Benign neglect: a vignette

This video clip shows a toddler exploring the garden of the Geffrye Museum in London while her father watches over her. It is very grainy: you have to watch carefully at the start to see the tiny figure of the girl.

I filmed it about five years ago, and then more or less forgot about it. Until yesterday, when I was thinking about the discussion following my last blog post about the adult oversight of children’s play.

I really like the elemental qualities of the episode. I feel that in recording this unnamed father’s approach to supervision, I have inadvertently captured something of the essence of benign neglect (an idea that is central to my thinking on the adult-child relationship, as anyone who has heard me speak will recognise).

How does the clip speak to you?

3 responses to “Benign neglect: a vignette

  1. about 2 yrs old I guess? parents need to be free from fear and children free to explore. at the same time we need the public spaces where a little walkabout discovery and benign neglectfulness can occur in relative safety and harmony.

  2. Hi Alex, nice to see you here! (Readers: Alex is Mr playgroundology.) That sounds about right. Others on my facebook page have also commented on the qualities of the space. A good point – but I’m still more taken with the subtlety and balance of the father’s parenting technique.

  3. Pingback: National Trust shares my plea for benign neglect | Rethinking Childhood

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