Theme for June: Fathers!

” He is always wrestling in prayer for you,
that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”
Colossians 4: 12b

Mom’s Musing:

When my kids were toddlers and preschoolers, my husband participated with them in impromptu WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) matches in the family room. This was, without question, my least favorite pastime but it was far and away the kids (especially my son’s) favorite activity.

I have found lots of moms hate this type of rough housing that seems to be built into every dad’s DNA.Often a fear that someone or something will break accompanies the objection to the rough and tumble interaction. Even though I totally relate to the discomfort- I recommend that moms stay out of it and let Dad and kids have at it. (Dads always smile at this advice.)

Little girls and boys alike enjoy rough play with dad but boys are particularly drawn to it. Sons love to match their mettle against Daddy’s muscles. Whether dad lets the child win or not isn’t an issue.

Developmentally, physically, emotionally, and socially wrestling (controlled wrestling..I just have to say that!) with Dad is a good. Look at what Richard Fletcher, the leader of the Fathers and Families Research Program at the University of Newcastle in Australia, told ABC News.

 “Rough and tumble play between fathers and their young children is part of their development, shaping their children’s brain so that their children develop the ability to manage emotions and thinking and physical action altogether,” said Fletcher. “This is a key developmental stage for children in that preschool area between the ages of about two and a half and five. That’s when children learn to put all those things together.” 1
During this play, kids connect with Dad, test out their strength, and problem solve. My four kids would group together for the common sibling good and gang up on Tom. This also served to cement the brother and sisters relationships. They became a team. Sometimes it would be the three girls (not me… I just don’t like that type of play…I can’t help it.) versus Tom and Jake.
So make room in the house for Wrestle Mania. And- to help keep Mom sane-keep a timer on hand to bring the match to an end. Then everyone is happy.
Parenting Tip: 

Set up a safe place and a good time (not after a meal or right before bed) for kid/Dad wrestling. Use a timer to indicate the beginning and ending time of the wrestling match. Wrestling doesn’t start until the timer says so. Once the timer rings a second time – the rough play needs to cease. This is one way to help develop self-control or behavior regulation in your child. If the fun turns mean-stop.

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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