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#31 of 59 Old 05-08-2010, 01:46 AM
 
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I don't have a problem with DS sharing what is on his mind, but I am concerned that he thinks that it is acceptable to integrate these situations into play and everyday life. We can talk all day about what is on his mind, but I will not allow him to pretend violent play. I have not turned a cold shoulder to my son, or forced him into silence.

If DS witnessed a violent incident or watched graphic shows on television that frightened him, I would respond differently to his behavior.
I truly believe that my son is parroting the conversation of another child or children who were exposed to something that they shared at school.

Even though he is four, my son understands the concept of death, and after many conversations he knows that when people are killed they are dead.
He has witnessed speech which has frightened him.

Children figure out things they don't understand by using them in their play.

I do not doubt that your 4yo understands death. My 3.5yo understands it. It's not a very hard concept, especially if they've had a death in their lives.
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#32 of 59 Old 05-08-2010, 02:26 AM
 
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AndrewsMother -

I can say that when my son was 4, I think I held the same opinion that you do. But now I don't. I'll just give you some references for you to look into and call it up to you. It's a controversial issue, but I have slowly seen everyone that I know switch as their boys have become older. Even people who were adamant and have actually had loved one's die through violence.

Playful Parenting (book)
Ooegy Gooey handout http://www.ooeygooey.com/mary/resour...youre-dead.pdf - (From our play based preschool - our teacher had to follow public school rules, but let us know her opinion)
Raising Caine - changed my life in many ways (book or movie)
And of course the famous Mothering Magazine article that gave me permission to relax http://www.mothering.com/articles/gr...bang-bang.html

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#33 of 59 Old 05-08-2010, 03:12 AM
 
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You are teaching him to be secretive and to act differently around you and other adults than he does around his peers.

The only thing you are changing is his relationship with you.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#34 of 59 Old 05-08-2010, 08:01 AM
 
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With kindness intended, maybe you should take a break and ask yourself why it is so important for you to have such a peace in your world. I say that because I had lots of violent things (nothing horrible, just incidents that spooked me) that I know I hold onto when my boys go "bang, bang!"

Now that I recognize my own drive for peace, I can be a better parent. I can ignore a lot more, but more importantly engage them in a way that leads to success.

One of my boys goes to a Waldorf school now (we are not a Waldorf family, but love the school for littles), and while most of it is peace, love and fairies, there are a lot of boys who use violent words or play from time to time. Their teacher handles it *beautifully*. She reminds them what their words or hands are for, and then moves them to something positive. Then the kids move on and ultimately learn to play in many different, peaceful ways.

My two points are that no where is haven so you need to teach your child skills, and that once you can see the bigger picture, you can make a huge difference in your child's world.

Four is so young, so developing, so in need of gentle direction, positive words and choices. You can help your child. Please don't give him the message that he is a bad kid at age 4.
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#35 of 59 Old 05-08-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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You are teaching him to be secretive and to act differently around you and other adults than he does around his peers.

The only thing you are changing is his relationship with you.
Amen to this.

You say you didn't withhold affection. What do you call sending him to his room to eat dinner alone? That's exactly what that is. You're setting yourself up for a long road in the later years by teaching your child it's only safe to tell you certain things. My DD is 6yo and I can't think of anything that would make me send her to her room for the evening to eat dinner alone at this age. Just...wow.

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#36 of 59 Old 05-09-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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I don't have a problem with DS sharing what is on his mind, but I am concerned that he thinks that it is acceptable to integrate these situations into play and everyday life. We can talk all day about what is on his mind, but I will not allow him to pretend violent play.
Integrating these things into their play is EXACTLY how children process big ideas, and find a way to work through them. They play "good guy versus bad guy" in various forms to work out the eternal issue of good versus evil. This may take the form of knights dueling, or cops and robbers, etc, but it is NOT about violence, it's about using safe, imaginary roles to explore good and evil. As long as good always wins I would consider it healthy.

Also, for clarification, was he repeating the words, or was he threatening you with them?
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#37 of 59 Old 05-09-2010, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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AndrewsMother -

I can say that when my son was 4, I think I held the same opinion that you do. But now I don't. I'll just give you some references for you to look into and call it up to you. It's a controversial issue, but I have slowly seen everyone that I know switch as their boys have become older. Even people who were adamant and have actually had loved one's die through violence.

Playful Parenting (book)
Ooegy Gooey handout http://www.ooeygooey.com/mary/resour...youre-dead.pdf - (From our play based preschool - our teacher had to follow public school rules, but let us know her opinion)
Raising Caine - changed my life in many ways (book or movie)
And of course the famous Mothering Magazine article that gave me permission to relax http://www.mothering.com/articles/gr...bang-bang.html
Thank you for the articles and book suggestions they are truly appreciated. I read the articles yesterday at work and I will look for Raising Caine.

