How boys play

I was enjoying watching a group of small boys rumbling at creche the other day. I thought they were having fun and weren't hurting each other or being mean so I let them go for it (it was a wet day!).

Sometimes as women we can find it hard to see little boys being quite physical with each other. Can't they colour-in or join in with the singing? But there's something about boys and the way they relate to each other that is just simply very physical.

My four year old son's happiest moments are when his big brother will chase him/rumble with him/wrestle on the trampoline with him. And my 11 year old son is very happy that his baby brother is now old enough to enjoy it!

The problems I have with the boys playing come when they start talking about wanting to 'kill/stab/shoot/strangle' each other. I'm not thrilled with them using weapons to play but I'm most of all concerned with the way they speak about and to each other. I want to ask those big questions like, "what kind of a grown-up do I want my son to be?". And I want them to be men who can speak kindly and respectfully to one another. The line between imaginary play and real play can be quite small when you're with a sibling. I also want them to listen to each other ("stop, when the other person says they've had enough"), respect each other's bodies ("don't injure each other"!) and through this show self-control.

The mystery of being a mum to boys continues ...


Nicky F said…
I have been amazed at how different boys are. I wonder whether the whole "shoot/stab/kill" things come from the inbuilt mechanism to be the hunter and protector - which is very real in different cultures. I was always a 'no-guns' thinker but wonder whether it is a matter of teaching them appropriate ways of play? I don't know - i am just entering the world of boys with 1 x 5.yo. What do you think?

Nicky F
Jenny Kemp said…
Aidan is naturally a reader and a computer head and Baxter loves craft and computers but they are not pleasant to be around if they have been sitting still for too long. So it's good when they play together and get some of the energy out.

I would love to hear what some others think - especially those who have boys who are closer in age than mine. Especially about the question of boundaries and rules when they play together.
Louise said…
Some days I think life is just one big rumble in our home with three boys 6, 8, and 11! Our two main rules are - never actually hurt someone (although it can look like it) and stop when the first one wants to. This means dad needs to regularly get involved to moniter and teach self restraint because what might have been OK a month ago may not be now you are a month stronger. In regard to weapons - we technically have no guns but all weapons can only be used to fight imaginary baddies although it is hard to have a light sabre duel with an imaginary baddie when there is a willing brother standing by!

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