13 September, 2008

Violence and Boys

Today I took the boys to Pottery Barn for a photo op with Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper and an Ewok. My eldest is very much into the Star Wars theme, even though he has never watched an entire movie before.

I personally believe it is a little too old for him. My husband doesn't put much thought into it and would sit and watch the entire saga with both boys. L is 6 and V is 4.

L was so proud and thrilled to be standing with Darth Vader directly behind him as he posed for his picture. V, well he was clinging to my leg and refused to budge. It was too scary, which reinforces my stance.
Philosophically, I oppose all toy guns, lazars, knives etc. Anything that is used for violence or to harm another I do not allow my children to have. But they take their race track and use it as a sword, or their drum sticks and use as a lazar. The best is when they make a gun out of their mega blocks and try to tell me it is a ice cream maker, once I enter the room. Is it in their blood, this need to shoot, lance an object?

Am I being silly for not allowing these types of toys in my home? Are we just too oppressive to allow these movies? Let's face it Jurassic Park is no kids show either. Both boys have seen that one, thanks to my dad, and now have nightmares of their beloved Dino's coming to eat them.

Back in the day, boys looked forward to their gun and holster set to play cowboys and indians. As I think we have come a long way from those stereotypes, I wonder if my viewpoint will just create a greater curiosity.

So dispite my inclings to stay home and clean, I ventured out with the boys to Pottery Barn and made L's day. He was truly excited and just so happy to have had that experience.

The question is "How do we teach peace, acceptance, diversity openess, negotiation, respect and love for human kind without showing them the evils of the world so they know what they are striving for"?


Linn said...

Interesting questions. I've taken the non-chalant stance with my two boys (after grilling a mom of three wonderful boys down the street about her stance), meaning that I don't buy them violent toys, but don't freak out when they turn everything into a gun, as you said. My neighbor said that when her boys were shooting each other she told them not to, and one said, 'but he's a bad guy!' to which she responded 'well, then shoot him in the knee and call the police' which gave me a good giggle. I'm with you...not really sure of the right stance on this, but lots and lots of conversations happen when they're choosing to pretend to battle each other. No violent movies here, though. We skip them entirely or fast forward through any scary parts. No need for more nightmares than we already have. I do think my 'no big deal' attitude about it makes them play guns less. And they know never to play it with other kids around. 'just at home because we knows it's just pretend and we'd never really pick up a real gun,' I tell them. I hope it gets through. Good luck coming up with a stance you're happy with.

Ally said...

This is something that falls under the category of finding a comfortable fit between our values and having to live in the world.

I was talking to my friend D about this recently (who you know) because she had lent us a video about large machines/vehicles and one part was about tanks. She gave me a lot to think about because her daughter L, who is in 1st grade, had friends at school with fathers that have been deployed. War, and by extension, violence, are in the world and affect many of us on a personal level. However, there is a difference between dealing with what is real and present in the world, and choosing to allow violence in the shows our children watch, etc.