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How to make others understand how we feel about superheros - Page 3

post #41 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
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.
Hate to say this, but it's really not limited to little boys! My sweet little 6 year od DD with her long blonde curls routinely gets out in the thick of things with the neighborhood boys and tends to lead the superhero play. Today I saw her with a 6" curved piece of cardboard using it as a "laser shooter"...

I understand your concerns, I really do. DS was always prone to nightmares, and we had to be especially careful with what he watched on tv. When he was 4 and getting ready to go into preschool I didn't want him to be the odd kid out and the only one not knowing about superheros, so we did a gradual exposure. Yeah, totally addicted, with little sis close behind. One thing to look into, either for the child you watch or yours when he's older are the "Classic" superhero videos. These are the OLD Superman and Justice League cartoons that are extremely mild in violence levels. As for the superhero movies with actual people in them, I can't really think of any we've ok'd for DS to watch yet (he's 8) simply because of the violence and language. He has seen the first couple of Star Wars that were released, the 3 Muskateers (LOVED it!) and the first and third Indiana Jones, but that's only been within the past year. If it weren't for the whole masterbation discussion and the fact I'm really not ready to answer questions on that just yet if I don't have to, I'd consider letting him watch Transformers.
post #42 of 91
I'm a fan of superheroes. Growing up, Mum disapproved of them - not because of the violence specifically, more because she had the impression they were "low" entertainment, anti-intellectual, black-and-white, and vaguely associated with nasty, snotty little boys.

Then I grew up a bit and became a geek, and actually learned about superheroes (which Mum never had). And you know what? They're pretty darn cool. Some of the books have fantastic artwork, and really clever writing (Joss Whedon penned a few X-Men comics!). The characters aren't just good-hunky-heroes vs evil-ugly-villains. Iron Man wrestles with alcoholism (OK, not suitable for kids, but y'know, real world issues!): most superheroes agonise about issues of vigilante-ism, abuse of power, the loneliness that comes from being different, etc. Batman doesn't have superpowers, but relies on his talents, inventions and... well, money, but it's still pretty cool that he's up in the big leagues with the guy who's faster than a speeding bullet. Superpowers can be used as obvious or subtle allegories for racism, homophobia, even neurodiversity. A lot of comics reference all sorts of arcane ancient literature, gods, mythology and so on - not always with strict adherence to historical fact, mind you, but it's a good way to obliquely learn a lot about other cultures. You can also get erudite villains who quote Shakespeare and Dante, which is educational. Comic books can be a good way to learn how to storyboard films - the way the artists tell the stories through framing is pretty sophisticated. And most of the "major" superheroes, at least, have stories which resonate because they're classics. Peter Parker pining after the popular MJ, Clark's love triangle with Lois and his own superhero persona; Bruce Wayne's trauma over his parents' death... it's dramatically good stuff. Impossible situations, tortured love, motives of justice and revenge... you can see why people love it.

Now, that said I haven't gone out of my way to educate 2.5 year old DD about superheroes (yet!). But she's caught on to Superman and Batman by reading her father's comics - in fact, when we watched Sleeping Beauty the other day she looked at Maleficent and said "Batman!" We won't be showing her The Dark Knight for a long time (I didn't like it much anyway - Heath Ledger was great, but the plot was way too convoluted and political), but I don't think her current level of awareness is doing her any harm. I think she mostly likes the cloaks, actually. But when she's bigger, I might just work a superhero study unit into our homeschool curriculum. They're worthwhile.
post #43 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
Maybe you could create some opportunities for appropriate super hero play. If your family wants to get him super hero toys have them get him a cape and a mask. Play with the boys to create an imaginary super hero that is gentle and kind and helps people and animals. It won't last for ever. Regardless of if my kids are playing super hero, house, school, princesses there always seems to emerge a good guy and bad guy. it seems like something kids just to need to embrace. to work it out. Perhaps instead of banning super hero stuff (these are his comfort objects and entertainment) just worry about his behavior (no play fighting with the baby. we play gently). There is no reason super heros have to be violent or incite a riot.
for when your son is older. My daughter loves to dress up as Spiderman and runs around helping people.

