Pew Pew

January 19, 2010

Through no fault of my own, my kid is becoming violent.  I mean, he doesn’t hit anyone, but he plays violently.  He makes guns out of everything, and if you take them away he just points his fingers and says, “I have two guns!”.  All his toys clash and fight.  And, he puts on epic martial arts battles in the living room–solo.

We have tried and tried not to let him see violent shows, or have violent toys, but there doesn’t seem to be a practical way out of this.  I was making pancakes when something on TV ended, and a show called “Rollbots” started.  He was enchanted and I had to make a decision right then and there.  I decided to let him watch, and we would talk all about it.  About how it wasn’t real.  And how real people never hit and fight (well, the real people we know!).  And how if something is scary it’s OK to say it’s scary and to turn it off.

Well, he was fine.  He wasn’t scared and he went about the rest of his day playing with his cars.  I talked to preschool about it, so that they would look out for him play fighting (which they do for all the kids anyway), but honestly, ALL the little boys play guns and fighting.  I’m sure they have to tell them to stop a million times a day.

So, we made a controversial parenting decision.  We let him watch “Rollbots” occasionally.  And a bit of “Ninja Turtles” and “Spider-Man”.  We got him a few action figures.  And we talk about it all the time.  We talk about good guys and bad guys.  We talk about pretending and reality.  We talk about hurting and playing.  And so far it seems to be working.  He got what he wanted–a few big boy toys and a few hours of watching big boy shows.  And you know what?  Nothing happened.  He still plays cars.  He’d still rather watch “Max and Ruby” (the most sickly sweet cloying kid’s show ever) than most anything.  But he also can hold his own a bit with the bigger kids at preschool.

I wish that my little golden baby angel would never point his finger at me and say “Pew Pew!” (That’s his gun noise.)  I can barely reconcile his big, baby head making a mean face while he bashes plastic dinosaurs together.  My heart hurts when he says that he’s Green Goblin and I’m Spider-Man and I have to get him, all the while punching the air.

But this stuff exists, and in his world it’s a big part of every day.  Spider-Man, Transformers, Batman–they are everywhere.  So the only thing I could think of is to meet it head on and just let him know that Mommy doesn’t like to play fighting and that Mommy doesn’t allow “Pew Pews”.  Maybe I’m just taking the easy way out, or maybe I was just tired of watching “Max and Ruby”, but even at three he has to navigate our world.  As long as we limit the Ninja Turtles (and all his screen time) to very small doses, I think that we are only going to help him grow.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself as yet another battle between dinosaurs and Batman rages on in the living room.


One Response to “Pew Pew”

  1. crash davis Says:

    Great post Amy.

    I remember one time when a political science professor of mine invited me over to dinner at his house. We were talking in the living room when his young son ran through the living room holding a large B-2 bomber model over his head and making whooshing noises.

    My professor was an extreme liberal who had in class made comments critical of Pentagon spending, including specific comments about the B-2 bomber. So I raised an eyebrow at him.

    He said that he and his wife had intended to raise him non-violently as possible with absolutely no violent toys whatsoever. But like you’d found, the kid made his own violent toys. The professor’s wife had tired of rescuing spatulas and other kitchen implements from the boys room that he had turned into imaginary weapons, so they just gave in and bought him the toys. Though their ideas had crumbled, the kitchen had at least returned to some sense of order.

    I think all boys do that. I still fondly remember some of the plastic cap guns I had that I used to pretend I was a cowboy. I guess all a parent can do is guide them and incorporate their values into a young boy, i.e. raise him to be a Batman fan, not a Superman fan.


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