Daddy’s Roughhousing: Good Physically and Psychologically

A year and a half.

This morning while driving to work, I heard on the radio about an article on called “Roughhousing With Dad Crucial For Development, Say Researchers.”

My first reaction was “Oh, cool! I can write about that tonight. It proves the importance of dads playing rough with their kids.”

Fifteen seconds later it hit me: “But wait… duh! Doesn’t every dad already know that? Is that really even news?”

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The researchers believe that the most important aspect of this play is that it gives children a sense of achievement when they ‘defeat’ a more powerful adult, building their self-confidence and concentration. However, fathers who resist their children, can also teach them the life lesson that, in life, you don’t always win. The act of a stronger adult holding back that strength also helps to build trust between father and child.”

I’m sorry to sound too 1993 with my use of the word “duh!” but I could have told you that.

In fact, I already did in my October 2011 Dadabase article entitled, “Bullying Prevention Month: Teaching My Infant Self-Defense” where I explained it this way:

“I play the big scary monster who hides behind the couch and charges towards him to give him a big ‘daddy hug.’ It’s a way for him to test his strength against mine, as he knows I’m no real danger to him. I’m simply his training coach.”

It’s always funny to me when we have to pay experts to confirm what the rest of us normal folks have known all along. No one had to tell me that each evening when my son invites me to wrestle with him on the blow-up mattress randomly (and unnecessarily) placed in the middle of our living room floor, he’s not simply wanting to burn off energy.

He is wanting to be re-enforced the truth that he has someone strong enough to protect him.

Sure, I scare him when I chase him down the hall pretending to be a ferocious lion: He laughs as he screams from the thrill.

When he feels my scratchy face against his, he is reminded that I provide power and strength for him.

I think C.S. Lewis shed some light on the subject in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

My wife’s job is to tenderize our meathead of a son. My job is to toughen him up. He likes getting the best of both worlds.



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  1. by Jason

    On July 4, 2012 at 5:27 am

    This is a great little article! I am glad you wrote it. Possibly, someone will read this and realize that they are turning their kid into a huge sissy and get out of their whole sunshine and bunnies routine. Great article!

  2. by Nick Shell

    On July 4, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Thanks Jason. I appreciate you saying that.

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