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How to make others understand how we feel about superheros

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
DH and I do not allow weapon play, no guns, swords etc. We also feel that superheros are not good for small kids. In the kids we are around introduction to superheros has resulted in LOTS of "fighting", hitting, kicking and other violent behavior. We also feel that modern superhero stories are not at ALL appropriate for small children.

People want to give DS batman and superman toys and we keep trying to explain our position but everyone keeps rolling their eyes and ignoring us.

In addition I am keeping a friends 4.5 year old who is totally obsessed with superheros and is CONSTANTLY trying to play fight with my 11 month and "shooting" at him. I have explained my position to the mother and asked her not to send super hero toys but she allows him to bring them anyway. I think I am going to have to stop keeping him since I do NOT want this around my child.

Am I REALLY the only person who thinks superheros/villains are NOT good for kids?
post #2 of 91
No, you're not the only one who feels like this. But you're also a few years from finding out on your own it's almost a force that's beyond your control.

I felt in a similar way. Our son had no idea was anything was... until last year. He was four and a halloween costume catalog came in the mail. I was innocent enough to let him flip through it in the car.... and THAT.WAS.IT. He saw a photo of a Darth Vadar costume and I swear the male cells in his little body were all switched on. He took one look, said "I want to be this... who is this?" and BAM... he was 100% addicted/interested in ANYTHING star wars. He now knows more about Star Wars than my husband.

I swear... it's in the DNA. Shrug. I've done my best to channel the energy as best we can, but I'm beyond trying to prohibit it. He plays light saber. We try enforce no shooting, especially at people.
post #3 of 91
Thread Starter 
Your response made me laugh! DH would secretly be thrilled if DS loved Star Wars LOL

The little boy I keep was so SWEET until he started watching all these adult superhero movies and TV shows to advanced for him...now it's all fighting and "killing"

I hate hearing "I'm going to KILL that guy" from a preschooler.
post #4 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctdoula View Post
No, you're not the only one who feels like this. But you're also a few years from finding out on your own it's almost a force that's beyond your control.

I felt in a similar way. Our son had no idea was anything was... until last year. He was four and a halloween costume catalog came in the mail. I was innocent enough to let him flip through it in the car.... and THAT.WAS.IT. He saw a photo of a Darth Vadar costume and I swear the male cells in his little body were all switched on. He took one look, said "I want to be this... who is this?" and BAM... he was 100% addicted/interested in ANYTHING star wars. He now knows more about Star Wars than my husband.

I swear... it's in the DNA. Shrug. I've done my best to channel the energy as best we can, but I'm beyond trying to prohibit it. He plays light saber. We try enforce no shooting, especially at people.


My son was 3 when he decided to be Wolverine. He's never seen any X-Men movie. In fact, he's never seen any superhero movie at all. But he gravitates towards the Batmans and Spidermans in the toy section.
We've had to be creative on what to say about why Wolverine needs those claws.
post #5 of 91
I dunno. I think it's a good, albeit blunt, way about teaching morality, strength, wanting good to triumph over evil. I think that wearing a mask and personifying a person with strength and goodness is a good thing, as is playing the shadow side (the villain) and *knowing* that it's wrong.

In the land of childhood make-believe, we can't always be the 'good guys' if there are no 'baddies', and darnit...sometimes it's just *fun*.

My kids love imaginary play. They play weddings, pirates, fairies, astronauts, scientists, etc. etc. They've also played funeral, cops 'n robbers and war. It's sure opened up some great conversations. I can't imagine being so hypervigilant to shield them or divert their games to my agenda.

Sorry...I guess I don't agree with censoring imaginative play.
post #6 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
I dunno. I think it's a good, albeit blunt, way about teaching morality, strength, wanting good to triumph over evil. I think that wearing a mask and personifying a person with strength and goodness is a good thing, as is playing the shadow side (the villain) and *knowing* that it's wrong.

In the land of childhood make-believe, we can't always be the 'good guys' if there are no 'baddies', and darnit...sometimes it's just *fun*.

My kids love imaginary play. They play weddings, pirates, fairies, astronauts, scientists, etc. etc. They've also played funeral, cops 'n robbers and war. It's sure opened up some great conversations. I can't imagine being so hypervigilant to shield them or divert their games to my agenda.