But 11 months is very young for these kinds of toys. It sounds more like gender stereotyping that being pro-superhero. Along with being totally unaware of what a baby might like to play with.

You could quietly put them away, and if they ask say he's too young to enjoy them now. Then when he's older you can sort through what you think is OK and what isn't.
post #44 of 91
I'm really happy with the superhero play DS, who's 4, does right now. He wears his cape, gets a phone call that somebody needs help, flies to the rescue and saves the person/animal that's stuck, injured, or threatened by a dragon or tiger or a pirate, sometimes killing the offender with a sword, sometimes convincing it to be friendly.

Dark superhero stuff comics and movies like batman, ironman, the watchman, are in no way for kids IMO. Playing superhero and telling some stories, though, seems pretty alright. Oh and I'm not a fan of letting kids obsess over licensed characters and products, so yeah I'd decline the action figures if possible, or let him play with it a couple days then donate it.
post #45 of 91
i was a single parent with my oldest son for the first 6 years of his life. at first, i was adamant about no guns, shooting, fighting, etc. then he went to preschool. this is no lie--the first evening after coming home from preschool, i fixed him a pb&j, cut in half. he ate it into the shape of a gun and proceeded to shoot at the cat. this made me realize i was not going to be able to control every single aspect of his life and i lightened up a bit. we discussed appropriate play, etc. since then, i adopted the theory that as long as you have an open dialogue with your children and be honest with them about things, toys are toys. we discuss gun safety, and my now husband has even taken him to shooting ranges with gun lessons where gun safety is a must. (he's 14 now and the gun craze subsided a few years ago).

my best friend has 4 children that are heavily sensored in everything from tv to toys to music and movies. you name it, she regulates it. which is fine by me, this is her style of parenting. that being said, she does keep my youngest son (5) and will watch the new baby when i go back to work after the birth.

we are pretty liberal with what our children watch/hear/play because i know for a fact i cannot regulate what they see at other people's houses. if i tell my child "you can't watch this" there is some other child that is allowed to watch it and he's going to go over there to do so. to eliminate untruthfulness and confusion, our children are allowed to watch a lot of stuff other kids aren't WITH US so we can explain it and discuss things like: this isn't real life, movies are fantasy, etc. we also discuss appropriate times they can discuss these movies, etc: not at school, not at aunt kelli's (the above mentioned friend), not at the dinner table, etc.

i do NOT allow nathan to take any toys/movies/etc over to aunt kelli's that she doesn't approve of because that is her request and i would never want to offend her. she knows how i feel and she respects it, but it is her house and i would never disrespect her.

i have also discussed this issue with nathan's preschool teacher when we had him at the Y the last 2 years (he's in kindergarten now). i was concerned he was talking about/playing inappropriately during school time. the teacher assured me that when you get boys together, whether they are exposed to it at home or not, they will be exposed to it at school or the park etc.

also, the more you prohibit something, the more it makes them want it. case in point: when aunt kelli's oldest son comes to visit, he BEGS to play video games that contain guns and out of respect for her i don't allow him to do so. however, if she allowed him to explore the option of gun fantasy, i don't think he would be craving it soo much.
post #46 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
I'm a fan of superheroes. Growing up, Mum disapproved of them - not because of the violence specifically, more because she had the impression they were "low" entertainment, anti-intellectual, black-and-white, and vaguely associated with nasty, snotty little boys.

Then I grew up a bit and became a geek, and actually learned about superheroes (which Mum never had). And you know what? They're pretty darn cool. Some of the books have fantastic artwork, and really clever writing (Joss Whedon penned a few X-Men comics!). The characters aren't just good-hunky-heroes vs evil-ugly-villains. Iron Man wrestles with alcoholism (OK, not suitable for kids, but y'know, real world issues!): most superheroes agonise about issues of vigilante-ism, abuse of power, the loneliness that comes from being different, etc. Batman doesn't have superpowers, but relies on his talents, inventions and... well, money, but it's still pretty cool that he's up in the big leagues with the guy who's faster than a speeding bullet. Superpowers can be used as obvious or subtle allegories for racism, homophobia, even neurodiversity. A lot of comics reference all sorts of arcane ancient literature, gods, mythology and so on - not always with strict adherence to historical fact, mind you, but it's a good way to obliquely learn a lot about other cultures. You can also get erudite villains who quote Shakespeare and Dante, which is educational. Comic books can be a good way to learn how to storyboard films - the way the artists tell the stories through framing is pretty sophisticated. And most of the "major" superheroes, at least, have stories which resonate because they're classics. Peter Parker pining after the popular MJ, Clark's love triangle with Lois and his own superhero persona; Bruce Wayne's trauma over his parents' death... it's dramatically good stuff. Impossible situations, tortured love, motives of justice and revenge... you can see why people love it.

