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play fighting

  1. #1
    capital is offline Banned
    Join Date
    May 2004

    play fighting

    I am hoping some one with older boys can give some suggestions,

    I have 2 boys, 2.5 and 4.5, they love to play fight, the problem is after a while someone gets hurt and starts crying. I am not sure what to do about it. Should I ban play fighting all together? It seems like it is inevitable that boys will fight anyways, so will this even work? Find some way to get them to know the limit? How would I do this?

    As they get older, the oldest one is now getting some exposure to transformers and ninja turtles and the like and I think this has escalated it. I can't keep him completely away from things like this since he also see kids at school toys like this. Any suggestions on keeping the peace, or at least keeping the play fighting from escalating to crying?

  2. #2
    syuan is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Hi capital,

    I've got a 5-year-old boy and a 3.5-year-old daughter. They also play fight. I try to ban it, and I explain that not only could someone really get hurt, but I also don't want them to get into the habit of doing it outside with other kids when I'm not around to watch them. Like you said, it's inevitable that siblings fight, so even though it's banned, they will still do the pushing/shoving, poking, pulling, etc. When they do that, and someone ends up crying, I punish them both, i.e. they both have to sit on their beds for 5 minutes and are not allowed to come down until they are ready to play nice.

    Sorry I don't have any concrete advice for you, but just wanted to let you know that you're not alone.

  3. #3
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009

    I don't have two children and my child is a bit younger than your youngest.

    But, I've been around boys all my life and grew up in a home where we "rough housed" or "play fought" all the time. The problem in Hong Kong is that kids usually don't have a yard or garden to go outside to play in.

    As long as your boys aren't seriously injuring each other (blood, broken bones, huge bruises) then I would say you're just going to have to live through the tears.

    When I used to care for my younger siblings or watch family members' children or babysit, I ran into this sort of thing all the time. Usually one of the boys (or girls) comes to me in tears telling me how "He hit me." My response? If you don't want to get hurt, you shouldn't play so rough.

    If the play fighting is getting out of hand you always have the authority to tell your boys to stop. My mom's response when we were growing up was one of these two:

    A. "Take it outside." Having more space to run around in (so the slower of the two boys can get away faster) really helps to minimize injury. However, unfortunately, this is often impossible in Hong Kong but if there is a safe open space or park nearby taking them there to "burn off energy" may be a good idea.

    B."Knock it off." If we were being too wild, my mom would sometimes separate us--one of us would be sent to another room--not for discipline--but just because we were too wound up and could easily hurt one another.

    As far as your older son being influenced by action figures etc. You're right, he's going to get exposed to that sort of thing and even boys who have never been around any "shoot 'em up" activities still end up playing "war games." My son is almost 2 and he already likes explosions and loud noises and he's never seen a toy gun or any sort of violent cartoons etc.

    But, again, you have the authority to set the standard in your own home. If you feel that the kung fu action of Ninja turtles is inappropriate in your home or to the level that he takes it you can tell him, "Not at home."

    I think it's actually good for kids to play rough and get hurt once in awhile--it can help give them empathy because they see that violence actually hurts people. On TV when cartoon characters get hurt they rarely, if ever die--and only the "bad guys" die anyway. In real life, actions have consequences. I think if you can point that out to your boys and then set some boundaries about what type of rough play is acceptable and what kind is not, it will help.

    When my brother was little he was never allowed to have sticks or any sharp or long object to play with around other children. The reason was that in his excitement he would swing the stick and of course, someone always got hurt. My mom sat him down and talked to him when he was about 5 or 6-years-old. They talked about how he didn't want to make other children get hurt and so the best thing to do was not play with those types of things around other kids. It sure saved a lot of our neighborhood friends some pain and also kept my brother out of trouble. It wasn't a punishment, just a nice agreement between my brother and mom--he would willingly hand over those types of items if other kids came to play. So, yeah, set boundaries. You're in charge. But, as I said, I think rough play is overall a good thing for kids.

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