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Roughhousing-Is it okay?

Updated on July 27, 2014
Jacob playing dress up
Jacob playing dress up | Source

Are we creating a little animal?

My husband is an amazing father-he is loving, attentive, a good provider, and engaged with our young son. Everyday he makes time to interact with Jacob, and participates in his day to day care. He bathes him, feeds him, dresses him for bed, and cuddles him every night. They are very close, and I call Jacob my husbands mini me. Sound perfect, right?

On the negative side nearly every evening my husband is roughhousing with our son. This has been going on since he was a few months old, and they both seem to enjoy themselves. They giggle, destroy the living room, and very seldom have injuries. The play has also helped my son develop physical skills quickly and stay well ahead of the physical development curve. He started to pull up on furniture the same day he crawled, he walked before turning one, he climbs, balances, and can get into anything and everything. He has complete trust that when he jumps at us we will catch him. At a year old I walked into the living room to find him piling all the pillows off the couch onto the floor around our ottomans. He then proceeded to climb onto the ottoman and jump off landing on the pillows-all the while giggling while I suffered a mini heart attack. He is tough and doesn't often cry when he falls down and hurts himself. He gets back up and keeps going. I read an article during the past year that encouraged rough housing with your children as a way for them to develop trust in you. By showing that they can trust that you will not drop them they are learning that they can depend on you

My son also does not have good self control and doesn't know when to stop roughhousing. He is a big boy-off the charts on height-which means when he is with peers he is the largest. Is all this roughhousing going to lead to him being a bully? He is too young to understand he can hurt others. Is my husband teaching him to be overly physical, or is this harmless bonding and trust teaching?

I have already been told twice by daycare providers that he is not as gentle as he should be with the younger children. I have corrected him several times for pushing, but this is a common behavior for children his age. Behavior issues are also showing up and my husband isn't handling it very well at all. He throws everything, climbs on everyone, and hits. Jacob will laugh when he is corrected, and time outs are spent with him giggling. He is out of little animal in the making.

So is this normal toddler behavior, or in response to excessive roughhousing? In today's society when school bullying is all over the news I feel a parent should be concerned. I don't want my son to become a bully and lose his sweet loving side, or to be fearful and be bullied. What is the right balance and how do I develop a loving child and not a little animal?

My Plan

For now we are going to continue to roughhouse while attempting to teach limits. Roughhousing is okay sometimes-such as at night with dad-but not while at daycare with younger children. Anytime someone says no or stop you stop. I will continue to monitor Jacob for aggressive behavior and establish boundaries and rules that both his father and I will enforce.

1. No hitting or throwing.The only time this is okay is while playing football or baseball.

2. No biting

3. No pushing

4. Stop means stop

Parenthood is an ever changing journey, and this might work for now and not work later. I acknowledge that, but I hope that by teaching boundaries and balance we can have a happy, friendly little boy.

Do you allow it?

Do you rough house with your kids?

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