I can tell when it’s happening. My son wants to hit everything (or everyone) in sight with something: his foam sword, his body, a pillow, a blanket, a piece of cardboard. He starts doing his “exercises,” as he calls them—a circuit up the stairs, down the stairs, throws himself on the couch. Up the stairs, down the stairs, throws himself on the couch.

The diagnosis: testosterone overload.

He loves books, computers, and hanging out indoors. But when he gets to this point, one of us is going to have to go outside! So one day at the park after I saw him throwing rocks, I commanded him to run around the park three times (it was a small park). And when he was done … he kept going!

My friend at the park commented that she’s heard of people making their kids do push-ups, or even wall sits in a military family she knew. That’s when I remembered that on days my boys have really been acting up, my husband questions, “Have they been outside?” I came from a family of all girls, so I am near clueless about these things.

So this last week, I’ve switched my consequence for over-the-top-rambunctiousness and other behavior that I would judge as testosterone-driven. Time out, which in the past has seemed to just compound the problem, is now running around the yard a proportionate amount of times. And I think it’s working!

I’m already planning for winter by having my husband teach my 5-year-old how to do push-ups. Or maybe I’ll just keep a sweatshirt by the door …