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advice on how to balance 'rough play' with being 'sensitive'?

(7 Posts)
ilikeyoursleeves Mon 03-Aug-09 13:32:15

excuse lack of punctuation, ds2 is on the boob just now... just looking for some opinions on this. ds1 is 21 months old and generally a sweet sensitive wee boy, loves to be affectionate, has always played nicely with his toys, not been too wild etc. he loves rough play too though esp with daddy. daddy is playing with him more lately due to ds2 coming along 2 weeks ago and being permenantly attached to me. so there is more rough play, daddy throws toys in the air, ds1 thinks it's hilarious so copies it, daddy splashes in the bath so now ds1 soaks the entire bathroom, daddy pretends to fall over if ds1 'pushes' him, so ds1 now being heavier handed etc etc etc........you get the picture!

so i said to dh that he shouldn't be teaching ds all these bad habits (imo) but he said it's just boys play and i need to get used to it now we have 2 boys. i know rough play is fun and good but i'm also worried ds1 will go and push another child etc. he has started throwing his toys and books around which he never did before and is shouting 'no!' all the time, do you think this could be related to all the rough play or just to do with adjustment to ds2 arriving, or just that point in his development? Dh doesnt want ds1 to be 'a sissy' either so thinks he should keep playing with him the same way, although dh does appreciate ds's more sensitive side too. we ended up arguing over it so would be interested to see what others think.

anyone been in this situation? thanks for any advice

nellie12 Mon 03-Aug-09 13:46:19

I dont think dh needs to teach ds rough play trust me he'll learn it soon enough with ds2 when he's older and you will be wondering how to stop them (as 4 and 5yo ds's have spent morning trying to kill each other or destroy the garden [sigh]).

I also think it is unfair for dh to encourage poor behaviour as you have a lot on with new baby and presumably dh will be going back to work leaving you to cope? Ds also needs to know to be gentle with lo and needs the example of being gentle.

There is nothing wrong with rough play but there needs to be limits and a balance between rough play and encouraging naughtiness.

misscreosote Mon 03-Aug-09 13:49:18

Hi there - we've got a DD of 22 months and a DD of 8 weeks, so similar situation in terms of ages and Daddy now spending most time with DD1 whilst I have DD2 stuck to me. We have definitely found that DD1's behaviour has become more demanding (read stroppy), and she is pushing the boundaries a lot more (could also just be part of approaching age 2 as well as a new baby though).

So to some degree, I think that your DS1's behaviour could be exacerbated by your new arrival (congratulations btw!), but saying that, it sounds like your DH is helping to condone the behaviour rather than rein it in. Our health visitor advised us to let bad behaviour go to some degree for the first 6-8 weeks (ie just ignore and withdraw attention rather than make a big deal of it), and then to start cracking down. But I guess you need to decide, together, what is and isn't acceptable, and try to not encourage the bad behaviour from the start. We've reached the 8 week point and definitely feel that its time to start enforcing rules more strictly (eg no throwing toys/food/balls in the house, no hitting etc etc), which means major tantrums, but all necessary, and actually I think DD1 seems happier when she knows what the absolite no nos are.

Sorry, probably not much help and very rambly. If you can reach a compromise with your DH about the basic ground rules that would probably help, eg throwing is OK outside, but not inside, (as inside toys will break/break something else, but outside toys are made for chucking around) etc.

Fillyjonk Mon 03-Aug-09 13:50:12

I think this is a tricky one.

IME (1 boy, 2 girls) boys are generally rougher than girls. I do actually think that the gender lines are not that distinct, and is reinforced by adult wanting girls to be girly and boys not to be "sissies" hmm (wtf is wrong with being a "sissy"?) then of course kids reinforce it in each other-it becomes the norm, and kids who don't conform are teased by their peers-and so on.

So I suppose I think your dp is right that you are in all probability going to have to get used to boys being quite physical, quite rough, and so on.

I also wonder how much of this behaviour is actually because of his new sibling-your dp might be, perhaps quite unconsciously, channelling the behaviour for him into fairly innocuous pursuits-so modelling acceptable behaviour for him, iykwim.

AND there is a fair bit of research on play fighting. Boys do, I think, need to play fight. It doesn't, IMO, usually encourage fighting. What it does it teach them the limits for behaviour that they are likely to develop anyway. Thats why play fighting with older males is pretty important for little boys. The saying "no" thing kind of sounds like a reaction to the new brother, is that possible?

I dunno. It sounds as though no one is getting hurt here. My instinct is that what is needed here is boundries for this play. He needs to know that he can't play these games with other children and his baby brother though. Am not sure how you can get this through to a 21 month old. .

Is your dp taking him to soft play, parent and toddler groups, etc? If so, does he encourage this behaviour there?

ilikeyoursleeves Mon 03-Aug-09 13:59:02

DS1 is thankfully pretty gentle with DS2, he strokes him gently and kisses him and I always make sure I praise him for this and encourage him to be gentle. He lobbed a toy from his highchair today though which could have easily hit DS2 who was in his bouncy chair on the floor, I guess that;s what I'm worried about, that he could also accidentally hurt ds2 or someone else. I think a lot of the 'no!' behaviour is a reaction to DS2 too. It's hard as we are trying to give DS1 lots of positive attention too but inevitably he will prob feel a bit put out.

No DH doesn't take DS1 to any groups and neither have I lately due to them stopping for the holidays. I've taken DS to these things before and he's been fine there (but that was pre DS2!).

piscesmoon Mon 03-Aug-09 14:02:25

I think that you have to differentiate between rough play and bad behaviour.
I have 3 DSs and they are very physical-they loved play fighting at that age. I am not keen on it so just used to remove myself and let them get on with it.
I wouldn't allow them to throw things in the house because they get broken and equally water had to stay in the bath. If they want to play around with water, or throw, it had to be outside.
I think DP just has to only initiate play that he doesn't mind DS copying-or explain that DS is allowed to try and push DP over because he is strong, but he can't do it to other DCs if they don't want to be pushed.

Fillyjonk Mon 03-Aug-09 15:16:59

Quite often though, soft play and so on continue.

Am just thinking, might it be helpful for your dp to see how other kids behave, how you need ds to behave?

The thing is, you're walking a tightrope a bit. Yes you need your son to be able to do the physical boyish thing. You also need him to have friends, and you to have friends.

Another thing-your dp imo should be modelling (sp?) other things to your son-reading with him, being gentle with smaller kids- etc- NOT just acting like an out of control big kid himself! (oh its hard being a parent, isn't it? Has this only started since ds2?)

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