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#38 of 59 Old 05-09-2010, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Integrating these things into their play is EXACTLY how children process big ideas, and find a way to work through them. They play "good guy versus bad guy" in various forms to work out the eternal issue of good versus evil. This may take the form of knights dueling, or cops and robbers, etc, but it is NOT about violence, it's about using safe, imaginary roles to explore good and evil. As long as good always wins I would consider it healthy.

Also, for clarification, was he repeating the words, or was he threatening you with them?
Both.

He repeats the words during play and will talk to me about what his friend(s) say during the school day.

Before he began to use violent words, DS would tell me that I was not his friend, or tell me that "NO" was a bad word if he was unable to do or have something that he wanted. After, instead of saying No is a bad word, he would say that he was going to cut my forehead, or cut my leg.

And for further clarification, I don't have a problem with the type of scenarios you described. That type of play is not expressed as anger or resentment, but during the normal course of play.

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#39 of 59 Old 05-09-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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My son is empathetic and altruistic, but also loves to engage in rough play. I don't understand it. My gentle loving boy who will wipe someones tears away and kiss their cheek loves to sword fight and pretend to shoot people, and prefers to play with similar people.
This is what children are like. They are both empathetic and like to pretend to shoot people. It's just the way they are. Have you not noticed this in other kids? Don't you remember it from your own childhood?

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I made it clear to DS the next morning that he is not allowed to engage in violent play/conversations at home or school.
I see this as a losing battle. I don't allow toy guns in the home, but kids are going to pretend to shoot each other. They are going to wrestle. They are going to talk about destroying alien spaceships.

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he is a little boy, and little boys should not speak of killing anything or cutting anything but paper.
Again, a losing battle. How are you going to be able to enforce this? Talking about killing is typical boy behavior. It doesn't mean he's depraved or bound to become a killer or horrible person. I'm not crazy about it in my sons, but I recognize that it's a way of working out things in play.

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After, instead of saying No is a bad word, he would say that he was going to cut my forehead, or cut my leg.

And for further clarification, I don't have a problem with the type of scenarios you described. That type of play is not expressed as anger or resentment, but during the normal course of play.
I'm confused. First your son is not ever, ever to talk about violent anything. Or to incorporate it into play. But now you say that normal play with violent themes is ok. Which is it?

If you're saying that you have a problem with your son threatening you, using violent language toward you, his mother, ok. That I can understand. Trying to contain the normal impulses of kids toward violent scenarios in their play, on the other hand, just seems to set yourself up for failure, power struggles, and way bigger battles down the road.
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#40 of 59 Old 05-09-2010, 09:21 PM
 
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I think you might be overreacting to a very typical developmental stage. Between 4 and 5, kids learn the power of words, and they sometimes use their words inappropriately. They're particularly prone to verbal 'violence' - the classic 4 year old put down is "you can't come to my birthday party!" or "you're not my friend any more!" But more violent speech is actually not all that common.

I would encourage you to therefore think hard about what your son can say instead of what he's saying. I agree that it's not appropriate for him to say "I'm gonna stab you." But I also wouldn't imbue that with too much significance, certainly not enough to send him to his room for the night. I would say "Wow, it sounds like you're really mad. You can say you're mad, but I don't like to hear about stabbing." Will you have to say this about 1000 times? Yep, it's how kids learn.

I'd add to your reading: How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen and Listen So Your Children Will Talk by Faber & Mazlish. I don't think your strategy is going to encourage your son to talk in the long run. Now it's probably not a problem, but it will be when he's 8 or 10.

I also think that you might be overestimating your son's understanding of these words and what they mean. By way of illustration:

Our ds (9) was playing a computer game (Roller Coaster Tycoon) about a month ago This game has no violence (we don't allow violent games of any sort). But, as your themepark ages and gets more successful, sometimes people vandalize your 'park' (break your lights, turn over trash cans). Ds decided that when that happened, he'd 'punish' the nearest person to the vandalism. His punishment? Drowning the person. I was horrified to say the least, and I told him so. "That's terrible. You shouldn't do that. First, you don't know that this person did the vandalism and second, drowning kills them!" His response? "No it doesn't."

If my then 8 1/2 year old was unclear about the definition of 'drown', it's entirely possible that part of what your son is doing is trying to figure out what these words really mean. For the record, ds is one of the most gentle children I know. He never went through a hitting period. He's kind and sensitive. (One of the reasons this shocked me so.) He had an early and thorough understanding of death (we'd had long discussions by the time he was 3 1/2.) He also has an incredibly vocabulary for his age -- seriously, he's in the 99th percentile for vocab and reading for his age. If he can be unclear as to what some of these words mean, what's the chance that your son is also unclear?

And for what it's worth, I dropped the subject with him because I wasn't sure how to handle it. The next time he was playing the game, he'd quit drowning his vandals. (He was exiling them to an island - reminds me of Victorian justice and exiling people to Australia!) It took him awhile to process what I'd said, but he did.

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It is brutal and inhumane. Life is sacred, and childhood is short. He has a lifetime to learn of the evils of the world. There is nothing wrong with choosing to foster and protect the innocence of a child.
I'd say there was a difference between protecting a child and not letting them explore ideas to which they'd already been exposed.

