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The War Play Dilemma: What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know

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As violence in the media and media-linked toys increases, parents and teachers are also seeing an increase in children�s war play. The authors have revised this popular text to provide more practical guidance for working with children to promote creative play, and for positively influencing the lessons about violence children are learning.Using a developmental and sociopo As violence in the media and media-linked toys increases, parents and teachers are also seeing an increase in children�s war play. The authors have revised this popular text to provide more practical guidance for working with children to promote creative play, and for positively influencing the lessons about violence children are learning.Using a developmental and sociopolitical viewpoint, the authors examine five possible strategies for resolving the war play dilemma and show which best satisfy both points of view: banning war play; taking a laissez-faire approach; allowing war play with specified limits; actively facilitating war play; and limiting war play while providing alternative ways to work on the issues. New for the Second Edition:* More anecdotal material about adults� and children�s experiences with war play, including examples from both home and school settings. * Greater emphasis on the impact of media and commercialization on children�s war play, including recent trends in media, programming, marketing, and war toys. * Expanded discussion about the importance of the distinction between imitative and creative war play. * Summary boxes of key points directed at teachers or parents. * New information about violent video games, media cross feeding, and gender development and sex-role stereotyping. * A more extensive list of resources and further reading for adults and children.


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As violence in the media and media-linked toys increases, parents and teachers are also seeing an increase in children�s war play. The authors have revised this popular text to provide more practical guidance for working with children to promote creative play, and for positively influencing the lessons about violence children are learning.Using a developmental and sociopo As violence in the media and media-linked toys increases, parents and teachers are also seeing an increase in children�s war play. The authors have revised this popular text to provide more practical guidance for working with children to promote creative play, and for positively influencing the lessons about violence children are learning.Using a developmental and sociopolitical viewpoint, the authors examine five possible strategies for resolving the war play dilemma and show which best satisfy both points of view: banning war play; taking a laissez-faire approach; allowing war play with specified limits; actively facilitating war play; and limiting war play while providing alternative ways to work on the issues. New for the Second Edition:* More anecdotal material about adults� and children�s experiences with war play, including examples from both home and school settings. * Greater emphasis on the impact of media and commercialization on children�s war play, including recent trends in media, programming, marketing, and war toys. * Expanded discussion about the importance of the distinction between imitative and creative war play. * Summary boxes of key points directed at teachers or parents. * New information about violent video games, media cross feeding, and gender development and sex-role stereotyping. * A more extensive list of resources and further reading for adults and children.

30 review for The War Play Dilemma: What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karina Scott

    Going over the ever present conversation of whether or not to let children play with pretend guns and have fake wars. They highlight the issues of war play and the bigger issue of stifling it. They suggest that children be allowed to play war provided there are boundaries that address safety. When children get stuck in war play (such as repeating the same scene from a movie or from the news over and over again), it is the responsibility of adults to support their play and help them past it. It a Going over the ever present conversation of whether or not to let children play with pretend guns and have fake wars. They highlight the issues of war play and the bigger issue of stifling it. They suggest that children be allowed to play war provided there are boundaries that address safety. When children get stuck in war play (such as repeating the same scene from a movie or from the news over and over again), it is the responsibility of adults to support their play and help them past it. It also points out that stifling war play may be unrealistic because of the high exposure rate to it that children have.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Luci

