Hot Topics     Home and Family     Healthy Kids    

Kids’ fight club



A dad weighs in on rough playground playing

A dad weighs in on rough playground playing


Fighting among children is, of course, inevitable as skinned knees and bug bites. One of the many challenges of parenting is dealing with these physical fights – both real tussles, with punches, hair pulls, biting, crying, and “play fights.” My grandmother once called this “horseplay.” If you witness a situation unfolding amongst your child or children, when and how do you intervene, if, in fact, you intervene at all?

Writing for Direct Advice for Dads, Chris Ryan offers his insights my - and entertaining – tips by way of describing how he handled his toddler son’s various scrapes and altercations from ages two to four. He notes how fellow playground parents run the gamut from being helicopter parents to being completely focused on their phones while all manner of chaos transpires.  

Right off the bat, Ryan notes how most of the time, he does not interfere: “Usually, I let the action play out. It wasn’t like I would be hovering around, refereeing my son’s bouts – he had to learn to negotiate these conflicts himself.”


It reminds me of my older brother sitting back and watching my nephew tussle with my two nieces – all of them not yet teenagers. From my vantage point – the parent of an only child – I wondered why he didn’t do something for God’s sake. But, like Ryan, it was his policy to let them work it out. And a decade on, I think he was right. They are now thick as thieves, my nephew and nieces.

Ryan draws the line when his son has a size advantage over another child. He doesn’t want to raise a bully.  He also advises his son to walk away from a fight he knows he can’t win, something he does not quite believe is good advice in his heart.

Ultimately, we want our kids to be able to defend themselves, of course. And once you’ve spent your kid’s earliest years protecting them, it can be hard to switch gears and let them get hurt, while also letting them know you’ve got their back. But it can be done, and according to Ryan, you can laugh along the way.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Weeklong FAIR Film Festival 2022

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) Hosts a Film Screening Plus Q&A

    The Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR) will kick off the FAIR Film Festival 2022 with an in-person screening of the documentary film I Am A Victor plus a selection of short films on Sunday, June 12 at 1:00pm EDT at Caveat on the lower east side in Manhattan. read more »
  • Keep kids learning during summer

    3 Fun, Easy Ways

    With school out, summertime brings long, carefree days of play and fun. With a little thought and a few supplies, summer is a perfect opportunity to revitalize their innate love of learning that may be a bit squashed after a year of academic pressures, tests and schedules. read more »
  • Take steps to support literacy

    8 ways to inspire children to read

    Reading is a foundation for learning, yet a vast gap exists in access to books for low-income neighborhoods. read more »
  • Sweeten up summer with a frozen, fruity snack

    Try these easy to make ice pops

    Heading to the freezer for a fruity ice pop can transport you from your own backyard to a tropical island, and the experience can be even more rewarding when the tasty treat is homemade. read more »
  • Clean. Drain. Dry. Every Time!

    Help keep invasive species out of our waters

    One of the most effective ways we can all help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species is by following proper procedures for cleaning, draining, and drying watercraft and equipment every time you leave the water. read more »
  • It pays to give

    5 ideas for investing in the world around you

    In a world fraught with social, political and environmental strife, a mindset that involves a more community-driven approach can make a meaningful difference. Each person’s contributions to improve the earth can send a ripple effect that ultimately transforms communities and the people who live within them. read more »
  • Special gifts to make dad smile

    6 great ideas for the man in your life

    Father’s Day brings a special opportunity each year to celebrate the dad in your life, whether it’s spent lighting a grill in the backyard, heading to the golf course or simply relaxing at home. read more »
  • Grocery store savings hacks

    7 tips to help you slash your bill

    As people continue to eat more meals at home, shoppers everywhere are feeling the pinch of increasing prices on nearly every item at the grocery store. read more »
  • Build friendship skills for back-to-school success

    Focus on your kids' social skills

    When thinking about back-to-school season, most people naturally think of academics. However, it’s just as important to focus on social and emotional skills. read more »
  • Protecting children in a digital age

    8 tips to help keep your kids safe online

    Keeping a watchful eye on your kids requires an increasing level of tech savvy many parents find intimidating. Not only are your kids vulnerable to bad actors online, but your family’s personal information could be at risk, as well. read more »