How can your son explore themes of violence and death? Remember the natural world abounds with 'violence' -- animals hunt and kill. What about using this opportunity to teach him about the difference between violence in animals (who need to kill to live) and violence in humans, where it's not necessary? If you're vegetarian, this is a good time to explore why. If you're not, then you're going to have to own up to the fact that you eat other animals too. (We're not vegetarians, by the way, and we've discussed this with our kids.)

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He has witnessed speech which has frightened him.

Children figure out things they don't understand by using them in their play.

I do not doubt that your 4yo understands death. My 3.5yo understands it. It's not a very hard concept, especially if they've had a death in their lives.
. I'd add that it's a hard concept for many, many years, even if they haven't had death in their lives.


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If you're saying that you have a problem with your son threatening you, using violent language toward you, his mother, ok. That I can understand. Trying to contain the normal impulses of kids toward violent scenarios in their play, on the other hand, just seems to set yourself up for failure, power struggles, and way bigger battles down the road.
Yes, I agree.

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#41 of 59 Old 05-09-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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You are teaching him to be secretive and to act differently around you and other adults than he does around his peers.

The only thing you are changing is his relationship with you.
This, big time.

From one mom of a four-year-old boy (two, actually) to another: A four-year-old saying he's going to cut your forehead or leg really is not a big deal. It's really, really a phase. It will pass.

I know you're feeling defensive here, but try to take this into your heart: you are teaching your son to hide things from you. And no good can come of that.
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#42 of 59 Old 05-10-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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This is what children are like. They are both empathetic and like to pretend to shoot people. It's just the way they are. Have you not noticed this in other kids? Don't you remember it from your own childhood?



I see this as a losing battle. I don't allow toy guns in the home, but kids are going to pretend to shoot each other. They are going to wrestle. They are going to talk about destroying alien spaceships.



Again, a losing battle. How are you going to be able to enforce this? Talking about killing is typical boy behavior. It doesn't mean he's depraved or bound to become a killer or horrible person. I'm not crazy about it in my sons, but I recognize that it's a way of working out things in play.



I'm confused. First your son is not ever, ever to talk about violent anything. Or to incorporate it into play. But now you say that normal play with violent themes is ok. Which is it?

If you're saying that you have a problem with your son threatening you, using violent language toward you, his mother, ok. That I can understand. Trying to contain the normal impulses of kids toward violent scenarios in their play, on the other hand, just seems to set yourself up for failure, power struggles, and way bigger battles down the road.
Totally agree with all of this. AndrewsMother, as you know I have an 18 yo son and when he was little I was very much against the violent play until my Dad of all people helped me to see its normal. I was against the army men, the guns, you get the point. Still at 4-5 he would create guns with his hands and rough house. He is 18 now and a completely gentle soul.

I would encourage you to definitely be a little less rigid, when I was a kid, my folks were quick to chastise me for sharing thoughts, feelings and all it did was inspire me to learn to be sneaky.

No, you did not post in the GD forum but I think striving to be gentle is at the root of what AP is about and creating that connection.

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#43 of 59 Old 05-10-2010, 03:25 PM
 
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I believe that violent words are just as serious as physical violence, and we will not tolerate either in our home or family.
No, they're not equal. Not at all. I grew up in a violent house, and I despise when people starting spouting about how violent language and thoughts are just as bad as violent actions. Compare your son hearing/saying "I'm going to cut your leg" to my seeing my mother pulled down the stairs with a phone cord wrapped around her leg. Do you really think the impact is the same? It's not. Your son is experimenting with language and ideas; he's not actually cutting or shooting people.

I'd also be careful of blaming this other child's parents. Some of the children in our circle say violent things, and I know absolutely that they are from pacifist homes. It's the same thing - experimenting with words and their power. You just seem so judgmental of everyone around you - including your own son - and in the end, I don't think it will be beneficial to your relationships with these people.

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#44 of 59 Old 05-10-2010, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is what children are like. They are both empathetic and like to pretend to shoot people. It's just the way they are. Have you not noticed this in other kids? Don't you remember it from your own childhood?


I see this as a losing battle. I don't allow toy guns in the home, but kids are going to pretend to shoot each other. They are going to wrestle. They are going to talk about destroying alien spaceships.



Again, a losing battle. How are you going to be able to enforce this? Talking about killing is typical boy behavior. It doesn't mean he's depraved or bound to become a killer or horrible person. I'm not crazy about it in my sons, but I recognize that it's a way of working out things in play.



I'm confused. First your son is not ever, ever to talk about violent anything. Or to incorporate it into play. But now you say that normal play with violent themes is ok. Which is it?

If you're saying that you have a problem with your son threatening you, using violent language toward you, his mother, ok. That I can understand. Trying to contain the normal impulses of kids toward violent scenarios in their play, on the other hand, just seems to set yourself up for failure, power struggles, and way bigger battles down the road.[/QUOTE]

Perhaps I did not properly convey my thoughts. I see a distinct difference between imaginary play scenarios, and telling me his mother (or anyone) that he will cut them or cause harm because he is angry.

