I was just reading over my last post and I think I should elaborate on my relationship with children.
I have never been comfortable around kids as an adult. I don’t dislike children, but I find I never know how to interact with them. I am not comfortable doing the cutesy bullshit that most people do with kids, like making faces or desperately plying them with ridiculous questions to catch their attention, but that is what every other adult does which makes it difficult for me to know what to say to those youngsters I do encounter.
My solution has always been to treat children like little adults. I don’t start acting like a retarded muppet in a man’s skin, I ask them questions and respond to them like an adult. I have found this approach tends to surprise children; it’s certainly not as immediately fun as someone talking to them with that false excitement and energy that drives me crazy to be around, but it seems to reach them, and better yet, you see them adjust their behavior in accordance with the tone of the conversation.
I always appreciated being treated this way when I was a child. It made me feel I was being taken seriously, which as a young boy is always refreshing.
The only problem with this approach is that it is a little difficult to pull off when you have the aforementioned muppets putting on a floorshow around you at the same time, so I really only feel comfortable interacting with kids one on one. And who knows if it is the “right” way to go, but it is the only way that seems to work for me.
None of this is to say that I do not play with children. After all, we are never too old to use our imaginations and play my favorite game: Pretend.