We are having a major problem in the Diehl house. I know that there is some degree of normalcy to it, being that this is a house completely overrun by testosterone and sweat, but I can’t take it anymore!

It’s the wrestling.

But let me back up for a minute.

By the time Luke was 4 or so (and Bennett 2), people started commenting things to me like, “Oh, I’ll bet there’s a lot of wrestling in your house!” And I always said “no, not really, but I’m sure it’s coming.” I mean, I grew up with brothers; I remember them wrestling with each other sometimes, but it’s not like it’s a primary childhood memory. As my boys got older and still weren’t really wrestling much, I thought *maybe* I just have kids that, though they like to play hard, aren’t really wrestlers, you know?


Something happened the day we got this house. I don’t know if they hit the magical ages for wanting to wrestle at the exact moment that we obtained more space to wrestle in, or if it would have happened in our smaller house or if it’s just a product of having more room, but it’s on. All the time.

No joke, here’s a picture of the first few moments in this house:

at the time i remember thinking it was kinda cute.

It’s reached an all-time high, and I am about to lose my mind. Occasionally I tell them to go downstairs and wrestle because there are fewer things to break and/or hurt themselves with. But mostly, I tell them to stop. Or, like yesterday morning, have an “I’m-completely-losing-my-mind-stop-touching-your-brother-or-else-you’re-grounded-from-everything-you-like-for-a-week” screaming-banshee fit. The kind of fit that makes me feel like a failure when I’m done yelling, because I hate to yell at the boys…it’s wrong, and it’s ineffective. So I apologized for the yelling but not for what I said, because that had all been fine; my volume was the issue.

Of course, this morning as I was upstairs getting dressed to take them to school (literally, I’d been away for 45 seconds), Jack Henry started crying. I came down and demanded the whole truth on the first telling of the story, and of course, they’d be tackling each other since the second I turned my back. So now, the two older ones are grounded from the Wii for a week and neither of them can play with friends for a week (good thing for B, who has some playtime set up for next Thursday already).

But I need help. I totally get that boys have a need to roughhouse. Should I make it a part of our day, like 15 minutes of wrestling after school? Will that even do anything to help them not tackle each other the rest of the day? Moms of boys, help. I’m desperate.

21 responses to “Smackdown

  1. I don’t have multiple boys but I do have two older brothers and my parents used to set up a certain area in the basement and that was the only spot that wrestling could happen. If it even remotely happened elsewhere the only words out of her mouth were “downstairs.” If it continued and was not downstairs then they lost priviledges and was grounded. If I recall right, they had an old mattress sitting on the floor and that was the area, bu tnot sure.

  2. A gentlemen was walking along a street and saw a circle of boys gathered around two youngsters who were wrestling on the ground. The old man walked up and stood with the circle of boys watching the wrestlers. In a rather loud voice he said, “Why are those boys hugging each other so much?”

    The circle started to snicker and then began laughing outright. The wrestlers became embarrassed and quickly disengaged.


    When my children started to wrestle or fight I would often ask, “Do you like it when your parents are arguing with each other?” Of course they always answered “no”. “Well, that’s the same way I feel when you are arguing or fighting or wrestling with each other.”

    On one occasion my spouse and I had reached our breaking point with the children fighting, as so we began a mock argument (somewhat loud). In short order the kids quit their fighting and came over rather shocked. Of course we told them we weren’t actually angry with each other, but that we wanted them to see a mirror image of their antics.

  3. I think that boys, most of them anyway, just NEED that outlet to be really physical. I think you have to let it happen but with well-defined boundaries.

    I like the idea of a mattress or some open, padded area. Again, many boundaries of what’s ok and what the consequences will be if violations occur.

    My brothers are 7 years apart so the older one was just desperate for someone to wrestle with. I became his wrestling buddy during that time of his life. I was older so just a bit bigger but he was stronger. Dad laid out some very well-defined boundaries for what was ok (i.e. never hurt your sister!!!). He was the kind of boy that really had a lot of physical energy that needed to be dumped each day or he would make everyone in the house crazy. The arrangement worked for a couple years and by then he had other outlets for all that energy.

  4. Hmmm, we let our boys wrestle (albeit begrudgingly). I always laugh and say “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, then it’s just fun”.

    I think my biggest battle with my boys is helping them to discern good timing. If I’ve told the kiddo to put his shoes on and he’s wrestling with his brother, then a consequence is going to follow. Not because he was wrestling, but because he chose to disobey me.

