Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Bad Guys Cometh

The Bad Guys have officially arrived in our life. The ones that carry guns, tie you up with ropes, imprison you and then run off only to gather more of the Good Guys.

Is this type of play bred into boy DNA? I am pretty strict as to what I allow the kids to watch on TV or in movies. We read educational books and play your typical board games. How has this crap infiltrated our life?

Today at the park I watched my sweet, funny, kind and intelligent son race around with a group of boys he met there playing “Bad Guys.” They took turns being the bad and good guys. At first mine did not want to be a bad guy…he was BAD after all. Then he realized the bad guys were the most popular positions and got the most action so before I knew it he was pointing a finger in the shape of a gun yelling “FREEZE” then dragging his victim to the top of the slide where he had to remain with the others until my smart son captured all of them.

I don’t get it. I wanted to stop it. I wanted to take him home and do an art project. But alas, I let him be. I let him explore and watch and let him be apart of the world in which he lives. He was laughing and all the boys were playing well and taking turns, working as a team trying to get away from the bad guys and vice versa. No immediate harm I figured. I am still stumped. Perhaps I should have taken him out of the scene; this really isn’t the type of play I want him engaging in. Then again, a week ago at a park he was not playing the star wars game correctly with the other boys (he has no idea what star wars is) and ended up getting called a girl after he told them they were hurting his feelings.

Last week I was proud of the stand he took and the fact he was not engaging in aggressive play, but he ended up embarrassed, crying and asking to leave the park.

This week I was horrified by the play but he was happy, had a great time and ended up crying asking to STAY at the park.

A large part of me says he is a boy, leave him alone and let the boy be and play with the boys. The smaller part of me wonders if this isn’t a convenient mind set we as parents get to use when it comes to putting social boundaries on our boys. When I think that in some parts of our world boys not much older than my son are carrying lethal weapons in a fight for their lives, cause and loved ones, playground play that involves shooting guns just doesn’t seem so playful and innocent.

Now I do not expect my son to sit under the bridge at the playground playing house with the girls…but can’t there be another alternative? Is there not a way we can encourage our boys to play in a manner that releases the testosterone without implied violence? My son has no idea what a gun does and he does not understand death or even severe injury.

Some time ago I watched a PBS documentary called, “Raising Cain” it explored the hazards boys in America face.
Here is an excerpt from http://www.pbs.org/opb/raisingcain :
America's boys are in trouble. They are the most violent in the industrialized world. Many are unable to express their emotions. On average, boys are doing worse in the classroom than they were 10 years ago.
Who is responsible for this situation? How do we learn to listen to and support our boys? How can we guide them on the path to becoming responsible, caring men

Well, I have bad news for the Bad Guys…I am the Baddest. I will fight the good fight. Next time we go to the park, I will go prepared to intervene and gently pull my child out of violent play without being “that mom.” I will simply bribe them to play something else with candy.

I jest (hopefully) but I will have an action plan…I will let you know when it comes together. I figure I have about one day before the next park request is laid in my lap…


1 comment:

Joey said...

May the force be with you, Padame'.

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