Monday, January 31, 2011

What Would Happen If....

...we didn't discipline our kids during playdates, and just let them "work it out" for themselves, like above?

It seems like some days we are constantly correcting our kids on the playground or in playgroups. I'm always running around making sure Marley IS sharing, IS taking turns with the slide, and ISN'T throwing sand. Not that she isn't a good little girl, because she is! She's great at sharing and playing, and rarely causes problems. Except when she does. (She's two, after all.)

Even when she's being a perfect little angel--when she's being so good I can almost see the halo over her head--I still hover from a distance, pupils dilated like a rabid squirrel, watching everything she's doing. God forbid she run off with another little girl's dolly, or push past another kid on the ladder, or (horror of horrors!) exhibit a failure to share her sand toys.

Just how much of this corrective behavior really helps our kids grow into good people, and how much of it is to prove to others (or ourselves) that we are awesome moms?

What if we didn't correct our kids and discipline them all the time? What if we just let them "work it out"?

My friend Claudia proposed this idea to me on the playground after Stroller Strides. It must have been a full moon, because both Marley and Luca--who usually play really well together--were fighting over everything that morning. It seemed like every two seconds we had to tell them to share the shovel, or the toy car, or the Elmo Etch-a-Sketch, or send someone to time out.

We proposed an interesting idea: What if we invited our friends over with young kids. We'd serve the mommies a tall glass of wine, and dump a bunch of toys on the floor...and let the kids have at it. We would refrain from discipline of any kind, and see what happens.

What would happen? Would it be total anarchy? Would kids end up beaten and bruised? Would Child Protective Services pull up outside my house? Would the kids form violent tribes and sacrificial rituals--Lord of the Flies style? Or would they simply play in peace, resolve disputes with questionable methods, but then move on with their playing?

Would they be better for it? or worse?

I have no idea. But I'd really like to find out. After I have my baby of course, because I will need that glass of wine. Or two. Okay fine, who am I kidding? Three.


  1. Ha, that would be interesting :-)
    I have actually been thinking about the same lately--watching the excessive hovering of so many parents.

  2. OK let's do it! After Baby Holland debuts and my body is wine-ready, we'll make a date. Ha!