(NaturalNews) Modern society has become obsessed with keeping everything as sanitary, standardized, risk-free, and "safe" as possible. But this approach to life is making it difficult for younger generations to learn important life lessons and build strong character, because many of the activities and social interactions that have long been a part of growing up in the past are now considered by some to be too dangerous.
Brett and Kate McKay recently wrote a very interesting piece over at The Art of Manliness that highlights the importance of parents roughhousing with their children -- you know, things like chasing your child around the house while pretending to be a monster, wrestling with him and putting him in a headlock, throwing her up in the air and catching her, or swinging him around in a circle while holding his feet.
Citing numerous experts on the subject, the piece demonstrates the importance of roughhousing, and particularly parents roughhousing with their own children, in developing youngsters that are "smart, emotionally intelligent, lovable and likeable, ethical, physically fit, and joyful." When children miss out on this important part of growing up, they are more likely to be unable to deal with the stresses of life, for instance, or be able to think rationally in difficult situations.
As far as brain smarts are concerned, the McKay's cite research into animal and human brains which has found that various "rough-and-tumble" activities actually induce the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a chemical that spurs neuronal growth in the parts of the brain responsible for memory, logic, and higher-learning skills.
And rather than lead to violence later in life like some people claim, roughhousing has actually been shown to produce the opposite effect. Dr. Stuart Brown, an expert on "play," says that roughhousing, which often involves situations where a child "wins" on some occasions and "loses" on others, helps temper potential violent impulses by teaching him or her about the give-and-take nature of social interactions.
Children who roughhouse with their parents also learn about proper boundaries, including how to play around in an aggressive, yet loving and compassionate, way. Many experts say engaging in things like plastic sword-fight battles and soft-punch boxing matches, for instance, cause children to learn how to use their strength and power in a morally acceptable way later in life.
Be sure to read the entire piece, as it contains many valuable insights into raising children through roughhousing: http://artofmanliness.com