    This book Was not a deep dive, but had lots of good ideas for managing war play.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I'm pretty split about this book. It does have some interesting points about war play, but it says the best solution is to allow it while facilitating the play. I am not one who thinks violence in the media leads to mass school shootings, but I do not understand the importance of war play. Why is it necessary? The book tried to answer that, but I'm still not buying it. The middle of the book, which specified the different approaches to war play was the most interesting part with the beginning an I'm pretty split about this book. It does have some interesting points about war play, but it says the best solution is to allow it while facilitating the play. I am not one who thinks violence in the media leads to mass school shootings, but I do not understand the importance of war play. Why is it necessary? The book tried to answer that, but I'm still not buying it. The middle of the book, which specified the different approaches to war play was the most interesting part with the beginning and end being more boring. I also was really annoyed with a situation about gender roles and how teachers could handle it. They essentially gave jobs to girls that were helpful, but also were the physically weaker jobs, even though the book claims girls are just as strong physically. As a teacher, I would never handle it that way. Girls and boys should have equal opportunities. The book is interesting, but not one that I would go rushing out to read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    As an anti-war parent raising two apparently war-loving little boys, this book was such a relief, if nothing else showing me that other parents and care givers are as conflicted as I am and struggle with this issue as much as I do. After reading this book I feel much less conflicted and much more willing to endure my boys' war play, being able to frame it as a useful tool that allows them to safely face fears and develop an understanding of what "war" means in the context of a culture that often As an anti-war parent raising two apparently war-loving little boys, this book was such a relief, if nothing else showing me that other parents and care givers are as conflicted as I am and struggle with this issue as much as I do. After reading this book I feel much less conflicted and much more willing to endure my boys' war play, being able to frame it as a useful tool that allows them to safely face fears and develop an understanding of what "war" means in the context of a culture that often inundates them with violence. Plus, accepting this play allows for more space for us to talk about it and to talk about real wars and real violence in the world, which is so much better than me just closing my eyes, gritting my teeth and pretending it wasn't happening. I would definitely recommend this book for parents who are also struggling with this issue.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Licia

    The eternal question, to allow children to play war games or not. Is it good for children to play aggressively? This book examines the developmental arguments for such play put forth by Sutton-Smith. The authors analyze whether the war play is actually play which can be constructive (for children to work things out at times) or when it is merely imitation, kick, kick, karate-chop, karate-chop, over and over and over, (pre-written scripts) actions dictated by media and media driven toy sales. Thi The eternal question, to allow children to play war games or not. Is it good for children to play aggressively? This book examines the developmental arguments for such play put forth by Sutton-Smith. The authors analyze whether the war play is actually play which can be constructive (for children to work things out at times) or when it is merely imitation, kick, kick, karate-chop, karate-chop, over and over and over, (pre-written scripts) actions dictated by media and media driven toy sales. This book is definitely worth reading and pondering.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susanne

    Bottom line is that with the deregulation of television in the 1980s, toy manufacturers have become the main producers of children's programming. As a result, children's play has changed as well -- becoming imitative rather than creative. Violence in children's shows as well as in the news prompts children to make some kind of meaning through engaging in war play; the problem is when children simply imitate the violence, without working through it to a greater understanding of power, control and Bottom line is that with the deregulation of television in the 1980s, toy manufacturers have become the main producers of children's programming. As a result, children's play has changed as well -- becoming imitative rather than creative. Violence in children's shows as well as in the news prompts children to make some kind of meaning through engaging in war play; the problem is when children simply imitate the violence, without working through it to a greater understanding of power, control and autonomy. A dry read, but explains a lot about "children today."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    As a mom of two boys that constantly make pretend guns and swords out of every conceivable material, I enjoyed the balanced discussion in this book about the developmental and sociopolitical aspect of this play. There is a lot of research in this book, so some parts are a little dry. Good suggestions.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Oona

    In short, kids work stuff out through play and that includes war play. Limit their access to violent screen time and ask probing questions about the play to help guide it away from being imitative of movies/tv and into a pretend realm.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Maia Foster-O'Neal

    Very useful, but somewhat limited in scope, as it only addresses violent play that stems from exposure to media violence, and not violent play that stems from exposure to real violence in young children's environments and lives. Very useful, but somewhat limited in scope, as it only addresses violent play that stems from exposure to media violence, and not violent play that stems from exposure to real violence in young children's environments and lives.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This was professional reading for me, but I think it could be a very useful tool for parents. It offers clear, practical advice while keeping in mind the complexity of the issue and the developmental needs of children.

  11. 4 out of 5

    AndreaD'A

    Very informative! Clear and precise writing made it easy to understand

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachelp

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lunds&byerly

  17. 5 out of 5

    Faiqa Khan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jen Davis-wilson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  21. 5 out of 5

    Deb Mccollister

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Hurwitch

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daria

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mary Fox

  28. 4 out of 5

    stephen johnstone

  29. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Picturepoet

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