Monday, July 12, 2010

… and then I found out

broken blind

Mr. 3 and his little sister Ms. M are partial to a bit of rough play. Wrestling, jumping from furniture to body slam each other, hitting, screaming, tackling – they’re into it. All in all they both give as good as they get, although Ms. M is starting to out muscle her older brother as her boundaries aren’t very defined.

On Tuesday afternoon an episode of rough play resulted in a blind being broken. To their credit I made this discovery as they quietly tried to “fix it” … but nonetheless I was pretty mad. Mr. 3 knows it is bad when I sit and say not much. The expression on my face undoubtedly says it all. There was an extended period of icy silence before I started ranting, raving, and repeating myself about time and place. The lecture, and yes it was a lecture, also touched on not being so rough to start with, strongly advocating the virtues of playing “nicely”.

So there I was on Tuesday night, sitting in bed listening to Life Matters on Radio National and wouldn’t you know it there was an interview with an expert in play, Dr Stuart Brown. Now imagine the expression on my face when Dr. Brown exposes rough and tumble play as vital, “a very significant part of learning who you are and how to engage others in a way that is significant and yet isn’t crucially critical at the moment … if you have read some of the work that I have done I worked originally with some very violent and anti-social men, homicidal and otherwise, and found in their life histories rough and tumble play was absent…”

It turns out that rough and tumble play is essential for humans and other animals as part of their social development. It is an important part in learning optimism, empathy, and resilience - “a powerful social learning tool”. Well, well… just hours earlier I had been promoting abstaining from this “vital” form of play, unbeknown to me steering my children closer to becoming psychopaths as adults.

14 comments:

  1. How very interesting....I always stop the rough housing before it goes too far maybe next time I won't.

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  2. Maybe they could engage in their rough and tumble play outside, away from your blinds :)

    I wonder if tossing coat-hangers and clothes out of wardrobes is vital for their development?

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  3. oh wow, who knew. i'm sure there is still a time and a place for it though.
    This is intresting because my eldest son grew up with practically no rough play (having a twin sister) and my youngest who is 3 also is a big fan of the rough stuff.

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  4. Unfortunately most of the things that adults rant and rave about, playing with food, tearing paper, running, throwing balls, etc are all important for children. Tough being a parent but good if you can learn these things that we don't automatically know. I've done the ranting and raving and repeating a million times and now I have to apologise to my older children. Fortunately, they mostly only remember the 'good mummy' bits. Cherrie

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  5. Sounds like exactly what I would do - rant and rave with my voice getting increasingly higher pitched! If rough play is good for kids, mine are going to turn out wonderfully!

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  6. Excellent. I now feel justified in my laxity. I have the exact same broken slat blinds however - as well as some 'snipped' curtains... SO annoying.

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  7. But I bet that he didn't say that the rough and tumble had to occur inside where things could be broken lol :P

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  8. Busy does her rough and tumble with our very tolerant dog Zac. I will need to allow this more? is it the same if its with a dog I wonder?
    I love Life Matters!!!

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  9. Oh dear, it seems I am breeding psychopaths....
    My three are not interested in "rough-and-tumble" at all, in fact they are turning into quite 'girly' girls - not like their mother at all!

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  10. i must be a pyschopath in hiding, i don't ever remember roughhousing with my sister!

    and oops, i'm guilty of the same thing as a teacher! no wrestling allowed at kindy...

    next time they want to play fight you will just have to turf them outside, rain and all, can't have them pyschopath free but with no respect of taking care of property, not that i'm saying yours don't have that already, bless their little hearts trying to fix the blind!

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  11. Sheesh. How are we ever going to get this parenting malarkey right. Off to batten down the slatted blinds...

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  12. I suspect that getting busted for rough play wont stop it all together, and if they're in trouble for being too rough, it definitely isn't absent!! Even if you never see it again (as if), it still won't have been absent because they've done it now...

    Sounds like an interesting interview!

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  13. Hahahaha!! That.Is.Awesome. Time to stop feeling guilty that my kids were the rough and tumble ones, who horrified their cousins!!! :D

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  14. I just came across this post and boy does it resonate with me! My boys rough and tumble ALL the time to the extent that it drives me insane and then I go off ranting and raving about the time and place and 'for gods sake just go outside' type comments. I have often thought that it must be an essential part of growth and development because they have to do it constantly. There seems to be an unseen driving force...is it instinct??

    Then I look out the window at my two five year old horses and they are doing exactly the same thing...hassle, hassle, hassle until the other one bites or kicks back! Boys!!

    Hmmmm....interesting! Just wish I could learn to ignore it and the consequences and leave them to it like I do my horses! :-)

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