Perhaps I am not making sense or able to put my exact thoughts into words. I know that children create scenarios during play that are not carried out in real life, and I am fine with that, but the words and attitudes that I experienced was/is not a normal part of development. One day my son is not my friend when I tell him no, and they next day he wants to cut my forehead. Something about that just did not seem right to me.

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#45 of 59 Old 05-10-2010, 11:45 PM
 
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, but the words and attitudes that I experienced was/is not a normal part of development. One day my son is not my friend when I tell him no, and they next day he wants to cut my forehead. Something about that just did not seem right to me.
It doesn't seem right to me either, but I wouldn't react the way you did at all. I would have explained to my child how it made be feel and why it wasn't OK to talk to me that way. I wouldn't have sent them away from me.

When you talk about this, it's very removed. The things you say that you've said to him are impersonal "we don't use that kind of language." I would focus on exactly what he said to me and I how it made me feel. I wouldn't even bother globalizing to others, but just focus on the relationship between my child and I. I think when we can get our relationships right with our family members, the rest of the world is a piece of cake!

I find the whole thread odd, though, because you started out by totally focusing on your son hearing violent play at school (even the title of the thread and the board you put it on). That's not, IMHO, the real problem.

Your son is threatening to cut you when you say no, that is a big deal.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#46 of 59 Old 05-11-2010, 08:03 AM
 
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Perhaps I did not properly convey my thoughts. I see a distinct difference between imaginary play scenarios, and telling me his mother (or anyone) that he will cut them or cause harm because he is angry.

Perhaps I am not making sense or able to put my exact thoughts into words. I know that children create scenarios during play that are not carried out in real life, and I am fine with that, but the words and attitudes that I experienced was/is not a normal part of development. One day my son is not my friend when I tell him no, and they next day he wants to cut my forehead. Something about that just did not seem right to me.
I hope this doesn't come across too harshly - tone is hard in a post.

I think you are misplacing the problem here.

It's very, very easy to take the stand that everything outside the home is a bad influence (which is what your post title and initial post sounded like) and that the way to deal with it is punish your son for listening to his outside friends.

Unfortunately for little kids though, that may very well come across as telling them what's caught their interest is bad and then maybe they are bad. That can get very overwhelming for them.

The real problem is in this interaction you've talked about here is that your son was full of anger and expressed it very strongly - anger at you. And then you sent him away from you alone with those feelings rather than working through them with him or exploring what inside of him (rather than just seeing it as outside influence) is going on.

I would reconsider your approach on this one.

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#47 of 59 Old 05-11-2010, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It doesn't seem right to me either, but I wouldn't react the way you did at all. I would have explained to my child how it made be feel and why it wasn't OK to talk to me that way. I wouldn't have sent them away from me.

When you talk about this, it's very removed. The things you say that you've said to him are impersonal "we don't use that kind of language." I would focus on exactly what he said to me and I how it made me feel. I wouldn't even bother globalizing to others, but just focus on the relationship between my child and I. I think when we can get our relationships right with our family members, the rest of the world is a piece of cake!

I find the whole thread odd, though, because you started out by totally focusing on your son hearing violent play at school (even the title of the thread and the board you put it on). That's not, IMHO, the real problem.

Your son is threatening to cut you when you say no, that is a big deal.
My son picked up this language from another child(ren) in his class. I know this, because my son tell me everything that occurs at school...who did it...who said....what happened. At one time I did not give much thought to his talks, because I thought that he was making up most of the conversations, but his teachers and parents of friends always give credibility to his stories. This is not to say that there is not a slight degree of fantasy to his stories, but if my son says that _______ did or said something, then my son is being honest.

My son acquired words and phrases that he learned were hurtful and mean. I am sure that in his mind threatening to cut me will influence me to change his mind quicker than telling me that I am not his friend.

I explained in detail why he should not use the words, then once I knew that he understood that those words were wrong I let him know that we don't use those words. Sending him to the room for the night was not a knee jerk response from one random incident.

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#48 of 59 Old 05-11-2010, 08:36 AM
 
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if we send our children somewhere besides a situation in which we are in control, they will experience other things. If a person does not want their child exposed to anything but their own beliefs, keeping them only with a parent is the only way IMO (and I believe deeply in the importance of ages 0-5 being the time of formation of everything). Also, pee, butt and fart are bad words? They are bodily functions. Is penis a bad word? I think all of these words are good and should be said, so I guess I just don't understand why anyone would want to stop their child from saying them. Words are guttural utterances that represent something that we experience, see or feel. I personally find no words offensive, but that is not what this thread is about (dd1's father does and others she speaks to, so she knows it is only 'safe' and ok to use 'cuss' words (not pee, butt or fart, those are regular words to anyone I know so those are said anywhere anytime) in my room and when we are alone together.). To the OP, I think allowing a child outside your control is introducing them to the world, and all that entails. I also think that the Sunday night of room alone probably conveyed to the child that mommy doesn't love me as much when I say certain things (ie, mommy doesn't love me all the time) and I should keep things to myself. As our children get older and exposed to other people and ideas, they will develop their own compass and make decisions about what they can do about it. If you don't think your child is capable of making these decisions (which a 4-5 yo is not IMO), my suggestion is to keep him with you. I do not plan on my dds attending classroom instruction outside the home until they are at the age of consciousness, which is between 10-14 yo IMO.

