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#61 of 256 Old 05-25-2005, 11:30 PM
 
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I have a spirited child and I hate it when people judge her or me (and my parenting) when the fact is she is just developing differently than other kids. A little faster in some areas, a little slower in others. I'm sure your ds is the same-- and he'll get it someday about the frogs and empathy.

It was so easy for me to judge other people before I had kids of my own. When Abi was a baby and toddler, I used to think to myself, "My child will never do . . ."and sure enough that has come back to bite me every time. :LOL

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#62 of 256 Old 05-25-2005, 11:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USAmma
I have a spirited child and I hate it when people judge her or me (and my parenting) when the fact is she is just developing differently than other kids. A little faster in some areas, a little slower in others. I'm sure your ds is the same-- and he'll get it someday about the frogs and empathy.

It was so easy for me to judge other people before I had kids of my own. When Abi was a baby and toddler, I used to think to myself, "My child will never do . . ."and sure enough that has come back to bite me every time. :LOL
O yes, I know exactly what you mean. My oldest is 8. Out of the three children I have now, she had more of my undivided attention, I was so overly AP, she was a vegetarian, I did Montessori at home with her for three years -- the list goes on and on, and I said "she will never do ...." or I would put it off on my "great" parenting that she would choose not to do XY&Z. Let's just say, I've eaten a lot of crow.
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#63 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 12:59 AM
 
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While i am not condemning anyone, I do not think that killing animals for fun past a certain age of reason is normal.
I can agree with this, but I do not agree that the "age of reason" is 4. While my ds has not done the kinds of things we are discussing, I would not be concerned if he did. I would be upset, and I would communicate as much to him. It is not okay in our family to hurt animals, but I would not think that he was disturbed.

He still asks me to if we can go visit Thomas on the Island of Sodor. He's still trying to figure out why I can't make the rain start and stop. He has absolutely no concept about death. We were in fact just today talking about what would happen if the car crashed (as I explained I couldn't read his book to him while I was driving), and when I tried to explain that we would get really hurt, he said that we could just put a band aid on.

So if he were to step on a frog, it would be coming from a place of ignorance and curiosity, not one of deriving a sick thrill by killing a living creature. Repeated behavior absolutely should be addressed, which the OP is doing. But at this age I just can't accept that it is a sign of a disturbed child.

Since he is my oldest I can't say yet at what age it would really begin to concern me. But having a 4 year old (just turned 4), I can say it is older than that.
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#64 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 01:01 AM
 
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Four is still really, really young. Barely out of toddlerhood.
I'm not sure that all the men who claimed they never thought of killing a bug or a snail or a frog would even remember what they did or didn't do when they were four.
I'd just see it as a teaching opportunity.
I'd find a tadpole spot and take him there sometimes to watch how they grow. Get him a cute froggy stuffed animal. Turn him into a bona fide frog lover.
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#65 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 01:16 AM
 
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hmmmmmmmmm my ds is 26 months old. I am not saying that he "grasps" death or the likes, but he DOES understand pain. He knows that he cannot pick up or attempt to pick up the cat or the rabbit as it may hurt them. He knows that his feet are for walking and jumping and kicking balls (etc) and NEVER for hurting an animal or another human. He KNOWS this! He converses about it. He follows the rule... once he pulled the cats tail and got bit... ONCE! And he's never abused the other animals either. Or his friends lizard and turtle. He is VERY curious. He is VERY active. But he truly understands that! And, his best buddy is 4... and he isn't a frog squisher (or whatever) either! SO, are these exceptional little boys?
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#66 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 01:18 AM
 
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First I will say that the thought of my son smashing a frog makes me very sad. He has never done anything like that. He does not kill spiders or worms or bugs- although he swats flies for my mom sometimes. Once we were outside & he stepped on an ant & I told him I thought it was disrespectful to step on a bug when WE were the ones in HIS home... He is now a major bug rescuer & will come & tell me when he finds a spider in the house, before my mom gets to it, because she usually kills them.

