My son and violence/other boys ganging up on him. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 09-07-2010, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My oldest son is 3yo and has really clung onto the aggressive style of play, with swords, guns ect. Everything is a weapon first no matter what it is. Sometimes I ignore his play, sometimes if I am in a comfortable mood and I feel he is not doing it very aggressively I will play with him (with reminders about away from the face and not too hard), and other times it is right in my face or on my back while I am changing his little brother etc. I don't want to forbid it completely because it seem so ingrained and I also don't think that would work anyway, however sometimes the tone and ferocity is enough to scare me. I also get very annoyed with it because it increases my anxiety to a level that I feel I verbally lash out at him in ways I do not want to and he doesn't understand the relationship between what he is doing and how I react.

I often express to him that he needs to do it outside, or softer, not in my face or his brother's face, etc. But the perversity of it throughout his day as his main kind of imaginative play is disturbing to me. His dad has a girlfriend who has two older boys and I am thinking he get's it from them, but also he latches onto anything in books we read or movies we watch that has an aggressive character.

He is by nature a very intense, physical boy so I am not suprised this is coming out. I am just wondering if this is a common trait in boys? I did not have any brother's growing up so I am not sure what to expect really.


On another related topic, I went to a kids cafe last week with ds and he ended up being ganged up on by a group of 5 other boys, all slightly older (4-5yo) where he was the bad guy and they were building a cannon to shoot him. I let this go on for 20 minutes or so, stepping in when things were getting too aggressive for my tastes (like trying to trap him under a play structure). My son seemed to not mind too much, he played out the role of the bad guy by ruining their cannon over and over again. However, it REALLY bothered me my son was the one rejected. At the end, I stopped some pretty physical play, with them piling on him with the foam cannon pieces. At the end, I said that it might be more fun for them to all play a game together rather than all ganging up on one person. No other mother's were really even watching what was going on, and I felt really frustrated with the situation.

Any thoughts?

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#2 of 9 Old 09-08-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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Watching this. You could be describing my 4 year old boy. I'm sorry about what happened at the kids cafe, that would have upset me as well.

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#3 of 9 Old 09-08-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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I think some boys are just like this, honestly. No matter how gentle I tried to bring up my ds#1 (middle child - older sister, younger brother) he was agressive in his play and athletics. We channelled it into athletics and it has gotten better as he has matured but when he was 10-12 he had the most penalties in hockey of anyone in the entire league . Last season he only had 12 minutes which didn't even put him on the chart His brother on the other hand is an incredibly gentle soul (as is my ds#1 in a lot of ways).
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#4 of 9 Old 09-08-2010, 01:21 AM
 
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My 3 yo is often exactly like this, too. And he is often very happy to be the one that is put in prison, kidnapped, the dragon, arrested, chased, etc. by his brother and sister. I don't worry about it too much though.

Since he has his brother and sister to play with a lot of the time, when I play with him I try to direct it toward gentle, caring games like veterinarian, babysitter, cook, etc. so he doesn't forget that he can be kind and loving, too.

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#5 of 9 Old 09-08-2010, 01:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post
My 3 yo is often exactly like this, too. And he is often very happy to be the one that is put in prison, kidnapped, the dragon, arrested, chased, etc. by his brother and sister. I don't worry about it too much though.
My DS1 is similar. I wouldn't describe him as rough (I've seen other boys who are rough, and that's just not quite it), but he's very physical, and doesn't understand personal space very well. He's also into swords and guns, and right now into "bad guys" (particularly "bad robots ?!), but he LOVES getting pushed around by older boys. It seems weird, but they're the only ones who *get* it - he isn't pushing/slapfighting/chasing to be mean, but to play, and older boys are so been there, done that. Just today at the park three older boys made DS1 "It" in a game of tag, and they spent a good 45 minutes running away from him and ganging up on him. He LOVED it because they were letting him play the way he wants to, unlike the girls in his life who scream whenever he comes near.

(Not to be down on girls. We just happen to know some screamers.)
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#6 of 9 Old 09-08-2010, 04:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ahhhh beautiful perspective, thank you mamas!

My son too focuses on being loving (he nurses his animals and dolls, uses his "nature doctor" kit, gives hugs and kisses) so much, that is part of why this part of him is so hard for me to accept. But I think giving my own boundaries are going to respect his need to express this part of him, and retain my own sense of peace.

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#7 of 9 Old 09-08-2010, 08:34 AM
 
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Because he was the bad guy, it does not mean he was rejected!!! Rejected means they would not play with him at all. I've watched this. This hurts worse.

I wouldn't doubt some of the behavior wasn't bossy but I think that is the nature of the age range you are dealing with.

I would encourage reading "The Wonder of Boys" and "Raising Cain".

I feel you were measuring this play on terms of older girl socialization http://www.time.com/time/health/arti...911103,00.html

With older kids that behavior would/could be an action of social ostracizing kids your child's age someones got to play that role....not everyone can be a good guy.
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#8 of 9 Old 09-08-2010, 09:12 AM
 
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aaaaaargh i dont know where the article is, but there is a great article on the positives of aggressive play.

i really do think we are doing a disfavour to our kids when we stop them from aggressive play.

its a very cathartic thing for the kids. its almost a great way of getting out their frustrations. it definitely has a role.

i remember playing aggressive games with my brother, wearing our capes and chasing each other with our 'sword' sticks. i loved dying because our key was to make it as dramatic as ever. i always prefered to be the one who lost because i loved to die. i also prefered to be the bad guy. the bad guys get to be v. flamboyant. and you had to think and organise your play.

i recall aggressive play was a emotional outlet for dd. she felt sooo much better after she got the aggression out of her.

i have noticed some kids need it more than others.

as long as they are being safe and no one is being left out or getting hurt i think its ok.

esp. horsing around. i really do feel its a developmental thing. it gives them spatial knowledge. its a way to explore their idea of space. i remember one time my dd joining in with a father and his two sons and 'attacking' the father as we watched a parade. she was right in there with the boys. climbing, leaping, trying to figure out ways and then trying to throw him to the floor. they got in quite an hour of intense play. and they were exhausted. then we went out to eat and all the kids were all soooo well behaved. age range from 3 to 7.

i agree with pp who said she doesnt see your son as being rejected. you might not like the role he plays in the games but it might be a clue to his spatial ability. he might actually enjoy being piled on because he enjoys physical pressure.

check out spd. i dont know where else you might find this information. some children like my dd was - was an extremely sensation seeking child. i think she enjoyed the physical play because she enjoyed being nudged and pushed and crushed. she has always liked big bear hugs.

what they are like children is not necessarily how they will be as adults. my v. aggressive cousin has grown up to be an awesome gentle father.

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#9 of 9 Old 09-08-2010, 09:30 AM
 
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When I step in: one kiddo is looking scared/dejected/etc., one kiddo is getting too wound up and not looking at what's around, my kid is violating some human relation code of conduct, etc.
If everyone seems happy in their play, I let it flow. HTH.

SMC to dd 4/07.
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