I am looking for any advice or experience any of you have with boys. Mine are 4 and 7, and they are constantly rough-housing or wrestling. They rarely “play”, but instead always seem to want to wrestle, throw things at each other, chase each other or “fight”. Much of the time it is in “good fun” (though it drives me crazy), but sometimes they do get angry at each other and push, shove or punch each other.
My 4 year old is the worst, he’s already gotten in trouble 3-4 times at school for it and had to sit out at recess. He will throw things, kick and just be very physical. Part of me blames it on his fascination with superheroes (which my husband encourages and is one of the things we argue about), but several months ago I banned all superhero shows/movies. They do enjoy watching movies, but I try very hard not to let them see anything violent, only allow “G” rated movies, etc. (like Tangled, Gnomeo and Juliet, Rio, Toy Story, etc.). They are allowed to watch the Disney channel also. I am debating eliminating all tv for 2 weeks to see if it makes a difference, but sometimes turning on the tv is the only way I can get anything done (dinner made, lunches made, dishes done, etc.) as it calms them down; otherwise they are attacking each other, throwing things and wrecking the house or getting hurt.
I also work full time (which I often resent) so part of me blames it on me not being around them enough when they are little to teach them right from wrong, and on them both having been in daycare since a very young age (which I feel guilty about). However, my 7yo was extremely polite and well-mannered until he entered public school in grade one and I feel like his personality has totally changed. My younger son goes to public school too now, so part of me feels like it’s being in school.
But maybe it’s something I’m doing! I just don’t know what. DH and I are going through martial problems, but we don’t hit, push, punch or anything that is violent (we just argue a lot). We’ve tried the “token” system where they lose a token if they push, hit, kick or throw things. It doesn’t seem to deter them.
Is this “normal boys aggression”? Do any of you have boys who like to rough-house?
Any suggestions on how to channel some of that energy – particularly in my 4 year old? My 7 year old is a very accomplished athlete and enjoys lots of different sports, and he is rarely the instigator (but gets right in to it when my 4yo starts it). He likes to play hockey in the basement, baseball in the backyard, and is on several sports teams. My 4yo, on the other hand, hates all sports and refuses to do any organized sports (tried many times, he will only sit on the sidelines or run away). He also bites his brother a lot.
I’ve tried buying lots of interesting board games and trying to get them to play with me, but one of them ends up pushing the pieces off the board, throwing a piece, etc. Neither of them have any interest in Lego (which seems like a nice quiet activity). I’ve tried getting them educational toys and books, building blocks, cars, you name it, but my 4yo has no interest in any of that stuff (the funny thing is, he plays really well at daycare, but not at all at home…). My 7 yo would be happy to read, play games, do Webkins, play with his Beyblades etc. but my 4yo won’t let him and then they get in to it. My 4yo is constantly grabbing, pushing, kicking, hitting or throwing things at my 7yo.
Help! What am I doing wrong? Does anyone else have boys like this?
Worn out mom
Well, I do have rough and tumble boys, but we do require them to be reasonable about it, as much as possible anyway.
We did have two black eyes and a loose tooth knocked out last week, which sounds terrible but was none of it deliberate injury--it was just in the course of rough play.
If they deliberately hurt, or if they use their energy to cause trouble with friends or teachers, we consider that a discipline issue, and treat it as such. There's nothing wrong or abnormal about the energy or enjoying rough play. But part of learning what they need to know to be functional adults with healthy relationships is learning how to control their urges and how to use their energy in appropriate ways. Soooo, if they get mean, or if they are being inappropriate, I tell them that I am glad they have so much energy, but it is not being used rightly. If we're indoors, pushups or running up and down the stairs a few times are good energy ventilation and also separates the kids so they can all cool down. If we're outdoors, we do "take a lap" to help them get it under control. If your kids are having issues, could you talk with teachers/admin, about whether it would be possible for them to help you with this by finding a quick, controlled outlet of energy for your kids?
I wish the majority of boys didn't go to school until they were at least 9, for this very reason. They are all one big ball of energy and poor judgement. Doesn't mix well with the standard classroom format. My 4yo spends a good deal of time doing pushups and squats and jumping jacks and running laps, too. And, usually, he giggles his way through them. He also finds it extremely funny to be deliberately knocked over, or to have a pillow thrown at him...the harder the better. A lot of boys are just like that.
Can you enroll them in some form of martial arts? In addition to teaching them self control, they also generally speak a good deal about when it is appropriate to use your strength. Maybe being able to remind them that they have an outlet for that stuff on Tuesday evening, or whatever, may help them tone it down at school?