    I am running into the same kind of thing with winter here. Cooper was outside EVERY. DAY. rain or shine this summer. But now that it is super cold it’s not as fun for me (’cause I have to be out there too). What I get instead is a “bored” kid. And bored just causes trouble.

    I think setting up a time of day to get the wiggles out would be good since you guys have a regular schedule you keep. And a chat about timing would be good too. The 2 older boys should be able to get that conversation. And maybe they’ll look forward to that “special” time each day when they can mess with each other.

    Hope that is sorta helpful. Where’s Jamie Hartke when ya need her?

    • It is helpful, and reassuring. The timing thing is definitely an issue, and I thought of that after I wrote this. Like, when Mom’s getting ready to leave the house, you should be too (b/c you were told to), so now is not a good time to pummel your brother…

  5. no help here, but i just think it is so strange that boys like to wrestle. something i will never understand… i catch jeff wrestling with rockit (our puppy)!

  6. It happens with girls too! Since we have 1 girl and 1 boy they wrestle with each other. It drives me crazy, but I usually allow a small amount of wrestling. They usually have fun and are laughing the entire time so it’s hard to tell them to stop since they are actually playing together and having fun. However, they know if someone cries or gets mad then wrestle time is over!

  7. My girls wrestle all the time and always request to wrestle with “daddy” – never with me – i wimp out too easily!! 🙂
    I find them starting to wrestle with each other a bit now – but never too seriously. In the future I am envisioning more hair pulling and slapping then actual “wrestling” 🙂

  8. Hmmm… I was hoping for some good ideas here. I’ve got to tell you it’s bad even without three boys– maybe it’s an age thing since we’re at about the same place– because my girl and boy wrestle every single day lately and, like you, it drives me absolutely batty.
    I can only take the obnoxious laughing and squealing and writhing around for about 2.3 seconds before I can feel my blood pressure start to go up. Also like you, I want try to just let them have fun and this is how they’re having fun together right now… I just need to figure out how to set up boundaries for it.
    Or get earplugs and blinders so I can ignore it all.

  9. OK, so from the last couple of comments, it’s maybe as much an age thing as a boy thing…

  10. so funny, Nicole! We’ve been struggling with this too! (I KNOW it is due to no outside time). I will tell you that I’m also sure it transcends gender. Click on my friend Renays latest post – it’s an energy outlet that is planned and okayed with a parent. That’s what I go for. I find that when I turn on music, usually they play ALONG with each other instead of against. Kinda strange. Also, I have set the oven timer (kind of like a boxing match). When it goes off, the match is over. For the night.

  11. We are in the same boat…..the wrestling really started last year …and out of NOWHERE. But now it is an every.single.night.thing. Austin is bigger so he can really put the smackdown but Will is scrappy and just keeps going and actually says BRING IT. I allow it for the most part because I know that they are sitting in school all day long and this is their outlet….they aren’t hurting anything/anyone just goofing around…BUT….almost always it starts to get a little too rough so that’s when I stop it or let them know that if they can’t let up a bit….they will have to stop.

  12. I have 3 boys also and they wrestle all the time. In fact the 17 month old is starting to join in on the fun. I have actually heard myself say, “No wrestling on the stairs” and “Quit tackling your brother in the van, sit down and put your seat belt on so I can drive!”. Funny though my husband always seems to be in the middle of it as well!

  13. With 3 boys in the family- we deal with a lot of wrestling too. They act like a bunch of puppies. I feel like they are always matching up against one another seeing how they measure up. I am not a big fan. Someone pretty much always ends up in tears. In an effort to get some energy out- we do get out the stopwatch and time the boys running laps around the downstairs. How fast can you run three/five/ten laps (one runner at a time- no socks)? Can you beat your time? Then you get of the boys to make a chart out of it and record their progress. It is a pretty popular past time around here.

  14. not being to be outside as much as definitely upped the play wrestling at our house. if i see one more tackle, kick, hit, i’m going to lose it:)

  15. Oooo! I’m stealing Elizabeth Ward’s idea!

  16. I only had one brother and I remember my brother and dad wrestling on occasion. Now that I have boys ages 5 & 8, I have the same issues as you. It drives me crazy! The other thing that drives me batty is when they try to throw balls in the living room. That may even be a bigger issue for me. Anyway, I’m anxious to read all the responses you’re getting. Hope you (and I) find some solutions.

  17. Funny that this was yesterday’s post and my kids begged their dad to wrestle with them last night. It’s not his favorite thing either, but he gave in and the 3 of them wrestled for about 10 minutes. That was enough to keep everyone happy.

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