After lamenting about my children, a counselor friend of mine told me about the benefits of “Play Therapy”. I am a speech therapist by degree, and after years of studying and doing therapeutic techniques that had fancy names but were so basic in principal it was hard to believe they got a patent for it I was immune to the sillyness of a therapy called “Play.” The basic concept is play that is child directed, using simple toys, nothing fancy, blocks, wooden objects, sticks, anything that inspires imagination and promotes creativity. The object is to get the child to talk about their feelings, environment, what they think about, all the while you shut up and don’t interrupt and if your daughter wants the dresser drawer to be a birdhouse you smile and say “great idea!” I was willing to give it a try and why not? It was play, I like to play. It was with my daughter, I love her. So what’s the problem? Little did I know. There is a reason Psychologists use this technique to find stuff out, because it works! I had no idea that shutting up and letting her direct my play was going to be so INFORMATIVE.
So I get down on the ground and we begin to play with the dollhouse. It’s a simple wooden dollhouse, check, with simple wooden toys, check, basic little animals, check, okay, everything is exactly as is should be. So I start by asking, “What should this little bear do?” She replies, “He can go here and sit in this room.” Okay, “What should his friends do?” “They can sit with him and they can watch T.V.” Okay so far so good, she’s setting up a nice little party in the living room. “Okay, now what should we do?” Wait for it……. “You can stay here and babysit while I go out for a while. I’ll be home at 3.” BAM! Direct hit to the head! What was that? I was totally unprepared for that one. So I said, “Okay.” And I sat in the room by myself and babysat her bear collection until she got back.
What did I learn? I learned that Play Therapy sometimes means your kids will tell you through play that YOU SUCK. It also taught me not to ask questions I don’t really want the answers to. But more importantly, and I really do think this is the point, don’t ever put yourself in a position to hear the truth from your children. Statistically they are 100% guaranteed to be messed up in some way shape or form. Just leave them alone, let them collect their baggage normally and then send them to counseling using the “Children s Counseling Fund” you started on their first birthday. Really, just don’t meddle in your children’s play. Ever.