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Children playing war...

(130 Posts)
LittleRobinRed Mon 02-Jan-17 14:11:51

So I've two boys (3&5) and they often want to engage in boisterous play, rough and tumbling etc, we encourage and support this within appropriate boundaries.If they are play fighting with things etc they usually play with dragons, knights, goblins etc but it is all fantasy play. Friends children 2, 4, & 7 play very 'real' war - children have armies that represent turkey, russia, germany, syria etc. they blow up terrorists and terrorists blow them up (in the play way!). I have a real problem with my children playing in this way with so many conflicts going on in the world and I have a real problem with turning this into a game for sport and fun. It just sits really uncomfortably with me and makes me question what we are teaching our children about the wider world and almost mocks these horrendous issues. I want to talk to friend to say I don't want my children being encouraged to play in this way and when together can we focus on other games, but need to do it in such a way that does not cause offence?

LittleRobinRed Mon 02-Jan-17 14:14:24

P.S. I should add I really don't think the other children have any real grasp of what they are playing or the meaning behind it - it is simply using the 'characters' of play in a different way i.e. who are goodies and baddies but I still find it uncomfortable

Grindelwaldswand Mon 02-Jan-17 14:14:24

Yanbu it just encourages violence and anger when they are older this is the root cause of war that and children with bad childhoods that are angry at the world and use violence as a coping method

Crowdblundering Mon 02-Jan-17 14:15:32

I personally think you are really over thinking this.

Play helps children understand the reality around them.

LittleRobinRed Mon 02-Jan-17 14:17:23

Maybe that's true Crowdblundering but I'm still not sure it is the 'reality around them' I want them to be engaging with at such a young age? However I often wonder if I overthink these things!

expatinscotland Mon 02-Jan-17 14:17:27

Children have played 'war' since time began and they don't all grow up to be violent and aggressive. FFS, they play 'house', too, does that mean they will all grow up to be 1950s wifeys?

Soubriquet Mon 02-Jan-17 14:17:41

No I see your point

And it would make me uncomfortable too

But then again I'm one of those parents who don't like children playing with toy weapons

Ilovecaindingle Mon 02-Jan-17 14:18:05

Some kids do grow up to be real soldiers and do kill real people. .

YoScienceBitch Mon 02-Jan-17 14:19:32

Definitely overthinking.

Yanbu it just encourages violence and anger when they are older this is the root cause of war that and children with bad childhoods that are angry at the world and use violence as a coping method

Bullshit. Children PLAYING is in no way at all similar to children from abusive backgrounds.
Boisterous play is good. It teaches boundaries, consent and sense of strength as long as it's supervised properly.

Crowdblundering Mon 02-Jan-17 14:19:50

I was adamant DS1 (now 19) was never going to have toy guns.

I gave up when he started making them out of lego.

War is part of life and they will learn about it at school soon enough.

expatinscotland Mon 02-Jan-17 14:20:23

Wait till they are 14 and playing Assassin's Creed and Black Ops at mate's house and not telling you a thing. Millions play these games and they do not become killers.

Crowdblundering Mon 02-Jan-17 14:21:44

PS: DS1 is the most gentle soul you could ever meet and has not become an aggressive killer.

expatinscotland Mon 02-Jan-17 14:22:18

'Some kids do grow up to be real soldiers and do kill real people. .'

And plenty of them never played war. Some are even women! Many go through entire careers without killing someone. hmm

LittleRobinRed Mon 02-Jan-17 14:22:50

My issue isn't the idea of exploring war, fighting, etc in play - it is the 'realism' of it all, these are real things happening in the real world. I think that is the bit I'm feeling uncomfortable with, not he idea of toy guns, boisterous play etc - terrorists being used in play etc - that's what I find uncomfortable - playing syria war whilst reading whats happening in Aleppo etc.

LittleRobinRed Mon 02-Jan-17 14:24:29

P.S. I am also not suggesting at all this leads to violent behaviours, or children becoming killers - thats not my argument!

titchy Mon 02-Jan-17 14:24:57

It's a developmentally normal way to process things that they don't fully understand. Play is safe and enables them to work out boundaries and knowledge of things they hear about. So not only are ybu, you would be restricting their development to ban such games not that you could anyway I mean how do you stop a child's imagination?

WannaBe Mon 02-Jan-17 14:25:26

"Some kids do grow up to be real soldiers and do kill real people. ." and some grow up to be burglars. Presumably that's because they played the robber in cops and robbers as five year olds? No, didn't think so.

Hysterical much? hmm.

Crowdblundering Mon 02-Jan-17 14:25:38

Very true expat ex FIL in the RNZAF for over 40 years and never been to war and my OH has been in the military for 25 years and never been in a war zone.

ColdTattyWaitingForSummer Mon 02-Jan-17 14:32:40

I think I'm with you op.. There's a big difference between being a knight slaying a dragon and a soldier killing a terrorist. I've always encouraged mine (who are now a lot bigger) away from those types of games. I'm not sure how you would directly approach your friend without causing offence (we can all be understandably sensitive if we feel our parenting is being called into question) but if you hear the children saying things you're not comfortable with in their play then you can gently nudge them in a different direction. Or as yours are slightly smaller you could maybe use that as a reason (eg you could say "I don't think little ears need to hear about real guns, why don't you pretend you all have water pistols and someone's getting wet instead..") That sort of tactic worked for me.

titchy Mon 02-Jan-17 14:35:29

There's a big difference between being a knight slaying a dragon and a soldier killing a terrorist.

Not when you're five there isn't.

Katedotness1963 Mon 02-Jan-17 14:38:56

I'm not sure you can keep it from them. We didn't allow our boys to have guns, didn't think they even were aware of what guns were and then one day they were at the table shooting each other with guns they'd bitten out of toast...

bumsexatthebingo Mon 02-Jan-17 14:42:45

YABU imo. If you don't want your children to play those kind of games then that is your business but it is up to you to own it and tell your children they aren't allowed to join in with those sorts of games - not to try and guilt your friend into making it easier for you.
Personally it wouldn't be a problem for me as I think kids know the difference between a harmless game and the reality. I'm sure kids that play Nerf still recognise it's a tragedy when someone is actually shot and killed and this is no different. No-one actually gets hurt in imaginary soldier play.
I you want to teach them about actual, real life suffering then maybe they could shop with you for some supplies to send to refugees? Or you could have a look at the Oxfam unwrapped or Good Gifts websites and you could chat about people who aren't as lucky as us and they could choose a cause to donate to - they have things on there you can buy for a few pounds. Or take them to a branch of Save the Children to spend their pocket money or help pick an outfit or something.

DailyFail1 Mon 02-Jan-17 14:49:57

When I was a kid I used to make my DB play Hitler. I'd be Churchill & sister would be Anne Frank and we would basically chase him through the garden and maybe take the opportunity to rough him up a bit. Not sure how it started but prob had something to with sis and I getting taught about Ann Frank in school.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Mon 02-Jan-17 14:57:34

Mine all played war games, COD, Halo, had toy guns, knives, light sabers, Warhammer ,they all loved a weapon and a game.

I'm one of those parents other Mumsnetters might judge for letting them .<shrugs shoulders>

They are now 21, 19 and 17 and have remained placid, don't have an aggressive nasty bone in their body and never been in trouble, all in higher education, two doing degrees and hopefully ds3 will too.

Look up Penny Holland and her book We don't play with guns here, it's an excellent informative read.

TheFairyCaravan Mon 02-Jan-17 14:57:52

Some kids do grow up to be real soldiers and do kill real people.

FFS! DH has been in the Forces for 30 years and has never killed anyone.

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