SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

June 4, 2013

Dear Abby: Taught to enjoy solitude, they find good company

:Dear Abby: I would like to respond to “Solitary Woman in Ottawa, Canada” (March 5), the expectant mom who asked how she could raise her child to enjoy “periods of quiet, reflective fun by himself.”

I have two children, ages 7 and 1. Like “Solitary,” I also enjoy time to myself, whether reading, writing or going for a hike.

When my son was born, I felt it was important to give him confidence and the ability to be self-sufficient. Therefore, we have him help us with chores like grocery shopping and encourage him to make healthy, responsible choices. When he was 2 and stopped taking naps, we told him he had to have “quiet time” and that reading to himself was one of the options.

As a result, our son is self-motivated, an avid reader and writer, and has an intellectual curiosity most adults don’t have. He is teaching himself cursive writing and is interested in learning a foreign language.

We live in the Colorado Rockies, and getting rid of our TV set was one of the best things our family has ever done. Instead of tuning each other out, we enjoy conversation, creating and sharing our days together. I have never been happier as a father or husband.

I am concerned for people who are afraid of silence. I suspect it’s a sign of sensory bombardment. The human mind needs moments of clarity brought on by reflection.

:Dad Who Gets It

:Dear Dad: Thank you for your letter. I received many thoughtful comments from people who identify strongly with “Solitary’s” point of view:

Dear Abby: Your advice to “Solitary Woman” was good but did not start soon enough. She should provide stimulating crib and playpen toys to teach her son at an early age that he can control some aspects of his environment. Having this ability is the key to enjoying solitude.

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