Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Physical Demands Of Boys

I was going to post more about homeschool stuff, but I thought I would write a quick thoughtful post on how we handle rough housing and physical behavior from our sons, for Liberty.

Boys, by nature, are very physical little beings. I have learned to understand, appreciate, and even respect it through the years. This doesn't mean that they are allowed to do anything they want, but we do make allowances for this way of communicating and blowing off steam.

We have always had a few hard fast rules at our house. One of them is not allowing them to get physical with the intention to hurt. This is one rule, that when broken, gets a talking to and a spanking. We use LOTS of disciplines, and we don't spank for every little thing. There are many ways to go about getting a message across without having to make it corporal punishment. Nevertheless, we have always found it effective to spank if someone has hurt someone on purpose, in this house.

All of our boys have played sports. We have looked at it as a good outlet to blow off physical steam for them. This doesn't mean that we keep them busy doing sports daily, but something that we remind them to look forward to. We have plenty of wrestling moments, but we plan them rather than letting them take place on their own. Meaning that if we can see the boys are in the mood to wrestle we may pull back the coffee table, in the living room, and let them spar while we watch them. Even in this it is about good sportsmanship. No one is allowed to play dirty, or have the intention of hurting another. Not that this has been a problem in the past or the present.

There have been times when one child has had obedience issues so we have had them run around the house. We have had our older boys do push ups when finding out they haven't done a chore that they were told to do. We have found that wearing them out physically has helped them mentally. They are by nature conquerers, thrill seekers, and physical leaders so we play in to the natural way of that. We don't believe in stifling it. We use it in their play, and in their discipline many times.

That is one of the reasons I felt strongly about homeschooling. For centuries there was no such thing as public schools. Boys went out with their dads and hunted, cut wood, and built things were their hands. They were designed to be out of doors and physically creative. I am careful not to burden them with tedious desk work all the live long day. It has a time and a place in our home, but we understand that it has its limits. I have seen much good come from allowing them to be busy.

So, if you are having difficulty with them hitting I say don't allow that, but if you feel that they are very physical, you are right. Make sure they have ample time to run around outside. Even let them have a tickle or wrestling session that is supervised. Help them to understand good physical play vs. negative physical play. We have purchased plenty swords in our children's lives. Again there are rules. No intentionally hurting someone, but let them play. If someone is struggling with battering a sibling, intentionally, take it from them, and calmly explain why the intention or the careless behavior is not acceptable, and discipline that.

I'm not sure if I have answered your question. I would be happy to give more details in a certain situation if you have a specific concern.


Lori said...

I liked the running and push-ups ideas - never would've thought of that!

ThoughtfulMom said...

Thanks! I needed to be reminded about just how much physical activity my guys need. I like the idea of planned and supervised wrestling matches and such. Sometimes I just don't know what to do with mine when they have energy to spare

Liberty said...

I REALLY appreciate you writing this. There is no intentional hurting going on but they just like to "fight" and if someone gets hurt it is like they don't care (obviously the one who is injured cares). What I am starting to notice is they like to "kill" each other or pretend bad guys. We have always had a rule in our house..."don't pretend to be something that God doesn't want you to be when you grow up (ie. a murderer)" but now it seems like that is what is in their hearts and I don't know how to get it out. We don't play video games and we are pretty strict about what they watch on television. Today I told God that I just feel like we are doing all of this training but all I see coming out of their hearts is murder even if it is just playful. They are not getting it from my husband or I so then I just think I absolutely just don't understand the male species!

Mother-of-Hope said...

Good post, Trina! I feel much the way you do! Boys are a whole different breed, aren't they?

Trina said...

Lori: I have learned to get more and more creative through my years of raising

thoughtfulmom: They DO have a lot of energy. This is a good thing. We want them to be energetic and not lazy if they are to go out and be ambitious for their families. So look at the positives.