Sorry...I guess I don't agree with censoring imaginative play.
I get what you are saying, I guess I just don't really feel like acting out fighting scene from movies over and over IS imaginative play. It sounds like your kids do engage in very imaginative play just like I did as a kid.
post #7 of 91
I agree that keeping superheroes and such away from your DS isn't really going to make a difference. Sorry, but little boys especially, love to play rough and will be action figure like characters while pretending whether or not they are exposed to them. They'll make guns out of anything - even their own hand will suffice - so while I get where you are coming from, it's likely that your extended family continues to try to give these gifts b/c they know little boys like them, and it's not going to be the one thing that makes your DS play a bit violently.
post #8 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthMamaToBe View Post
I get what you are saying, I guess I just don't really feel like acting out fighting scene from movies over and over IS imaginative play.
I know, I feel you, trust me. I don't like it either (the whole 'playing funeral' with someone playing the corpse really gave me the willies... ) BUT IME, they *will* play this stuff out. Kids process things through play or art, not just words or behaviours.

Better to start the conversation now as opposed to if/when he hits school. For example, my girls were really into playing and BEING princesses. We had a two year long conversation about what that meant, about being rich or poor, being beautiful on the outside and inside, and so on. They get it. I'm glad we were able to discuss it. Their way of playing princess has changed dramatically from before the convo. (They're now...a mix of princess/superheroes )
post #9 of 91
Thread Starter 
LOL One of my neighbors little girls is always in boots, cape and tiara. She caller herself "Super Princess"
post #10 of 91
It's in the air they breath, as soon as they encounter other children, or, as pp pointed out, images (darth vadar) that we (as parents) don't necessarily create. AND, it's a basic part of their fantasy about being powerful, good v. evil, life & death, etc.

Less than one week in the preschool room at daycare (3yrs and up), my son was "shooting" us with his finger - "pkew pkew." Upon questioning, he had no idea what he was doing, or what his finger was, or what the play was about. It was just a sound and a motion he was doing. Later, I'm sure the concepts of kill, die, shoot...will enter his vocabulary and his awareness.

I highly recommend the first half of PBS' Raising Cain. It is chronological. Watch through the kindergarten vignette, at least.
post #11 of 91
Wait, your son is 11 months old and people want to give him superhero toys? But, do they even make age-appropriate superhero toys for that age? I can't see what play value there is in that sort of stuff for kids that age. Personally I would take that approach - and point out the types of toys that a baby/toddler would enjoy more.

My son is 6.5 and we just bought him a toy lightsaber (well, he paid for part of it!). He's into Star Wars Lego now too. Last year he had a big thing for Spiderman and chose a Spiderman costume for Halloween. He's never seen a Star Wars or Spiderman movie, or any superhero type movie that I can think of. But he sees stuff his friends have and it comes from there. He loves it! He loves play fighting but he doesn't act out fighting bits from movies because he's never seen any. It all comes from his imagination and play with friends, but sure it made me feel icky when he started 'killing' etc. But he loves it and I see no reason to try and stop it. But 11 months?!

Personally I can't wait until we watch the Star Wars films together, but I'm hoping to hold him off another year at least. I think he's too young for them and wouldnt' understand a lot of it and that he'd find some of it scary. I LOVE Star Wars (the *real* movies!) and don't want to 'waste' it on him before he's ready to appreciate them fully, lol!
post #12 of 91

Censoring imagination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
Sorry...I guess I don't agree with censoring imaginative play.
This is how I feel too.

Kids don't just imagine and pretend happy things. Kids use play to explore all sorts of concepts and feelings.

The only real rule we have is that when kids play together it has to be fun for everybody who is playing. It's fair to not buy the props, but I'm not comfortable telling kids what they can and cannot pretend.
post #13 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
I know, I feel you, trust me. I don't like it either (the whole 'playing funeral' with someone playing the corpse really gave me the willies... ) BUT IME, they *will* play this stuff out. Kids process things through play or art, not just words or behaviours.

Better to start the conversation now as opposed to if/when he hits school. For example, my girls were really into playing and BEING princesses. We had a two year long conversation about what that meant, about being rich or poor, being beautiful on the outside and inside, and so on. They get it. I'm glad we were able to discuss it. Their way of playing princess has changed dramatically from before the convo. (They're now...a mix of princess/superheroes )
They do not need a movie to act out death or birth scenes......I have a few personal stories from my own childhood.

Many of these stories, ideas are not new. Look at folk tales, mythology.
post #14 of 91
If you are watching the kid, you have the right to set the rules on what he brings to your home. Tell the mother that if she continues to send him with it, you will be confiscating those toys for the duration of the time he is in your house. That's your right.

However, I agree about boys and this kind of thing. My son had no exposure at all to superheroes until he went to preschool. Suddenly he was pretending to cobber people with his "lifesaver" (lightsaber). Although, to be honest, he was never very interested in pretending to actually be batman or superman.

I wouldn't have wanted any kid pretending to shoot my 11mo, however. That sounds like it's less about superheroes per se than about appropriate behavior.

As for people wanting to give you batman toys etc. after you've expressed a preference not to get them, there is no need to make a big deal. Simply take the toy and donate it to goodwill.
post #15 of 91
Thread Starter 
Yeah mine is still a baby superheros are meaningless to him, I just see no reason to introduce them so soon. I guess part of what bothers be about the child I keep (whom I adore) is that he's actually allowed to SEE all these movies but the BioDad and his parents (though the Mom asked them not to, she has given in to all the toys). I also know it's normal for kids to have an "obsession" about dinosaurs or cars or superheros. I guess it's mostly the violence of superheros that gets to me.

My mother did not allow "weapons" play nor any toys or games where killing living things is a main theme. Did we all play that way with friends? Oh yeah we did but it was never a big thing for us. It was an occasional thing now an all day every day thing.

LOL I was totally unprepared to be the mother of a boy even though I am a total tomboy! The other day he managed to EAT half a beetle! EWWWWWWW I was so grossed out My MIL (with 3 boys) just laughed at that!

I am really enjoying all of your advice and stories! Thanks!
post #16 of 91
I think that you will find, as your son gets older, that the force of superheros is too great to resist. He will hear about them from other children even if you do not allow the characters in your home or him to watch the movies/shows. My son is running around now shooting out spiderwebs like Spiderman. Has he seen the movie or read any comics? No, he did see a preview and like 10 minutes of it but he started acting out Spiderman before that.

The superheros/princess concept, I think appeals to children especially 4-5 year olds as they try to process the world into good and bad. In the superhero/princess stories there are villains and the hero so it is very clear what/who is good/bad.

It also goes along with the gun/sword/lightsaber dillemma, we don't allow any toys like that but they are made out of legos, sticks, etc. I think the most important thing is to discuss what these things mean to our children.
post #17 of 91
My girls are obsessed with princesses, and fairies. I get to be the Evil Queen. Though it's not all bad - yesterday my two year old told me "I love you, Evil Queen!"
post #18 of 91
Yeah, just another vote for good luck limiting it. Its not gonna happen. I suppose you can be super restrictive and simply not "let" them play weapons/fighting/etc in your house... but then your stifilign their imagination. Do you really want to do that? No? Then don't.
post #19 of 91
You have every right to not have gun play directed toward your babe in your home. You could just tell him those are the house rules or get playful with it and say I'm shooting kisses, can you think of something nice to shoot at me?

My son was talking about Spiderman and Ironman long before he actually SAW them in front of him. I swear it's osmosis.
ETA: Oh, and by day 3 of preschool, he was shooting at me with his tinker toy. We went from "no gun play" to "no pretending to shoot me in the face". Sigh.
post #20 of 91
When people want to give him things with a superhero on them, just say no thanks.

But, my son was play fighting and shooting LONG before he discovered superheros. Superheros have actually been really good for his play since before he would take stuff (essentially be a "bad guy" but didn't know what that was.) Now he is a good guy, rescuing stuff (teddy bears, etc.) which makes me feel better at least.

Some kids play fight, some do not. IME, introduction to superheros doesn't cause every child to start fighting. Some kids are just more physical.
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