Stop Breaking Stuff!!

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I used to find rocks that looked cool and break them open with a hammer.  I used to blow up cars and action figures with firecrackers.  I once cut a golf ball in half and lit it on fire in the garage just to see what would happen.  I was, and continue to be, a destroyer.  I am not crazy or antisocial! I promise.

Instead of fighting the urge to break things, I’ve helped children and families figure out how to “break” things more appropriately.  There are obviously things that can and should not be broken, and there are many things in our throw-away society that can be destroyed without major consequence.  Remember chemistry kits?  There are whole professions — well-respected — that blow things up every day and actually add value to our society!

Some discussions about physics and development suggest that boys need to understand how things work by making them “not work”.  Hopefully, they then have the same desire and ability to put things back together, which is usually a good indication of whether you have a future engineer.  Most kids who take something apart and then try to modify/improve/repair it have a good chance of becoming mechanical and scientific contributors to society.

Lots of Nerf and other foam toys give kids the opportunity to “destroy” things without actually destroying anything.  Especially given boys’ fascination with guns and weapons, these “soft” destroyers allow kids to get their aggressive emotions out in ways that don’t actually harm anything.  If there’s a cannon that adults can use to blast things from their computer, there’s a healthy way for kids to blow up the world without any major consequences!

If we’re going to be gender specific and just focus on boys breaking things, I’m not sure that the old adage “boys will be boys” is a truism or more of an archeological artifact.  Some studies attempt to suggest that boys have been “neutered” by academic structure and feminist theory, but I’m not sure this is accurate.  “Beyond Guns and Dolls” is a book about how to move past sexist stereotypes and attempts to allow either gender to comfortably claim the attributes of the other in child development.  As much as I want kids to understand and experience the full range of emotions, there’s still something about the difference between boys and girls and destruction that I don’t understand!  In any case, if your child likes to break things, help them find ways to turn their destructive curiosity into creative talents.  If your child continues to be dangerous or malicious in their behaviors, find a counselor to help them.  Either way, try not to get too upset if you find your child smiling over a pile of rubble!

 

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Hello world!

September 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Thanks for visiting the Stop the Yelling! blog… We will be posting different therapeutic blog posts here and encourage comments, suggestions, or links to other helpful pages in order to create a resource page that will assist people find the answers they are looking for in regards to their mental health needs!

Categories: Uncategorized