When I was eight years old my family was living in Melbourne Beach, FL for a short time. Standing on the balcony of our apartment, I remember looking down and seeing hundreds of small black dots scattered in a line down the beach. After running down to see what was happening, I soon discovered how lucky I was – it was a sea turtle hatching. Hundreds of new born baby sea-turtles were crawling out of their eggs and to the ocean. Thinking I’d give them help, I began picking them up from the top of the beach and running them down to the break, relieving them of their struggle across the sands.
It wasn’t till later that I found out turtles lay their eggs at the top of the beach for a reason. Once hatched, the baby turtle must make its way to the ocean. This walk builds muscle and brain development necessary to them surviving in the wild. Therefore, me trying to help them, trying to protect them from the long walk to the water, only resulted in a bunch of weak and dead turtles. Sad story – I know.
When I see how parents protect their children, I often believe they behave similarly to me with the sea turtles. Their children are shielded from all struggles, dangers, and adversity – not allowing a hair to be harmed on the little angles heads. Like me, though, little do they know that they are just weakening them.
Take the title with a grain of salt, but it is valuable to knock your kids around a bit – in a playful way. Just turn on Animal Planet sometime and watch lion cubs bite away at their mothers, baboons slap their babies, and K-9 puppies wrestle, do you think that this behavior is teaching them to be violent adults? Every mammal in the kingdom allows their kids to fight from an early age – for some reason, though, humans have recently shunned fighting, both playful and not. We worry that our kid may get hurt both mentally and/or physically, or that they may grow up to be violent – man are we wimps.
The other day when an email popped up in my mail box titled The Importance of Roughhousing| The Are of Manliness, I was ecstatic to have another great read from my favorite subscription. What I came to learn was that by nature we are meant to rough up children, and just like the sea turtles, the struggle is invaluable to a child’s development, both mentally and physically.
Here is a rough outline of what the video talks on, but I recommend taking a quick watch.
Six Reasons It’s Important to Roughhouse with Your Kids
1) It improves their resilience – roughhousing requires children to learn to adapt quickly in adverse situations.
2) They will be smarter – roughhousing rewires the brain for quicker learning by increasing the chemical BDNF in brain.
3) They will be more socially intelligent – roughhousing makes children learn to tell the difference between play and aggression, how to taking turns, and cooperation. No one likes the person who can never tell if you’re joking or not.
4) It makes them moral – a kid who roughhouses learns not to punch below the belt, or play dirty. To many kids are kept safe on their couch and allowed to play Grand Theft Auto…
5) Teaches kids to be active – this is a no brainer, when kids roughhouse it builds strength, flexibility, and makes them more likely to be active as adults.
6) Builds parental bond – roughhousing shows your kid that they can trust you and have fun with you.
Here is the video:
I often find myself being a golden age thinker, always believing that things were better in the past (except blogging). The world my grandparents remember seems as if it were more moral, honest, and simple. Children weren’t protected like jewels, they weren’t raised on prescriptions, they didn’t have psychologists, and ADHD was know as curiosity. While most parents are so concerned about making sure their little angles don’t get a scratch and subconsciously wish that they had bubble boy, they are just raising a bunch of wusses.