Aggressive play...What do you think? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 02-04-2005, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I am writing a paper on the adverse effects of the media on children and am trying to find counter-arguments to my thesis. One that I have found is in a book call "Killing Monsters", and the authors asserts that television encourages aggressive play, fantasizing about violent acts etc. I am an extremely non violent person and have always cringed at kids play wrestling (mostly because it has always led to real fights), gun fights etc. However, I don't know if it is that horrible. I mean, all my brothers did these things and they have grown up to be non violent men.

SO, the whole point of this post is to see what you all think of aggressive play? Have you seen good things come from it? Or only bad?

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#2 of 14 Old 02-04-2005, 02:52 PM
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I have an acquaintance that is adamantly against competition. She won’t even let her children play chase/tag type of games. Her children have grown angry and resentful at this. They have to sit out and watch other kids play chase.

I wrestle with my kids but I also watch for signs that we need to stop. I have used aggressive play to help my kids work through things. My kids have became heroes/heroines and worked out right and wrong with aggressive behaviors. You can use rough play to teach lessons.

I think the biggest reason why kids behave aggressively after TV is because the lack of parental interaction. What is the influence of any TV if they spend 4-5 hrs a day watching it with no adult supervision or interaction.
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#3 of 14 Old 02-04-2005, 03:08 PM
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Well, dh plays very aggressively with our dc and they *love* it. They wrestle, chase each other, have tickle fights, etc. It definitely takes dd a while to "calm down" afterward, but so far we haven't noticed any adverse affects from it. They love their time with daddy.
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#4 of 14 Old 02-04-2005, 03:15 PM
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My kids do not watch violent television. Probably the most violent thing they have ever seen is SpongeBob. They also don't spend a lot of time in other kid's homes, so I'm fairly confident that they aren't getting it anywhere else. They are pretty aggressive kids, with each other. My 7yo and 3yo wrestle almost constantly, and lately my 1yo has been joining in on the fun.

They are not, however, aggressive with other children. The other children are sometimes rough with them, however. I do think that the absence of violent cartoons and imagery in our home has had a positive effect on them in that manner. My kids seem to have a better sense of what is appropriate and what isn't than the other kids they play with in the neighborhood, kids I know for a fact spend a lot of time playing violent video games and watching violent cartoons.

I think that rough play is a natural, normal part of childhood and that most kids know when to stop. Accidents happen, elbows sometimes connect with ribcages when they were not intended to and such. Just by watching my kids, and other kids I know that don't watch violent television, interact with kids that I know are exposed to more violent images I'd say there is a correlation there.
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#5 of 14 Old 02-04-2005, 07:43 PM
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I have heard someone say that Wrestling is like hugs on the floor...especially for boys. THis is something our boys do with Dad everynight before dinner almost as soon as he walks in the door. Everyone generally knows when its getting too rough and I actually have seen my 8 year old become more and more of a monitor about the roughness since the wrestling began (he has a little brother, who he actually watches out for at times!!! ) He'll now say things like..."Oh that's too rought...or Watch out for Luke or something for us it has actually taught him to monitor his behvior and boundaries.

As far as the gun thing goes...I was ADAMENTLY against buying them guns...however, alll the other boys in the neighborhood had them and instead of "shooting" the other kids he would go around yelling "Fire in the Hole" (Dad is an EOD officer in the military) and chunck bombs at everyone...soon after that I bought him a water gun!!! No matter what we try to protect them from, he will be exposed to eventually. I guess I'd rather expose him to this and explain my feelings on the matter at the same one of the above posters mentioned...I think it has more to do with parental involvement that whether or not they play with guns, watch tv or whatever...
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#6 of 14 Old 02-04-2005, 08:47 PM
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IMO, wrestling and chase is a natural type of play, all creatures great and small do this. Look at Mamma lioness letting her cubs chew her tail and wrestle with the sibs. I have an image of the mother lion when I wrestle around with my DS.

I agree with someone on a previos reply that it is the absence of adult interaction in all areas of a childs upbringing that can lead to aggressiveness and violence. I interact with my DS and don't let him watch televison or play with violent toys.

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#7 of 14 Old 02-04-2005, 10:58 PM
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You might look at the books Raising Cain by Kindlon/Thompson and Playful Parenting by Leonard Cohen, too.

