Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Violence AND/ IN Play

I found the first article below during the daily blog reading and as per usual it got me thinking. So then I did a little research and found the other two.

I don't allow them to see TV or video games that represent any violence at all, let alone gun play. Still, I can't give my older child a banana for his snack without him pretending it's a gun. Is it a boy thing? It seems to be in his DNA.

In conversation's I've had this has happened often. Many mom's are screwed if they do, screwed if they don't. If their child doesn't own a gun toy, it wants one and may not be happy until it has one. And then they go and make their own guns (hence the banana). I do believe it is a boy thing. I also believe that "gun play" is a stage. I have no problem with toy guns as long as they are not pointed directly at people. I recently bought my godson a Nerf gun. It surprised me how much I didn't have a problem with it, it shoots out green balls, not bullets. The most important part to me: it doesn't look like a real gun.

War Play, Gun Play, Superhero and Violent Play...Why Won't It Go Away?
"Why do preschoolers play this way sometimes? Three-, 4- and 5-year-olds typically are not in control of their own lives. Adults make most of the decisions, and older siblings and playmates make up most of the rules. Teachers and child-care providers work with larger groups of children and must have some control over planned activities and schedules. Preschoolers may feel a bit lost in this world of older decision makers."

Last week I was listening to kids talk as they played. One girl was telling the other girl what to do in their play. It got me thinking, how many rules are there in the kids games? Does everyone know the rules? And why is there always that one bossy person in a "game"? I sometimes like to settle down the bossy person if they are going to the extreme. Like when they tell someone else "you have to play it this way" I can't disrupt the nature of the alpha-dog process and I know it.

The Truth Behind Violent Play
"Children who excluded a child tended to call him or her a name (girl or baby or tattletale) and then they seemed to feel justified in being physically or verbally hurtful to that child. On the other hand, a child who is frequently ostracized can justify violence as a means of retaliation."

I see this kind of "violence" more often than not. The key word in the article above is "justified" My least favorite story to tell happened a couple weeks ago. A little girl was accidentally pushed by another boy. Instead of the little boy just saying sorry and the situation being over... the boy's older brother + friend took him out of the room and began hitting him for "hurting" a girl. The older boys believed they were justified in their punishment. 

It is hard to tell stories about this room without mentioning a violent act once in a while (weird huh?). Sometimes it's a older sister dragging her younger sister out of here by the arm. Sometimes it's 2 boys fighting and/or play fighting. Sometimes it's verbal: name calling, degrading, general yelling. The occasions of pretend gun play are rarer. There might be a game of cops and robbers once in a while, but since it typically includes play fighting and yelling it's squashed within moments. 

This is my question. What if violent play has nothing to do with guns, soldiers and war? What if the play and games just turns violent?

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