To thump or not to thump? Disciplining kids

Bizarrely, this summer, having never witnessed the ‘sport’ before, we attended two events featuring wrestling.

At the Lowland Games, along with River It’s A Knockout and Wife Carrying, the Somerset levels farming community enjoy a spot of Mud Wrestling.

At the Strummer Of Love festival in the fantastic and all free kids field there was a hotly contested two day tournament of Sock Wrestling.

My three year old was entranced. And is now in a fully fledged wrestling phase. Much to the dismay of a patient and long suffering older six year old sibling. The six year old is committed to a non-violent reaction in the face of sustained provocation. The three year old remains undeterred by entreaties to stop.

I am a non-violent person. But reason? With a three year old? It’s not working so far. ‘If you thump people, they won’t want to play with you,’ I say. ‘I won’t do it again,’ is the response. Swiftly followed by another clump. ‘Would you like it if mummy thumped you?’. ‘No, mummy. I won’t do it again.’ Words delivered with no intention to comply.

I can’t help thinking if the six year old responded in kind, the three year old might just stop. But how does this strategy sit with my non-violent philosophy? I can’t advise that the six year old bashes the three year old. Even though, hypocritically, part of me wishes that would happen.

Things took a different turn at the weekend. An early morning bout of Sock Wrestling as ever against the wishes of the older sibling. Three year old was pinning six year old down with a full body smother.

I’m not good in the morning. The screaming was a proverbial lit touchpaper. *Almost* before I rationalised, I whipped the three year old off onto the floor and lay on top (not full weight OF COURSE). After a few moments of laughter, it ceased to be funny. A few moments on, I got up, not feeling altogether proud of myself. There was no more sock wrestling that morning.

Parenthood makes you do strange things. Including question some of your dearest beliefs. Without the relief of a satisfactory conclusion, but with the definite knowledge that you’ll be facing that conundrum again.

So what did I learn today? Apart from I need a better strategy to deal with an exuberant three year old hooked on wrestling, I don’t know.

What would you have done?


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