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#49 of 59 Old 05-11-2010, 08:47 AM
 
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Thank you for sticking with this thread. Too often at MDC I read a lot of judgmental posts that scare off the original poster. In this thread I hear a lot of care and concern about you and your child from people who have gone through it already with their kids.

An interesting experiment that we stumbled upon (not intentionally) was to separate the power and shock from the actual words. "Toast" can be thought of as harmful and bad by a child, if they get into their head it is. For adults, we have all sorts of notions about cutting and stabbing, but for a 4 year old, they are going for the power under the words.

Try not to get caught up on the words, but understand the motivation. He heard these words, saw they made people react, and wanted to try it out on you to see a reaction (he feels safe with you - I think people in this post are trying to keep it that way so that he will keep talking to you and not hiding things).

Imagine the scene if you had just said, "hmm, those are strong words and tone, what are you thinking?," "let's find some words to help you describe how you are feeling," or even, "I feel you are not listening to me when I ask you to stop, so I am going to take a break from you now." The latter would encourage him to stop when you ask, not just to hide certain words.
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#50 of 59 Old 05-11-2010, 10:58 AM
 
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My 4 year old DD just recently blurted out the F-bomb while buckling her little sister into her car seat. Apparently she had somehow hurt herself on the buckle. I calmly asked, "Umm..what did you just say?" and then my 5 year old said, "She said F***!" I have to admit that I could just barely contain the smile/laughter. Here was my response, "Hmmm...well, while I can see that you were hurt and that word can sometimes be used in that context, that is really a grown up word and I'd prefer not hearing it come from you." and that was it. Has she said it since then? Yep. Even included the S word. I think the key is to remain calm, acknowledge what they said, and just say something like, "Yeah, not really a peaceful or peace keeping kind of word. Maybe you could say _____ instead."

I was listening to the new Train CD the other day and one of the lines is "I've been high and I've been low, I've been yes and I've been oh, hell, no". Well, my 5 year old LOVES Train and was going around singing this song with emphasis on HELL. I thought about it for a second and while it bothered me that my 5 year old was singing that, I realized that I'm the one who exposed her to that word. So, we talked about it and I told her that using that word really isn't nice, but sometimes grown ups use these "bad" words to emphasize feelings. I told her if she sings the song away from home to use "heck" instead. Probably not the best answer on the book, but I don't really see a problem with it unless they were walking around cussing like sailors.

Even the brilliant and witty AM dj's that I listen to in the morning (Armstrong & Getty) use things like "piss me off" and I have asked my kids before in a calm voice, "Are you doing that on purpose just to piss me off?" Again, probably not a very good choice, but I just don't think that some words are that big of a deal. When it's not the heat of the moment, I usually substitute "piss me off" for "get my goat". Yeah, like THAT makes any real sense? LOL!!

OP, those are just some examples of what I say, but mainly I try not to over-react. Sometimes kids are really testing you to see what kind of reaction they will get. My DP once said, "A calm Mother is a scary mother". You know your son better than anybody, so I am sure that you can see what is truly in his heart. Good luck!

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#51 of 59 Old 05-11-2010, 12:07 PM
 
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Hi Andrew'sMother--

I have been following and thinking about this thread for a few days now. Personally, I don't think I would have sent my 4yo to her room the way you did, but I think the thread has gotten a little confused as to why you did it or what it is that you find objectionable--that he is using violent language at all, using it in his play, at school, with you???

I have a 4.5 yo daughter. When she turned 4, she got into this major "potty" language phase. Everything was poopy this and boo boo that. She would just crack herself up. She'd get on the phone and call my mother a "butty boo boo stew" just roaring with laughter. The thing that worked best for us was to accept the language but create boundaries. I made clear to dd (with many reminders) that she could use the language ONLY at home, in the car, or with her friends during their play--not to be mean, but just to be "silly." I explained to her that I know she's trying to be funny, but not everyone finds those words funny. Now she's pushed it and tried to find caveats (Since she was in her own home, she felt it was perfectly okay to tell her visiting 75 yo grandfather that when dad cooks it tastes like toilet stew--and she was kind of right, so I let it pass), but as a PP mentioned constant reminding is just something you have to do with 4 year olds.

I know your situation is different. Potty language and violent language are not the same thing. But perhaps freeing your son to use violent language in his play and with his friends who are cool with it will make it not feel so forbidden and attractive? Also, I wonder if you don't forbid it altogether, if that would help open the door to a conversation about how you shouldn't use such language to threaten anyone, especially your mother?! It just seems to me that categorically rejecting the language is not the answer--he's a 4 yo boy and violence and roughness probably feel fun, good, and right to him. I really feel sometimes that we as a culture try to over-feminize little boys, but that's another thread...

