3 yr old I'm going to "Shoot You" & "Kill You" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 10-11-2010, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well mamas my 3 yr old is going though this phase where he is shooting everything and wants to kill everything. My husband is a hunter so I think he is hearing a lot of talk. he has seen him target practice so he has gotten good at aiming and making great sound effects. But he has started directing it at people, I'm having a hard time not knowing how to handle it, today at the park he told a little boy that he was going to shoot him with a gun and kill him. The mom was horrified, I explained to him that we don't shoot people, How should I be responding to this?
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#2 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 12:10 AM
 
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Well, I dont think you should let him know you are horrified. IT might wind up a bigger issue than it is.
Maybe just keep letting him know that it's not okay to say that ever.
The fact that he knows about guns and what they do, it's makes sense that he is going to explore using words about shooting and killing.
He's only 3 and doesnt really mean it. It sounds horrifying because most 3 year olds or even older dont know about shooting and killing, so to hear that from a toddler is like- whoa!
It will pass.
If it makes you feel any better, my DD when she was 3 told me she wanted to cut me up into tiny pieces with her scissors. Here at my house my kids know about scissors and paper. What ever they know about, they will talk about- good or bad.
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#3 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 01:02 AM
 
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My son is saying this now too and he is almost four. It's really hard to know how to handle it and I understand why you feel so frustrated. I'll be following this thread...

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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#4 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 01:17 AM
 
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I don't necessarily know the answer, but I totally empathize. I would be just as upset as you. I'm also in agreement that making it a big deal will perpetuate it longer than it might need to go on.

I will say that preschool age children don't have solid understanding of death, and usually don't understand the permanence of it. So, if it makes you feel any better, when your son says these things, he most likely doesn't know what that will actually look like. He is just emulating his dad's behavior.

If I were you I would focus on the killing animals for food part of the equation, and maybe make up a play activity where he can "hunt and shoot" like Daddy does. This, IMO, would reinforce the whole "we don't shoot and kill people" thing, while also making the reasons for killing SOME things and not other things (as in, HUMANS) clear. And potentially giving a healthy, appropriate outlet...

K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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#5 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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This is a pretty normal thing for a three year old to be doing. My 3yo ds (who's my fourth child) will pretend to shoot me with his fingers and tells me that I'm dead.

This does not mean that there's something wrong with your son.

It does not mean he's any more likely to be violent than any other child.

I would probably not bother him about it.

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14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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#6 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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I don't know how you should handle this, but I would not let my young children play with a child who said these things. I guess I am a little shocked that your 3 year old would already have seen your husband shooting things. What else can you expect if you let him see his daddy shootig and killing things at such a young age?

Sorry to be so blunt.
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#7 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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Most 3-year-olds don't understand what killing and death are, that they are permanent states. I remember my dd telling me she was going to kill me, and me asking her what that meant, and she meant that she was angry and wanted to make me feel bad too. I remember researching at the time, and the average age for real understanding of death was something like 7. My dd did understand before that, but not at 3. You said he's seen target shooting. If he's seen actual hunting he might have a better understanding but if he's only seen target shooting he might especially not understand, because he sees this great scary loud thing happen over and over again with nothing and no one getting hurt.

I would ask him specifically what he means, and then tell him that people feel hurt and afraid by the words he's using, and suggest other words he can use to say what he means.
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#8 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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When my littlest sister was about 3 she woke up one morning to discover house guests in the beds that me and my other sister usually slept in (they arrived during the night while she was sleeping). She walked right up to the woman's face and said "I'm going to get my gun and SHOOT you." My mom was mortified and told her that we never shoot people, guns are dangerous and its a mean thing to say blah blah blah.

I just remember her looking up at my mom with the most angelic little face and replying "but mommy, I only have a squirt gun!"

It still cracks me up.

She's 14 now and just about as girly and non violent as someone can get so its just a phase...
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#9 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 12:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
I don't know how you should handle this, but I would not let my young children play with a child who said these things. I guess I am a little shocked that your 3 year old would already have seen your husband shooting things. What else can you expect if you let him see his daddy shootig and killing things at such a young age?