I was a major comic fan from about age 7 or 8 until my early 20s. I had to drop them all, because I just couldn't afford to lay out that much money for something that gave me such a short amount of reading time. And, I'm not really into the current ones much. (I think Spider-Man's character has been pretty much destroyed in the last few years.) But, they're a lot more layered than many people realize.
post #47 of 91
I do agree that the "superhero" thing is both pervasive, & has roots in the earliest human myth. FWIW, my girls are allowed to watch PBS, & some DVDs (not "whatever is on") & their imaginative play usually involves Schleich animals & people, & stuffed animals playing out scenarios very loosely based on Super Why, Narnia, the Lion King, the Last Unicorn, & the dinosaur scene from Fantasia. See Mufasa, Simba, Scar & Aslan (a purple stuffed lion) save the 'spikysauraus' or the prince or whatever, from TRex, the Red Bull, & the White Witch, assisted by various princes, princesses, unicorns, flying pigs & assorted other characters - some with little capes tied on them - or maybe the lions just eat all the dinosaurs & horses "because they're hungry, & lions eat a lot!"
post #48 of 91
My son is only allowed to watch PBS shows and he is in LOVE with Iron Man. He knows nothing of the story, Nothing about the comic books or anything, but he still is in love with Iron man, likes to pretend to be Iron man and can identify Iron man cardboard cut outs at the mall/movie posters/etc.

It's probably because he loves the song "I am Iron Man...do dee do dee do dee do do do do" or at least that's how he sings it.

I would never allow him to watch the movie or even hear the stories or whatever, but it does not bother me that he "plays" Iron man...in fact someone at DH's work got a little Iron Man happy meal toy and gave it to DS and he likes to rock it to sleep and carry it in a homemade baby wrap
post #49 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.


This is why my son has a light saber. He has no idea who it is but he HAD TO HAVE IT.

Spider man undies are his favorite. He has no clue who spider man is beyond the fact that he's red and looks really cool. *shrug*
post #50 of 91
I felt that way too.

About princesses, too.

But I agree with ctdoula. It's just... I mean, if you have a very quiet child that doesn't much care for playing with other children, who is very bookish and only likes an empty park, and who has few cousins or lives in I don't know, some commune in Vermont, I'd say you're good to go.

If your child is anything like mine-- She's a girl for God's sake! And she still makes guns! We don't have guns, we don't buy guns, other kids her age at the park don't have guns, she saw boys at pre-school playing with Lego guns I guess and... the long and the short of it is, she loves other kids and it just takes one kid to introduce The Drama of the Superhero or The Magic of Royalty and we're all exposed for life.

Yeah. Anyway. You just don't have that much control over it. And I don't live in the US. I live in Germany and my child attends a German pre-school. True, there are a lot of Russians there, but I mean...

We don't watch TV more than 30 min. a week. She gets to play PBS kids.org when she fills up her star book for the day (another thing I thought I'd never, ever, ever, ever, EVER do, not the videos, or the star book :sigh ). But it's everywhere.

Everywhere. Even Dora. And you know what kind of bike my daughter wants?

"I want a Batman bike."