I disagree with the poster who suggested that sending your son to his room sent the message that you don't love him as much when he uses that language. I think a lot of people on MDC believe in gentle discipline and bristle at the idea of any punishment (although I do agree that your description of that punishment did come across as harsh). But I would worry about sending the message that my dc should keep an entire part of her life and interests a secret from me. Right now, only 4 years into my parenting journey, that terrifies me!
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#52 of 59 Old 05-11-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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Hi Andrew'sMother--

I have been following and thinking about this thread for a few days now. Personally, I don't think I would have sent my 4yo to her room the way you did, but I think the thread has gotten a little confused as to why you did it or what it is that you find objectionable--that he is using violent language at all, using it in his play, at school, with you???

I have a 4.5 yo daughter. When she turned 4, she got into this major "potty" language phase. Everything was poopy this and boo boo that. She would just crack herself up. She'd get on the phone and call my mother a "butty boo boo stew" just roaring with laughter. The thing that worked best for us was to accept the language but create boundaries. I made clear to dd (with many reminders) that she could use the language ONLY at home, in the car, or with her friends during their play--not to be mean, but just to be "silly." I explained to her that I know she's trying to be funny, but not everyone finds those words funny. Now she's pushed it and tried to find caveats (Since she was in her own home, she felt it was perfectly okay to tell her visiting 75 yo grandfather that when dad cooks it tastes like toilet stew--and she was kind of right, so I let it pass), but as a PP mentioned constant reminding is just something you have to do with 4 year olds.

I know your situation is different. Potty language and violent language are not the same thing. But perhaps freeing your son to use violent language in his play and with his friends who are cool with it will make it not feel so forbidden and attractive? Also, I wonder if you don't forbid it altogether, if that would help open the door to a conversation about how you shouldn't use such language to threaten anyone, especially your mother?! It just seems to me that categorically rejecting the language is not the answer--he's a 4 yo boy and violence and roughness probably feel fun, good, and right to him. I really feel sometimes that we as a culture try to over-feminize little boys, but that's another thread...

I disagree with the poster who suggested that sending your son to his room sent the message that you don't love him as much when he uses that language. I think a lot of people on MDC believe in gentle discipline and bristle at the idea of any punishment (although I do agree that your description of that punishment did come across as harsh). But I would worry about sending the message that my dc should keep an entire part of her life and interests a secret from me. Right now, only 4 years into my parenting journey, that terrifies me!

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#53 of 59 Old 05-12-2010, 03:15 AM
 
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Well, I thought I would chime in again since I just had a kid yell at me "I'm going to Kill you" from the top of a tree today. It was just beautiful. I wonder what the neighbors think. He's 4.5 years old. I'm remembering back, that is around the age where my son said "I hate you." He's only said it once, at his birthday party when the entire inlaw side of the family was present. Wonderful, they couldn't stand my parenting anyway, that was just a lovely little bit to remind them of my failures. Oh well. The little girl I babysit would say stuff in the same vein too, not violent, but power grabby - "then I never want you to come over again!"

It seems to me like this would always come out when I was holding a boundary. It's another way to push it. "Well, she has all the power and I'm mad, what if I say this." Or if they are angry enough, then I'm not sure there is any thought to it, just an explosion of words. I tend to ignore them, like water off a duck's back. As time has gone on, I've seen the kids grow out of it in different ways. My son doesn't say things like that anymore, but gets upset and cries - mainly when he is frustrated with his little brother and feels like life isn't fair. The little girl I babysit still rants and strikes out. But after she blows off the steam, she is back to her sunny self. We'll see with this little boy, he has some extra issues to deal with in life.

The other thing I have found is that it seems to happen the most when the kids don't feel listened too. Like when I am too tired, and I am not just holding the boundary, but holding it with a cold attitude. If I take a moment to change how I am looking at the situation and I take the time to listen and explain back instead of just responding it helps.

But, sometimes nothing helps, it is about power and the fact that they are kids and I have it. Then yelling icky things is about the only power they have. And really, how can I stop it. Sit for an hour with my hand over his mouth? Not really. Punish, that might work, but it might not. I think that depends on the kid (never worked on me, I just got sneaky or logically decided that it was worth it for the punishment - like a cost/benefit analysis). I don't know what I would use as a punishment to be truthful. It would have to connect to the behavior, I can't think of one that is appropriate, which is why I don't use it. With the little girl, I try and reconnect. It seems mostly to be related to mood, so if I can connect with her and shift her mood through play, then I can get her to stop being hurtful. It seems like if she is hurting on the inside then it flows out onto other people. Or Angry!

Now, do I think that I should have to listen to that? No. DS is 6.5, he needs to control himself, but at 4.5 kids are really trying to individuate and when they go into that state, I'm not sure how much they can control themselves. I don't mean that they seem frantic or crazy - but an instinctual resistance to what I want them to do or say (or not do and say). In a Gordon Neufeld type of way, if you have read his book "Hold On TO Your Kids" then, you'll know where I am coming from.

