toys in a "war" environment - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 05-12-2002, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dear friends,
What would you advice me to do with my 6 years old son who is very very found of guns, pistols, any kind of war games... while we live in Pakistan, overwhelmed with the threat of terrorist attacks ?
Should we let him play with this kind of games for him to tame his fears ? Should we refuse this games and talk more and more about peace ?
Of course, we'll leave this country as soon as possible. We try to explain him with simple words what happens around us. And we do our best to give him a life as normal as possible. But that's not enough. He is mad about his war games, and we don't have anybody able to give us professional help in our langage...
Any ideas to help him to cope with this ?
Sofia

(sorry for my english, I hope my message is understandable)
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#2 of 11 Old 05-13-2002, 06:56 AM
 
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I know what you mean, I live in Israel. A friend of mine has three boys and came up with this idea. One month out of the year the kids can play with their war toys. It is the month with the holiday Purim, where the kids all dress up. So they dress up as military figures and play with their guns, but it's for a limited time, and when everyone around is also in costume so it reenforces the idea that it isn't real. Maybe you could bring out the war toys at Halloween time, and keep them for that time of year.
Definitely keep talking about peace. Kids need to know there are heroes other than fighting men.
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#3 of 11 Old 05-15-2002, 04:23 PM
 
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Dear Sophia,

I feel very awkward responding to this since I'm not in that environment, but I wanted to. I would not give him the war toys even though that is what he is seeing/wanting. Children learn with their bodies. Acting out the motions of shooting and violence will reinforce those actions in their minds so much more than just seeing it.

Can you point out what non-soldiers are doing and using around you? Get him some other role play toys. Could it be a gender identification thing ie: this is what men do? You could get play tools or even real tools. Hammer/screwdriver etc. Garden tools. Maybe a briefcase and calculator, Doctor/medic toys. Its hard because making peace is so much less visual than making war.

I wish you luck and peace
Blessings
Rebekah
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#4 of 11 Old 05-15-2002, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to both of you.

Our point of views and ideas will help me. But I would not want to close this discussion yet, as I'm sure this "problem" is of concern for many many families in Israel, as well for expatriates in some countries.

My husband works in the United Nations, on demining the Afghan villages, and there is more and more confusion about military people working in peace process programmes, about army providing food and help, but bombing the Afghans as well. My son keeps asking me "who are the nice, who are the bad people?". Life is not a Walt Dysney movie. "Nice" people can intentionnaly hurt other people...

Do you know good books for kids about these subjects ?
Sophia
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#5 of 11 Old 05-17-2002, 12:33 AM
 
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Sophia-
You might want to contact the Mennonites. They are pacifists and I know that they have many books for children about non-violence and people that have stood up for their beliefs in peaceful ways. I'm sorry that I do not have a web site for you at this time but I will do what I can to look for something here the states. Please let me know about the resources you find, I would be very interested in them.
Sarah
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#6 of 11 Old 05-19-2002, 04:55 AM
 
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You could get play tools or even real tools. Hammer/screwdriver etc. Garden tools. Maybe a briefcase and calculator, Doctor/medic toys. Its hard because making peace is so much less visual than making war.

I like that idea a lot. Maybe plan "a day in the life of a man..." and visit men in their jobs that are essential, yet completely separate from violence. I think it would be worth missing school, even, to see the men in action, KWIM? Or even a school trip, and have the entire class go.
Thanks for starting this thread, it has me thinking.
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#7 of 11 Old 05-19-2002, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the idea of "a day in the life of Men".

We'll try to go and visit the fire-fighters, the men planting trees in the mountains, the workers building new roads. Thank you very much.

This is something we use do when my son was much younger, but which could very useful now again, showing him that we can "fight" for our world without necessarely being a soldier...

I can talk to his teacher about that, so as she could work on that too. But, planning any visit outside of the school with the other children is too risky. What a world we live in...

How do you all survive in Israel ? Where do you find the joy and energy we need to bring up our children ? (I'm exhausted today we had two bomb scares yesterday... ).

Hope to read again from all of you...
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#8 of 11 Old 05-20-2002, 04:59 AM
 
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How do you all survive in Israel ? Where do you find the joy and energy we need to bring up our children ?
I'm not really sure. For me it's a little bit like visualization trick some people use in labor to handle pain. The pain is there, but focus the mind on something intricate and enjoyable that takes a lot of concentration, so the pain isn't as intense or noticeable.
Maybe I am just hiding my head in the sand, but I don't read newspapers, and I meet other moms in the park and we talk about our kids. Things like that.
My dd is only a few months old, it would be much more stressful if I had children old enough to notice things and ask tough questions, or old enough to take public transportation on their own.
What do you do to handle it all?
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#9 of 11 Old 05-21-2002, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How do we handle it ? We don't know. We talk. We try to read about simple stories about simple and safe life. Just to remind the kids that a different life is possible, somewhere else.

I'm active, being a nurse, and that helps me. I could not stay anymore at home, worrying about a possible attack at the school, reading the newspapers... At home, when my husband is in Afghanistan, I write a lot to my friends. I tell them what we live. I don't ask for any special help, I 'm just happy that there are people listening to me.

But I miss "joy". Sometimes I feel that I should laugh more with my children. I should play more with them, I mean in a funny way, not always following the normal rules. But I can't !!!!!!!!

We are a small community (70 kids at the school), all very shocked by the last terrorist attack in Karachi, where 12 French compatriotes died. And we can't help each other a lot...

But, let's keep a positive attitude ! Our children sleep, dream, study at school, they express some anger, and fierces through their games (my son and his guns obsession !) but it seems that they are OK...

Yes, be prepared to answer to his questions in the future, i.e : what did you do to stop this horror? May be a simple answer could be " I tried to raise you in a quiet and peacefull familly environment..."

We are raising the Men of tomorrow !

(still OK with my english ? If it's too bad, just tell me... It's a shame I can't find such interresting websites in french)
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#10 of 11 Old 05-22-2002, 06:43 AM
 
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You are doing fine with the English, don't worry.
Focusing on the peaceful and positive is just what we need. The entire world needs it. These times hopefully will pass relatively quickly, and meanwhile we do what we can to keep life normal.
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#11 of 11 Old 05-22-2002, 08:04 AM
 
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"Yes, be prepared to answer to his questions in the future, i.e : what did you do to stop this horror? May be a simple answer could be 'I tried to raise you in a quiet and peacefull familly environment...'"

I think about too how I will answer this question one day. What have I done to help things. Living here in Switzerland we are in one of the safest places anyone could be! After September 11th my older son was very concerned about war and where it could happen. He knows many refugee families as I have done volunteer work both here and in Norway with refugee groups. We assure him that it will "never" happen here, but I don't hide from him that it happens elsewhere. His best friend here is from Kosova and he understands on a basic level that he had to leave there due to a war.

I think that I do what I can by trying to teach my children tolerence and respect. I think that there is some innate understanding due to their being foreigners themselves and even though my son goes to a Swiss school he is very much a "foreigner". Hopefully they will learn the most importnat thing we can do is help when we are needed. And that we are not separate from others in this world, that there are things, even tiny things, we can do to help.
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