Okay, I was waiting in the doctor’s office and read a question/answer article in a parenting magazine. I can’t remember what the name of the magazine was, but I do remember that it was the May 2010 issue. While reading it, it bothered me a bit and has continued to bother me. Here is a brief recap of the question and the answer:
My four-year-old kid usually plays in his room with the door closed. I feel that he needs his privacy while playing and that it is important to give him privacy. But his friend’s mom would rather have the door open while they play in the room. I don’t want to be a hovering parent, so how should I handle this?
You’re right not to want to hover too much. Hovering makes kids more insecure when they get older. But since the other mom is not comfortable with your style, you should talk to your kid and suggest that when this kid is over playing that maybe they should play with the door open because it makes his mom feel more comfortable.
While reading this, I thought it was wrong and it has kind of been nagging at me.
I am NOT a hovering parent. I do think that children need to be left to play on their own and parents should not interfere too much. What I mean is that the kids should be allowed a certain amount of leeway to resolve their own problems. And playing on their own, using their imaginations freely is important. But what 4-year-old child needs “privacy”? What do they need privacy to do? I had to go back and re-read the part to verify the age, because I couldn’t believe that the article was talking about privacy for a 4-year-old!
Often I am not in the same room where my children are playing, but they do not close doors to play in privacy. Actually, I have a rule with them about keeping the doors open. I do not want them “playing with” doors as this can lead to pinched fingers during arguments. Also, Hana cannot open doors yet and I do not want her trapped in a room somewhere in the house. If they were allowed to close doors, this is definitely what would happen every time they fight.
I think this whole concept of physical privacy is over the top. It is a very Western (or is it uniquely American?) concept. And applying this concept of privacy to children at the age of four is completely crazy! In most countries, families do not have the space to allow children privacy in the way it is talked about in the article. They turn out just fine and do not need such privacy.