Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence

By Gerard Jones | Go to book overview

7
Fantasy and Reality

When Harrison was very little, we took him to the circus, and he wanted one of those light-up swords they sell there," Gina Weinberg related. "We said no, but he really wanted it. And he wanted to know why he couldn't have it. It was the first time Allen and I had encountered this situation, but we'd been discussing how we would respond to it since before he was born. We said, 'Because swords are for hurting people, and we're afraid that playing with one will teach you to really hurt people.'"

Gina was a public school teacher before she quit to become a full‐ time mother. In both roles she always strove to be as thoughtful and conscientious as she could be. She described herself and her husband as "like any new parents, insecure and not having a clue, relying on what society says is the right way to raise a child. And every message I was getting from society and the experts was that violent play and violent media would teach children to be violent. So our rule was no swords, no guns, no TV shows or cartoons that showed anyone hurting anyone else."

They also feared that aggressive play would exacerbate Harrison's trouble in modulating his anger. He felt emotions very strongly and tended to feel almost every negative emotion—sadness, fear, embarrassment—as anger. He'd yell, throw things, slam doors. Gina and Allen could see that Harrison was troubled by his own inability to

-113-

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Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword vi
  • Acknowledgments viii
  • 1 - Being Strong 1
  • 2 - Seeing What We're Prepared to See 23
  • 3 - The Magic Wand 45
  • 4 - The Good Fight 65
  • 5 - Girl Power 77
  • 6 - Calming the Storm 97
  • 7 - Fantasy and Reality 113
  • 8 - The Courage to Change 129
  • 9 - Vampire Slayers 149
  • 10 - Shooters 165
  • 11 - Model, Mirror, and Mentor 183
  • 12 - Not So Alone 205
  • 13 - Growing Up 219
  • Notes 233
  • Index 251
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