ACoAs & PLAYING (Part 6)

no time NO TIME, NO TIME
for all that silly stuff!

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Playing (Part 2)

SITES: Fostering Creativity

QUOTES: “It is a happy talent to know how to play.”   ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A lot of people say a lot things about creativity – what it is, how to enhance it, what it means….. Creativity is just play, and love”  ~ Kent Parkstreet (blogger…)

1. PLAY (in general) is made up of a wide range of spontaneous, voluntary, internally motivated activities, usually associated with recreational pleasure. It’s driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself rather than -necessarily – working towards an external reward. Play can range from frivolous & pointless —> through spontaneous, free-spirited & relaxed —> to planned or even compulsive

In childhood, Playing is ‘run’ by children who choose the plot, location, characters & props – making up or changing the rules arbitrarily. It is something that completely engaged their attention & ends when it’s no longer fun or interesting.
IMP: By this definition it’s not Play when adults have kids ‘playing a game’ of any kind with pre-set rules

“Self-directed play gives kids the opportunity to hone their decision-making skills. Selecting a game, focusing on that activity & seeing it through to the end, is an important element of cognitive control, which helps sharpen their planning skills & attention spans. (For teachers….)

And when children are faced with a problem during play, it tests their reasoning judgment, & ability to find a solution. Brain-teasers, puzzles &strategy-based games help reinforce critical thinking skills”

2. FUN: Playful, often noisy activity which diverts, amuses or stimulates. Anything which is a source of enjoyment & pleasure
• Hopefully this only refers to positive situations, rather than abusive ones such as ‘making fun of’ someone / ‘having fun at their expense’…../ or excited, violent activity ‘She insulted him & then the fun began’

• In these posts the two terms are used interchangeably. The key word in the definitions is activity – behaviors we choose to do – because we like them. However, while play is indeed an action – even verbal play (poetry, exchanging puns & jokes, lively discussions about favorite topics…),  fun can be either active or passive. We can have fun sitting in a comedy club or quietly on the beach. Play is more participatory, although it doesn’t always need others to be viable

These definitions bring up several issues for ACoAs
When asked “What do you like?” too often the answer is “I don’t know”.
To an observer this can be confusing because, looking at our behavior, they see many of us as functioning & accomplished people, which is not how we think of ourselves.

In spite of childhood trauma, ACoAs have done things as adults – & some as far back as childhood – which we did like, even enjoyed. It could be anything :
• Artistic – acting, singing, drawing…,
• Sporty – acting, dancing, bike riding, hiking, baseball…. or other
• Physical things – going to an amusement park, traveling, having sex…..

So why do ACoAs say we don’t know? It’s a response from our WIC, who is still ‘living in the past’ & still doesn’t have a clue – or more accurately is not allowed to “Know what I know”. Because of the family’s narcissism & addictions we didn’t get mirrored** correctly, or at all.

**Mirroring (most effective when given to small children, but can be provided at any age), is what we call ‘being seen’ – literally mirrored.
It’s when someone is freely, accurately able to identify something about us & then feed it back —
without any mental or verbal distortion
◆ without adding their opinion, tastes or bias
◆ without their need for us to be a certain way…..
…. just reflecting back to us who we are, the way we express ourselves, the way we see the world, the way we think or do things or feel

If this had been done for us when we were kids, we’d have a lot less anxiety. Healthy PLAY is only possible with a minimum of background anxiety!

NEXT: ACoAs & PLAY-ing (Part 5)

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