Having said that, I do not in ANY way think that your son is messed up, sick, or twisted for what he did. I think he is young & he does not really comprehend that dead is dead & that animals- even frogs!- feel pain. I think as long as you continue to tell him that it was wrong, that will go a long way to ensuring that he does not do it again.

When I was little I pulled the legs off a daddy long legs because they continued to move afterwards- & I can remember squishing gypsy moth worms because their guts were bright green. I am not proud of that & I have not told Joe about it but I am telling you, just to reassure you that not every child who hurts small creatures will grow up into a cold blooded serial killer. Jeffrey Dahmer, yes, but how many more times have we heard the neighbors of a convicted murderer say, "He always seemed like such a NICE boy?..."

I can remember the boys in my 9th grade gym class hitting a turtle with a baseball bat, & I am getting sick to my stomach just typing that. I can't understand THAT type of cruelty AT ALL, but I don't think your son belongs in that category!

I was thinking, IF he does this again, what do you think he would do if you burst into tears? Because I know when Joe stepped on the ant, he could tell by my voice that I was appalled. It had a big impact on him I think.

Good luck to you, & please don't worry about your son growing up to store body parts in his basement. I can only imagine the struggles you have had, raising a son with bi polar disorder- my mom's 70 year old friend has this & it is a very hard illness to cope with.

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#67 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 01:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by edamommy
SO, are these exceptional little boys?
I would say more likely, they are normal, healthy kids. Just like the OP's kid.

My son, as I said above, has never smashed a frog, but he DID go through a biting stage. He bit several people, hard. None of his cousins went through that stage, but that does not make them right & Joe wrong. It makes them different. The worst thing we can do, is hear about a kid hurting an animal & then put a label on him... that will help to MAKE him turn into what we think he will become. Does that make sense?

I am gonna stop now, since I realized it is after midnight & Joe is still up. :
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#68 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 02:06 AM
 
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#69 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 05:35 AM
 
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I am having trouble sleeping, thinking about this, and I have decide that instead of editing my words, I am trying to figure out why my words are bothering me- at 4:16 AM. So I've decided to not edit, but to soften my position.

While I know all boys don't kill animals, and we shouldn't assume they do/will, or completely accept that its 'normal'-- gosh that's a loaded word- I do think it's possible for a young child to have poor impulse control and not understand the full ramifications of his/her actions. If this is an isolated case, then I think a parent can chalk it up to a child who didn't get it. I personally would keep an eye on a child who killed an animal. I prob would micromanage for a time, just to see what was going on for him.

I wouldn't worry 'forever'. Impulsive things do happen whem you're little- that's a given. However, if my child was absorbed in killing small animals, or deliberately went out hunting frogs to kill them, then I would consider it something to worry about and address. I also think its possible for a child who enaged in this behavior to become a kind and loving adult, as people have related in this thread. Yet I would still wonder about the feelings of a small child engaged in this sort of thing.
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#70 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 08:57 AM
 
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I would say more likely, they are normal, healthy kids. Just like the OP's kid.
I really don't see what all the deep introspection is.

It's not like he's 12 and setting cats on fire. Yes, it's not nice or great that's he's squishing frogs - but like the OP said maybe I don't place the same level of importance on frogs that others are.

And as for bugs - I live in Northern Ontario where there are TONS of mosquitos and blackflies. From an early age kids are taught to swat and kill flying things, because guess what? They bite like a !@#$ and really hurt.

And ITA, like one pp said - 4 is just barely out of toddlerhood.

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He knows that he cannot pick up or attempt to pick up the cat or the rabbit as it may hurt them. He knows that his feet are for walking and jumping and kicking balls (etc) and NEVER for hurting an animal or another human. He KNOWS this! He converses about it.
I guess my dd is really slow then. :LOL She's 28 months and she doesn't converse about *anything*. As far as she's concerned, her feet are under her control and she's still figuring out what they do. And she totally does not understand the concept of pain.

