Monday, December 31, 2007

Boys, Toys, and Aggression

It seems that playing with toy weapons is good for boys (Hat Tip: Instapundit) :

Playing with toy weapons helps the development of young boys, according to new Government advice to nurseries and playgroups.

Staff have been told they must resist their "natural instinct" to stop boys using pretend weapons such as guns or light sabres in games with other toddlers. Fantasy play involving weapons and superheroes allows healthy and safe risk-taking and can also make learning more appealing, says the guidance.

It conflicts with years of "political correctness" in nurseries and playgroups which has led to the banning of toy guns, action hero games and children pretending to fire "guns" using their fingers or Lego bricks.

But teachers' leaders insisted last night that guns "symbolise aggression" and said many nurseries and playgroups would ignore the change.

The Brit's advice sounds similar to what Gerard Jones, the author of Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence has also argued--that young people love fantasy violence because it gives them the coping skills they so desperately need. He states that instead of banning games like Doom, we should harness the tremendous power of fantasy to help our kids better navigate the world around them. He interviewed me for his book and this is what I had to say:

...Kids don't grow up understanding their own aggression. Teachers and parents say, sit still, be nice, cooperate, and they don't give kids the opportunity to play with the aggressive feelings that come up for them. Dads are often afraid to wrestle their sons to the ground, kids aren't allowed to pretend to kill each other, and they're certainly not taught to fight in any sort of controlled way, or even to stand up to someone who's giving them trouble. With all of the emphasis in our schools now on getting kids in touch with their feelings, the scary feelings like anger are just kind of wished away. A kid says, 'I feel like I love you' and we say 'Awwww.' He says, 'I feel like I want to kill you' and we say, 'No, you don't.' So a kid runs into some real conflict in life and he feels the rage coming up in him and he doesn't know what to do with it.

We never taught him what to do. Games can teach boys (and girls) how to deal with aggression. Brits, listen to the government advice and incorporate fantasy and make-believe violence into play--along with critical thinking skills. Rather than make kids more aggressive, it might just teach them to modulate aggressive feelings in a more constructive way.


Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Definitely good information. Let the games begin!

2:36 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Darleen said...

My 13 y/o stepson was visiting for Christmas and when my 5 y/o twin grandsons came over they spent most of the time with him on the floor wrestling. Or outside chasing around.

Best for all of them.

3:09 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Growing up all the boys in the neighborhood had cap guns and such. We had numerous make-believe battles. None of us grew up to be killers or even criminals, mostly professionals of various sorts.

As far as "Dads are often afraid to wrestle their sons to the ground,..." - I'm not afraid, I just can't do it any more. They're too big and strong. :-)

3:19 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

dadvocate --

That's when it goes outside. Like the saying goes "age and treachery trumps youth and exuberance" or something.

Who would have guessed that my giving all those swords, spears, etc to those teens for all those years and showing them how to use them was good for them?

Ahead of my time again.

4:11 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Mad William Flint said...

"natural instinct" my lily white arse. Instinct drummed in to them by a casper milquetoast litigious society of whiny pantywaists.

4:25 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger comatus said...

Note the Brits claim this is only good for boys. Proof that they will never outgrow PC; they'll just kick it back and forth.

5:29 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

comatus --

Good point. Sorry I missed that myself. The ratio of my performers were 23:7, m:f. Not exactly exclusionary. Gals like to scrap too.

6:01 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Helen, et al.
RE: Indeed

"So a kid runs into some real conflict in life and he feels the rage coming up in him and he doesn't know what to do with it." -- Dr. Helen

I was wondering about this when I first read the item, courtesy of the BlogVader.

And I asked whether anyone had done a study on the up-bringing of the heinous mass murderers of Columbine High School [a couple of miles from my church in Denver], Virginia Tech, Westroads Mall, Youth With A Mission/Life Church, etc., etc., etc., etc....

I don't recall these kinds of young mass murderers from my youth ('50s-'60s). Nor even during my young adulthood ('70s).

What is the common denominator?

Could it be the repressed aggression coming out?


[Is there an aspiring Ph.D. of Psychology in the house?]

6:11 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Dave S. said...

I'm with the pre-school teachers. All they're trying to do is change a million years of evolution in one generation. What could possibly be the downside?

6:11 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Evil HR Lady
RE: I'm Game!

"Definitely good information. Let the games begin!" -- Evil HR Lady

Have [PaintBall] Gun. Will Travel.

Wire Pelto, Hotel Pelto, Pueblo, CO.


