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Book Review: The Art of Roughhousing by Anthony T DeBenedict & Lawrence J Cohen

11 May 2011 No Comment

Date of Review: 1st May 2011

Reviewer: Will Roney

Do you remember your own childhood? Mine wasn’t like Swallows and Amazons – adventures including sailing, exploring and general crime fighting. Mine was full of cycling round the our small estate on my bike, falling off and generally getting to know my own limitations and realising that there were consequences for getting it wrong.

Nowadays, understandable fear has replaced that childhood with one that appears to have more cotton wool attached. Every bump and scrape is a major event and children are permanently joined to the family home either by sight or a mobile phone. We feel a little safer in our version of the modern world, but is that world the right one to bring children up in?

“The Art of Roughhousing” by Anthony T DeBenedict & Lawrence J Cohen is an attempt to remind all parents of the values that we all learned ourselves but are worried to expose our children to. It is perhaps a sign of the times that there is a note of caution about the danger associated with some of the activities, but that is precisely the point of the book – to let children have that risk, but in a controlled and loving environment.

In the book, the focus is on children and babies up to the age of about 12 years old, and throughout there are ideas for activities that will build on the ability of your child to make the most of their childhood. Alongside these pages of activities, is real advice on what your child maybe thinking in a given situation but providing guidance on what you as a parent can do about it.

It is not just about physical things, but to develop and encourage imagination in your child along with the ability to play games and interact with other people in a way that we seem to have lost.

This could be an important book in the fight back to reclaim a sense of proportion in childhood. There are many good reasons why parents need to be careful in this modern world, but this book allows us to take the good points of our time growing up and put into practice those things that made us alive.


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