Hand Wrestle + Explore Manhood
Especially for boys aged 9 to 99.
It's exciting, playful, and great to play when the kids are challenging their parents. My young boys feel big. They love to test their strength, especially against Dad.
Play Up the Gentle, Rough Contact
Don’t blink or you’ll miss the adult vs. child hand wrestle. So extend the loving contact with some drama (grunts, "huge" efforts), a bear hug, a full fledged wrestle, or a nifty high five.
Mulan (Special Edition)
Plan a Calm Down to Avoid a Storm
Excited kids need to time to calm down. Try these ways
- Lie down together where there is space for everyone. If it’s four boys and Dad, choose the floor instead of the couch.
- Stay wild, but reduce contact. March around like Indians, ants, ballerinas, Mom (get ready for a caricature!), a mad scientist, a lord-a-leaping, a hungry kid…
Laugh to Encourage Kids’ Creativity
My younger boys know they can't win on strength. They devise creative brute-force-free strategies. (Think Mulan.) “Dad, wipe the food off your moustache!” Flattery wins me over. “Stop struggling, Mom. You look nicer when you smile.”
Each culture—families and societies—has its set of stereotypes which we often take for granted. Marrying a Frenchman made me confront mine, like what it means to be a “real man.” Parents, help your pre-teens and teenagers think about what they believe.
Gordon MacDonald (When Men Think Private Thoughts) presents several American, male stereotypes. We selected one to wrestle with. Let each child digest these meaty concepts according to his personality. Some gladly chew over them for 10 minutes. 10 seconds may suffice for another …this time. In our family, these discussions work best during car travel.
- Discuss the stereotype—A real man is a hunter and provider: he fears failure. Why (or why not) is it important to do a job well? Are some jobs more valuable than others (helping with chores, home repairs, artwork, being an entrepreneur, or working for a corporation…)?
- Bring the idea to life with examples—How do these characters fit the stereotype?
o Tom Scavo (Desperate Housewives) I need to provide without my wife’s help.
o George Bailey (It's a Wonderful Life) (When faced with a financial crisis.) The value of my life is measured in dollars.
o Daniel Hillard (Mrs. Doubtfire) The wife and judge say he’s irresponsible, so he’s out.
o Jack Butler (Mr. Mom) I’ll show my wife’s boss that I’m the man at home.
- Share personal experiences—“Son, I (dis)agree with this stereotype. But life is not that clear cut. I still feel the pressure to…
Love your child with a hand wrestle. It builds arm and life muscle.
Photo by Christophe Chauchat.