Liberty: I understand your concern. Believe me when I say that my boys have all played bad guys, and killed each other, plenty, in the backyard. You can take away toy guns from little boys, but they will just make them, even if its with their index finger and thumb. Same with swords, anything and everything turns into swords at this house. We encourage hunting games. They are free to kill animals, that is what the Lord intended, right? However, we aren't overly particular about them playing cowboys and indians, or if they die by an arrow or a bullet wound. This may not be up your alley, but it is in the male species. I would be more concerned if the choice of death became more wicked and worked out in an unusual way. Otherwise, I wouldn't be overly worried about this behavior. We have spent lots of time discussing killing, and what the Lord thinks about it. We have talked about Cain and Abel and the intents of Cain's heart. The heart of man is the most important part of the equation. They understand the difference between play and reality. However, I do understand your concern and it should be watched and prayed about. In time, as they get older, you will be able to have more meaningful conversations with them, too.

Angel: Yes, they are. A beautiful unique breed of their own. How blessed we are to have them in our lives. The two breeds, combined, make an amazing unit, don't ya agree?

marykathryn said...

You know that old saying that Boys will be Boys, well I think is sometimes over used, but in this area I don't know of a truer phrase. They are such physical creatures and as a matter of fact as I type this comment my 2 little males are playing the whole "Stop hitting yourself" game..hehe
Great post and I agree 100%!!!

Tricia said...

Oh, you are so right!

I only have 2 boys but as their bodies have gotten bigger (and our house has not) I have seen this become a little bit of a problem.

One day while they are playing rough with each other I'm afraid they are going to go through a wall! My dh is one of 4 boys and he has LOTS of stories of them breaking windows and putting weights through walls, not in anger, but because they just don't seem to realize where their bodies are and how strong they have become. Btw, he is really good at fixing up our house because his dad always made them fix whatever they broke. He's excellent at drywall! :o)

Just yesterday, my boys were wrestling on the living room floor and were about to knock over a project I was working on so I said 'B, if you're going to sit on your brother, could you please do it outside?'.

Then I laughed. Who would have thought I'd one day be telling my boys to please go sit on each other outside...Ahhh the life of a mother with boys.

Trina said...

Mary: There is truth to the old adage that boys will be boys. I believe in disciplining them but never go against the grain, it will make them difficult. Go with the grain and they will be tender in spirit.

Tricia: I never thought I would say some of the things I have and do say to my children either. Cracks me up!

Mrs.Martin said...

I completely agree with everything you have listed there. You do a great job, having all boys Trina. I know it takes alot of thought to keep that household running well and healthy for all men. lol Great advice to a new mom with all boys.

Anonymous said...

Good advice, I'll be needing it soon with my second son on the way. Have you had your first doc visit yet for this baby? How's the morning sickness?


Connie M said... Here is my blog Trina. I have no idea how to post it! Connie

Lori said...

Hey - I gave you an award last night on my blog and I am noticing in your sidebar you have it already although I'm NOT surprised! Hugs!

Mrs. Mom said...

Oh the memories you bring back with this post... lol! I say that like it's been centuries since I had a house full of boys.

Nan said...

This sounds exactly like what we are implementing around our place; supervised physical play, stiff consequences for purposefully causing harm. Glad to know you are seeing good solid results! (okay, so we haven't started making them do push ups yet! But hey... that's a good one for future reference!)

They are so exhausting much of the time though. They are so stinkin' loud! And I am doing my best to curb it but they fight so much. It's partly just the summer time thing... they have too much free time. I dread and look forward to school starting at the same time.

Jen said...

My boys are just 3 and 5, I have discouraged the fighting so far because my 3 year old is very tiny and my 5 year old is very big for his age. I hear a lot of "Mamie, stop it!" (Jamie) from the younger one, LOL. One thing about boys too, they are always making noises. Car noises, siren noises, train noises, whatever. And lately, we have this "echo" thing going on with the 3 year old. We enjoy them though it does wear on us later in the day. We are homeschooling too. I'm hoping it will be easier to get Jamie to pay attention when he is older. Anyway, nice post. I have a blog too, Life With My Kids: