Playful Words

9 Mar

>Parents, I need advice.

Jayden has just started getting into action figures.  He loves Batman and Transformers.  He has never watched either of them on TV or in a movie so I have no idea what he is so into them.  While he plays with them he often uses harsh words such as “kill,” “dead,” “hurt,” etc.  Those words are definitely not allowed during regular play.  When I asked him why he is using such harsh and mean words he responded by saying, “Momma, bad guys need to die because they hurt other peoples feelings.  They are mean and the good guys are killing them so they can win!”  He said it with some much passion as if he was making the world a better place.

For a just turned 4 year old, I think while playing with action figures there are plenty of other words he could be using.  At the same time, he did make a pretty valid point.  So parents, non-parents, and everyone else, what do you think?  Please, your honest feedback would be appreciated!


5 Responses to “Playful Words”

  1. Maria March 9, 2011 at 5:51 PM #

    >I actually posted an article about this last week. I'll post a link at the end of this message. I was struggling with the same thing with TB, who is generally very compassionate and loving, and it was kind of alarming to me. After reading the article, I found my thoughts about violent play and boys changed a bit, though we do spend a lot of time talking about the difference between play and real life, and what really happens when you are violent. Generally, in the long run, allowing TB to experiment through play his own way and work it out, I believe, will serve him far better than suppressing it (to be released at a time when it will be completely inappropriate or FAR more dangerous — i.e. with a real gun!). Instead of forbidding it, we engage him and talk about it. I ask questions like what makes a bad guy? good guy? I ask about the story he is creating in his mind. That being said, we do not generally buy him or allow him to have toy weapons. He has used a nerf gun before, and we have one in our home, but he has to ask to use it and use it with an adult. He's more interested in making the darts stick to the wall than anything, and there is a strict, do not point it at people rule. He does sometimes make up his own toy weapons (i.e. swords out of balloons), but I like that he is creative in coming up with it.BTW– I know it might sound like a lot of talking, but TB is a talker. Non-stop. I wouldn't change it for the world, even when I am wishing for 1 minute of silence. :)I am sure this seems contradictory to our non-violent home, but I really think that the play is healthy for children, especially boys. It's my job as his parent (and Kevin's too) to teach him the limits within which it works though (i.e. real guns kill people). One of the topics pointed to in the article is the need to feel in control, so if there have been changes or Jayden is feeling insecure about something, it might manifest in violent play. I'm not saying that is the case, but for us, it definitely played in to the situation, as violent play entered when we moved.'m not sure if this is helpful at all, but it wasn't but a couple of weeks ago I found that article, which really helped me evolve my thinking a bit.

  2. Erin Crispin March 10, 2011 at 12:18 AM #

    >I agree with Maria about needing to let boys be boys. I think there is something God-given inside of these guys that feels a need to protect the weak and to restore justice, which in many ways is a good thing.We have never had to deal with the words because we started out saying "get the bad guys" and none of our kids has ever said otherwise. Never really realized that until now, so thanks for this post.Some other topics we have been more proactive to hit upon though are:1. Fighting is NOT the first option. When someone does something wrong, our first option is to walk away.2. God is the ultimate restorer of justice, so we can trust Him when someone does something wrong.3. At the same time, we want Elijah to be a defender of the weak. We are always telling the kids to stand up for someone who is weaker and being treated wrong. That may just be saying a strong word for them, it may be telling an adult, etc.A bit more than you asked there, so I guess the main answer to your question is we use the word "GET" for the bad guys 😉

  3. The Turner Family March 10, 2011 at 10:39 AM #

    >Olivia says she is going to "Bonk them on the head"…so maybe it is the boy vs. girl thing 🙂

  4. Kearstin March 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM #

    >Thanks for you help ladies. Adam and I both agreed we need to let him be a boy and allowed him to explore and be playful but still have limits. I really don't like the word "kill" so instead we are trying to use "I am going to GET you!" We have tried to but in when Jayden tells us the bad guys are "dead" and instead use they went to jail. So far, so good but let's just pray it continues! And Leigh, gotta love your girls! 😉

  5. Maria March 14, 2011 at 9:07 PM #

    >Oddly enough, a lot of this reminds me of TB's questioning on what it means to be dead as well. It seems to have all come together. Plus, his classmate had a grandparent die, so death is on his mind. It definitely poses some HARD questions when you try to explain it to a child, which I know you understand all too well!

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