Ask me how she knows about Batman. ASK.
post #51 of 91
Quote:
I was a major comic fan from about age 7 or 8 until my early 20s. I had to drop them all, because I just couldn't afford to lay out that much money for something that gave me such a short amount of reading time.
I know, right! I don't buy them - well, I never even buy "real" books except for twice a year at the Red Cross sale, 'cause I'm cheap - but we have a flatmate who moved in with a whole bookshelf of them. He's a single guy without many living expenses, but boy, does he shell out for those things. It's pretty handy, really. So I'm working my way slowly through his collection - I've read Fray and some of the Buffy comics, a few Iron Mans, a few Batmans and Justice Leagues, the first Marvel Zombies (which is awesome!), V for Vendetta, which is really a graphic novel, but hey: just bits and pieces. It took me a while to get into the format of comic books - I VASTLY prefer it when they come with the whole arc in one volume, not all these tiny piecey cheap-looking magazines with no conclusions - but I'm starting to get a better grip on which artwork's good, which villains bore me and so on. I'm a sucker for superhero movies, too - Green Lantern's coming out next year on my birthday, but I'll (hopefully) have just had a baby, so - dilemma!
post #52 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
I know, right! I don't buy them - well, I never even buy "real" books except for twice a year at the Red Cross sale, 'cause I'm cheap - but we have a flatmate who moved in with a whole bookshelf of them. He's a single guy without many living expenses, but boy, does he shell out for those things. It's pretty handy, really. So I'm working my way slowly through his collection - I've read Fray and some of the Buffy comics, a few Iron Mans, a few Batmans and Justice Leagues, the first Marvel Zombies (which is awesome!), V for Vendetta, which is really a graphic novel, but hey: just bits and pieces. It took me a while to get into the format of comic books - I VASTLY prefer it when they come with the whole arc in one volume, not all these tiny piecey cheap-looking magazines with no conclusions - but I'm starting to get a better grip on which artwork's good, which villains bore me and so on. I'm a sucker for superhero movies, too - Green Lantern's coming out next year on my birthday, but I'll (hopefully) have just had a baby, so - dilemma!
Green Lantern was one of my favourites for a very, very long time. I also found our recently that one of my favourite SF authors was heavily involved in setting up back story about the Guardians, the Corps, Malthus, etc. I usually wait for superhero movies to come out on DVD, but I think I may go see this one in the theater. DH won't be interested, so maybe I can get ds1 to go with me. (I don't mind seeing movies alone, but I like to talk to someone about them afterwards.)
post #53 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpybear View Post
We've had to be creative on what to say about why Wolverine needs those claws.
He's a chef!
post #54 of 91
I try very hard to stay away from the branded superhero stuff- I have just gently discouraged family from buying stuff like that. But as far as "fighting" and acting out violent play, I have gotten used to it as my son gets older.

My son's favorite thing in the world is to playfight with his dad. It's very physical, with ds jumping on DH, and DH throwing him in the air and down onto the couch. It's not something I get involved in- it's clear to me that this is the way ds wants to bond with his dad. He feels loved when they act out these aggressive fantasies together.

I wasn't always comfortable with it, but reading things like this recent article helped me understand ds better. Bring it: Boys may benefit from aggressive play
post #55 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
And you know what kind of bike my daughter wants?

"I want a Batman bike."

Ask me how she knows about Batman. ASK.
How does she know about batman?
post #56 of 91
I haven't read all the responses, so I hope I'm not too repetitive. I have three sons and had plans to be weapon and sword and pretend-violence-free. Ha. Ha. And Ha. I grew up with 3 sisters and a much older brother so I had no idea that many, many boys are born with a desire to play like they are fighting and conquering. As much as my feminist and pacifist brain might argue with these values, I see my sons and how those story lines inspire and ignite their imaginations and I've come to realize that they are free to play how they want. They have swords and lightsabers and Star Wars blasters now and run around like little heroes, but they are sweet, kind, wonderful little boys and I have no doubt their imaginative play is NOT making them violent. They save bugs on the sidewalk, protect their younger neighbors, and are just generally soft, sweet little guys.
post #57 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by ASusan View Post
How does she know about batman?
Hah! Well. You see. One day we went to an all-wood park surrounded by trees. It was so pretty. Sun shining, children in all cotton and Keens, whole-grain homemade snack packed. One of those times you think, "Yes. I am a good mom and we are outdoors, we planned ahead, and this day is going great."

So up come two older boys, around seven. Good boys. They listen to me when I tell them not to run too fast near the baby, not to raise their swords above their waists unless they are out of the baby airspace.

