Sunday, 14 March 2010

Aggressive play

My post earlier got cut short by our delightful internet connection.
Some pictures of HE group on Thursday, we helped build some living willow structures, then on Friday we had more willow for making nests.

The willow on Thursday and Friday threw up some issues I'd known were going to arrive but had been avoiding quite well. On Thursday some of the older children made themselves and others bow and arrows. We avoid 'aggressive' toys, no swords no guns etc but there he was running around loving playing with bows and arrows, we got them to practice at a bale of straw rather than each other but I was still uncomfortable with it.
The Friday willow experience involved lots of boys running around with big sticks :( They need to run off all that energy and sticks are good fun but again it makes me feel uncomfortable. Don't want to make him sit in the corner not allowed to play with the others, in fact I can't think of anyway I could enforce that without a huge understandable emotional outburst. This parenting lark is hard!
You know you are with the right person when he walks into the kitchen as you are balancing against a cupboard having arranged cabbage leaves to photograph (thus delaying dinner) because the water droplets are just so and he doesn't bat an eyelid lol
In the end I didn't get the picture I had seen in my head but this one will do to illustrate!


Sharon said...

What a hard call. My son is very sensitive, gentle and caring and hates conflict, yet, give him a stick and he is immediately transformed into a fighting knight. Give him a trampoline and friends and they wrestle, set up the chess set and he will fight to the death. I think the stick thing is just something kids do, however, when I think of it the stick also acts as a probe, a prodding rod and an exploring tool, so not all bad. A tough one really.

Anonymous said...

I've been re-reading some John Holt recently - the following is from a mother's insights on playing with toy guns: “…playing with guns is a kid’s way of getting really ‘with’ other kids and into a very fast-moving, action-packed present. My observation (of about 15 years watching such games) is that only very free-spririted kids can play a really good game of cops ‘n’ robbers, and that many games of cops’n’robbers are ended by a child who does have feelings of violence and cruelty and causes an ‘accident’ to happen in which someone is hurt. Usually that child wants to put an end to the game because of jealousy–he can’t share in the fun; not because he has been excluded by the others, but because he isn’t capable of playing. I don’t think ‘playing guns’ usually has anything to do with guns, violence, hostility, or cruelty; it is a game of awareness…In playing guns, I believe it goes like this: If I am aware of you first, I can shoot you, and you have to die! If I get surprised by you, then I KNOW you are more aware than I am because you surprised me, so I’ve got to die. I just give up all awareness (falling in the process) until I feel a surge inside me that says I’m ready to be born again–MORE alive than before!…my suggestion is that you find a free-spirited kid (maybe you have one in your home?) and see what you can learn from him. I believe that it’s best to learn to look at the spirit–the feelings expressed–in what your child does, and see through the material object.” (My emphasis) “After all, a child can express his feelings of cruelty and hostility when he pets the dog, and he can express his joy and delight when he shoots his gun. If your child is a joyful child and he WANTS a gun, I think you can trust in his joy.”

I'm still not sure what the 'right' answer is - we all know there isn't one, but it doesn't stop us from looking - but that was an interesting perspective.