Can I just say that the rocky 6 months of 4-5 really stunk for our family. Blah!

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#54 of 59 Old 05-14-2010, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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"I feel you are not listening to me when I ask you to stop, so I am going to take a break from you now." The latter would encourage him to stop when you ask, not just to hide certain words.
Thanks, I like this.

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#55 of 59 Old 05-14-2010, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Andrew'sMother--

I have been following and thinking about this thread for a few days now. Personally, I don't think I would have sent my 4yo to her room the way you did, but I think the thread has gotten a little confused as to why you did it or what it is that you find objectionable--that he is using violent language at all, using it in his play, at school, with you???

I have a 4.5 yo daughter. When she turned 4, she got into this major "potty" language phase. Everything was poopy this and boo boo that. She would just crack herself up. She'd get on the phone and call my mother a "butty boo boo stew" just roaring with laughter. The thing that worked best for us was to accept the language but create boundaries. I made clear to dd (with many reminders) that she could use the language ONLY at home, in the car, or with her friends during their play--not to be mean, but just to be "silly." I explained to her that I know she's trying to be funny, but not everyone finds those words funny. Now she's pushed it and tried to find caveats (Since she was in her own home, she felt it was perfectly okay to tell her visiting 75 yo grandfather that when dad cooks it tastes like toilet stew--and she was kind of right, so I let it pass), but as a PP mentioned constant reminding is just something you have to do with 4 year olds.

I know your situation is different. Potty language and violent language are not the same thing. But perhaps freeing your son to use violent language in his play and with his friends who are cool with it will make it not feel so forbidden and attractive? Also, I wonder if you don't forbid it altogether, if that would help open the door to a conversation about how you shouldn't use such language to threaten anyone, especially your mother?! It just seems to me that categorically rejecting the language is not the answer--he's a 4 yo boy and violence and roughness probably feel fun, good, and right to him. I really feel sometimes that we as a culture try to over-feminize little boys, but that's another thread...

I disagree with the poster who suggested that sending your son to his room sent the message that you don't love him as much when he uses that language. I think a lot of people on MDC believe in gentle discipline and bristle at the idea of any punishment (although I do agree that your description of that punishment did come across as harsh). But I would worry about sending the message that my dc should keep an entire part of her life and interests a secret from me. Right now, only 4 years into my parenting journey, that terrifies me!
Oh, I am so tired of the potty language, but it is somewhat hilarious when DS calls his dad a Stinky Bum Bum Head.

You have given me something to consider. Thank you.

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#56 of 59 Old 05-14-2010, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I thought I would chime in again since I just had a kid yell at me "I'm going to Kill you" from the top of a tree today. It was just beautiful. I wonder what the neighbors think. He's 4.5 years old. I'm remembering back, that is around the age where my son said "I hate you." He's only said it once, at his birthday party when the entire inlaw side of the family was present. Wonderful, they couldn't stand my parenting anyway, that was just a lovely little bit to remind them of my failures. Oh well. The little girl I babysit would say stuff in the same vein too, not violent, but power grabby - "then I never want you to come over again!"

It seems to me like this would always come out when I was holding a boundary. It's another way to push it. "Well, she has all the power and I'm mad, what if I say this." Or if they are angry enough, then I'm not sure there is any thought to it, just an explosion of words. I tend to ignore them, like water off a duck's back. As time has gone on, I've seen the kids grow out of it in different ways. My son doesn't say things like that anymore, but gets upset and cries - mainly when he is frustrated with his little brother and feels like life isn't fair. The little girl I babysit still rants and strikes out. But after she blows off the steam, she is back to her sunny self. We'll see with this little boy, he has some extra issues to deal with in life.

The other thing I have found is that it seems to happen the most when the kids don't feel listened too. Like when I am too tired, and I am not just holding the boundary, but holding it with a cold attitude. If I take a moment to change how I am looking at the situation and I take the time to listen and explain back instead of just responding it helps.

But, sometimes nothing helps, it is about power and the fact that they are kids and I have it. Then yelling icky things is about the only power they have. And really, how can I stop it. Sit for an hour with my hand over his mouth? Not really. Punish, that might work, but it might not. I think that depends on the kid (never worked on me, I just got sneaky or logically decided that it was worth it for the punishment - like a cost/benefit analysis). I don't know what I would use as a punishment to be truthful. It would have to connect to the behavior, I can't think of one that is appropriate, which is why I don't use it. With the little girl, I try and reconnect. It seems mostly to be related to mood, so if I can connect with her and shift her mood through play, then I can get her to stop being hurtful. It seems like if she is hurting on the inside then it flows out onto other people. Or Angry!

Now, do I think that I should have to listen to that? No. DS is 6.5, he needs to control himself, but at 4.5 kids are really trying to individuate and when they go into that state, I'm not sure how much they can control themselves. I don't mean that they seem frantic or crazy - but an instinctual resistance to what I want them to do or say (or not do and say). In a Gordon Neufeld type of way, if you have read his book "Hold On TO Your Kids" then, you'll know where I am coming from.

Can I just say that the rocky 6 months of 4-5 really stunk for our family. Blah!
Thank you!!! Since 3 1/2 our lives have become very interesting.

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#57 of 59 Old 05-14-2010, 07:47 AM
 
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Before he began to use violent words, DS would tell me that I was not his friend, or tell me that "NO" was a bad word if he was unable to do or have something that he wanted. After, instead of saying No is a bad word, he would say that he was going to cut my forehead, or cut my leg.
To me it sounds like he's mad at you (and what kid doesn't get mad at their parents?) and he's just experimenting with new and interesting ways to express that. Yes, his choice of words is inappropriate, but it might be more productive to put the focus on addressing his feelings and make his choice of language a secondary thing.

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Also, pee, butt and fart are bad words? They are bodily functions. Is penis a bad word? I think all of these words are good and should be said, so I guess I just don't understand why anyone would want to stop their child from saying them.
Besides the fact that pee, farts, and bums are endlessly fascinating to small children (and a lot of adults too), being able to give a detailed description of bodily functions and body parts makes it easier for kids to communicate about important things like illness, injury, or assault.
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#58 of 59 Old 05-14-2010, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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the OP, I think allowing a child outside your control is introducing them to the world, and all that entails. I also think that the Sunday night of room alone probably conveyed to the child that mommy doesn't love me as much when I say certain things (ie, mommy doesn't love me all the time) and I should keep things to myself. As our children get older and exposed to other people and ideas, they will develop their own compass and make decisions about what they can do about it. If you don't think your child is capable of making these decisions (which a 4-5 yo is not IMO), my suggestion is to keep him with you. I do not plan on my dds attending classroom instruction outside the home until they are at the age of consciousness, which is between 10-14 yo IMO.
My son feels loved, and knows that he is loved even when he does or says things of which we do not approve. It is not necessary for me to shelter my son from outside influences. It is my responsibility as a parent to teach him why certain action, words and situations are not acceptable and why he should avoid or refrain from certain situations or actions.

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Also, pee, butt and fart are bad words? They are bodily functions. Is penis a bad word?
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Besides the fact that pee, farts, and bums are endlessly fascinating to small children (and a lot of adults too), being able to give a detailed description of bodily functions and body parts makes it easier for kids to communicate about important things like illness, injury, or assault.
In our home, pee, fart, doo doo, boo boo, etc, and anatomical slang are not appropriate. Why teach a child slang when every function has a name. We taught urinate, penis, nipple and breast from day 1. Just because a word is amusing does not mean that it is appropriate.


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To me it sounds like he's mad at you (and what kid doesn't get mad at their parents?) and he's just experimenting with new and interesting ways to express that. Yes, his choice of words is inappropriate, but it might be more productive to put the focus on addressing his feelings and make his choice of language a secondary thing.
My son has a full vocabulary and since before the age of two could express his anger without resorting to violent words. He thinks that the words of his friend are cute and cool, but in reality they are violent and cruel.

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#59 of 59 Old 05-14-2010, 12:24 PM
 
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He thinks that the words of his friend are cute and cool, but in reality they are violent and cruel.
Speaking from the perspective of a mother of two teens (16 & 18)... You really will not be able to control how he speaks, the language he uses, or the play he engages in when he's not with you. All that punishing him for telling you about it does is ensure that he will stop telling you. At 3-4-5, the stuff kids get into is really relatively minor, so if you don't hear about it, it isn't going to be a big deal. But as they get older - especially in their teens - the stuff (and people) they can get involved in (and with) can be much more serious. And you absolutely want a dynamic to your relationship that leaves him open and comfortable to tell you about. If he can't tell you about a game he played with his classmate(s) now, is he going to tell you about the drinking, drugs and then driving his friends are doing at 15-16-17? Probably not. And that's not a place you want to go, I don't think.

As for language? Kids experiment with all sorts of language, especially inappropriate language, to see what reaction it will bring. A strong reaction means the words have more power than you may want them to have. They may not get used in front of you, but your son will have tucked those words away to use when he's looking to really push your buttons and get a dramatic response. By having a more muted - while consistent - response strips those words of their (perceived) power.

When my kids were coming up, as most kids are, they were exposed to language that I preferred not to have used regularly at home. Although I've been known to let an F-bomb or three fly at times. When they brought it home, I explained to them why I didn't like that language, although there were perhaps times when it was understandable (like when I added salt instead of sugar), and that I'd prefer they not make it a part of their every day vocabulary. And normally, there are better (and more creative) words to use instead. The only "rules" I put into place was that they not use that language in front of their grandparents, and they were not to use them as weapons against others (i.e. WTF, I was okay with. F*** you, not.). They went through a stage where they did use that language more than I liked - but it got little reaction from me. And that's where it pretty well ended. They got it out of their systems, and we moved on.

Just some stuff to think on.
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