Riddle me this: as a mother (and a female) is it fair to assume I will never understand the unwritten rules and overt desire that relates to little boys and rough play?
You see, I fear my son has started to resemble a Greco Roman wrestler in the playground. He wants to rumble, tackle, grapple anyone within close distance – and I for one am unaware what the boundaries of this sort of rough housing are.
Sure, some of the contenders in the ring as just as keen to show off their kiddie cage fighting skills as my son, and they duel tit for tat, under the guise of Ben 10 and his gang and the gift of imagination. But as parents (and as females) who know better, we always understand it will eventually end in tears.
Like at playgroup last week; it’s all fun and games til someone gets hit in the face with a hula hoop.
Every time I looked up from my social chit chat, there he was again barrelling down with brute force on the next unsuspecting victim. Sometimes his rough and tumble antics were greeted with equal unbridled enthusiasm, other times it was met with many tears (see hula hoop reference above). And as someone who dreads the thought of being labelled the mother of the bratty, bully boy, I was in there in a flash to extradite my overly rambunctious son from both the willing and unwilling participants of rough play and firing off embarrassed apologies every five minutes.
I’ll admit the fact Master H had been cooped up for the 24hrs prior, fighting his croup virus, may have had something to do with the torrent of toddler energy that was unleashed with force. It also may have had something to do with our playgroup were on a field trip to a kids dance class – and he had zero patience (and tolerance) for waiting for his turn in a nice orderly fashion, like many of the older kids around him.
So I ask, was I being a bit of an overly protective helicopter parent, hovering and intercepting at will, or should I have just left it to the kids to blow off steam and fight their own make believe battles? And how does he learn the difference between tough and tumble time with Daddy (which he adores and I loathe) and the lesson we ought not to act like this with any of our unwilling little friends?
Enlighten please, mothers of little men – is this akin to being a typical two year old (though that excuse is about to expire in 4 days…) and that most quite enjoy dabbling in play that to me might appear tempestuous but in their eyes is all part of the rowdy rules of boys being boys? In the wild jungle that is the playground, is it hit or be hit; tackle or be tackled? Because as far as I know as a Mum, it seems to boil down to “apologise or be apologised to” (and I am not sure yet which is the worse of the two categories to be stranded in…).
Maria Tedeschi (Mum's Word) says
My first son was a rough and tumble kind of kid so I did have to watch him. I think parents appreciate it too.
But, I just recently saw a Mum constantly on her son (aged about 3 or so) to be careful around my youngest (18 months at the time).
I really felt sorry for this boy because he wasn’t doing anything wrong and my youngest can take a little bit of rough and tumble.
My second son, was not and is still not a rumbler. And he’s now 5.
Love & stuff
Jess Newman says
I think it is just a matter of reminding them that there are times for rough play, and times when it’s not appropriate. My three year old is really rough and tumble with dad, but is learning and most of the time, gentle with his baby sister.
But as with anything, it takes time to teach them. Most patents are forgiving, so long as they see you are trying to do something, which you are, so don’t worry too
Much if he is rough in the mean time. It’s just a matter of patience, persistence and consistency.
My nearly 3 year old can get pretty rough but i’ve explained he can only do it with certain people, dad, older cousins. I read an article the other day that a bit of rough play is good for them, teaches resiliance and limits. Just inate behaviour in boys
I have 3 boys aged 2 to 6 and they all love to rumble. They kind of work out the boundaries as they get older, but in a situation like the one you described, with a toddler who may not yet “get” those boundaries, I would probably hover too. Rumbling, tackling etc do seem like innate boy things though – they just can’t help themselves 🙂 drives me insane sometimes!
Andrea FoxInFlats says
Oh good question! I’ve got 2 boys and they are forever running, scrambling, rumbling, tumbling, shrieking, thumping, grappling and generally being loud and energetic. I find whenever I step in to break it up they are in fits of laughter. I don’t really get it, but I do remember having a similar time with my big brother…and it was great fun!
Early on, I got a lot of ‘boys will be boys’ and to be honest, most boys DO seem to be more noisy/rough than girls at that age.
I did hover, because I didn’t want other kids to be hurt by mine. Not that Mr 10 ever had a mean bone in his body, but he could hurt little kids because of his side. So I hovered.
Now he’s learned there are times to play rough – like with his Dad and kids his own age and build, or on the judo mat – and times to be mindful of others.
I could never relax and just let kids sort it out because I wanted my kids to learn they had to be aware of their bodies and strength and how they may impact on others.
I have two boys. They tend to be rough and tumble with each other and it often ends in tears. I tell them to deal with it – they’re 8 and 5 – and be more careful. When they try it on me, I play along up to a point and walk away if it gets too rough.
Both of mine were in childcare from a young age and have learnt quite good social skills through that. They learnt to say “Stop it! I don’t like it!” from as soon as they could talk, as well as appropriate social behaviours which I then enforced at home.
I’ve always told mine to be gentle with others and definitely would pull mine up, if the other child was getting upset.
Boys will battle. And they’re super loud too. It’s just what they do. x
Seana Smith says
Boys are wild, they love being wild and they need to spend as much time as possible OUTSIDE! Having a wee girl is such a shock.
That rough and tumble with Dad is so good for boys and it’s there that they learn when to stop; have read a report on a study from Newcastle about dads and rough play recently, but where??!!
Crash Test Mummy says
CrashBoy is nearly two and we are convinced he’s going to be a frontrower (rugby) for the All Blacks or Wallabies depending on which parent you ask 😉
I’m worried he’s going to take out some poor unsuspecting kid. He can nearly take me down already! I don’t mind a bit of tit for tat in the playground so long as they’re not truly hurting one another. I think they need to learn to stand up for themselves rather than have me swoop in every time. But I won’t tolerate mean behaviour. He gets sin binned.