PJ Media

Boys, Toys, and Aggression

It seems thata href=”http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=504992in_page_id=1770″ playing with toy weapons/a is good for boys (Hat Tip: a href=”http://instapundit.com/archives2/013529.php”Instapundit/a) :br /br /blockquotePlaying with toy weapons helps the development of young boys, according to new Government advice to nurseries and playgroups.br /br /Staff have been told they must resist their “natural instinct” to stop boys using pretend weapons such as guns or light sabres in games with other toddlers. Fantasy play involving weapons and superheroes allows healthy and safe risk-taking and can also make learning more appealing, says the guidance. br /br /It conflicts with years of “political correctness” in nurseries and playgroups which has led to the banning of toy guns, action hero games and children pretending to fire “guns” using their fingers or Lego bricks. br /br /But teachers’ leaders insisted last night that guns “symbolise aggression” and said many nurseries and playgroups would ignore the change./blockquotebr /br /The Brit’s advice sounds similar to what Gerard Jones, the author of a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0465036961?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0465036961″ span style=”font-style:italic;”Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence/span/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0465036961″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / has also argued–that young people love fantasy violence because it gives them the coping skills they so desperately need. He states that instead of banning games like span style=”font-style:italic;”Doom/span, we should harness the tremendous power of fantasy to help our kids better navigate the world around them. He interviewed me for his book and this is what I had to say: br /br /blockquote…Kids don’t grow up understanding their own aggression. Teachers and parents say, sit still, be nice, cooperate, and they don’t give kids the opportunity to play with the aggressive feelings that come up for them. Dads are often afraid to wrestle their sons to the ground, kids aren’t allowed to pretend to kill each other, and they’re certainly not taught to fight in any sort of controlled way, or even to stand up to someone who’s giving them trouble. With all of the emphasis in our schools now on getting kids in touch with their feelings, the scary feelings like anger are just kind of wished away. A kid says, ‘I feel like I love you’ and we say ‘Awwww.’ He says, ‘I feel like I want to kill you’ and we say, ‘No, you don’t.’ So a kid runs into some real conflict in life and he feels the rage coming up in him and he doesn’t know what to do with it. /blockquotebr /br /We never taught him what to do. Games can teach boys (and girls) how to deal with aggression. Brits, listen to the government advice and incorporate fantasy and make-believe violence into play–along with critical thinking skills. Rather than make kids more aggressive, it might just teach them to modulate aggressive feelings in a more constructive way.