So this is a little beef of mine! Apparently it is ok to play fight with Dad / Grandad / Uncle Knobhead but then when the kids hit each other or someone else they get a telling off!
When trying to manage children’s behaviour mixed messages are a big No No!
How an earth can you expect them to behave in an appropriate way when the other half the time they are allowed to punch and kick and play fight! I just don’t get the appeal and maybe it s a guy thing or I am just a lover not a fighter but this really bugs me especially when it involves friends and family!
Bet you’ve heard it already; ‘boys will be boys’, ‘they need to toughen up’, ‘she needs to be able to stick up for herself’.
I suppose there is a time and a place for a ‘rough and tumble’ and kids like to explore their social skills with other kids and understand their own strength and personal boundaries and it is fun to play in this way. However as a mum it seems we have an enhanced superpower to spot when play is turning into aggressive behaviour and I am not just talking about the kids! Some adults just take it too far and this can be seen especially with the boys.
Here are three ways I try to deal with this duplicity….
1. Discuss with your kids what is acceptable and fun and when it’s time to stop (not easy with the younger ones or when you have both young and old but it is worth investing the time). Then subtlety challenge the adult who is promoting the play fighting (or taking it too far) by reminding your child of the rules so the adult can hear it too!
2. Distraction is key – try and distract both of them (the adult and the child) in order to stop the play fighting – Chocolate, TV, alcohol (adult only of course), questions about cars, food, gardening etc….that you probably already know the answer too 😉
3. If all else fails sign them up to a martial arts programme – the rules around using violence outside of the training is a great back up!
Maybe it’s just me and maybe I am being a little harsh and some Dads out there will crucify me for saying all this, but to be honest, all I have ever seen is that a little fun and rough and tumble usually, quickly, gets out of hand and then I find my mother falling out of my mouth “it will end in crying so don’t come crying to me” of course they always do!
photo cred – http://galleryhip.com