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to think it's not boys being boys

(57 Posts)
ParadiseChick Tue 09-Apr-13 18:34:10

It's thugs being thugs!

Ds is 7. Was at my dad's yesterday with his two cousins (dad's wife's sons boys, cousins for all intent and purposes I'm guessing)

There two are 6 and 11 and 'play fight' all the time which I can't abide.

I wasn't there yesterday, dad had ds for a couple of hours after school whilst I was at work. Step bro popped in with his boys. The oldest one grabbed my son round the neck, started to initiate this toy fighting. Ds tried to get him off. In step bros words 'I could see what was going on but thought I'd leave them to it, see what panned out '

What panned out was the other brother getting involved, and 'pretending' to strangle ds, tripping him up and grappling.

I don't think ds knew what to do. He wasn't seriously hurt, from what I can gather step bro stopped his sons quite quickly. Whatever went on obviously he felt he better mention it to me so told me. He finished his sorry tale with 'its just boys being boys though isn't it' to which I replied no, it's thugs being thugs and set of home.

I'm livid, feel so bad for ds. He isn't that bothered, seems to realise they play rough.


Is rough and tumble to be expected? My ds is like a gentle giant, wouldn't initiate fighting play at all and seemed not to know how to respond.

drjohnsonscat Tue 09-Apr-13 18:38:18

Hate this. I am going to shoot the next person who says "boys are like dogs".

I notice as I have an older DD and a younger DS that expectations on DS are much lower. At the school gate the boys are given tacit approval to run around and be manic where the same parents would never have permitted this of their girls. I try to limit DS's manic-ness in the same way that I limted DD's manic-ness but it's difficult given the other parents are so permissive of their boys with the whole "boys will be boys" thing.

My DS and DD happily do rough play together but it's within trusted boundaries and I would never let one of them do it to another another child.

ParadiseChick Tue 09-Apr-13 18:39:34


Boys are like dogs is another of his justifications for his out of control sons.

WilsonFrickett Tue 09-Apr-13 18:41:11

Can't stand the whole 'boys will be boys' thing, but I do think some sibling boys 'play rough' to an extent that really shocks me, yet doesn't bother their parents. Parents that I think are 'good' parents and who will discipline for other things, but seem to accept 'play fighting'. I find it shock but then I only have one boy so I don't know?

MimsyBorogroves Tue 09-Apr-13 18:43:47

Don't get me started.

I think boys play fighting is awful. It always seems to get out of hand. I would rather that mine didn't do it, then they can never be blamed for causing injury through it.

We know someone who insists on instigating this type of play with his sons and mine. Each time I have to tell DS to stay out of it, and each time I end up feeling bad for doing so, but I won't run the risk. What would happen if DS inadvertently hurt one of them? He's 2 years older than the eldest one, it's bound to happen.

ParadiseChick Tue 09-Apr-13 18:47:10

That's part of my concern, ds is a big boy, and very strong! I have no doubt if he did strike back he'd hurt them - then what? He'll be in trouble?

idiuntno57 Tue 09-Apr-13 18:47:53

but some boys are like puppy dogs. My four need lots of exercise and good food like puppys as they just seem pumped full of energy. Sometimes they do roll and tumble around but are laughing. There is a difference between this sort of 'fighting' and real aggressive hurting.

OP sounds more like the latter in your case.

HollyBerryBush Tue 09-Apr-13 18:47:53

Most animals 'rough house' as part of adolescence. Just because we wear clothes, we are only 10,000 years evolved from being exactly the same a chimpanzee squatting in the forest and picking fleas out of our fur.

TigOldBitties Tue 09-Apr-13 18:48:33

It is some boys. I have four boys, 1 grandson and we have a large family of cousins so its rare to have just mine in the house. They pretty much all play fight. Often. There are accidents but I see it as par for the course. Even my grandson who has no siblings will initiate this of his own accord. It's not that unusual. Girls do it too, although generally less often.

I don't see it as thuggish at all.

AngryGnome Tue 09-Apr-13 18:50:05

I agree that I hate poor behaviour being shrugged off as 'boys will be boys'. However, I think playfighting is an important part of a child's social and emotional development. It is not necessarily a sign if aggression, but can be a child testing and learning about their own physicality and social boundaries. Obviously, I'm not advocating kids beating seven shades if shit out of each other, but I think that under the watchful eye of a caring and responsible adult, playfighting has an important role in childhood development.

HollyBerryBush Tue 09-Apr-13 18:51:49

Angrygnome has it in one.

5madthings Tue 09-Apr-13 18:53:18

I hate this excuse for bad behavior!

I have four boys and yes they play fight sometimes, but there are boundaries and a time and place when its acceptable etc. And you stop if you are told by the other child or if a grown up says to.

