The Benefits of Rough Housing for Young Boys


Boys are not the children with whom I feel most comfortable. As a mother, it’s all about the girls for me. I’ve had girls for going on 7 years. I have three of them, and one of them is the twin to my only little boy and they only just turned one, so the rough housing hasn’t yet begun. But our best friends have two little boys and they love to rough house with their daddy, and my girls and my husband. And they get a little rough sometimes. On occasion, I find myself watching the mother as she rolls her eyes with affection as the boys and dads are on the floor acting like barbarians beating one another up while also laughing like maniacs. They love every second of it, and she has absolutely no issue. Of course, there is an occasional, “Remember, he’s only 2,” or “Don’t hurt your brother,” or “When they go to school asking other kids if they want a piece of this, you’re going to the parent/teacher conference and explaining that one,” but there’s no real concern.

It’s made me realize that the rough housing is okay. No, it’s more than okay. It’s actually a great experience for kids, and it’s important that they have that time to bond. And while it hasn’t started – yet – in my house, I know my days are numbered. In fact, as my husband and I watched our freshly walking little boy walk through the family room flipping side tables over without missing a beat, heading into the playroom to flip the standing play tables over as he passed by each one without missing a beat and with a wide smile on his face the entire time, we realized perhaps boys are something else entirely. And we cannot wait. With that said, there are some serious benefits associated with rough housing with your little guys, and I have a few of those right here for you to hold onto the next time the males in your life are getting a little crazy.

It Makes your Kids Happy

Today it seems that few things in life bring absolute joy to kids. Ours are so spoiled rotten with annual passes to Disney and trips every other week or so that they’ve taken to complaining when we have to wait in line or walk from the car to the park. They hate that because they’re now spoiled and it’s no longer as special to them to go there. But when it comes to rough housing, it’s different every single time and it brings actual joy to your kids’ hearts. So why not let them get down and dirty wrestling through the house so that they can experience happiness?

It Encourages Emotional Intelligence

Throughout your son’s life there will be many occasions in which he will need to use his emotional intelligence to factor certain moments in his life. He will need to read body language, sounds, looks in people’s eyes. And he will need to be able to gauge those things and form a reaction that’s appropriate for the situation. When rough housing, your son is learning to read his brother or father’s body language, their eyes, their look and several other external features. He will then process this information emotionally to choose a stance and defend himself. So yes, it’s actually making him more intelligent.

It Makes your Son Smarter

Your brain has a chemical in it called the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and it’s good for your kids. It’s stimulated by rough housing and physical activity and it works almost the same way in which fertilizer works in the yard. It helps to fertilize the brain so that kids are smarter and perform better in school. It’s actually not a joke, and believe it or not, your son is actually becoming smarter every single time he body slams his brother or your husband. Go figure.

It is a Form of Affection

Whereas girls and women are more likely to hold hands, hug and be close to one other both physically and emotionally, boys and men are much less likely to do this. In fact, they are more likely to spend their time rough housing as a way of showing off their friendship and desire to spend time together than they are anything else. What this means is that your kids are actually showing their affection for others with each body slam, punch and drop-kick. Though it’s not reason for them to actually inflict pain on anyone else, it’s still a fun way for them to show their feelings to their friends and family members. Ladies, we don’t have to get it, but remember when a boy would tease you or push you in school? What was your mom and dad’s reaction to that? It’s because he likes you. So, see? There you go.

It’s Great Exercise

We live in a world where playing games on an iPad or tablet or smart phone is more entertaining than anything else, and we allow it. We like that our kids are inside, where we can see them, safe and sound. And it’s not that good for them. Kids need to be outside having fun and being physically active. If you can’t get them outdoors, the least you can do is get them on the living floor so that they can rough house with one another and make their bodies a little stronger and more capable. Rough housing is great exercise, and it’s something you should allow.

Dads, we know what you are going to say, and it’s not necessary. You were right. A little rough housing is not going to kill your kids or make them monsters, but moms are also right. You have to be careful and considerate and you have to make sure your kids know when this type of behavior is appropriate (at home playing with the family) and when it is not appropriate (in the middle of a church sermon or class).

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images


Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply