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Is Your Kids’ Wrestling Getting Out Of Control?

by Amelia on August 27, 2009
category: 3 – 5 years (preschooler),5 – 12 years (kid),Practical Tips

876248679_db81340a57 Do you ever think your kids talk too much about fighting or violence? Do your kids wrestle every day?  Does it start out fun and then end in tears? I noticed in the past few weeks that my two older boys were wrestling a lot and that the wrestling was turning into frustration and fighting quicker than normal.  At first I thought it was an “end of summer cabin fever and we don’t have much of a schedule” thing going on.  Then I noticed that my 4 year old was making a lot of references to fighting and it was really bothering me.

After talking to my husband and evaluating our environment we decided to try an experiment.

A little back story first: we are living at my mom’s house while we transition to our move overseas.  My mom has expanded cable which means that the boys have been introduced to Cartoon Network.  They love Pokemon and enjoy watching Secret Saturdays.  We have only been allowing them to watch 2 shows (or one hour total) in the morning for their tv time for the day.  They consistently were picking Pokemon, Secret Saturdays, or Transformers.  All of these shows are good guy/bad guy shows and there is of course some fighting.

My husband and I decided to limit the “fighting” shows to only one in the morning.  Then can choose a show on PBS in addition to one of the Cartoon Network shows.  Or they can watch 2 shows on PBS.  They love all the shows on PBS but there is a draw to the more unknown shows on CN so they still pick one from that channel.

Our experiment worked!  We started it this week and have noticed a significant decrease in their fighting.  Our 4 year old is not referring to violence as much either.

I think boys and wrestling go together and I don’t have a problem with them burning off energy in that way.  I don’t like it when they are being disrespecful, fighting, and using their imagination for fighting games ONLY.

I thought I’d share our little experiment with you in case you are dealing with some thing similar.  What do you think?  Do you notice the same thing in your kids?  How do you handle it?

photo courtesy of Aislinn Ritchie

13 Responses to Is Your Kids’ Wrestling Getting Out Of Control?

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    August 27, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

    I am a firm believer that those types of shows (spongebob/transformers/anything on CN) promote violence and even tho it is good/bad guy scenario I just do not agree with how they teach children to deal with it.

  • Comment by Dawn
    August 27, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

    @Trina – I have often pondered why children’s cartoons even have to have an antagonist. Is that really the only kind of storytelling? My daughter spooks easily and gets afraid of even PBS programs – “It’s SCARY, MOMMY!” She saw a classic Veggie Tales ep a few weeks ago – “Where Is God When I’m Afraid?” – and just because they were talking about fear, she is now afraid of Veggie Tales. Which stinks ’cause at church, the S.S. classes are using a VT curriculum, and she won’t watch any of the video clips now. She’s 3 1/2.

    I digress.

    My original point was, Why does Swiper exist on Dora? She’s always exploring and doing cool things and she’s very brave. Why does there have to be a sneaky fox who tries to take stuff? I just think he’s irrelevant. And my kids are afraid of him.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    August 27, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

    @ Dawn- I agree. What is the need to scare the children. I see no reason for Swiper on Dora as well. I believe we can teach how to treat our children the difference between good and bad without scaring them.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    August 27, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

    @ Dawn- LOL- I believe we can teach our children the difference between right and wrong without scaring them, using violence or form of Bad guy vs good guy. They will learn that later on as they get older. At 2 and 3 it is not needed in their cartoons.

  • Comment by Sharon M
    August 28, 2009 @ 7:17 am

    Dawn, sometimes I wish my kids WOULD scare easily! It’s tough having kids on the opposite end of the spectrum. My son keeps trying to sneak in to watch “Batman Begins” (which, of course, we have no intention of letting him see for another 5 years)

  • Comment by Sharon M
    August 28, 2009 @ 7:22 am

    And, I just hit “Return” and didn’t finish my train of thought :p

    We had a similar situation where our son had one of his friends over. They were playing “knights” with swords and shields made out of old cardboard boxes, but the fighting just got too violent, and they were hitting each other REALLY hard. My friend and I suggested that they work together to slay an (imaginary) enemy, like a dragon. It worked!

  • Comment by Christy
    August 29, 2009 @ 7:29 am

    I am a firm “NO CN” except for Tom and Jerry re-runs. (even Tom and Jerry have their moments). My son is 4 and is very impressionable and sees a cartoon and HAS to watch it. My husband and I both agreed that CN is just not a kids network and we don’t turn it on. The shows are so violent. We stick to Playhouse Disney and some PBS (which I even have to monitor b/c some of the stuff is a little too violent on PBS!). I think the idea of an antagonist is ok, it’s how they play it out. Life is, afterall, full of overcoming adversities and I’m ok with Pete on Mickey Clubhouse being the “bad guy”, but I think that guns and more violent forms of antagonism need to wait. I also can’t allow my 4 year old to watch Star Wars… we recently went to a Star Wars birthday party for another 4 year old and it was shocking to me how many parents were ok with their kids seeing all 6 of the movies. I guess it’s everyone’s choice, but my vote is to keep them as innocent as possible as long as possible!!!