"Really? You've never seen Batman?" Incredulous look.
"He's SO COOL!"
"He has a cape!"

Pan out to watch two wonderful little boys teach my daughter all the rules of Superheros.

On the walk home: "Superheros aren't scary, mom! They're good! They fight bad guys! I wanna be a superhero!"

Now, she was already aware of Star Wars thanks to an overzealous dad (not hers, her cousin's). But she was afraid. This was just the icing on the cake.

I give up!
post #58 of 91
OP your son is 11 months old. Dont think of a blanket statement as no superheroes. think in terms of as you see your child grow and flourish what attracts him.

my dd was a fan of superheroes from the age of 1. esp. spiderman. and of course bob the builder.

HOW?

from beach towels at Target. she ignored hte princess stuff till she was 5, she ignored stuffed toys till seh was 3. still isnt quite into them. but she loves super heroes.

she is a precocious child and a thinker. and a great surprise to me. when she first saw tom and jerry (which to me is worse than super heroes) around 3 at a friends house she fell in love with that show. she loved all the voices and the art. that there was violence she totally 'didnt see'.

you would be surprised without any exposure what kind of imagination our chilidren have. at early 3 our cat miscarried. dd was really looking forward to the birth and had really gotten into all about kittens. then all we saw were drops of blood. so she made up scary horrific bloody violent stories to figure out what happened to those kittens. her stories not only shocked me but my friends too.

i think you have an opportunity to working with that little boy who comes to play. let him bring his superheroes (if you take them away its like taking food away from a little boy) and you sit and play with him and see if you steer his play towards non killing games. in other words maybe teach him to be a little more nurturing.

dd first saw spiderman when she was 3 1/2. by the time she was 4 she was watching ninja turtles. all her friends were boys. and it was amazing to me what she 'saw' there versus what anyone would 'see'. while she followed the story line she asked some deep deep question. and she thought about things a lot more. we actually got into a conversation about capital punishment (i have no idea at 4 how she learnt about the death penalty). to date she is absolutely against that. it was at 4 she brought up if hte bad guys is bad because he kills then why arent we the bad guys too?

at 3 because of her home made by gma princess cape dd because super princess spider girl.

i think what you can do is instead of removing the 'picture' of superheroes you can change the role they play.
post #59 of 91
Wow, I was all ready to complain about censoring creative play until I understood that your child was 11 months old! My policy on any commercial stuff (Disney, etc.) was to tell anyone who was receptive that I thought those companies should pay ME to advertise their shoddy creative product on my perfect, beautiful child. I completely understand you feeling the same.

But the issue of playing with violence in creative play is broader than Superman pajamas on a toddler. I think kids want to work out the stuff in the world around them in their play.

I never censored violent play, but my child hasn't been interested in play fighting. I think this year, when he's 7, is the first one where he's played bad guys/good guys games with play weapons and fake violence. In kindergarten, he sometimes hung on the edges of the boys' Star Wars games, but mainly involved a few friends in playing a game of his own devising about prairie dogs avoiding creatures made of hot lava.

Even now, when he plays weapons games, he will tell me, "We're playing weapons--they are pretend and we aren't using them close to each other's bodies." (There's a little girl who sometimes seems confused about this, so my ds has a little spiel.)

I hear other moms trying to get their younger children to pretend they are tranquilizing a scary wolf instead of killing it, or wishing their child wasn't playing guns. I guess that's a way of communicating your values to your child. I prefer to emphasize the difference between real and pretend. I mean, we're vegetarians and we talk a lot about why that is, and special effects in movies and how the people who pretend to fight in them are usually friends, that sort of thing.
post #60 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
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.
Definately! I have 3 boys, and like a pp said, it's like it's in their DNA! What we have tried to do is provide superheroes that we feel are acceptable - because I strongly feel that little boys need *something* to fill that role. If you don't provide it, then of course they will go with Batman, Wolverine, etc. We focus on knights a lot - stories of King Arthur and also Robin Hood.

I have to add that I don't feel all modern superheroes are bad - not at all. My ds1 LOVED Star Wars as a young boy. I can't wait for my two younger sons (10 and 12 years younger than ds1) to be old enough for The Force!
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