As I have mentioned several times, my natural inclination could be called a “German Dictator” style of parenting. And I married a goofball who seems to have an imagination the size of Canada. It’s sometimes hard to keep up. So, when I came upon the book Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen, I knew I would glean at least a few nuggets of information that would be valuable.
I was right. He has lots of suggestions on being silly for people like me – whose Gestapo tactics can be a bit overbearing sometimes (and not a little bit futile). I do think Cohen goes a bit overboard in his suggestions (Hello, without the German Dictator, nothing would ever get done, people!) – and as with all the parenting books I read, we took what parts work for us and incorporated only that.
But one thing that has proved to be invaluable was… wrestling. Simple as that. Cohen recommends regular roughhousing. It provides us a physical place to get silly, get aggressive, work out your frustrations from the day – and most importantly – it gives Declan a place to be the boss. He tells who attacks who, and we CHARGE. Cohen says “no tickling” be part of the rules because of the loss of control kids feel, so we skip that… but we definitely have lots of laughter and giggling. And if anyone yells STOP, we immediately cease and make sure everyone is OK (seeing as Bryan and I regularly sneak in extra punches on each other when Declan isn’t looking). And the other good thing for Dex is that, since he has never been a very physical kid – he is gaining confidence in his balance, strength and coordination – all while having fun.
Declan asks to wrestle or pillow fight nearly every night now.
And I swear to god, both Bryan and I feel like a weight has lifted after we’re through too.
Maybe we’ve found the answer to the stress of a hard day’s work, eh?