Wednesday, September 28, 2011
(Father) Bear Cubs
I love going to conferences that have to do with my field of study. It makes me feel less weird about being a Psychologist because I'm with my peeps. My buddies who all laugh at the same stupid jokes. Well, we also learn a lot too. One of the things the speaker mentioned was the way boys (who are over diagnosed with ADHD in my opinion) wrestle around and get energy out. Sitting in a classroom in not conducive to such behavior and is with more emphasis on meeting standardized testing requirements, may not be getting enough time at recess. But there is still another piece of this puzzle. Boys are discouraged from wrestling altogether. It seems there is only the appropriate time to make contact and that is in the context of sports (which is great) but what about the kids who don't have the resources (Time, money, transportation) for such.
Michael G. Thompson is an author (30 years of research, therapy, and teaching on boys/men) who wrote Raising Cain which is a book about boys and growing up in today's world. In another book I just read he tells a story about two boys, who were friends, but got in wrestling match that got a little heated. The parents were called and the teachers, principle, and both sets of parents made a treatment plan to keep them apart since "fighting" was sure to ensue. Despite the boy's attraction to one another they kept them apart. Because, when they did make contact, they would wrestle and it could turn ugly. Thompson's argued that this was not in the best interests of any involved. The lecturer this past Saturday agreed.
She explained (researched based)that boys are fine in wrestling as long as their is shared power struggle in that no boy gets the upper hand above 60 percent. A 60/40 split is fine but once it goes above then the problem arises. That is where people rush in to say that the wrestling is wrong altogether. Let's take no chances in anyone getting hurt and how dare your child hurt my child. Now granted, the problem of bullying is not lost on me. and any kid that goes above and beyond the 60 percent on a regular basis should be dealt with. But I must tell you it was refreshing to hear.
I have two boys and they fight. Sometimes they fight dirty so when I watch Beast shove Fire into a chain link fence I stand up to reprimand. after coming back from the conference I became aware of holding back until I saw the 60/40 split happens. Fire came back and tackled Beast which gave Beast reason to stand on Fire's back. This all looked like it hurt. I was then worried that if I let it go on the problem wouldn't be hard feelings toward one another but the bruises I would have to explain to the school.
I think the difficult part would be for teachers to let something go on even if the boys did not have much of a problem with it. Because the risk it too much if things get ugly. The school could be held liable as well as the parent of the child who gets the upper hand. And, in fact, I would be among the first dad's who gets angry. I want to protect my children at all costs. But what is the real cost in the long run? I s it worth putting our faith into the research or do we let them run around the block a couple of times as an alternative. I will say that Fire brought some wonderful qualities to the brother factor. Even though he is 22 months younger he would tackle Beast to the floor and pick on him quite often. I felt sorry for my little tender hearted boy. Everybody witnessed the struggle Beast had.
One day they were over at Grandpa and Grandma's house. Daisy and I had gone out of town for the weekend. Daisy's sister and her husband were over to visit. Fire stole something from Beast and ran into the living room where everyone was seated. Laughing of course. The way they describe it was this. Beast came out of the Kitchen with a distressed look on his face. Before everyone's eyes his face turn into a fierce looking animal. He ran over to Fire, got him in a headlock, and dragged him to the ground. On impulse, everyone cheered. Beast had finally had enough. And Y'know what? I don't have as much fear of him going to school. I say, "as much". Because I don't think Beast will be a bully. He will just be more confident. Oh yeah, and he will have Fire in the next classroom to back him up.
Forgive any writing errors. I did not read this over. I need to watch Bridesmaids with Daisy.