Fascination with violence

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I had to take J to have a urine analysis yesterday (possibly urinary infection). While waiting, he amused everyone in the room by picking up a "serious" French newspaper and studying it earnestly for several minutes - looking for all the world like a tiny businessman informing himself on current affairs. All was explained (to me), however, when I picked up the paper and saw what was on it - a terrible picture of a group of men, heavily booted, kicking a girl whose blouse had been torn off. I felt lost for words, actually, it was such a violent and horrible image. We talked about it - about the naughty men , about why people do naughty things like that (what do you say to a five year old?) and J didn't seem to approve of it. Yet... he is distinctly drawn to violence and aggression, always has been.
    Any thoughts about this?
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well here kids play cops and robbers or army men. We used to have a game called capture the hill but I have no idea if the still play that. You live in a part of the world where I am sure J would see pictures of that sort of thing quite regularly. Our young kids are exposed to images of war even though we attempt to shield them. It was next to impossible to keep all images of the last 10 years away from all kids. I believe boys in general are more apt to be drawn to guns and gun play. I dont care if you never even mention them or buy them a toy gun, they will make one out of something even if its their morning toast. or fingers. Bang bang. I think its just normal development.
  3. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Depending on your culture, you might accept a certain degree of violence or not. But for kids, I think it is natural to have an interest in it. It's up to you to explain what YOU find acceptable and what is not (which you have done:)).
    Just to give you an example: husband is a hunter so we do have guns in the house and the boys did go hunting with him and saw dead animals. But we also have very strict rules on how to use guns and what we can shoot: NEVER people even with toy guns. That is just unacceptable in our house.
    They are also exposed to the slaughter of our chickens which, for some would be horrible. But they want to watch and that's fine with us. But the rule is to thank the chicken for the food before husband cut their heads.
    I think they will be drawn to violence just because they are curious about things. As long as you explain what they see, I think you and J will be fine.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes... there's violence and then there's violence. The violence of killing animals (hopefully for food) is one thing, the violence of a group of men kicking a girl, presumably in some situation of war or conflict is another. Because J doesn't ever watch adult television, he has never seen anything like that. The child's curiosity I understand... I suppose it touches a trigger for me because J is in any case always aggressive in his language and often in his gestures. An underlying propensity to violence, I suppose... Okay if it is channelled into some other energy.
    And he has seen the sheep being sacrificed in Morocco for Eid...
    KEEP US UP TO DATE ON THE NEURO-psychiatric, Ktllc!
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Due to the level of violence Dude saw at a very young age and retained? It did have a lot to do with how he perceived things and how he played with other children. It took a life-time to change it. I'm not talking Daddy yelled at Mommy, but even that has an impact on a young child.

    So as Dude grew up? The normal things that a lot of parents allow their chldren to play with - Army things - army games, toy guns, cowboys and Indians - bows and arrows...things like that for him were out. We found alternative games. Video games were OUT. When he got into his teens? It was inevitable that he would go to other friends homes and play racing games on Xbox or PS2 - andhe did. So at some point you loose that battle, but what goes on in your own home, the books you allow them, the way things are conducted in your own home and how you explain the rest of the world being NOT SO NICE - is up to you.

  6. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    If the image J saw was shocking and out-of-the-ordinary for images that he sees, then I can very much see why your bright young man would study the image. I'm sure much processing was going on for him. I think it's good that you helped him process the image. I would also want to know what he thought about it- that could give you valuable insight. I know the last few posts I have jumped to J's perspective and that maybe that didn't feel supportive to you, so I hesitated to post. If you would prefer I not respond to your posts please let me know, but I did want to say that what you term J's 'underlying propensity to violence' might be looked at as his body finding solutions that his words cannot. (As an aside, I sometimes think of my own children and how they would have fit into the social structure of a group a few thousand years ago- perhaps J would have been the hunter/protector of his group and grown into the wise elder! :)
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    No, no, post away :) Nothing you have said offends or distresses me - interested to have other points of view. We always find outselves up against the limitations of this kind of communication, I think - when I described J's "underlying propensity to violence", it sounds judgemental in some way, as if I am writing him off as a mini-hooligan. But in fact I meant it neutrally... J has always been very interested in the imagery if not the actuality of violence. The stories he likes and wants are ALL concerned with boys killing giants, giants killing boys, monsters eating people, etc :) I think he is definitely a dominant sort of character and this attracts some people to him, and repels others... he probably is a hunter/protector, yes.... exemplified by a walk we went on yesterday during which he found a big stick that he then brandished at imaginary foes during the walk, accompanied by fierce cries and shouts, and then, at the end, insisted on going ahead to give me his hand to help me up a steep bank...
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    That said /explained in more detail - there is a large difference to me between a propensity to violence after viewing say magazine articles with pictures of violence, crimes, strong insinuations to mean behavior and make believe. A certain amount of play therapy where a child pretends he's say - a knight and he's saving a princess; or there is a police officer and he's protecting a neighborhood - things like that in moderation I feel are healthy roll model emulating.

    What I have a problem with is children wanting to behave like non-postive roll models. Where they get their material to emulate is up to us to moderate. To me he sounds like a perfectly normal child pretending to ward off dragons in a large English field protecting his Mother, and helping her to safety. I think the magazine was perhaps only shock value and at his age - nothing more than an ugly picture.

