The Benefits of Roughhousing?
We all know the song about the three monkeys jumping on the bed, and how the story ends. Mothers tend to do anything they can to prevent bumps and bruises, while it often seems that fathers are begging for a trip to the emergency room. But is that such a bad thing? As Father’s Day approaches, the merits of fatherhood and the male parenting style has come into light, and recent research suggests that the playful, rough behavior fathers engage in with their kids can have long-term benefits; as long as there are no real injuries, of course.
Columnist Sue Shellenberger wrote in the Wall Street Journal that men tend to have less tolerance for whining, and the physical challenges they give to kids can help them to be more independent and less timid.
A new parenting guide titled The Art of Roughhousing offers safe ways for parents to play with their children that does not involve a TV screen, a video controller or a board. Written by two dads, the claim as reported in the Canadian Press is that “rough” play can help make kids smarter, emotionally intelligent and more likable .
According to the authors of the book, “When we roughhouse with our kids, we model for them how someone stronger holds back. We teach them self-control, fairness and empathy. We let them win, which gives them confidence and demonstrates that winning isn’t everything.”
So the next time dad is getting the kids all riled up and you find yourself wanting to step in and end the play session, it might be a good idea to just take a breath, step back and trust that Dad just might know what he’s doing.