Erika Nunn

Hello all - I have enjoyed the recent discussion on violence. I am still
laughing about the foam penis comment. I do have a question that has been
sifting around in my head for the past few days and I thought asking here
may provide some good advice.

I have really relaxed with the whole "violent" toys thing. The deal is that
my sister and another friend of mine are really against their sons playing
any sort of violent play. Our sons are all almost five years old. I can
understand that when we go to their house that we should respect their
mother's wishes; however, when they come to my house their children are
still very closely monitored. For example, my friend's son was playing with
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and he was making them punch each other. The
mother was just so uncomfortable with this that she told her son to go find
another set of toys to play with (Star Wars was acceptable...???).

With my sister, our boys like to wrestle. She watches over them and then is
constantly telling her son, "Now if you want him to stop, you tell him!"
That kind of thing. Pretty soon her son is just watching for her reaction
and telling my son to "stop" even though I am 99% sure he wouldn't be if she
weren't hawking over him.

All this just makes me feel uncomfortable. What do I tell my children to do
when normally that type of play is accepted in our house? It is our house,
but at the same time when I invite my vegetarian friends over I am not going
to serve meat, either. The last time I simply told my son that "that type
of play makes (my sister) feel uncomfortable" in front of her, and that they
just couldn't wrestle/sword fight/etc. Should I put away all of the
"violent" toys? It just seems so fake and forced - it is our house and I
don't feel that I should have to change its contents to please other people.

Interestingly, with my friends who do not monitor everything their children
do, nobody ever seems to get hurt and they all get along fine. I have also
noticed that my son seems to get upset after play with these two particular
families and ends up acting out - which probably reinforces my
sister/friend's concept that me letting my kid's play with these toys makes
them act violent.

So frustrating.

Erika :)

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