  • Comment by Dawn
    August 29, 2009 @ 8:08 am

    Okay, since we’re going there… the one that surprises me is pirates. My kids were at a 4-year old’s birthday party this summer and it was Pirates of the Caribbean (based off the movies, which aren’t really little kid movies, last time I watched one). In their goody bags, they each got a book with pictures of pirates. Realistic human ones, not drawn ones. I recycled them right away. I see no benefit in all the pirate talk.

  • Comment by Amanda
    August 29, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

    My husband feels the same way about Pirates. They don’t stand for anything good. Annabelle doesn’t have a problem with Swiper. She always says “Swiper! No swiping!” With her little hand out. Its really kind of cute.

    She does get a little scared in The Little Mermaid when King Triton gets mad at Arielle and she says “Oh no! Arielle Daddy!”

    I’ve let Annabelle watch a few movies from the early 90s and some of them are rough. I don’t remember them being bad when I watched them as a kid! I fast forward certain parts of FernGully and we didn’t finish An American Tale. I fast forward through Aladdin.

    We generally keep to PBS, Noggin, and a few Disney shows.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    August 29, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

    We have tried so hard to shield the kiddos from violence. Ben has never seen a violent movie or tv show (my 6 year old is still watching G movies); we don’t own toys that are meant to be played with in a violent way (no guns or transformers for us); and we’ve chosen friends with the same ideals.

    So we were happy.

    But I want to share with you what happened last week…
    We attended our first ever Cub Scouts meeting. My husband was sent outside with one other dad to watch all of the boys while the rest of us stayed inside to participate in the meeting. My husband said the boys were rowdy; there was name-calling like he has never heard from children; and he had to tell an older boy to take his hands off our son. :(

    What do we do? What do we say? Who do we talk to? Do we even try to go back?

  • Comment by Dawn
    August 29, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

    Ooh, Amy, that’s hard. I wonder what Amelia has to say about this…

    I do know that if I was in your shoes, I’d probably be reconsidering the Scouts in general.

  • Comment by Amelia
    August 29, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

    Hi. This is Amelia’s husband, Jon. She assures me that I am not breaking any “rules” by writing in on “the MOM crowd,” but I admit I’m still a little apprehensive about it. Anyway, here goes:

    1. I think it’s good that this context exists:

    A place where mom’s (especially but apparently not exclusively) can discuss together about things like this: a) what we allow our kids to watch at home, and b) what we think should be our public, societal standards for what we show each other’s kids. So… way to go moms! Talk it up!

    2. I think there are five different discussions happening here simultaneously:

    A) Is there a difference between what 2-3 year olds can handle in terms of violence, antagonists, and sacry subject matter and what 4-5 year olds can?

    I say this because someone mentioned VT’s “Where’s God…?” and I remember our middle child watching that when he was 2 and it was the scariest thing he had ever been exposed to; but now, no biggie.

    B) Is there a difference between boys and girls and the way they play and think about violence?

    I’m not sure anyone has said anything explicitly about this dynamic, but I think it’s there. I think boys are by both nature and nurture more inclined to think “violently.” But when I say “violently” here, I don’t mean wanting to hurt others, more in dealing with the “struggles” of life, i.e. what happens when life gets taken to its extremes. There’s a lot more to discuss about this, but for a quick primer, check out “Raising Cain,” a very cool and interesting PBS documentary on this subject.

    C) Is there a difference between “scary shows” and the connection between TV and violence? (I don’t know about y’all but I good see how there could be two equally long and helpful conversations about each of these topics.)

    D) What should we do about violence in our society and between kids?

    Having just come back from Chik-Fil-A and watching the kids play somewhat violently with each other on the park, this is fresh on my mind. *Thankfully, this time, my kids weren’t involved.* My thought tonight: The most violent kids seemed to be the ones getting the least POSITIVE attention from his/her parents. *Note: I was the ONLY parent sitting in the playroom watching, responding, and/or relaxing in the same room as my kids. I was also FULLY aware at the behavior of the other parents and trying to figure out how not to judge them, but to also realize that we all have to parent our kids together and talk to one another about our parenting… without JUDGMENT (very tough to do).

    E) Is CN a “Kid’s network”?

    For what it’s worth, I agree it’s not… and boy do I have stories about what I’ve seen my kids see JUST ON THE COMMERCIALS! I’ve decided that ALL shows need to be monitored by adults and INTERPRETED, along with the commercials. I think it’s a pain in the butt, but still essential, that I sit with my kids (or at least within earshot) and pipe up about what they are hearing and seeing. I believe that how I teach them to think about a commercial about “Total Drama Island” (or whatever it’s called) or Secret Saturdays is more important and more influential in their lives than anything the “networks” can throw at my kids. And, of course, I always hold the “off” button “at the ready” and make sure it is parentally understood with my kids: they have no “right” to TV. If there ever was a day when kids could sit in front of a TV channel that was a ‘kids network’ without also being watched by an adult to help them understand and think about what they are seeing, that day is long gone. In our situation the biggest problem was grandparents were turning on the TV without us around. While I appreciate the extra sleep, I’ve learned I need to get up with them and watch.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Trina
    August 29, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

    @ Jon… it is nice to get a dad’s opinion. I agree that Boys vs girls in the violence department is very different. I grew up the only girl and 4 brothers. I was never violent and was true to every since of being a little girl. On the other hand my brothers as my mom would put it “Were just being boys”. I wonder really how much of it is just “Being a boy” vs how much they are influenced by shows, books, everyday things they are seeing.

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