And while I am *not* generalizing (as I do not know *all* two year olds) I can say that the majority of the toddlers in our AP playgroup don't either.

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#71 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 09:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zoesmummy
I really don't see what all the deep introspection is.

It's not like he's 12 and setting cats on fire. Yes, it's not nice or great that's he's squishing frogs - but like the OP said maybe I don't place the same level of importance on frogs that others are.

And as for bugs - I live in Northern Ontario where there are TONS of mosquitos and blackflies. From an early age kids are taught to swat and kill flying things, because guess what? They bite like a !@#$ and really hurt.

And ITA, like one pp said - 4 is just barely out of toddlerhood.



I guess my dd is really slow then. :LOL She's 28 months and she doesn't converse about *anything*. As far as she's concerned, her feet are under her control and she's still figuring out what they do. And she totally does not understand the concept of pain.

And while I am *not* generalizing (as I do not know *all* two year olds) I can say that the majority of the toddlers in our AP playgroup don't either.
I'm so glad to know so many emotionally advanced boys, then!
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#72 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 09:23 AM
 
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That wasn't very nice.

I was just saying that I think it can take several years for empathy to develop, and that my dd wasn't there yet.

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#73 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by joesmom
I am not proud of that & I have not told Joe about it but I am telling you, just to reassure you that not every child who hurts small creatures will grow up into a cold blooded serial killer. Jeffrey Dahmer, yes, but how many more times have we heard the neighbors of a convicted murderer say, "He always seemed like such a NICE boy?..."

I was thinking, IF he does this again, what do you think he would do if you burst into tears? Because I know when Joe stepped on the ant, he could tell by my voice that I was appalled. It had a big impact on him I think.
For people reading this thread, I think they should know that Jeffrey Dahmer was an older child that mutilated household pets and wild animals. He didn't just kill them, most that time he set out and hunted and stole them, then pretty much dissected them alive. He had other pathology in his background as well.
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#74 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 10:13 AM
 
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That's a good question--"Why all the deep introspection?"

But i think the answer is a simple one- we're all thoughtful parents who think.

Otherwise what's the point of any of our introspection and discussion here?

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#75 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 10:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by edamommy
If my ds EVER so much as kicks dirt towards a frog he'll not see the light of day for weeks!
Hey, kids are animals too. They deserve fresh air and sunshine just as much as any ant, frog, chicken, or pig. :

I agree with those who have said this behaviour would be a concern in an older kid; 4 is young to understand everything. Oh, and just to "qualify" my opinion, I have two boys, 5 and 3. The 3 yo squished a couple of ants when they started coming into our house with the warm weather, and he didn't really know what they were. (He was 2 the last time he saw ants, or any bugs other than the occasional spider.) He now carefully picks them up in tissue and puts them outside. My 5 yo has never squished anything, and admonishes other kids who do so -- even the bully kids who have pushed him around, hit him, and teased him over things of less significance. So I'm not a mom of thoughtless, horrible, critter killin' kids just trying to make excuses.

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#76 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 10:34 AM
 
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But i think the answer is a simple one- we're all thoughtful parents who think.
Well duh. Thanks for the clarification...

I am so trying to not take this personally - I was only trying to say that the answer to the question/problem was relatively simple and people were getting *way* off track with the comments.

No wonder people hesitate to come here for help.

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#77 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 10:44 AM
 
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Hey- don't take that personally. I was trying to be ironic by stating the obvious.

And maybe it's Jack Handy-- or maybe I'm too old for that joke to work with younger people.
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#78 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 10:52 AM
 
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I'll apologize then.

I didn't take it in the manner intended.

But I do intend to find out who Jack Handy is... :LOL

I'm still learning the intricacies of online discussion.

