Dads Wrestling with Their Daughters

Updated on March 06, 2009
N.S. asks from Buffalo Grove, IL
4 answers

My husband (probably because he is a guy) likes to wrestle and tickle his 7-year old daughter for play. She loves it, she's always jumping on him. That's fine, but every time they do it we get one of several results:

1. She ends up crying because her arm or leg got bumped the wrong way.
2. She doesn't know when to stop so she'll keep jumping on him. Eventually he'll yell at her to STOP and she ends up upset because she was yelled at.
3. She pees her pants.
4. Something gets broken or spilled.

As the mom of the house I've said OVER and OVER "no wrestling in the house." I finally blew a gasket yesterday because I came home from work to find out she peed her pants because he was tickling her.

He says he doesn't know how to interact with his daughter and he loves tickling and wrestling with her. I think a lot of dads do that, certainly they do it with their sons.

I know they both love to play like that. However, I'm tired of hearing her cry, seeing her get yelled at, having things broken in the house or hearing she peed in her pants. I don't think a "no wrestling in the house" rule is a bad one. Last time she accidently kicked the DVD stand and all the DVDs fell down.

He thinks its fine because even though she ends up crying or peeing her pants she still wants to wrestle so he thinks it's OK (sometimes her crying isn't because she's hurt, she's just mad at being "pinned down" or because she did something and he did it back).

I get that it's HIS daughter. But it's MY house too!


Edited to add: I don't think it's inappropriate in a man-daughter kind of way yet since she is so young and they do it correctly. Another one of my husband's things is soon it WILL be inappropriate so he wants to do it now while it's OK.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi, I have an 8 yr. old daughter, 3 yr. old son, and 1 yr. old daughter. They all wrestle with daddy and mommy. Our youngest even gets in on it. We have been wrestling with our children since they could crawl. Daddy does it more than me because he's a man and I think they like that bonding.
My 8 yr. old seems to be the one who ends up hurt every time. She also gets really rough, jumping on his back, kicking, everything. My rule is if you wrestle rough, I don't want to heart it if you get hurt. You can then stop wrestling. My kids and husband love this time together and they usually are all ok. Your daughter peeing was just probably she had to go to the bathroom before it even began and the tickling just made it worse, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. After all it was an accident.
All of our wrestling usually takes place in our bed, so nothing gets knocked down or we throw all of the couch pillows on the floor and just kinda have a pillow fight and wrestle.



answers from Chicago on

We have two sons and we wrestle/tickle with them all the time. They are 3.5 and 18M. Yea, sometimes they may clunk heads or whatever, but they get right back into playing. I don't see a problem with wrestling/tickling at all - in the house or not. AND, I have some pretty strict rules around here, lol. Kids need to let off some steam - especially in the winter. And, it's not about actually wrestling, but more about tickling, laughing and having fun. They like to be tickled as much as they like to tickle us.

I do think your situation is a bit different.

1) Crying/wetting pants means your husband is taking it too far. He needs to knock it down a few steps. Seriously.

2) When tickle time is over, we tell them. We are calm about it and simply tell them "it's time to settle down." Sure, they still may try a couple of things, but we remind them a bit more firmly, 'Jacob, I said it's time to settle down. Let's get a book to read together (or whatever)."

Personally, I feel that since your hubby is taking it to the point that he pins her down and she cries - she's getting too worked up. It's not about the "fun" but almost about winning in her mind and it's harder for her to turn it off.

Just my thoughts.



answers from Chicago on

Once my very good friend told me :
Just remmember one thing, that is how memories are made. Your daughter will not remember the reason you didin't want her to "wrestle" with her father but she will always remember that you were the one who didn't want her to have some fun.
I know we all mean well by being protective I am the same way but I have learned to stand back a little.
Good luck to you.



answers from Chicago on

I think it's good for them to bond and play together. If it bothers you, maybe you can distract yourself and go do something else in another room. I used to love rough housing with my dad when I was a little girl and have happy memories of it. Although, I agee w/ what another poster said, maybe he could tone it down a bit if she is crying or wetting her pants. That seems to be going a bit too far. Good luck!

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