Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sex and Violence

Two recent subjects of conversation with the boy:

1. So, if Stripes still COULD have a baby, where would it come out?

2. The minute details of a light saber battle in his Clone Wars video game, where someone got a leg blown off, and someone else got "force pushed" into a fire. This one-way conversation lasted a good fifteen minutes.

I am now having him draw me pictures of his favorite car, his favorite football player, his favorite Star Wars character.

In other words: diversionary tactics.

The sex conversation isn't one I'll avoid on purpose, we were just literally saved by the bell. The phone rang, and we just haven't gone back to the subject yet. And if there is anything I know about conversations about sex with my son, is this: It's all about the segue. So, yeah, we'll get back to it.

But the obsession with violence? While I am not alarmed, I don't like it. But I wonder about the best way to deal with it. I don't want to shutter him away completely, because I know that it will only fuel his interest. Still, I want to show him other good, interesting things about the world. Cool stuff that happens when no one gets stabbed and thrown in hot lava. Because honestly? Hot lava and gun fights bore me to tears. There is no mystery involved, no magic. Having said this, I do think it's interesting to discover that the character he chose to represent himself is a woman.

If you are a parent, have you dealt with this before? If you aren't a parent, how do you think you'd handle it? And also, have I permanently put you off of having children altogether?



Lisa L said...

I didn't let my Matt have violent video games when he was young..BUT..when he hit the older teen years and could save up for his *own* games...omg....then I had to make sure Amanda wasn't around to watch. I was grateful that most of his games involved skateboarding though...but the violent ones? THEY left me speechless. I was always quite censorious with the kids vis a vis movies etc..their dad didn't care about it...so they would of course ask his permission to watch such and such a (violent) film and I would have to be the bad guy! Oh well. We all survived.

I, Rodius said...

I was on the phone with my sister-in-law, and she said, "Aw, I can hear Thumper laughing. I love his laugh. It's so sweet." What was making him laugh? Making me flinch by pretending he was going to club me in the head with a toy. Yeah. Sweet.

The point? Oh. I don't know. It's just part of who they are, a part of what they have to learn to deal with properly. Pretty challenging stuff. I appreciate you blazing trails for me, though.

anniemcq said...

We let JH play Lego Star Wars initially, which was hysterically funny. The only "violence" was slapstick - if anyone got lightsabered all their lego pieces fell apart. It was an adorable, acceptable level of mayhem. And it lulled us into falsely assuming that "Star Wars: Clone Wars" would be an okay video game. Our bad. And that ship has sailed, I'm afraid. But I am limiting his time on it, because I don't like what it does to his shiny little brain. As far as the REALLY violent games like Grand Theft Auto, etc. They will never be played in our house. But it just seems that he is so fascinated by things that shoot and blow up, and it's just so far from who we are that I have a difficult time understanding it.

When he was in preschool, though, he told me about some kids playing "gunners" at school. I said I didn't like that kind of talk and didn't want him to do that, he said "but Mom, I'm just playing. It's how I learn." I think that there is a level of truth and innocence to that statement, but how much of that play is harmful?

Living In a Girl's World said...

The amount of insight JH has is phenomenal. I don't have an answer as I have girls and other "battles" to fight. On the sex topic, my oldest two know how babies come out. My 2nd was a home birth and the 3rd was a birth center. I had to prep #1 just in case we had noone to watch her when #2 was born, so she watched a (fairly graphic) video of a birth. Then #1 and #2 rewatched same movie before #3 because they were debating whether or not they wanted to be there.

Anonymous said...

The sex talk, in my experience, was best done like a Bandaid. Rip it off fast and then you're only left with a lingering, fading sting.


We had it with Bailey in the 1st grade when he kept asking probing questions (HA! Pun not intended). The questions about how babies are made grew more and more specific until I finally just took a deep breath and explained the basic jigsaw biology of it all. He nodded thoughtfully, and hasn't felt the need to bring it up again.

The violence is an ongoing, but losing battle. I don't let them have toy guns. I monitor the video games. I put them in karate to "constructively channel" the energy. Eh. The boys still engage in violent fantasy play and descriptive talk, and I try to keep reinforcing our standards as best I can.

But there's definitely some nature over nurture going on!