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#79 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 11:08 AM
 
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Jack Handy was a character on Saturday Night Live, who used to pretend to be be deep by stating the obvious or the absurd in a soft, comforting voice and then going on say something really ridiculous. There would be soothing ocean sounds or Muzak in the background. So I was trying to pretend i was deep by being obvious. :

Sometimes my jokes are too deep---or too dumb. Here are some of Jack's Deep Thoughts:

:LOLhttp://www.scoopy.net/humor/deep.htm
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#80 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 12:10 PM
 
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Jumping in late, I just read this whole thread.
This stood out...

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Originally Posted by OnTheFence

I want to say that I don't put frogs on the same "level" as some of you are, that is for sure. And I guess I don't get some of the comments. I've probably run over more frogs in my driveway and I never give a second thought to their pain and suffering, however I don't want my son killing them for any reason. .
And also another post the OP mentioned that they do kill bugs and other "nastys" in thier family.
I guess if you as a parent have no problem with that, it could be confusing to a 4 year old as to what's OK to kill and what's not. If you are running over frogs and squishing them with your car, why can't her do it with "his" car? Right?

In my house it's not ok to kill anything exept mosquitos ( i know some will think that's hypocritical, i think it is too, but we have a West Nile virus here). My kids have been taught to respect all living creatures, and have been taught the roll these creatures have in our world. None of my kids are animal killers- but each of them are obsessed with creatures of all kinds (right now my son is obsessed with butterflys) they observe them, read about them, talk about them- but never kill or intentionally hurt. But that's becuase that's what OUR family believes. Different families have different ideas about what's OK. As for boy's will be boy's...My son is the most compassionate of my children when it comes to creatures.

So I guess I'm just saying, if you want it to sink in with him that killing the frogs is NOT ok with you, than you should maybe show some compassion for the ones you squish it the driveway? I think kids learn best by following parent examples.

Even though to me what you've descibed so far and his age doesn't sound like he's gonna end up on America's Most Wanted...I do want to add that my brother IS a sociopath, and did find great pleasure in harming and torchering animals as I child. I wouldn't just brush it off (not that you are) I'd just keep track and watch for other warning signs.
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#81 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 12:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by OnTheFence
For people reading this thread, I think they should know that Jeffrey Dahmer was an older child that mutilated household pets and wild animals. He didn't just kill them, most that time he set out and hunted and stole them, then pretty much dissected them alive. He had other pathology in his background as well.

YES! That was my point, that not every toddler who kills the odd bug (or frog! ) is going to torture cats as he gets older...
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#82 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 12:49 PM
 
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I've been thinking about this some more, and I talked to my husband about it last night. This is going in a different direction other than when empathy should or could develop, and also whether or not to treat frogs like you would mammals. (I admit, I'm in the speciest camp that thinks frogs are extremely important as fellow vertebrates but insects aren't really on my protection list.)

Maybe someone already brought this up, but I think my husband had some really good insight. He felt that kids he knew growing up who hurt animals had other stuff going on at home or in some aspect of their lives that was bothering them. You mentioned that your son might be micromanaged in other areas at home, maybe you could re-exam that? Also, is there something going on, like tensions in the family about x,y,z? Kids are so very perceptive and so very effected by tensions and issues that might not have anything to do with them directly. None of this is to say that kids who have hurt animals at one time or another are in the path of becoming adult killers, just that something(s) may very well be upsetting these kids and that's a possible way for them to express it.
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#83 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 01:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommytolittlelilly
Maybe someone already brought this up, but I think my husband had some really good insight. He felt that kids he knew growing up who hurt animals had other stuff going on at home or in some aspect of their lives that was bothering them. You mentioned that your son might be micromanaged in other areas at home, maybe you could re-exam that? Also, is there something going on, like tensions in the family about x,y,z?
I feel bad for the OP- like she is going to be watching every move this little boy makes- waiting for the next shoe to drop...

I do agree that sometimes when a kid hurts animals it is because of problems at home, or due to deep seated emotional issues- but sometimes, it is just because the kid does not fully "get" what he is doing.
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#84 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 01:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by joesmom
YES! That was my point, that not every toddler who kills the odd bug (or frog! ) is going to torture cats as he gets older...
frog, cat... what's the difference? Soft and fuzzy and NOT so much soft and fuzzy?

