Archive for March 11th, 2011

 

“To save roughhousing and physical play for just when Daddy is home would do both me and my children a disservice.” —A roughhousing mom

Every time I talk with a group about roughhousing, someone always asks, “Isn’t that just for dads?” and someone else always asks, “Isn’t that just for boys?” I answer that girls and moms need (and love) physically active rowdy play, but I think roughhousing mothers and grandmothers can answer this better than I can. So I asked some moms, and here are some of their responses (I’m sorry I couldn’t fit them all):

“I have a daughter, age 3, who loves to roughhouse with her daddy. Everyone needs to move, everyone needs to see how strong they can be, and everyone needs to know that strength and tenderness go hand and hand.”

“[Roughhousing is] the best way to learn about each other and ourselves. For kids to roughhouse with parents is a way for them to kinesthetically know that there is someone stronger who can and will take care of them. For teenagers to roughhouse with parents is a way for them to see that they are growing up and their strength will soon be accompanied by responsibility. And finally, girls need to roughhouse together. When I was growing up it was my most favorite thing to do.”

“There is nothing like wild fun to break through all the reasoned, expected and learned behaviors assigned to adults and young people in our society. Ten minutes of [my daughters] ganging up on me with pillows gives us screams of glee, giggles and release of frustration that cannot be obtained this effectively in any other way. We all feel loosened up and free to cuddle afterwards.”

“[My husband] has always found roughhousing with our daughters the most mutually-fulfilling way to reconnect. Our girls are more confident in their bodies in part as a result of this play. This makes them stronger and safer as they go out into the world. In the same way that nursing after a day apart was a quick-shot of reconnection between me and the girls when they were small, their being able to roughhouse together with their father is a quick-shot of reconnection for their relationships. I also enjoy roughhousing with them, but it is a lot tamer (as I am half my husband’s size). I also enjoy playing with them (chase, tag, non-competitive racing, etc.), but it is a smaller part of my time with the girls. (I was raised in a boys-roughhouse culture, too, after all. :)”

“As an only child, and a daughter, my father and I wrestled a lot. I was also quite the tomboy, so playing sports was a great way we connected. I now have two boys ages 2.5 and 9 months and roughhousing is common with me or my husband. I’m a stay at home mom, and using roughhousing through the day works wonders with a grumpy toddler. To save roughhousing and physical play for just when Daddy is home would do both me and my children a disservice.”

Billerica, New Hampshire Event – 3/11/11

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