I think you will find lots of anecdotal evidence that playing with guns does not make people turn to real violence. Still doesn't make me want DS playing with guns. I have no fear he will turn out to be a violent person, but I don't like to see him playing fighting or guns and whatnot.

mama to DS 9 and DD 5 and
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#8 of 14 Old 02-06-2005, 07:34 PM
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Supervee just mentioned Playful Parenting by L. Cohen. This book really changed my thinking on aggressive play. DS and DH (and me to some extent) have LEARNED to wrestle in a way that is fun, full of laughter and has really taught DS much about boundaries. If you are writing a paper, I recommend this book as a MUST READ. It tells another side to aggressive play that needs to be told (IMO ).

As a sidenote, I'd like to add that my DH is a card-carrying pacifist. He is a truly gentle soul, who believes in gun control. That said, his FAVORITE toy as a child, the one he wouldn't even leave behind to go to church were his holster and pistols.

The best,

Em 43 - Wife to hubby Mom to DS born: Jan. '01
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#9 of 14 Old 02-07-2005, 01:04 AM
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I just read a nice perspective on wrestling in Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph. He maintains that wrestling, and similar "rough-house" play, can be a valuable tool for teaching limits and self discipline. He believes this is important for boys especially, who will likely grow up to be bigger and physically stronger than the women in their lives. Without wrestling and other similar types of play, they may not learn physical self-control "in the moment". Wrestling allows them to be a little bit wild, very physical, and also helps them learn the important lesson of when to stop. He is a proponent of parents wrestling with their children - especislly dads and sons - and of the parents setting clear limits on what is acceptable.
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#10 of 14 Old 02-07-2005, 12:55 PM
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we do not watch any sort of violence on tv. I think my definition of aggressive play isn't what most of the PP's are talking about. I don't have a problem with playful wrestling, chasing, tag, etc. But I do not allow any sort of play fighting, hitting, shooting, swordplay, and other stuff like that. Some of my friends say it's just because I have girls, but I know that they draw the line in a totally different place with their boys than I do with my girls, so it's impossible to say if it's really a boy/girl thing or not.

I know there's one boy in playgroup who is allowed to watch very violent tv and movies, he plays very roughly with the other kids, even one of the other boys told me he didn't like him because he was kind of mean to him. This boy, the aggressive one, almost always ends up making someone cry when he's there. He just doesn't understand about hurting people and why we don't like that. But there's so much more to his aggressiveness than just the tv he's allowed to watch. His mother spanks him. If it's ok for her to hit him, how can he ever learn it's not ok to hit other kids?
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#11 of 14 Old 02-14-2005, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks ladies for your insight. It was very helpful in reasoning for my arguments. If ya don't mind I think I will use some of your ideas/insight. Now if I could just make myself write the paper instead of writing here. heehee.

Dp, me dreads.gif  ds#1  goodvibes.gif, ds #2 jog.gif and ds#3 drool.gif

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#12 of 14 Old 02-15-2005, 11:45 AM
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DH and I wrestle with DD often, and it is one of her favorite things!
When she was 2 and 3, we called it "getting our ya-yas out" and would have a wild time about an hour before bed. Once we'd had enough, she was much more ready to settle in to read some books and drift right off to sleep. It made bedtime much nicer!

I also wanted to share this article from Mother Jones. Very interesting.

No one can deny that children are mimics, and will copy what they see on television just as they copy the people around them... it seems like the more balance there is to their influences, the less lasting effect the yucky stuff will have.

DIYer mama to DD 11/00 and DS 6/05- both intact, naturally!
...missing Mothering Magazine...
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#13 of 14 Old 02-15-2005, 07:30 PM
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My 3 yr son loves to wrestle whenver he gets the chance. More often than not, it stays very safe and nonviolent. I think it's good for kids to learn their own limits: fun wrestling vs. hurting.
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#14 of 14 Old 02-15-2005, 11:28 PM
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My 4yo son (firstborn) is very aggressive. I'd have to say that I and his father are too. I think it is a natural tendency. We didn't buy him any guns/let him watch much more than PBS when he was very young but still he managed to make very realistic guns and swords out of lego blocks and try to initiate play with us.
On the other hand, his brother (1 yo) isn't interested in such things much.

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