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Today’s WWYD?! post is on boys and violent words. Please comment below with your insight/experience/advice! Boys and Violent Words

Welcome to a new series we are starting called WWYD?! {“What Would You Do?!”} where moms write in with a real life parenting dilemma or issue  no matter how big or how small it may be.

I know I for one ALWAYS turn to my friends for help when I am at a loss for what to do in a certain parenting scenario, so I thought, how awesome would it be to pose these questions to our readers and have you chime in with your advice?!

Recently we got this question from a reader, so we are starting today’s series with a question on:

Boys and Violent Words

She writes,

“My 5 year old son has begun to pick up some very unsettling language since entering kindergarten.

Most notable are DIE, KILL, SHOOT, and also the potty words poop, fart, etc…

I correct him every time and tell him we don’t say those words, but it seriously falls on deaf ears!!  I’m horrified with the thought that he says these things around his other buddies and their moms.

Is his a phase? Should I punish? How do I get it across to him that it’s NOT OK to say these violent words???”

WWYD?! Please comment below and help a mama out! 

Do you have a current parenting issue you would be interested to hear what others would do in your situation?

Email jennifer@tinyoranges.com and it might be featured on an upcoming WWYD?! post (and don’t worry, it will be kept anonymous!!)


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  1. 1
    Lisa says:

    I really really wish I could help, but I don’t have boys. Only girls. But I will admit I have washed out my daughter’s mouth with soap when she lied to me (it was an extreme case of bold-faced lying). It has only happened to one of my daughters twice (she is 9), but it had an impact.

    • 2
      jen says:

      I immediately think of The Christmas Story when I hear about the bar of soap!

  2. 3
    carmen says:

    I am constantly telling my 5yo to not “kill or shoot” his sister!! All his friends ever want to play is guns and killing. I can’t stand it. It got worse when he started playing Minecraft because all he would do in the game was kill the animals. So took it away and it has gotten better. I feel in today’s society we are not letting boys be boys. I can remember being a kid that was all my brother would play. Dress up like an army guy and fight and kill. My brother grew up and is just fine.

    • 4
      jen says:

      Carmen, that is such an interesting point. Having two girls myself, I honestly feel like it is in a boy’s DNA because those words would never even occur to my girls. Interesting point about boys being boys now a days. Difference these days is the fact that the moms are AROUND all the time, when back in the day, boys were probably playing, “Die! Shoot! Kill!” outside unattended until it was time to come home from dinner when it got dark. Interesting…

  3. 5
    Carrie says:

    I agree with Carmen as well. Having a daughter first (and growing up with sisters) I couldn’t understand why all this violent type of play was so appealing to my son. I do think it’s in their DNA. They are the protectors in our society. They strive to be like their heros that they read about in books or watch on TV. That being said, when it comes to today’s video games I see a disturbing trend of violence that’s taken to the extreme. It’s all about blood spattering everywhere. It looks way too realistic. I can’t help but wonder the impact this could have on our boys in the future. If they become desensitized to this kind of violence what would that mean? As a mom I’m always watching. Not just my child, but all the others that are around him or her. I keep the conversations going and hope that what we discuss has a lasting impact on the way they behave and make decisions…especially when I’m not around 🙂

    • 6
      jen says:

      Thanks for your great comments Carrie. I think as a mom, even though we often sound like a broken record, the messages we send, consistently are absolutely sinking in. I hope!

  4. 7
    Carmen says:

    I agree. I keep the conversation going primarily because he loves his swords and making guns out of legos. He is using his imagination and that I am happy about. The other side is, we do have guns and both my daughter and son LOVE to shoot their BB guns and my husband stresses to them about safety of guns and the proper usage of them. I think that there is a fine balance and keeping them level with the natural play of what boys love. Just like eating and diet, everything in moderation.

  5. 8
    Rebecca says:

    With an 11 yr old daughter and a 5 yr old son, the “Shoot. Die. Kill” words were a huge surprise! We don’t own guns, don’t buy guns or shooting toys. My daughter never even mentioned the word gun as a young child. Then one day, my sweet little 4 1/2 yr old son made a “gun” out of his Legos. He was so proud! It looked nothing like a gun, but he began “shooting” his sister with this makeshift-gun, complete with the most skilled machine gun sound effects I’ve ever heard. We took the Lego gun away and he started shooting her with his “finger guns”. There was no way around it.

    So…in an attempt to compromise, we now encourage the word “destroy” or “stop” instead of kill (not sure if that’s much better) and he can’t pretend shoot his sister anymore, but instead we set up Lego targets and he pretends that way. And we’ve told him that we prefer he shoots the bad guys, not innocent people or animals. Again, not sure if that’s much better but it’s a compromise.

    There’s no getting around it. It’s a boy thing. My son aspires to be a Police Officer or a Soldier. He’s a hero in the making. Honestly, the gun thing is probably about 10 minutes a day before he moves onto his Lego construction site, so we’re not making too big a deal about it.

    And I agree – Minecraft is bad. We’ve stopped that all together. Those poor little sheep!

    • 9
      jen says:

      Really great insight, I agree it seems to be in their DNA. I like the word “destroy” and “stop” instead. MUCH better than DIE. And, I don’t even want to know about the sheep 🙁 …? Thanks for your comment!!

  6. 10
    suzanne says:

    Such great comments!!! I really feel also it’s a nature vs. nurture issue. And, YES…maybe we are around our little boys a lot more than generations past. And YES, they are exposed to so much more violence at an early age. I also wonder what the impact of this will be later in life for them… My son is doing the SAME things with these words and actions. How far is too far? He is also Minecraft obsessed…but in my opinion, it’s the most tame and best game for them! He uses math and critical thinking. And, when they “get” and animal, they get the meat from it. My husband hunts and fishes and always explains to him that if ever you kill an animal it is ONLY for food…

    I like trying the other words “Stop” or “destroy”. I mean, didn’t our husbands play with army guys and BB guns as kids??? This isn’t new and maybe I need to relax and not be so hypersensitive to it!! As with any parenting dilemma…I always learn something about myself too!

  7. 11
    Heather says:

    You can try to give time outs and reinforce that the language is unacceptable in the household. If that doesn’t work try ignoring it all together and it will hopefully dwindle away. I have experienced this a great deal with my two boys. The more attention you give to it the worse it gets.

    • 12
      jen says:

      Good advice!

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