Sometimes I struggle with where I would like The Line to be.
As you know, I am not a big fan of TV for my children. I have guarded their watching of it carefully. Alia had no TV until she was well into the 3s and 4s. Even now, if she watches, it is because her daddy snuck it to her while I was out. I sometimes let her watch Word Girl on PBS. Yet...I let her watch the Star Wars series.
I limit game cube, computer games, internet (not really allowed yet), phone texting, movie content and TV watching for Chandler. These things tend to complicate his tics, isolate him from us and place other people in the "hero" position (read a few Schmuley books for the concept). Yet, he can read whatever book he wants about whatever topic he wants with no regard to content (for the most part).
Because of this, my children have had to develop their sense of imagination. And they have. Both of them. Imaginative children can sometimes be a problem. What one can imagine is far more creative, and potentially more powerful, than anything my kids could ever get their hands on.
Do you see where I am going with this?
Alia tends to fantasy play those things that scare her. She tends to fantasy play topics in which tragedy is unfolding and she is the hero. For the past few months, this has resulted in kidnapping themes. Before that, it was ghosts. And now? Murder. Yes. I found out recently that Alia's newest fantasy game is that her cousins were murdered and the same murderer broke into our house to steal one of her Webkinz. Because that is what murderers do. Steal Webkinz.
I am not horrified or concerned about her playing the hero who finds the clues to capture the bad guy who then goes off to jail...except...that she doesn't want to play this alone. She apparently was playing this in the bathroon with other kids. And the way I even found out about this new progression of fantasy play was from two other adults who happened upon it.
Mind you, she wasn't fantasizing people being murdered...just that the bad guy in the story of the Webkinz theft happened to have the title of murderer. Still. I can understand the concern of the adults. And I wonder if the other kids knew this was fantasy play. Or whether they believed the twisted tale Alia was telling.
When I spoke with Alia about it, I approached it from the "you used to throw food when you were little because you didn't know you weren't supposed to do that" approach. After several hundred other examples, I came to the present case. "How could you know that it is not really appropriate to fantasy play with murderers if someone didn't tell you? So that is why I am telling you--so that you know. You aren't in trouble. How could you be? You didn't even know. I am just letting you know that you can't play murder games with other children. It is scary and they might think it is real. And even if they know it isn't real, it is not appropriate."
Her response? "Is is appropriate to play horses?"
Horses? The Webkinz murderer thief is akin to playing horses to my daughter. *sigh* Later though I started to worry--maybe she was asking if she could play where the Webkinz thief is a horse murderer. So I went back to her to ask. "What kind of horse fantasy play were you thinking of?" She replied, "You know, riding horses and playing Spirit (the movie)."