Sticks and swords
Boys take so naturally to swordplay, as do some girls. In fact I don't think there's a person in the world who doesn’t want to do a big "hiyyyaaa" with grey insulating tube!
I think it’s okay if your child wants to swing sticks around. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with them; there is definitely a place for large, fighting, boisterous movements in the world, if we let there be a place. The need for big swinging movements and for "whacking" don't go away when we always tell children to “Don't play with that stick like that.” Instead, potentially it’s making a world where people, boys and girls alike, are not satisfying their inner worlds. If I feel big feelings and big movements inside of me then there needs to be an expression of that – sometimes that is about using words, sometimes it’s that my body "knows it" and off I go for a run. Those feelings might be joyous ones or equally I might be running out of frustration or anger.
I'm using my body to make sense of the feelings that may otherwise overwhelm me.
Children do this all the time. They don't just have a body - they are their bodies and we need to trust what they're telling us.
Are we so afraid of the power of big feelings and big movements to overtake us that we are uncomfortable with its expression in children’s play?
I love wild children who leap from the park benches, who run, jump, yell and climb. This is life being expressed through the body. We must value our children and embrace it even if others don't.
Children playing with sticks is not a meaningless game. It’s something that children absolutely must be allowed to do, if that’s how they want to play. A boy (because let’s face it boys love sticks!) who wants to pick up a stick needs to know that he can, and he may, and that his affinity for sticks is not a bad thing. He needs to know that a stick is a powerful thing, and that the world needs men who know how to use their sticks. He also needs to learn the rules around sticks, they hitting people is not good, that breaking things is difficult behaviour. That's one reason why the insulting tubes are soooooo great - whacking can happen, without anyone losing an eye!