You know, for ME and MY family this may have happend ONCE (may happen once) ... but it wouldn't happen again. I'm mostly shocked that this kid did it more than once?!?!? Sure, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt the first time around... but someone missed the bus to have this sort of thing happen more than once! :
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#85 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 01:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by edamommy
frog, cat... what's the difference? Soft and fuzzy and NOT so much soft and fuzzy?
OT. Or least somewhat OT.

Your view is interesting and I would like to understand it better.

So I am curious... where do you (and other gentle mamas who don't like the idea of anything being killed - even bugs) draw the line that it is OK to kill things? Are plants OK to kill, even though they have capabilities you might not have known about, like the ability to signal each other with biochemical "screams" when one is being maimed or killed, as a warning to others nearby? That makes me sad, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying a bouquet of flowers.

Do you mow your lawn? That's done for purely aesthetic reasons, and results in the deaths of toads, snakes, butterfiles, and other insects.

So that you know where I am coming from... I identified myself as a speciesist in a PP. I think killing some species is no problem (e.g., ants, spiders, snakes) and killing others is a problem unless for food (e.g., frogs, cats). My criteria are: if I feel threatened by it (snake) or it's absolutely nothing like me (ant) I don't mind killing it. If it's like me somehow (frogs' cute soft belly :LOL ) I do mind. But I am probably not enlightened, and have never really given this a lot of thought.

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#86 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 01:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by OnTheFence
WOW.

It's either a normal developmental thing, or my child is warped and not "normal".

I want to say that I don't put frogs on the same "level" as some of you are, that is for sure. And I guess I don't get some of the comments. I've probably run over more frogs in my driveway and I never give a second thought to their pain and suffering, however I don't want my son killing them for any reason. I just love the description one of the posters gave about the Tonka Truck (this is sarcastic) but more than likely my son got this from the fact he has seen his fair share of frogs, smashed like pancakes in the driveway and road. Not that I approve, but he is FOUR, and they do not have the cognitive abilites that adults have.

I'll just add one more thing to be paranoid about and when the police interview me or Prime Time does in a few years, I will reflect back on all this and if he turns out to be a Doctor working for Green Peace, I'll just have to think it was dumb luck my messed up kid got to that point. Oy.

OTF...why do you run over so many frogs?? I really don't understand that statement. I have frogs, squirells, birds, worms, snakes in my driveway, and I check before pulling out/in, to make sure nothing is in the way. The times I have run over roadkill (already dead) I feel kind of nauseous and sad. I think seeing your words about the frogs that you run over, and how you never care or give it a thought...puts this in a whole different light. It makes much more sense now. If you don't care at all when you run over a frog, why don't you want your son doing the same thing? I'm sure it's going to make it all the more difficult for you son to learn empathy for animals when there are so many exceptions around him.

Count me among those who find this disturbing. I think it is common for kids, especially boys, to behave this way...but, many things in our culture are common and disturbing. Animal abuse is a risk factor for later psychopathy...I think this behavior is right on the edge of very alarming. Since the child is so young, and he may have gotten messages that this is ok, it may not be such a huge warning sign. But, I am with the other posters in that I think it's awful, and it should be troubling to parents and all adults. I guess I am one of those people with a child too young to have a valid opinion...My dd is 18 months, and a few months ago, she used to take great pleasure in pulling the cats tails/fur...but, she is already out-growing the behavior and treating the cats gently. I wouldn't expect to see that kind of thing at age four, and I would be disturbed.
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#87 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 01:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chunklin'sMommy
OT. Or least somewhat OT.

Your view is interesting and I would like to understand it better.

So I am curious... where do you (and other gentle mamas who don't like the idea of anything being killed - even bugs) draw the line that it is OK to kill things? Are plants OK to kill, even though they have capabilities you might not have known about, like the ability to signal each other with biochemical "screams" when one is being maimed or killed, as a warning to others nearby? That makes me sad, but it doesn't stop me from enjoying a bouquet of flowers.

