I Don’t Enjoy Roughhousing With My Kids

don't like roughhousing

Is this an HSP thing?  A woman thing?  A me thing?

When my daughter wrestles, jumps and crawls on me it can really stress me out.  I have such a low tolerance for when she accidentally kicks me, grabs my neck, or pulls my hair.  The bigger she gets, the harder this time is for me.  I feel like such a wuss.

As I learn more about my HSP tendencies, I can totally see why I don’t like (and have never liked) rough play.  HSPs can be more sensitive to pain.  We might worry more about injuries.  We might be more ticklish, and need a little more personal space. I definitely prefer quiet, calm play- puzzles, origami, art projects, reading.  I always joked that I’m a nerd, but I think I just like to be calm within my own body. That’s how I liked to spend my time as a kid, and that’s how I’d like to play with my kids.

I wish it weren’t so because she just loves to play that way.  She’s always asking for “wild time on the bed” which is a routine we’ve done since she was an infant.  It’s our time to bounce, roll around, have pillow fights- to burn off excess energy before bed.  It was easy when she was a baby, but now she’s bigger and is a firecracker of flailing limbs.  There are lots of articles about the benefits of roughhousing, and I see firsthand how much joy it brings her.  She is in the BEST mood after some wild play with me, dad or friends. I know it’s necessary and good.

Is it ok that I don’t like playing in this way? Can I honor my own needs/preferences, or am I depriving my kids of something essential? Can I leave the wild play to dad, who genuinely enjoys it and doesn’t worry as much about injuries?  Would love to hear your thoughts.


  1. janice says

    I get it. As the kids get bigger and as we get older and more frail (speaking of me), I worry about injuries to myself as well. I can’t afford to be injured since they are still so young and need my care! Since the kids have full size beds of their own, that is also the time I let them bounce and jump around. The only other time, that they really get to “burn off” energy is when they play outside and run around. Our family isn’t too much into roughhousing. We could probably use more of it. I’d leave wild play to the dads!

  2. says

    You’re not being an inadequate mom just because you don’t like roughhousing with your kids! I usually leave rough play to my husband not only because I bruise easily but also because I have boys and we all know they play rougher than girls. Maybe it’s time to transition your daughter to do milder and girly stuff with mommy? Or maybe you can take control of just how rough you’re going to play so it’s more tolerable for you?
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  3. says

    I think It’s OK to leave it to your husband. Because when you don’t like it, you won’t be able to tolerate and it will make the child feel uneasy. Moreover, roughplay can hurt you. It’s nothing wrong if mother don’t play these kinda of rough play with kid. The kids’s daddy can do that for you.

  4. Ann says

    I love this post, as I stumbled on this read when searching desperately through why its so great to rough house and looking for an out. My son just started Kinder and he loves the rough buddy that knocks him over and always grabs and pulls him around, and it makes me so uncomfortable. I would HATE it and I find myself wanting to protect him from the offensive behavior … but I think my son actually enjoys it. There is a huge part of me that is fighting this instinct that says even though these “puppies” love to tumble and play (and I can only conclude this analogy I keep reading about the similarity is puppy and boy play is so that dogs can learn to hunt one day!), that we have enough violence in our culture that there could be a benefit to saying “let’s not knock our friends onto the ground for entertainment” … but I feel alone in this. I think I may have even offended the other boy’s mom when I asked the little boy to stop grabbing my son (kindly, nervously, masking frustration, trying to smile and make it not so awful). I felt so awkward and realize I actually am parenting another kid, wishing it was my son’s voice saying “leave me alone!” … who knew parenting would be so hard 😉 …

    • frazzled says

      thank you for sharing! i can so relate! i feel so torn sometimes. i’m really trying to foster some ruggedness in my kids, but i despise violence so much.

  5. says

    Yes I also think that It’s OK to leave it to your husband. Because when you don’t like it, you won’t be able to tolerate and it will make the child feel uneasy. The kids’s daddy can do that for you.

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