Sorry to be so blunt.
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I think the OP said that her son had seen target practice. As in, people shooting at targets (probably paper or cans or something) not actually killing things
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#10 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 01:15 PM
 
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My 3-yo DD has started telling DH and I that she is going to kill us. She also tells stories about how someone/something got sick and died, etc. We had a dog that died a little over a year ago, and we used that exact language ... doggie got sick and died. She doesn't really understand what happens at death ( , do any of us?), and I think some of it has come from her watching the Lion King (bad choice, I know). I think she is trying out ideas and words and watching our reaction to them. I just tell her that I don't like to hear her saying that she is going to kill someone, we don't kill people, and that isn't a nice thing to say. I think it's just a phase.
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#11 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
I don't know how you should handle this, but I would not let my young children play with a child who said these things. I guess I am a little shocked that your 3 year old would already have seen your husband shooting things. What else can you expect if you let him see his daddy shootig and killing things at such a young age?

Sorry to be so blunt.
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I totally understand what you are saying here, but...
if the fact that his father hunts and kills animals to eat is hidden from him until he's older, I think it would be devastating to the child. If this is going to be a part of his life it cant be a shameful secret. We dont have to like certain things, but can still respect other peoples lifestyle choices. Like I said in my pp, what kids know about, they talk about.
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#12 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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My 3 year old pick up this little gem from school.

Basically I just tell him that isn't a very nice thing to say, that he should choose nicer things to say, and move on. I try not to dwell or make a fuss, so that he doesnt pick up on that and start doing it BECAUSE Of that.

My husband hasnt grasped this concept yet, but whatever.
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#13 of 17 Old 10-12-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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My 3 year old got it from playing with neighborhood kids who have toy guns. I don't like it much either.
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#14 of 17 Old 10-13-2010, 04:01 AM
 
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My almost 4 DS has been doing this for the last couple of months - he got it from playing with older kids. He also has several water guns that DH bought for him (searching for the perfect one) because he will spend hours making "water fireworks".

My guy watches only very tame animated shows most of the time (because even most kids movies are too scary for him - he's afraid of Shrek), but he has been pulling this "killing" thing. He thinks that people/animals get up again and are fine after they've been shot and lay down quiet for a while. It's normal for kids not to really understand death until they're 6yo.

I think that this is very developmentally normal for kids at 3-4, especially because of the influence of media and other kids. They hear this stuff but can't contextualize it because they don't have the experience. For me the alarming part is the aggression that it is spawned from, but I try to take it as a great teaching moment, or at least one to figure out if theyre having an emotionally challenging day. I find it usually accompanies being over-tired or bored.
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#15 of 17 Old 10-14-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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Kids learn and get through emotions by playing. I would just play with him, modify the play a little to just shooting cans. If he'd imagine shooting a person I would try to make him act like a medic to make the person feel better (creates empathy). If my son would shoot me I would probably play that I die (Shakespeare's way), "fall" on top of him and cuddle him to bits. Just let him play this out of his system.
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#16 of 17 Old 01-15-2012, 03:03 PM
 
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My son is about to get kicked out of daycare for saying this to other children.  One boy is terrified and doesn't want to come to daycare anymore.  My son has no clue what it means but he keeps saying it.  I don't know what to do anymore.

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#17 of 17 Old 01-16-2012, 10:51 AM
 
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Sigh. 

 

My dh is an outdoorsman, and my kids see all sorts of stuff.  They have never actually seen him kill something, but they have seen it right after, and even watched him dress a deer.  They run around the house playing guns (nerf, usually) all the time.  (With dh, and by themselves).  A few days ago, my TWO year old came up to me and said, "See, Mama.  I have a gweat big dun to shoot my daddy when he tomes home!"  They like to ambush him at the front door.   And, it cracks me up because she wears white gloves, a shiny necklace, has a purse in one hand, and a pistol in the other.  You know the little old lady in the Sylvester and Tweety cartoons?  I digress.  Anyway, obviously, our lifestyle is a bit different than most here.

 

But, the important thing in our society, I think, is to just remember to be respectful of that.  We don't allow meanness (like threatening another kid...with words or a weapon), and play has to be play.  If everyone isn't having fun, or someone is hurt, the game is done.  Ds (who hauls his guns everywhere) hears lot of explaining about why we don't take even toy guns into certain places, and why some people don't want their kids playing with them at all.  (Or why Daddy can take his gun, but ds can't.) His eyes are wide open to all of it, and he is learning to be respectful of that boundry.  It's okay for him to love his guns, and love his play with Daddy, but not okay for him to make someone else do it if they don't want to.  No more than it's okay for them to make him enjoy their thing. 

 

(By the way, his eyes are wide open about real guns, too, and the difference between play and the real deal.  And the guns are always. always. always. in dh's hands or locked up.  Because just because a little kid "knows" the difference, doesn't make it good enough.  Just my little PSA. :))

 

 

 

 

 

 


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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