Gransnet forums


positive silence!

(64 Posts)
weedswoman Mon 09-May-11 15:07:35

Am I alone in wondering how my grand children will learn to like their own company. Everything is now so busy and every minute filled with things to do, to play, to listen to, to watch, they never have to access their own company and find their own way to play. Is there anyone who would like to join a discussion about the positive aspects of time on your own?

Baggy Wed 13-Jul-11 07:07:50

I can't function properly if I don't get some regular quiet time alone, so I taught all my kids from an early age (sitting-up babyhood) how to deal with it too, starting with very short periods of time, obviously. They all enjoy times on their own as well as being sociable and, like me, don't have time to be bored. Best of all, they seem to have learned a certain strength and self respect and are not afraid of "being different".

jangly Wed 13-Jul-11 11:15:20

Kids can usually sort themselves out. My two grandsons between them do: football club, parkour lessons (!), dancing lessons, tennis, swimming lessons, Beavers/Cubs (dad is Arkaela) and probably more that I've forgotten. But the older one still finds time to do his creative stuff. Stone polishing and hama beads is the latest. The little one prefers to play really imaginative games with his playmobile people, on his own. (lovely to eavesdrop!smile).

I don't think parents frantically fill time. Its just that interests and exercise sort of pursuits are good for them.

I'm really proud of my daughter and son-in-law for giving my grandkids such fulfilling and well rounded lives.

weedswoman Thu 14-Jul-11 21:56:38

There are a few interesting things emerging here. First, it is a much harder environment for Mums, there is expectation of success and much less space. It is no wonder that young Mums find it difficult to love their children's company when space is compromised, when we are all necessarily on alert for danger if children are "outside". I totally take on board the difficulties of being with young children who are full of energy, for me, the most helpful thing was having a friend and mentor who was quite brilliant with children, patient, with many activities up her sleeve, and had no expectations. This is not easy today when everything tells a mother that she should be perfect and in control. Grans are necessarily much more involved with their grandchildren, economics and many other things dictate that this is the case, we have time to clear up when they have gone home, and the patience which comes from seeing that things are as they are, not always text book. There is no criticism of why finding time for children is difficult, just an earnest enquiry based on observation that if you haven't learned to be alone and absorbed in your own company when you are young, it is difficult to achieve it when you are old! Reading Marie de Hennezel's book has alerted me to search out how we might be able to help.

jangly Thu 14-Jul-11 22:11:02

I don't think you need to help our children, or their children. They are doing just fine.

Sorry if that makes life boring for you.

Jangran Sun 17-Jul-11 12:42:57

Funny, really. I was not at all keen on playing with my daughters when they were small. The eldest one spent most of her time demanding to be read to and the younger one, much to my relief, seemed to enjoy pottering about without attention.

I had the feeling that the daughters could have swallowed up all of my time if I let them. I was too young to understand properly, then. And, like Charlotta, I was very keen on snatching time to read.

I feel really guilty about that now, although I did spend time teaching no. 1 daughter to read (self defence, really).

Now, however, I really do love playing with my grandchildren. They range from 2 to 8, and all of them seem to like different levels of attention and to do different things. But I like playing with Lego (nos 1 and 3); trotting around with no. 4 on a never-ending cat hunt (he likes the hunt, but is not that keen on the cat); baking cakes (nos 2 and 3); playing hide and seek (nos 2 and 4); reading aloud (funnily enough, only no 1 grandchild really likes that one); playing "adventure games" (nos 1 and 2); being pushed off the sofa (no 2 likes that one); just talking (nos 1 and 2).

But then, I know I don't have to do it all the time.

weedswoman Sun 17-Jul-11 22:56:55

sorry jangly for sounding so "helpful". I am just interested in the dynamic of creating space which is not so easy today. Thanks for your input, and Jangran, I like the description you give of having time, it certainly is different as a grandmother being able to do those things but not being totally responsible.

Baggy Mon 18-Jul-11 07:43:57

weedswoman, thank you for your input! My children never had a nearby gran to play with them so I had to be self-reliant. I did teach them how to play on their own — there's a skill in 'setting things up' so that they do wink — as well as playing with them.

maamaa Mon 18-Jul-11 08:23:46

I have just found my way to gransnet (having at first misread it as grassnet!). Thank you Liz and Rachel for directing me here. I am delighted to find so many people who feel strongly about leaving a little breathing space in our busy lives and that of our grandchildren. Focused activities have their place, as do hi-jinks and general rumpus, but quiet time is to be valued too – and that seems to be especially hard for parents to find (no change there!). As grandparents we can perhaps be of real help, if only to provide the time and place for some quieter moments.

Annobel Mon 18-Jul-11 09:06:15

Welcome, Maamaa. You'll find all sorts on GN. We can be daft, wise(?), combative(!) but mostly very understanding and compassionate. Looking forward to hearing more of you.

jangly Mon 18-Jul-11 10:13:25

weedswoman, your church is in the centre of London so perhaps silence (inactivity?) seems more important to you than it does to me.

I see you have sold all of your very expensive tickets, so you have done well. smile

maxgran Mon 18-Jul-11 15:46:36

My grandchildren seem to need to be constantly entertained. Their TV is on even when they are doing something else. I sometimes wonder if they know or have ever experienced silence.
I remember having to play on my own quite a lot and I also remember at infant school, us all having to have 'quiet time' for about 10 minutes in the afternoon, when we had to sit in silence and 'think'

I love time alone and am happy with my own Company.

weedswoman Wed 20-Jul-11 13:19:54

The day time speakers at St Martin in the Fields, debating Positive Silence on November 23rd are a free event! The evening concert is a separate event although connected by subject. I am amazed if the tickets are already selling so well for that but will now go and check the st martin concert website for myself. Thanks for the information and do anyone who is interested come to hear the positive silence debate, it should be good.

jangly Wed 20-Jul-11 18:16:03

Yes. Do. smile