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Wrestling With Your Kids

By Mark Brandenburg

Editors note: While this article addresses fathers, mothers can do this too - and perhaps pass this article on to dad!

"Bring it on," I yelled to my kids. "I'll pin you both at the same time!"

"You think so?" my daughter yelled back. "You're gonna get what you deserve!" My son came at me from the front, while my daughter snuck around behind me. I spun to the ground, and was assaulted on both sides. It was only a matter of time before they each had a shoulder pinned to the ground.

While they celebrated their victory, I planned my next attack, knowing that the "results" of the battle were far less important than the battle itself.

Do you want to be an effective father?

One of the easiest ways to be effective is to wrestle with your kids. Not only is it loads of fun, but its' benefits go a long ways towards teaching your kids some valuable lessons.

When your child wrestles with you, they learn many things simultaneously. They learn that you care about them enough to spend time with them. They learn that you're strong, and that if you wish you can pick them up and throw them out the window! And they also learn that you can be very gentle with them at the same time.

Wrestling with your kids allows you to set very clear limits on what's allowed. Research has shown that wrestling with your kids helps them to develop self-control and to gain more discipline. When a limit has been violated, you can gently and firmly let your child know what's allowed and what isn't.

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It's extremely important to wrestle with your daughter as well as your son. When you avoid wrestling with your daughter, you run the risk of showing her that you don't believe she's capable of handling it. She can handle it, and by doing it you show her you think she's strong and capable.

If you have more than one child, you can have some great wrestling matches with the whole family, including mom! But as fathers, we'll often have a special place in the family as the "fun, physical guy." We'll often be the ones who show our kids how to play. In this case, we need to be able to show our kids how to play "rough."

Many fathers have wrestled with their kids because it just "felt right," or because they remembered their father wrestling with them when they were young. They had no knowledge of any research associated with it or that it had great benefits for their kids.

So keep looking for opportunities to tackle your son or daughter and take them down to the floor!

It won't be long before your opportunities are gone.

© Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, is the author of "25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers". For more great tips and action steps for fathers, sign up for his FREE bi-weekly newsletter, Dads, Don't Fix Your Kids, at


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