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Is this normal for a 7 year old?

Is this normal?
Our neighbor's son is seven years old. My son is five. Our son is high functioning autistic. Because of that, he is prone to nightmares and is sensitive and impressionable. We keep him a bit sheltered. He attends a Christian school and only watches cartoons on Disney, Nick and PBS.

Today, the neighbor boy came over to play for the first time in about a year. When I checked on them, I found them playing a very disturbing game. The neighbor boy was pretending to kill my son's stuffed animal (and narrating what he was doing) in different ways - drowning him, running him over with a bike, throwing him up and letting him hit the ground, and hitting him in the head with a football.

I was horrified and told his mom what he was doing (she was inside visiting with me at the time). I explained that my son would be in serious trouble at school if he recreated this "game" there. I told her that I thought it was disturbing. She rolled her eyes, but brought him home. She clearly thinks I am overreacting. She pointed out that at least they were not arguing like they used to. In my mind, this is worse than an argument.

Am I overreacting? Is this behavior normal for a seven year old?

I had a conversation with my son explaining that the Bible says not to kill and that it is so bad that we should not even pretend to do it. Is there anything else I should do to explain to my son that this is wrong?

BTW: My son will not be playing with this neighbor boy again.

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:36 AM on Mar. 16, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (11)
  • My sons all were into war games when they were that age (I was married to an army guy & their grandpa was a marine). I would catch them doing all sorts of things. By the time they were 8 & 9 they had bb guns and knew how to hunt and all of that. My grandson is 4 and plays games like that (albeit not graphic or anything) he will run from bad guys, chase bad guys, be the bad guy, and yes sometimes shoots the bad guy or whatever. After 3 boys & 1 grandson I dont find it disturbing, and we all go to church and believe in God.

    Answer by gemgem at 9:40 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • It wasn't normal for my children, but I think you have to remember the violent nature of cartoons, video games, and many other influences in today's world. I think that keeping the boys apart is your best move, and if the other mom doesn't see the problem now, she probably will--a few years down the road and too late to do anything about it. You are only responsible for your own child but if given the opportunity, I would warn her at least one more time.

    Answer by NannyB. at 9:41 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • I think you're doing a good job mom. I know they were only playing, but for 7 year old, that's pretty violent playing. Im sure the 7yr olds mom thinks you're over reacting because she's not as involved with her child as you are yours. I wouldn't let them play together either.

    Answer by katieandchris01 at 9:42 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • procedure

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:43 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • I can see how some would say this is "over reacting" but in my opinion, I don't think you are. I think the joy of being around kids is that they are so innocent and as far as my own daughter goes, I want to not necessarily "shelter" her from bad things, but I want her to know whats right and wrong and in my house, "play killing" is not okay, and it's not something I want her to take lightly as she gets older. I think what you said about relating it to the Bible and that we should not even pretend to do it is great, and I would also add in that he might see other kids pretending to do this in the future, and that it might be okay with their parents in their own households, but in THIS house that is not something that is okay for him to do. I think you;ve done a good job explaining the "why", I would just go a step further to explain what he should remember if it happens again somewhere where your not there to intervene.

    Answer by CollegeMommy121 at 9:48 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • i think it is normal for some boys, but not all. My brother was really into pretending to kill things. He was always murdering his

    He is now a professional artist, makes big bucks with his paintings. We never imagined him to grow up to be the sensitive, artsy type. I think it is normal for some boys. Maybe just not for yours. I don't see anything wrong with it though as long as they are not hurting anyone.

    what i would wonder, is where he learned these things. I know my mom let my brother watch any movie he wanted, so we all knew where my big brother came up with it...

    Answer by samurai_chica at 9:48 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • Just depends on the family I guess. The boy down the street from us is obsessed with guns. His parents buy toy guns and promote his play. I don't care for guns and would rather my kids played with other things other than toy guns. He is always wanting to play Zombies too. This is just not what we are into in our home.
    I think perhaps they may need to look into to violent factor a bit...seems a bit graphic and detailed. BUT, this does NOT mean that this boy will turn out to be a serial killer. Just find others for your son to play with. I mean if you are at a Christian school, I am sure you can find others with goals more oriented to your own.

    Answer by salexander at 9:50 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • This was not just a war game. Let me give you an excerpt: "Look, we can run over him." "Let's hit him in the head and kill him that way."

    To me, that seems different from just "cops and robbers" or "war." Do you guys think so?

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:07 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • Keep up the good work. It would not be fair that your son would get in trouble at school for something that is not his fault. U r right to keep that kid away.

    Answer by dancer at 10:09 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

  • I definitely think its different than "cops and robbers". It's more methodical, and kind of disturbing, but then again this is coming from someone who absolutely can't stand watching any type of killing on TV, so I'm kind of biased. Lol

    Answer by CollegeMommy121 at 10:29 AM on Mar. 16, 2011

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