Some girls, but mainly boys, play fights occasionally or regularly. It is a game that parents hate and fear in equal measure.
These fight simulation games sometimes get older and some end up crying. What should our role be? Should we stop the fight or play fighting in childhood can have a positive part? We'll find that the experts rate these rough-and-tumble games as good for kids.
My kids don't usually fight a lot, but lately they enjoy playing fights. They are like cubs rolling over one another (which is three), making super battle noises, throwing threatening phrases and dealing imaginary blows. However, these fighting games usually end with one injured so I tend to stop the improvised "war" when that mountain of arms and legs goes from laughing to crying in a matter of seconds.
It is a game that boys have played since ancient times: sword games, cowboys and Indians, storming the fort, medieval knights or space wars. But, What do these rough games hide?
There are multiple studies on play in childhood and almost all of them summarize that it is essential for the physical and mental development of the physical and mental child, for the acquisition of skills or for the relationship with their peers, but this leads me to wonder if anything is worth it. game or better yet, if playing fights in childhood is also positive despite the implicit negative word: fight.
When they play fights, children practice symbolic play, they do what they see in real life, be it in television series, video games, superhero comics or other children. And symbolic play has many benefits for children, in the case of playing fighting they learn:
- They learn where the stock limits.
- They know the language of the body and facial expressions.
- They acquire negotiation skills.
- Helps them express their fears.
- They learn to control themselves and to know how far they can go: if you observe them well, many times they will know how far they can go and they are usually regulating and controlling themselves so that the situation does not overflow.
- They acquire language skills to convince an opponent to stop.
- They develop empathy as they learn that what bothers them they should not do to others.
- Children learn to socialize through this type of game.
You can think, like me, that in the vast world of the game, there are many others that are more beneficial and less dangerous than this, right? Certainly yes, however, the research on gambling carried out by the expert and pioneer in this type of studies, Stuart Brown, affirms after studying the childhood and psychological profile of hundreds of criminals, that there was a constant in these people : the lack of free play in childhood, specifically rough play.
Other voices point to the same thing, Joe Frost, professor at the University of Texas and expert in gaming environments, affirms that rough play provides a necessary foundation for developing social skills in childhood.
Likewise, Anthony Pellegrini of the University of Minnesotta published an article stating that the more rowdy boys were in elementary school, the better they scored on social problem solving tests.
Although children acquire certain skills with these fighting games, they are still children and, at times, the fight can go from being a game to being something more serious. They can end up with scratches, cuts, bruises, or heavy bumps.
After all, they play at fighting, throwing fists, elbows, kicks, bites ... Sometimes the younger the children the less they control themselves and, the older they are, the harder they can hit when careless. Therefore, What should be our attitude to this fighting game?
I think the first thing to do is to assess to what extent it is a symbolic game in which they are having fun and when does aggression or aggressiveness come into play, in which case, we must stop it immediately. If someone is bruised, we must assess whether there was an intention to hurt or there was no real intention to hurt.
After knowing this, like me, you may wonder that, as long as the game does not pass to adults, your children are doing what they do best: playing.
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