Quality Time: Being with your kids
What do we mean "being"? What do we mean "with"?
(or being With your kids...)
Someone having serious problems asked the Always Learning list for help.
She didn't like the ideas, and in her exit weasling, wrote "I think the issue has much to do with quality time." Some of the responses are below.
"Quality time"—this is another one of those myths that has crept
mainstream society to make parents feel better about not being able to
much time with their kids, for good food-on-the-table reasons and
Oh yes! And what I find more appalling than the idea of "quality" time,
is that most kids have absolutely no choice whatsoever in what "quality"
time looks or feels like. Dad likes to go on long bike rides and end up
at a folky cafe with live music, so he brings his kid along for quality
time, yet the kid doesn't like to go on long bike rides, nor does he
like folky music, and in fact has never liked the food at that cafe.
For the kid, that doesn't feel like quality time, it feels like wasted
time doing something he is obligated to do, to make his dad feel better.
YUCK! I see this ALL the time. Where is the kid in the equation?
That's what I'm always left wondering!
I know where the "quality time" phrase arose, though—in court cases
involving visitation, when children were with the non-custodial parent
and he or she was at work or passed out or playing poker with other adult
friends while telling the kid to stay in his room.
What about a more extreme situation, though?
I think quality time was a legal term (might still be), in a way—used
to charge a parent with wasting the visit in hopes that the courts
would stop forcing the custodial parent to pay for or provide
transportation to the other home.
So later some psychologist or other wrote up something like "aha!
Of course it does.
But MORE at work, passed out, or playing poker is worse than less.
So maybe we're back to not the time itself, but the relationship
between the parent and child. If the parent doesn't know the child
any better than to know whether a basketball game would be fun or
excrutiating, that's a problem not of the quality of the time, but of
Karen James wrote very sweetly about being with her son:
A Simple Gift
I fought motherhood for a long time. What helped me settle in and fall in love with this life and in practical love with my kids was going all in.
There is more, and it is powerful. All in / Jen Keefe
Building an Unschooling Nest