A Case for Ignoring Your Kids | Giftie Etcetera: A Case for Ignoring Your Kids

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Case for Ignoring Your Kids

Yes, I've seen the parent sitting at the playground, looking at her cell phone and ignoring a child who is about to tackle a younger kid.

Yes, I've gotten angry at the mom who could not seem to look up from her conversation to take her screaming kid out of a restaurant.

Yes, I've watched a dad play with birthday presents that his 5 year old received, all the while ignoring the kidlet's protests and demands to play.

Since all these things leave me close to rage, it might seem weird that I believe ignoring my kids is a completely appropriate strategy in a lot of cases.

But I do. I ignore my kids like ignoring them is a contest with a million dollar prize at the end.

parenting, off topic

You see, I've noticed something. If I ignore them - or at least APPEAR to ignore them - they figure most of it out on their own, faster than they do with my intervention.

Riding bikes is a great example. I walk while my kids ride bikes. Sure, on the inside, I am 100% helicopter parenting. I never look away from them. But I pretend, under my dark sunglasses, to see nothing.

A fall? Mommy is way down the road and can't help, so The Loki better wipe away the scrapes and pick up his bike himself.

Three days of that technique, and the only time he didn't get back up was when he was truly bleeding and needed help cleaning up. Otherwise, he sees falling as an adventure. Excellent!

I also ignore them during time outs. Actually, I pointedly do something else that I enjoy, to show them that they can stay there as long as they want, until they are ready to make amends and change the behavior, and it doesn't matter to me, as I am in no rush at all. (Of course, internally, I'm all "hurry up and say sorry!" But they do not know that.)


They are free to ask questions. But by letting them only get help when they ask, they naturally do more by themselves and I get to see where the real struggles are happening.

And yes, sometimes I pretend to be looking at my cell phone to achieve this deception.

Try acting like you aren't hovering over your kids and see if it works for your family. I'm raising some pretty self-sufficient kids over here!


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Anna said...

I ignore my kids from time to time, too. :) Relationship and time together is really important, but they do need to learn healthy independence and meeting their own needs in an age appropriate way.

Jaime Barfield said...

I firmly think this is good logic. My daughter was my first born so, of course, everything was the end of the world and I babied her way too much. So, now as a teen she is just now learning true independence because i have had to step back from it just a little. My son, however, being the youngest wasn't babied as much because I had already done it all. Skinned neat, slap some peroxide on it and keep moving. I'd pat his head and tell him it's all good, but with my first born I thought she could have internal bleeding or something and questioned every injury she had. Same with homework. I thought I had to be right on top of my daughter for her to do well. However with my son, I had learned that sometimes you have to let the little bird get closer to the edge of the branch alone if it will ever learn to fly.

I believe that you can be a good parent without hovering over your children. It is good that you handle this in this fashion. It builds independence.

Keri said...

I agree. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my kids are not asking me for help. It keeps me from hovering and teaches them that they can and should ask for help when they need it.

Carissa said...

This is a great post, thank you! I absolutely agree: kids need to learn on their own so they know they are capable! I love the type of ignoring you described -- it's more like holding back from constantly taking over!

jody cowan said...

I agree! My kids are older now. And I would do this if I could go back. My 17 year old, youngest, is learning to be more independant now though. So I did learn from experience. You have some great ideas! Glad I found you on the Pintastic Pinteresting Party! Pinned and Followed you (jody53)

Emily said...

You make a good case for ignoring your kids! I do ignore my son during his timeouts and he comes out when he is done with his hissy fit. I have got to let him be more independent when doing his homework! Stopping by from the Sharefest!

Brandyn Blaze said...

This! I do this too, and it's amazing how much my daughter figures out on her own! For me, I always keep in mind that the end-goal is for her to grow into an adult who is capable of taking care of herself and solving her own problems.

Thank you for sharing with us at #MommyMeetupMondays!

Meredith said...

I agree with this... sometimes as a parent you have to step back and give the kids room to figure things out or entertain themselves. I'm always here for them, but that doesn't mean Mommy solves everything when they can do it themselves! Thanks for linking up at the Manic Mondays blog hop!

Unknown said...

I do the same thing! When one of my girls falls down or runs into something, I "ignore" them unless they come to me. That's how I can tell if they're really hurt or not.

Thanks so much for linking up with us at Share The Wealth Sunday!

Unknown said...

I agree, there are definitely times for ignoring children, especially when they fall over, though only if they've not actually hurt.
Thanks for linking #LetKidsbeKids

Jenn @ EngineerMommy said...

I am intrigued by this. I think you make excellent points.

I myself definitely ignore the kids when they are throwing a tantrum and are simply seeking attention (hoping that by ignoring them, they will be less likely to return to this negative behavior in the future.)