Wherein I pretend “benign neglect” is my intentional parenting style

Hazel had found and cut out a Primary handout that had made its way into our box of scratch paper. It had tabs and fold lines to make it into a box. Hazel came to me asking where the glue stick was, and I had a brief impulse to help her make the folds and glue it–but since she hadn’t asked for my help, I decided to see how she would manage.


Hazel_box_02She’ll be four in a couple of weeks. I’m super-impressed at how well she managed.

This entry was posted in My kids actually are funny (and sweet and wonderful), Parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Wherein I pretend “benign neglect” is my intentional parenting style

  1. Thora says:

    My mom called my parenting style benevolent neglect back when I just had one baby that roamed all over our little two bedroom Wymount Apartment, and did whatever she did while I did whatever I did (this was pre-Internet for all intents and purposes for me, so who knows – maybe I was saving the world, or reading the library out of books, or cooking really awesome food from scratch). Now I have four, and I think this is just intensified, and most of the time, I think it’s really great – and I like Hazel’s box looks great too, and I bet she was so proud of doing it herself.
    Sometimes, my two year old might hypothetically get into three different colors of nail polish and paint all over her legs, and when you find her and ask if she’s being naughty, she grins and tells you she’s naughty, with no regret and even a little bit of glee (Not that this happened today or anything.)

    • zstitches says:

      In spite of this post’s title, I sincerely do think that it’s wonderful for kids to have lots of free time and to have to figure out how to entertain themselves. Although sometimes I am also lazy. And at my house some of the outcomes of the neglect are wonderful, like this–and other times they can be pretty disastrous.

  2. NotMolly says:

    I’m highly supportive of deliberately parenting by benign neglect. It worked for me, it’s working for my kids, and by gum, they’re resourceful. They’re also getting resourceful with figuring out ways to correct the results of their various activities… my 5yo knows how to use a bit of baking soda to get her crayon off the wall, for instance. It’s a good way to go.

    I think her box looks great! And, easy birthday gift: give that kid a whole three pack of tape. I’m getting one for the 5yo. She’ll be SO happy!!

    • the MomB says:

      Yes, yes, and yes.
      And baking soda gets crayon off the wall? That is a great tip! I’ll still need Magic sponges and Magic erasers for a lot of things, but baking soda is much less expensive. Of course you need baking soda in pretty great quantities, too, with kids, for all kinds of projects… especially making bombs, and for mixing a bit into a little water to swish and take that nasty taste out of their mouths (not that *you* taste it, either the soda or the bile, just for kindness sake for them–although it does sweeten their breath and make them not so smelly to be around) after they’ve thrown up all over everything.

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