"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."
I too have rough and tumble boys (5 and 7) and what you are describing sounds pretty normal to me. Like the pp's, we do push-ups or obstacle courses or whatever when things seem to be getting out of hand. Sometimes, I just separate them. This usually upsets them until they settle down and engage in a quieter activity by themselves. We have talked ALOT about when it is and isn't okay to wrestle. There are times when we just say no wrestling and we focus on another activity. If they can't choose a quieter activity on their own I choose one for them. If one of my kids is engaged in an activity and the other is causing trouble, I step in and try to re-direct the trouble maker. I really think boys need the physical outlet for their energy. The trick is teaching them to use it appropriately.
Proud Mommy to my amazing boys (6 and 4) and my precious little girl (18 months).
yup. sounds v. normal to me. i watch a 7 and 11 year old and the 7 is like that. i lay in bed with him to help him fall asleep and he keeps moving and thrashing and wriggling alll over the bed. he's got too much energy. when the weather is nice i take them out and he rides his bicycle in the empty parking lot - HARD. he speeds and does tricks but rides really fast for a full 30 minutes. once he gets his energy out he can settle down easily.
yes he gets into trouble everywhere for moving so much.
he rough houses with his brother and they have such rough games. but it helps both of them.
my dd has calmed down a lot. but when she was younger we went to the park a lot or i borrowed a friend for dd to roughhouse with. i found rough housing was essential for her. it really helped with her behaviour and tantrums. also we went to school and actually still do a half hour early. then she'd run around with the kids before a sit down time. made a huge difference. or walk to school.
i am sure the teachers recognized this because one would play with them during recess. he'd do something simple as chase the bubbles he blew game so he got the class moving so everyone settled down well after recess.
i am not sure about school changing ur boys. its more about them changing. at 5 dd changed in ways where it was hard on me coz i had to change my parenting style. meaning parenting evolved to another state where i had to give her more autonomy and responsibilities. even today i also have to give her the space to let her hair down after school. otherwise she gets horrible. she needs that from being goood for so long in school.
yes in one way dd has changed. she doesnt want me so much anymore. we dont spend that much time together. but in a way all the time we DO spend together it has gotten more intense so our connection is even deeper.
how do YOU Feel? do you really feel your rambunctious boys are over the top or you think they are just normal deep within you? but society all around you is telling you there is something up.
another thing to look up is diet. if you DO think they are over the top - or at least for the heck try it. i am not sure honestly at that age how much tv contributes to it. esp. limited tv watching. some of the influences i feel are normal. looking back at my childhood when i grew up with no tv, i recall the rough games my cousins and i played. superheroes and dying was huge. the more drama the better. with our capes and sticks as swords my brother and i chased each other all over the house. no one wanted to be the good guy. alllways the bad guy as it meant more pantomime action.
anyways back to diet. red dye, milk have all caused reactions. i hope other mamas will speak up about this as i dont know too much about it.
Mine are very rough and tumble. They're 5 and 9 and while they do play wrestle and are very physical, they aren't mean about it.
I'd set some routines. I work full time as well and both of mine are in school, so afternoons are spent getting stuff ready for the next day, household stuff, etc. And they help with that. They get outside time if it's nice enough or they have an entire playroom of stuff to do. We stick to a pretty consistent routine for all of our sanity. Weeknights, there are no video games or tv. They can play or read or whatever as long as there isn't a screen involved.
After school looks like:
household chores, lunches, etc
I think plenty of sleep, plenty of food and a place to burn off energy helps boys immensely. Teaching them boundaries when it comes to others is very important. Before someone gets hurt.
I have 3 boysa 6.5 yr old a 4 yr old and a 3 yr old. All they do is fight/rough house. All in good fun until someone gets hurt. I honestly do not referree it. They are allowed to rough house with each other as long as they all consent to it and aren't ganging up on one brother/purposefully hurting one. They do play other stuff--like they walk around our yard with sticks pretending to shoot the bad guy. Or they are currently playing school. I just try to make sure it isn't constant rough housing and that it doesn't get brought to school(which it hasn't yet). If your oldest wants a break from it to do his own thing(my oldest wants a break sometimes too) I let him go in his room and lock the door so he can color/draw/read without his little brothers all over him or my husband will take the other 2 in the other room and I wll be able to do something my oldest wants to do.
Cassie, mom to Alex(4/7/05), Aidan(7/12/07), and Andrew(8/18/08)