All children have the potential to behave like this, my dd can as well but you don't have to allow it!

rhino1971 Tue 09-Apr-13 18:54:12

Boys enjoy play fighting , if its supervised I don't see the problem, issues come when it gets out of hand which shouldn't happen if its Supervised. My boys like nothing better than to watch the WWE wrestling and have a play.

rhino1971 Tue 09-Apr-13 18:55:36

Should add I wouldn't let them playfight with other children.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Tue 09-Apr-13 18:56:41

I agree with you OP. Hate it.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Tue 09-Apr-13 18:59:04

I have two boys and I hate this excuse as well, and I hate anything involving neck-grabbing.

My two are very different from each other - one is much more physical, but the two of them do wrestle more that I was prepared for. And I hear friends with two girls have the same experience.

So I think YANBU - there is a limit, especially where an outside child is involved - and when asked to stop they should stop.

But YABU in that I don't think they are thugs and this is pretty normal between siblings.

lljkk Tue 09-Apr-13 19:01:31

It's only play if all participants consent.
Rough play is usually fine but being attacked is not.

Timetoask Tue 09-Apr-13 19:04:04

I hate it! But.. My 6 year old just loves physical play! I honestly don't know where he gets it from. DH is nothing like that, has never encouraged that sort of play.
My only possible conclusion is that it is in his DNA!!!
I used to try to stop it always, but have realised that some of his friends don't mind so now I try not to intervene unless it's getting out of hand.
Honestly, if I didn't have my DS I would be telling you that it's the parents' fault for encouraging it!

Mondrian Tue 09-Apr-13 19:04:15

A bit of rough & tumble might be good for him and build up some self confidence but only if he can handle it ... Will have the opposite effect if he can't so as long as he is ok afterwards then no problem.

Ujjayi Tue 09-Apr-13 19:05:02

Thugs is perhaps too strong a word BUT I can't abide boys play fighting either. My two sons look on bemused when they see others doing it and have both been distressed to sometimes find themselves being dragged into it by other boys.

The whole perception of boys being this bundle of uncontrollable energy which must be allowed to be expressed is a pile of crap, IMO. Running around playing, climbing, cycling, skateboarding, sports etc - those are the ways in which boys should be encouraged to burn off energy. Not beating the shit out of each other under the guise of fun.

PoppadomPreach Tue 09-Apr-13 19:05:04

As mother of 2 boys, I also hate this - mine do a bit of "horseplay" which I think is fine - as long as ALL parties are participating as if it was a game - not where one is desperately trying to stop another.

I do think a lot of parents use the "boys will be boys" to excuse poor behavious, which is in turn poor parenting.

Mine are not perfect, and I'm learning by the day, but I do not pass off aggressive behaviour as them "just being boys"

Ps hollyberrybush - it's closer to 200,000 years, rather than 10,000 since we were "exactly the same as chimpanzees" . Not that we descended from chimps away, though that is a moot point.

MissBetseyTrotwood Tue 09-Apr-13 19:06:38

Neck grabbing is not OK. Rough play, fine, but there are limits to it and there are some things that are dangerous, whatever the activity.

My DSs wrestle quite a lot but I don't allow it with their friends. If it starts up with friends it invariably ends badly, with it turning a bit too scuffly.

FWIW I can't bear the 'boys will be boys' thing either. It goes in the same box as T shirts with 'Here comes trouble' written on them.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Tue 09-Apr-13 19:08:48

Ujjayi - I agree with your post.

I think loads of parents tolerate this then say 'but he loves it' - yeah, he also used to love tipping his food on the floor and eating his bogeys but you bothered to stop him doing that.

Chandon Tue 09-Apr-13 19:10:42

my boys playfight.

but they are 10 and 8, and through their experience have figured out boundaries, if that makes sense.

rather than me saying : "don't do this" I say it is fine as long as both parties are happy to be involved. They are able to distinguish between an accidental bump, and maliciously hurting someone. They know to respect other's boundaries, and that some of their friends are not into play fighting.

I know that this can all hard to understand for parents of girls, or of onlies. It can look "rough", but if both parties are happy and smiling whilst all the pushing, grunting and shoving takes place, it is not bad IMO.

To me, I like it that they know exactly what is ok, and what isn't.

I don't know what your step nephews are like, but it strikes me that it may be that you simply don't like them, but it is also quite possible they are the sort of kids who always go a bit too far. Hard to say. I'd go with how your DS feels about it.

YellowandGreenandRedandBlue Tue 09-Apr-13 19:14:22

Chandon, it isn't just 'parents of IRS, or onlies' who find it hard to understand.

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