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Running around with sticks is not abnormal. he may be high energy and need the outlet. He may also not be about playing in groups. I think you're right to find one or two kids he can play with. Maybe have them come to your house.

My boys are very gentle, loving people at 11 and 16. They were not very into violent play, but they both did like sword play and they did like high energy games. My 12 yr old daughter was the same exact way, and she is also not violent.

Running , jumping, hooting and hollering is not wrong. It's kid play. Some kids are not into it and others are. wanting to play with sticks does not make him a violent person, it makes him pretty normal. We keep trying to take the wild out of children and it's not necessary.

we want to let kids know it's never ok to hurt people with the sticks etc. But I tend not to get involved or direct my children's play. Their play needs are not about me. I notice even my 6 yr old will say 'Privacy, please' when she is playing with her animals or whatever. I disrupt the flow, and inhibit the magic of immagination.

I think it's fine not to do group things with him. I think it's fine to let him run around with sticks. As long as he is not hurting anyone, i would stay out of the play. Kids process the world and stories in their own way during play. I don't think we adults even have a right to interfere in that. Play is extremely personal.

Keep his protein up, don't take him out if he's hungry, tired etc and try to embrace his energy. I know it's hard--esp when the people around you might have perfect little flower fairy waldorf children who like to sit and look at books or gently pour sand and wouldn't think about touching a stick. I mean, that's fine too. But just because our world values the quiet, sedentary child doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with yours.

He's only 4-- tweak his world a bit before you try and tweak him.
 

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Another mention of Bev Bos-- she has a book called "You Can't Say You Can't Play". I think it's fine to say 'Everyone can play" but not all kids, esp sometimes 4 yr olds, are all about hearing that. I think limiting large groups for some kids sometimes is OK as they manuever through a tough stage. Their brains will grow, their empathy will develop. Someday you will be posting that your 7 yr old is making you nuts with everything having to be fair *all* the time, that he is stuck on rules and not common sense.


Also, for words-- I think the book When Your Child Drives You Crazy by Eda Leshan might be helpful. It's not a perfect book, but it gives actual things to say to children in all kinds of situations. Maybe you can get it from your library. It's not TCS, but imo it falls under GD. LeShan has been profiled in Mothering on the Treasure page.

I think When Your Child Drives You crazy is mis-named and turns some people off. But it is a pretty good starting point for what sorts of things to say to your child when you are struggling for words.
 
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