Browsing through the Sunday paper, I was amused to come across an article about a new book called The Art of Roughhousing.Complete with diagrams and instructions, the book promotes the benefits of roughhousing: making kids "smarter, emotionally intelligent, likable--even lovable," according to the book. The authors, both dads, argue that kids--especially boys--must get away from the electronics and the avoidance of rowdiness and get back to good old-fashioned roughhousing. They say it's vital to self-esteem and physical development.
I chuckled at the quotes from a mom of two boys, ages 4 and 2, who was interviewed for the story. She said, "All they do is rough-housing. They're physically incapable of not doing it. I find it stressful, dangerous for them, and the interior of my home, which is taking a beating, too."
How many of us mothers of boys can relate to that sentiment?
Most likely, all of us. Another mom of a 3-year old daughter and 18-month old son said it's "their wrestling, chasing, jumping on furniture and running in the house" the second she turns her back that most concerns her. She said she constantly feels like she's saying, "Stop, don't do that!"
Roughhousing is one of my tipping points, too. If they're not roughhousing with each other, the boys are roughhousing with the house. They're grabbing the cords for our custom living room shades that are bolted into the wall and swinging like they're Spider-Man. Everyday, we review that they are not to do that; everyday, they try it again and again. Chairs become trampolines, despite reminders that chairs are not trampolines and despite discipline when they fail to heed the warnings. The built-in bookcase not only holds books, it also serves as a climbing wall. The living room apparently makes a great track for running laps, and the window seat ledges (and coffee tables) offer plenty of practice for perfecting jumps. Makes for stronger bones, I guess. Apparently, the neighbors get a little nervous when they see our boys climbing the fence and sitting on the top rails to wave goodbye to Dad in the morning and after lunch. But they don't know that our boys have perfected the art of roughhousing. If the book's right, it's all for their good (and perhaps mine too): they'll be smarter, more emotionally in-tune, and more likable. Now if I could just find roughhousing more likable, I'd be all set...