    Sometimes with our life experiences we could give too much creedence to what goes into what children think/or feel about certain things. While it is an image that certainly is stored once seen? The rest of what he made his story about for the day is probably less than you are thinking it really is. GOod to be an alert and protective Mother for sure. Always vigilant. Always checking!
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    That image you are talking about (the men kicking a woman with her shawl and shirt up over her face) was broadcast and printed around the world because it IS disturbing and it IS an attention-getting image...

    so the fact that it got J's attention does not surprise me in the least.

    I think it is very good that you sat down and talked about it. I think talking about your values is the right way to handle these sorts of things...
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I agree with Daisy - in the instance of J seeing that image. I'm not sure what a four year olds concept would be on that picture.

    Thought provoking for an adult but perhaps not so much to a four year old unless ideas were planted. (not that you DID Malika)

    For example - I'm in the doctors office yesterday. There are two very nice little boys and I mean little - like one was three and the other was 8 months. Their Mom was sitting and playing with the 8 month old and the 3 year old got down and went across the office to look at the Christmas tree. The little boy was fine, and the Mother got up - and walked over to the tree to get her son. The door opened and the little boy turned to just see who was at the door. Nothing more -just looked. He was content with seeing the nurse. But as he turned back to the tree, the Mother turned to the room and said "Oh every time that door opens he remembers the last time he was here and got a needle in his arm and he got a shot, and he didn't like it and he cried." and I'm thinking - WHAT a nincompoop....and you guessed it - Guess who started screaming. The three year old.
    Seed planted.
    So what I'm saying is - the three year old thought NOTHING of the door being opened. He's three, he's looking at the tree, and it's anyones guess what's going through his head. But what the Mother said after that planted an idea. He wasn't prone to crying - otherwise he would have been crying when the door opened. He wasn't thinking about being afraid - otherwise he'd been afraid when he got in the doctor's office waiting room and seen the door. IT's doubtful to me whether it crossed his mind at all until his Mom told a room full of people He was here, he got a needle, it was a shot, he didn't like it, he cried. Wow four negatives in one sentence. Good job. I think had her perceptions of the event maybe had been - LOOK there's the friendly nurse and she likes my son, and when we leave we're going to have a Happy Meal - maybe the child wouldn't have had anxiety. No one lied - we just didn't bring up the absolute truth to a brain that is immature. Some things are better left unsaid until another time.

    Much like that violence in the picture....in my humble opinion - J is four - I don't know exactly what I would have said - and I'm not sure what you did say ------but I think I would have said - It's an ad for selling big boots and dancing around silly with your top over your head. - I would have felt comfy telling that to someone at age 4 - I would have been hard pressed to tell a four year old men were stomping the poo out of a woman 1/2 dressed and it was wrong, and mean and cruel. There's plenty of time for that in life.

    But then, perhaps I live in my own little world where it's a wonderful life. lol.
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    by the way, J is the grand old age of five now!
    Really agree with you about planting seeds, Star - I see how this operates with J, all the time. What one suggests to him he is he largely becomes... a useful tool for behaviour modification (when I can keep calm and clear enough to do it :)) As for telling him that the picture was something anodyne and harmless: I think J is too intelligent and I not imaginative enough for that. My instinct is just to tell the truth, moderated for a young child and my own sense is that we can't protect children from harsh realities. This is someone who told J that Santa is not real, remember! (Rest assured, I am letting him go with the flow now we are living among Santa-ists) Anyway, I am not saying one way is right or wrong, just that we each must decide on what is the best way to deal with things.
    Yes, probably some of my own projection/fear in that instance.
    As to violence... I'm not (inevitably, after almost five years with J) that purist or sensitive to most of its forms. He plays with guns, pretends to shoot people, is constantly pretending to run people through with swords, etc. I might not "approve" in some abstract sense (but even then... I think a lot of this ritual violence among small boys is healthy, just the way it is, doesn't automatically translate to actual aggression) but there's no way I'm going to be able to stop J doing it - it is an extremely dominant part of his make-up, of what he brought with him. Knowing how ADHD plus kids can go in teenage years, yes, I do have certain fears about that for the future. If I had any professional help and input right now (despite all my efforts, I don't really have any....), I think this is what should be a priority. Getting J to contain and channel his aggressive instincts.
    by the way, here is our conversation this morning about the picture:
    Me: J, do you remember that picture we saw at the laboratory yesterday?
    J: Yes.
    Me: What was it?
    J: Men kicking a girl.
    Me: Why did they do that, do you think?
    J: I don't know.
    Me: What do you think the girl felt like?
    J: Sad.
    Me. Yes, I think so. Did she feel anything else?
    J: Angry.
    Me: Yes, I think she felt sad and angry. I think she also must have felt very afraid. What about the men, what did they feel like?
    J: Naughty!
    Me. Yes. Anything else?
    J: Cross.
    Me: Was it good for them to do that, do you think?
    J: No. Why did they do it, Mummy?
    Me: Because sometimes people do silly things. They don't think with their heads.
    J: Me, I don't do naughty things!

    So I just left it there...
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That sounds like ADHD talk... as in, he doesn't do THAT thing (what was in the picture), but doesn't relate that to, say, kicking you when he's mad.
    Its part of a problem with generalization... that seems to go with executive functions.