[Would you like to play a game? -- the WOPPER computer in Wargames]

6:15 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: dave s.
RE: Downside? Where??!?!

"All they're trying to do is change a million years of evolution in one generation. What could possibly be the downside?" -- dave s.

Give one of the boykids an ACP and see what happens.


[Teach your children well. -- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young]

6:16 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: dadvocate
RE: Agreed

"Growing up all the boys in the neighborhood had cap guns and such. We had numerous make-believe battles. None of us grew up to be killers or even criminals, mostly professionals of various sorts." -- dadvocate

I grew up in the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Did the Cuban thing at Ground Zero, Offutt AFB, NE. Dad was a combat crew commander for one of the ICBM sites in the area. Bags packed by the door. If he got the call, we all hit the door running. He for his battle position, we for the family stomping grounds.

As I commented above, I don't recall these heinous mass murderers in my generation. And where is the factor that the psychgologists are overlooking....due to political correctness.

I'm reminded of how the FDA suppressed information on how alcohol was beneficial from the '70s. [Note: They've, because of that, probably killed more people over the last 30 years than the mass murderers have.]

Happy New Years,

[To your very good health....CHEERS!]

6:21 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

P.S. Oh....Yeah....

Since my eyesight wasn't good enough to fly the sort of machines he did in WWII, I took up jumping out of them; two tours with the 82d Airborne.

6:23 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

Well, when I was growing up, my friends and I used to save our allowances and then go down to the fireworks stand and buy a couple hundred dollars worth of black cats, bottle rockets, smoke bombs, sparklers, roman candles, exploding missiles, the works.

We each had a makeshift gun, which was a length of pipe with a piece of wood superglued to it for a handle, perfect for aiming and firing bottle rockets.

Then we would go out into the country, to an open field or a citrus grove, and divide the fireworks so that everybody got an equal share of each. Finally, we would disperse; eveyone got ten minutes to find cover and prepare. And then it was war.

Rockets flying, crackers popping, missiles exploding, smoke covering, sparklers distracting, candles lighting, all out war.

Paint ball? Pssst.

6:48 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Pierre said...

hehe...Got my 4 year old a Nerf Dart Tag set. Neighbor came over when his daughters told him that they didn't know what the Legrand's got for Christmas but it sure was fun because we were screaming hooting and hollering. We were outside at WAR, my two girls 10 and 6 against my 4 year old son...WOOOOOOOOOT! Course my mother in law who is a pediatrician was flipping out because we were pointing guns at each other....I asked her exactly how were we supposed to play dart tag if we didn't point guns.

Cannot wait to take my 10 year old shooting my Garand. Went and shot it for the first time this past weekend. WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOO~!!!

Learned how to shoot from my ST Airborne Dad when I was 7 years old. Never did me much harm.

In the world we live in everyone should know how to defend themselves. Judo will be taught as soon as we have a Dojo on the second floor of the house...which will happen as soon as the second floor goes up this year.

7:03 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Pierre said...

They shot dad and I fell to the ground as if mortally wounded...once they saw how much fun dying could be then they all started having these dramatic death sequences. FUNFUNFUN.

Course the Mother In Law is in therapy now.

7:05 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Bob's Blog said...

Thanks for this post. I completely agree!

7:11 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger William said...

It reminds me of this cartoon. It's amazing how we Americans, particularly conservatives accept guns, gun culture, gun violence as TV entertainment, but get totally freaked out if a woman shows one square inch of breast on any public medium. There's conservative values for you.

7:21 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Nahanni said...

You can date the rise in sick, ultra violent children from the date that they were forced to watch things like Sesame Street and Mr. Rodgers and not allowed to watch Road Runner cartoons.

Oh, memo to William:

I bet you take your kids to the Folsom Street Fair so they can learn at an early age how to suck a cock properly. After all, you want to make sure they "celebrate diversity".

Those are liberal values for you.

8:48 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger DADvocate said...

GawainsGhost - paintball is great. A controlled melee with definite rules of fair play.

William - your point is a myth. I know plenty of conservative women who nurse(d) their children in public places although they didn't make a big deal of it. I also know a liberal women who raised a large public ruckus because art work by university students displayed in the university center depicted naked women!!

9:12 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Whiskey said...

William -- a gun is a tool, nothing more. It is neither innately evil nor good. As a tool it is quite useful at times, and at other times useless.

Making guns part of an "evil mystique" merely makes them attractive, in the way that booze was during prohibition. Which didn't work out well. Children who are taught, during their late teen years, responsible drinking during meals at the family dinner table have far fewer problems with alcohol than their peers. Same with learning to shoot.

