DS (4) is really into fighting. He and DH do loads of play fighting at home which I think crosses a line a bit. But DS has a lot of anger and aggression ('I try to be good but my body just won't listen to me') and DH argues that it's a good outlet. I do see his point on this. But DS has been in trouble a few times at school for fighting now (with the same boy). I don't know what's normal for boys and at home. I don't know whether I should be banning all types of fighting because it seems such a grey area and so confusing for someone so young to be allowed to play fight with his dad but not anyone else? Should I look at channeling it in some other way? Would really appreciate any advice.
"Normal for boys" is not a special category of behaviour at 4 OP.
Manners and care are what matters no matter what sex you are.
It's not a "good outlet" if someone is getting hurt is it? I presume that is what you mean when you say it "crosses a line"?
If his Dad is playfighting with him DESPITE the fact that he is obviously unable to distinguish that it's not OK to do it in school, then your partner needs to be told firmly to stop.
Thanks and sorry you're right poor choice of words. But it does seem to be general consensus among some people that a bit of play fighting is quite natural in boys.
When I say crosses a line I don't mean that anyone is getting hurt I mean that it is really rough and because DH is a big man he isn't getting hurt. So DS will hit him etc and that's just 'part of the game'.
Do you have boys? How do you deal with it when they want to play fight?
I don't allow play fighting at all. Not because I don't think it's sometimes fun...it is...but because someone always gets hurt.
If your DH is allowing this then he is not helping your DS fit in at school at all. You need to tell him that DS doesn't understand the line and that it must stop. Send DS to karate or something helpful.
It sounds like your DH needs to moderate how they play fight and put down some very strict rules. He can help your DS work out his boundaries. My DP and my 5 year old do play fight in the sense that they roll around, DS climbs on DP, DP throws him onto the bed, that kind of thing, but it's always gentle and never involves any aggression, even pretend aggression. It's part of their relationship and is based on affection - it's more of a kind of comedy thing, I guess. DP (who is also a big man) would never allow DS to hit him and would stop the playing immediately if he did. I think a lot of kids are fascinated by fighting, but they need to learn to tell the difference between playing and actual fighting, and letting your DS hit hard enough that it would hurt someone smaller than your DP is a confusing lesson.
Your DH's argument that it's a good outlet clearly doesn't hold water - if it was a good outlet he wouldn't be doing it at school.
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