stick to my guns/my plan when I parent and how more often than not I put myself in "the bad guy" position with my children even when I don't mean to or want to. I wish I could constant have this book held up to me throughout my day with my kids so that I can really be a "playful parent". ( )
  SweetTawnie | Feb 5, 2014 |
Interesting. I heard about this book from the Unconditional Parenting Yahoo group.

This gave me another way to look at situations with my children. ( )
  lysne | Aug 1, 2013 |
I really LOVED this book. Of course, I play with my kids all the time and so it's not hard to love something that advocates what you are already doing!

However, I didn't understand just how powerful play was - I knew it was important, I knew I wanted my kids doing a lot of it, but I didn't know that I could use play in such specific ways to help them develop and grow and learn.

We are now playing even more around here, and I'm trying to incorporate some of what he talks about in the book into our play. It does feel strange at first, and there are things I'm tweaking that I was doing before that the book made me realize we shouldn't do anymore and there are things the kids want to play that I used to try to stop before that I have learned to let go of and not worry so much.

Definitely a great read for all parents I think! ( )
  Brandie | Jun 9, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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Family & Relationships. Psychology. Nonfiction. HTML:Parents have heard that play is a child's work—but play is not for kids only. As psychologist Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., demonstrates in this delightful new book, play can be the basis for an innovative and rewarding approach to parenting. From eliciting a giggle during baby's first game of peek-a-boo to cracking jokes with a teenager while hanging out at the mall, Playful Parenting is a complete guide to using play to raise strong, confident children.
Have you ever stepped back to watch what really goes on when your children play? As Dr. Cohen points out, play is children's complex and fluid way of exploring the world, communicating hard-to-express feelings, getting close to those they care about, working through stressful situations, and simply blowing off steam. That's why "playful parenting" is so important and so successful in building strong, close bonds between parents and children. Through play we join our kids in their world. We help them express and understand deep emotions, foster connection, aid the process of emotional healing—and have a great time ourselves while we're at it.
Anyone can be a playful parent—all it takes is a sense of adventure and a willingness to let down your guard and try something new. After identifying why it can be hard for adults to play, Dr. Cohen discusses how to get down on the floor and join children on their own terms. He covers games, activities, and playful interactions that parents can enjoy with children of all ages, whether it's gazing deep into a baby's eyes, playing chase with a toddler, fantasy play with a grade schooler, or reducing a totally cool teenager to helpless laughter.
Playful Parenting also includes illuminating chapters on how to use play to build a child's confidence and self-esteem, how to play through sibling rivalry, and how play can become a part of loving discipline. Written with love and humor, brimming with good advice and revealing anecdotes, and grounded in the latest research, Playful Parenting will make you laugh even as it makes you wise in the ways of being a happy, effective, enthusiastic parent.

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