Do you mow your lawn? That's done for purely aesthetic reasons, and results in the deaths of toads, snakes, butterfiles, and other insects.

So that you know where I am coming from... I identified myself as a speciesist in a PP. I think killing some species is no problem (e.g., ants, spiders, snakes) and killing others is a problem unless for food (e.g., frogs, cats). My criteria are: if I feel threatened by it (snake) or it's absolutely nothing like me (ant) I don't mind killing it. If it's like me somehow (frogs' cute soft belly :LOL ) I do mind. But I am probably not enlightened, and have never really given this a lot of thought.
You know, I've stopped answering these stupid questions LONG AGO, or I should say, VALIDATING my "line" ... Yah, we mow our lawn. Yah, I swat masquitos. Yah, we eat vegtables (doy)... Our line is drawn by intelligent compassion...
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#88 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 02:03 PM
 
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I feel bad for the OP- like she is going to be watching every move this little boy makes- waiting for the next shoe to drop...

I do agree that sometimes when a kid hurts animals it is because of problems at home, or due to deep seated emotional issues- but sometimes, it is just because the kid does not fully "get" what he is doing.

I don't think she absolutely must watch every move her son makes, but she could do that if she wants to. Really though, I don't think monitoring every little move he makes is, in itself, going to be that helpful for this boy in the long term. I'm of the opinion that watching every move he makes might even make things worse.

I think the fact that it's happened repeatedly, though, probably warrants mom and dad stepping back to take a look at the big picture to see what thing(s) might be troubling him.
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#89 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 02:04 PM
 
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hmmmmmmmmm my ds is 26 months old. I am not saying that he "grasps" death or the likes, but he DOES understand pain. He knows that he cannot pick up or attempt to pick up the cat or the rabbit as it may hurt them. He knows that his feet are for walking and jumping and kicking balls (etc) and NEVER for hurting an animal or another human. He KNOWS this! He converses about it. He follows the rule... once he pulled the cats tail and got bit... ONCE! And he's never abused the other animals either. Or his friends lizard and turtle. He is VERY curious. He is VERY active. But he truly understands that! And, his best buddy is 4... and he isn't a frog squisher (or whatever) either! SO, are these exceptional little boys?
Here's an idea.. lets tone back the sarcasm.. You son may have learned not to hurt the animals because your cat bit him.. Pain is a great motivater.. Your son and his best buddy MAY be exceptional children.. But the children who do this AREN'T deviants either..

Different children learn mentally developmental things at different ages.. Just as with every other developmental stage..

And your implying that anyone who doesn't agree with you is at best condesending and at worst alienating to people who MAY have agreed with you if you could manage to present your views in a different way.

Warm Squishy Feelings..
Dyan

It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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#90 of 256 Old 05-26-2005, 02:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chunklin'sMommy
So I am curious... where do you (and other gentle mamas who don't like the idea of anything being killed - even bugs) draw the line that it is OK to kill things? .
For me personally I dont' condone the intentional killing of anything. I have taught my children to respect the trees and plants around us just as much as I have with animals. We don't pick flowers for fun, or squish bugs. Last year my front porch light was out all summer because a nest of hornets had moved in- I won't even kill those.
I will admit though, that I have always been WAY overly sensitive to those things. Seeing a kid carve letters into a tree breaks my heart as much as hearing the frog story. I've been that way since I was a kid
I have an almost impossible time recognizing the frog squishing thing as "normal kid behavior" I even get really, really upset if I see kids chasing ducks. I just think it's mean and can't wrap my mind around being the kid doing the chasing, and enjoying being mean. I just can't.
I do mow my lawn. However, I do it about once a month as opposed to twice a week as my neighbors do. Of course we don't do chem lawn, and I often have big patches of tall grass I leave if there a log or spider nest or something that is obviously a home to someone.
Like i said I think I'm abmormally sensitive, but I've always known that, and it's perfectly OK with me!
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