Rough housing and aggressive play is a part of most children’s lives.  It is important to distinguish between the two.  

Psychology Today states that “in rough play, kids are smiling and having a good time; in real fights they’re angry or crying. In rough play, kids take turns “attacking” and being “attacked” and they’re careful not to push or hit too hard. In real fights, the kids are trying to hurt each other. Rough play often involves a whole group of kids, and they continue playing together happily afterwards. Real fights usually involve only two kids, and they don’t want to be together afterwards.”  It is good to ask “is everyone having fun?”  if the answer is no, then stop it immediately.  The issue with younger children (2-3 yr. olds) are that they do not always know when their touch hurts a person so they need to learn that too. 

Parent magazine states: “your best hope lies in channelling that energy into active games, such as playing ball or with ride-on toys”  And also to teach children when it is appropriate and when it is not.  For example, it may be appropriate with dad in the backyard but not in the day care classroom.  The issue obviously is when it gets out of control and people get hurt.  Also it is not always a good fit in day care centers due to lack of room, parental concerns, and other safety issues.

It is a normal part of child’s play, especially boys,  but it is not always appropriate.  There are other ways to channel that energy such as going outside, pounding play dough, knocking over block towers, riding bikes etc. 

Ridge Meadows Counselling can help you determine what your child’s behaviour means.  Give me a call!


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