Removing the mystique and mystery associated with firearms makes misuse far less likely. Particularly if children are drilled in the four rules of firearms safety.

What I suppose Liberals hate about guns the most is the ability for the common man or woman to protect him/herself from common assault. Personal security is of course supposed to be only for rich people I guess.

12:29 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger William said...

Point taken. Pandora's box is open, guns are a fact of life. Just like the sale of dildos and vibrators that conservatives have outlawed in several southern states, they'll always be used and available. Personal security is a definite justification for owning but, if in fact someone wants to shoot you, they will. They certainly are not going to wait for you to get your gun. If they wish to threaten you, well ok, that's a different story, as long as your loaded and ready.

Personally, I know of very few people who own handguns and even less people that have been threaten by them.

Speaking of whiskey, I'm reminded of that classic rock song:

Hand guns are made for killin,
Aint no good for nothin else.
And if you like your whiskey,
You might even shoot yourself.

Its a saturday night special,
Got a barrel thats blue and cold.
Aint no good for nothin,
But put a man six feet in a hole.

You must be a closet gay, that's about the only kind they allow in Republican land. Ask Larry Craig.

1:39 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger vivictius said...

Nahanni, as far as Sesame Streen, it depends on when you are watching it. For me, it came on just slightly after the road runner. But I would agree it has gotten rather too pc these days. But Im old enought to remember when Mr. Hooper died.

4:12 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

william --

"Pandora's box is open, guns are a fact of life."

Pandora's box was never closed. Hand guns are now some six hundred years old and side armament dates back to forever.

10:21 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Sid said...


Conservatives did not outlaw the slae of sexual items. The duly elected legislators outlawed the sale. The reasons are insane and twisted logic. But this was not the work of conservatives.

Ask yourself, why would conservatives outlaw ONLY vibrators (actually 3D sexual aids in the legal language) but leave pornography, BDSM devices, lubricants, and all other forms of sexual devices legal?

10:48 AM, January 01, 2008  
Blogger Montag said...

I really enjoyed this discussion.

Olaf Stapledon wrote about a future time and society where there was a planet young people went to to live a period of time in the realm of violent emotions and the passions uncontrolled.

Of course, not just aggresssion and guns, but intense religious experience, too.

When they came back to the home planet, they were supposed a deeper understanding and better self-control.

6:05 AM, January 02, 2008  
Blogger Ron Coleman said...

We have four sons. Although my brother and I were "well armed" with plastic guns in the '60's and '70's -- and neither one of us has ever touched a real gun -- we started out with a sort of passive policy against gun toys, being moderns.

It took us no time to realize they would, and did, make their own guns -- out of Lego, American cheese, whatever they could get their hands on. And these kids don't even watch TV. It was hilarious -- American cheese guns, for heaven's sake!!

7:28 PM, January 02, 2008  
Blogger Serket said...

This is refreshing advice and I imagine it comes natural to kids. I have heard some parents who think it is too dangerous.

gawain - I recently read a children's book from the late 50s and it said a lot of those things were already banned in New Jersey.

3:11 PM, January 03, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Aggression is a human emotion, and not just for boys. I had a psychology professor who emphasized frequently that men are no more aggressive than women, their aggression just manifests itself differently.

Boys tend to be physically aggressive while girls tend to be socially aggressive. We saw this just recently when a young girl committed suicide after constant harassment from her female piers on Myspace.

Physical aggression tends to be easier for us all to recognize, and given the rampant gynocentricism of primary education, to demonize as well. All the while, social aggression which is every bit as damaging is overlooked.

I think it's a great point, that in teaching children to "get in touch with their emotions" we can't ignore the ugly emotions, even pretend they don't exist, for the sake of promoting just the emotions some educators find desirable, and controllable.

9:50 AM, January 07, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the deal… sign up for paypal and just buy your own free
rapidshare premium account by clicking ads for a few weeks.

then go to (best one - has the most ads of any site) (also good, but not as good as the one above)

register and click ads for like 5 mins each day, and you can easily make 3-5 bucks a week.
This is the fastest site that I've found and it's the only one that's worth it. In no time,
you'll have enough money to buy your account or buy stuff online.

8:56 PM, January 09, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

視訊做愛視訊美女無碼A片情色影劇kyo成人動漫tt1069同志交友網ut同志交友網微風成人論壇6k聊天室日本 avdvd 介紹免費觀賞UT視訊美女交友..........................

11:47 PM, May 19, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home