I find great pleasure in watching my children interact with their friends. It is a beautiful thing to see their relationships bloom. We enjoy having them over to play, bake, or do some learning; we also enjoy special outings together. If there is one thing we don’t allow our children to do, it is to simply “hang around”.
When our children were very little, we read a parenting book which helped shape the guidelines in our home. One of the many things discussed, was the dangers of allowing young adults to “hang out”.
Children were highly encouraged to have friends and to be involved in activities, but hanging out wasn’t an option.
What is the purpose in this seemingly ridiculous rule? It is simply this… Idleness leads to trouble. When children have no activity upon which to focus their attention, they are more apt to get into mischief.
Now, I don’t mean to imply I manage my children’s time or force them into planned activities. What I do mean is that I keep a careful eye on them, helpfully suggesting ideas when things come to a lull.
My children usually know how to keep themselves, and guests, well entertained. However, should there be moments of indecision, that is where I come in. I try to make sure several fun options are available and accessible for just such times.
Even when our children have no desire to play, there are plenty of wholesome topics upon which they can focus their attention. Our children very much enjoy getting together with others who share their affection for books and writing.
The primary goal isn’t for them to always be “busy”, but rather to have a purpose in their activity and discussions. Where there is purposeful fellowship, edification is sure to abound and problems are less likely to arise.