The Art of Roughhousing

RoughI can feel the judgment coming. In seven days, I will be sitting in a room with my wife and my son’s daycare provider and I will be accused of being an “instigator” and a “trouble-maker.” It’s possible I will also be labeled a “Bad Parent” – but no one actually says that to your face. They simply lower their chin, look at you in a scolding manner, and suggest you “make better choices.” Seven days from now, I will sit there…I will smile…and I will be judged. And while I may be guilty, I will also be imagining Johnnie Cochran sitting next to me while ranting in my favor: “That boy’s not aggressive – he’s just being possessive! Don’t be so oppressive ‘cause that toddler’s expressive!”

What am I guilty of? Roughhousing!

Several weeks ago, Garrett’s school contacted GWE and I asking for a meeting to discuss his behavior. They thought he was biting his friends too much. My suggestion was for the school to spray his friends with something that tasted awful. Garrett might start to wonder why all of his friends tasted like cat piss, but I guarantee he would stop biting them. (My suggestion was not taken seriously.)

As time has gone on, the biting has tapered off…but he has been exhibiting some “aggressive behavior.” None of the behavior is out of fear or anger,  but rather – sometimes it’s out of frustration or sometimes he might be trying to show affection and he doesn’t realize he’s hurting his friends. So….he’s “roughhousing.”

I have two boys and we have been roughhousing with each other for years. There have been “Chicken Wing Attacks” (jamming my face into a child’s armpit and doing a combination of “blowing bubbles” and fake chewing), flights of “Super Baby,” body slams on the bed, wrestling, dangling children upside-down, and an occasional “raspberry” blown into a belly. I have considered all of these to be a healthy part of growing up as a boy. And now…I have proof that what I’m doing is not only beneficial for the boys, but it may even make them better people!

I’d like to thank The Art of Manliness site for posting this video on Roughhousing. I feel redeemed! In fact, I’m in the mood for “Chicken Wings!” (Nom, nom, nom, nom….)

2 thoughts on “The Art of Roughhousing

  1. Rough housing is a lost art – especially in,our super cautious and uptight age of parenting. Have you read this?
    Also – Garrett is still pretty pre-verbal – my guy was a biter too until his language really started taking off at 3. Doesn’t happen much anymore (accept to his parents when he’s mad). We’ve also recently started Occupational Therapy (OT) for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) – basically just a developmental delay in the brain processing sensory input correctly – Teddy is a “sensory seeker” and biting / chewing things (and running, spinning, crashing) is his way of getting sensory input. Do some research. If it seems to fit, you may want to ask for an Occupational Therapy evaluation for SPD – the treatment is essentially play therapy so no harm done (no medicine). Kinda like speech therapy for a speech delay – a chance to give the brain practice processing sensory input through play.

  2. Hey Laura – Thanks for this info. Very good information here. We were also advised that it might be a developmental issue. However, we’re going to start with me NOT beating him up daily and see it that works. Otherwise, I’m going to pay for the other kids to have the protective gear cops wear when training attack dogs. That way Garrett can attack them all day long and they won’t feel a thing!

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