Preschool boy doesn't play 'rough' like his peers

(11 Posts)
Contemplates Fri 21-Mar-14 10:30:56

And often comes to me crying because someone nicked his toy while he was playing quietly by himself, or is sporting a fresh graze from being whacked by said nicked toy!

I know people will say "boys will be boys" and you have to expect them to learn to fend for themselves in the world, but I find myself wondering what is going on when my boy doesn't make other people cry but seems to be the soft one targeted by others!

Is it a phase? or can I, as a parent, find strategies to keep him grow a thicker skin without losing his sweet nature along the way?

If it is a phase it's a very long one because it started aged 1 at the "one's group" and still continues at 4 years old. It's a variety of settings, soft play area with random kids and friends from all walks of life. The only friends not like this are actually his female four year old friends, it really does seem to be gender specific.

estya Fri 21-Mar-14 16:42:48

To begin with, 'boys will be boys' is just an excuse for bad behaviour imo. As you said, most toddlers (boys and girls) struggle with this stuff and need help to learn to see a situation from the other person's point of view. If we don't bother to help our sons we'll be bringing up men who can't empathise with other people.

I would hope that the preschool and parents are taking action to help their toddlers control their behaviour. I'd certainly want to talk to the preschool if he is repeatedly being hurt.
Otherwise I'd help your son learn to stand up for himself using words: 'stop doing that', 'I was playing with that', 'I don't like it when you snatch from me' etc

CandyKate Fri 21-Mar-14 16:49:44

My DSis has the same problem with her DS. He is very sweet, kind, good at sharing etc. But it seems that not many other boys of his age are taught these things, and in my experience their parents just make excuses for them ie boys will be boys, and do nothing to address it. She wonders if she has made him too "soft" but I keep telling her that she is doing an amazing job bringing up such a lovely boy. I also told her that she needs to tell him to stand up for himself verbally eg "don't be so mean" "that's not very kind" etc.

Contemplates Fri 21-Mar-14 18:20:00

That's a good idea. To be honest I was starting to think I've created a softie but wouldn't want him to be the sort of bruiser that bashed everyone else out of the way all the time!

When you teach then how to stand up for themselves do you play it out in real time or after the event in a sort of debrief?

Mumstheword21 Fri 21-Mar-14 20:07:34

Hi contemplates,

You have some really sensible comments...can I add that if you are interested in reading, 'raising boys' by steve biddulph is really worth a read!!

Your DS sounds lovely and I am sure will benefit once you give him some phrases to help as others have suggested!! thanks

hanbee Thu 27-Mar-14 11:12:37

Can we swap? I have 3.5 DS2 who is just lovely until another boy turns up. He doesn't hit or snatch but he thinks that to be a boy you have to play in a rough, boisterous way. He can switch from playing running a shop to shooting spiderman at the slightest gaze or another small male person.

At this age children feel the need to show that they are boys or girls to their peers and think this is all wrapped up in tge toys they like and the way they play. I think you should congratulate yourself on your boy who is happy just to be himself. He just has to wait for boys like mine to grow out of it I'm afraid.

Fuzzymum1 Thu 27-Mar-14 19:29:33

I stand by the quote “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”
~ L.R.Knost

My three boys are all sensitive caring people and I am proud that they don't conform to the "boys will be boys" typical rough behaviour. My eldest has turned out to be a very caring and lovely young man who is setting up hoe with his GF and treats her so well. My boys have been brought up to respect people and treat them properly - it sounds like you little one will be very similar.

Fuzzymum1 Thu 27-Mar-14 19:33:44

setting up home not hoe! that's a totally different thing!

ListenToTheLady Thu 27-Mar-14 19:42:56

I have one of these who is now nearly 9, and showing no signs of growing out of it. He has always been gentle, dreamy, articulate, non-sporty, likes playing alone or on the sidelines, chatting etc and not the rough play-fighting and zooming around that the boys do generally. He also likes gardening and going for long walks smile He is lovely!

As he was my pfb I was a bit shocked at how rough the play can be among the other boys, but it really does seem normal and healthy for them - I'm not talking about actual fighting or bullying. They just seem to run around, leap on and play-attack each other non-stop. However, they don't involve my DS as he clearly isn't up for it, and I don't think these boys are necessarily less respectful or well brought up etc. It's just a personality difference.

I do think as time goes on a child like this gets more confident with just being who they are, finding their own passions (for my DS, computer things, gardening, non-sporting outdoor stuff) and also finding friends they click with.

Anyway, I know that however hard I tried I could not make him be good at rough play, football, tearing around being noisy etc. It isn't in his nature, it would be hopeless. Far better to encourage him to be what he is.

notso Thu 27-Mar-14 19:53:27

My DS1 has always been very gentle and sensitive. He has developed a thicker skin as he has grown up and often walks away from conflict on the yard.
He has always been very tall for his age. While that was a bit of hinderance when he was small, think 3 year olds playing roughly with a 1 year old thinking he was their age. Now he is nearly 10 he is head and shoulder above his classmates so they are a bit afraid to mess with him, even though he is a gentle giant like his Dad!

DS2 aged 3 however is a rough as they come and has had DS1 in tears before now. He loves rough play, and it is just as hard being the Mum of the boy who is too rough as it is being the Mum of the sensitive boy. I am hoping DS3 will be a mix of the two.

I like to think my sons go to show boys will not be boys, boys are all different.

Inkspellme Thu 27-Mar-14 20:21:52

I work with pre-schoolers and I have found it useful to teach a child who doesn't want to play a particular game ways to assertive tgemselves calmly but clearly. I found a good way is for them to hold the hand out with the palm outwards and the hand with fingers facing upwards (hope that makes sense!) and for the child to say "stop please! I don't like you doing that." The hand out gives a clear visible signal as children involved in a boistrous game don't always hear other children. It also helps a child keep their personal space which for some children is very important. I also teach the other children in the room what the words and hand signal mean.

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