Thursday, February 21, 2008

inappropriate play

I do play therapy with my littlies where I teach them to play...to develop and expand their play vocabulary in a safe container so they can learn how to organize and express their thoughts and feelings with or without words...

I have been in situations (like on the bus or train) where I have noticed that our adolescents of color play inappropriately and don't know when to stop playing...I also have observed that they are totally unaware of their surroundings...but that goes across the board with all teenagers...

but I bring this up because my darling Moodmagicbarbie and her best friend where playing while MMB slept over at her friends house...I'm not sure where mama was, but my kid and her friend where playing with hot forks (we really don't know why)...MMB accidentally burned her friends hand and being the fair person she is told her friend that she could burn her hand...but my child ended up with a really bad burn on her hand with the fork clearly outlined...at no point could either child say "uh, this is not a good game"...I am disappointed in MMB's judgment but she is not only to blame...mama treated the burn, and has yet to call me (I know her and I know she feels bad, but still)...

but this poses a dilemma for me, a women of color living in the hood- educated or not...if I take her to a hospital, or to the Dr's office and saw another Dr. besides her pediatrician, there is a good chance that child protective services will be called on me...now I have nothing to hide, so I really don't care, and it would be unfounded so therefore not affect my license...however with the system the way it is, and the fact that the decision to open a case is based on one persons opinion is scary as it could spin rapidly out of control...

I am all for child protective services, and I commend them for doing their job when they do it right, but they do not protect those that they should, and nitpick those that are honest and doing the right thing...I don't know if any of you know the case of Nixzmary Brown but the system failed her terribly...in another case a man was awarded joint custody of his fourteen year old daughter years after he attempted a murder suicide with her and her younger brother...he killed her last week and stuffed her in the boiler...in todays' news they say she was pregnant possibly with her daddys' child...

so who is to say that the system will treat me fairly...again, I'm not worried about me because never in my years of working/raising/being with children have I ever had an issue or accusation of abuse or neglect...once I had a run-in with CPS when a male babysitter was accused of having an inappropriate dealings with a young teen in my building (really long story, and it was unfounded)...but the sad truth is, as determined in my child advocacy class, that the majority of the 22 students I have had a run in with CPS at one time or another...

barring real abuse, which is horrible, and based solely on first hand accounts of those I have had discussions with, the major reason for a call being placed is inappropriate play...play between sibling, parents, parents and child, etc...play that gets out of hand...play where someone ends up hurt...we, as a people, are often honest but lack the vocabulary to express what happened...i have observed while folks recount what happened they leave out key details that only come out with my exploration...

but play...last weekend in the NY Times there was an article on play where they explored whether play is important and/or beneficial...the basic conclusion that I could came to was that the "professionals" felt play was important, but they really could not detect where/how it benefited the child...so therefore, in my opinion, they discounted the importance of play...they shared it could possibly help develop the cerebellum in the brain, or possible help with ADHD, or just teach the child to play better, so the child could really do without play...they spoke of a study where two groups of young children are given three sticks...one group is taught how to play with two sticks and the other group is just left to free-play...the children are then asked to lay end to end three sticks instead of two...the group who free-played were able to, rather quickly, line up the sticks whereas the other group basically couldn't do it...in the end the results were discounted because the testers felt that they gave the free-play group too much information and thus polluted the testing...no idiots...the free-play group was able to use their imagination and envision how they could solve the dilemma...

but children will play...and they need to play...but if not taught/nurtured /guided to play safely and productively accidents, nasty accidents, occur...affecting and changing lives forever...bigbear has a native friend whose children where playing outside unattended...the little girl got hung over a fence with a jumprope and became a paraplegic...

as I sit on the floor and play with my little ones, I'm always struck that they can't play...they have no imagination...I wonder what lies in their future...a future with no daydreams...daydreams that can become goals...

so I explained to MMB about inappropriate play and told her I pray to God that her game doesn't blow up in her face and change her life forever...but thank goodness I have a smart child who got the lesson...but even with this incident I will never thwart her urge to play...

3 comments:

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

no home training at all. gret post prof, u get my email

professor said...

it is no home training, however we are talking generations of folks who are play deprived...I remember playing with bearmaiden, digging for bugs, creating alternate worlds...
with the advent of computers, phones, and video games- the worst thing EVER invented- parents have found a way to not have to engage with their children- thus not passing on play (the little they have)...
when I do social histories I ask how much television their pre-schooler watches...the answer they give is up to six hours a day...which means about eight to ten...they tell me what a good and smart child they have while in the meantime this child is four and still in pampers, forget trying to form a word...

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Sprinter - Function One (160BPM)