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I was hoping someone could help me understand how it is OK to allow our children to play pirates. I saw an activity book that included such things as making your room into a pirate cabin. Pirates are bad people, right? Why then would I want my child to pretend to be a pirate? Please help me understand.

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Pirates have become romanticized and part of our children's stories. Please don't over analyze this. Boys (and some girls) like to swashbuckle. It's what they do. They fight with swords, therefore they are cool. If you take this line of thinking to the end it wouldn't be pretty. Imagination is good. Let kids be kids.

 

If they start to play bank CEO come back and we'll discuss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[joking- nobody get your panties in a wad. I know some bank CEOs are wonderful, upstanding people:D]

 

Jo

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Exactly - and LOL on the bank CEO.

Remember, children also use their fingers to "shoot". It's part of being a child. This does not mean they are going to grow up stealing and shooting.

 

You can do a little research with your kids and point out that there is some questionable "pirate behavior", then you have covered all aspects.

Edited by Liz CA
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I have the same reservations about playing pirates, actually playing or dwelling on anything that is not good. I base this in part on Philippians 4:8.

 

I was interested in your post because I also know of a church children's program called "Patch the Pirate." I wonder about this also. Patch is supposed to be a "good pirate" and teaches Bible truths, but the name of his ship is the Jolly Roger...

 

Thanks for bringing this up.

 

Take care,

Suzanne

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I have the same reservations about playing pirates, actually playing or dwelling on anything that is not good. I base this in part on Philippians 4:8.

 

I was interested in your post because I also know of a church children's program called "Patch the Pirate." I wonder about this also. Patch is supposed to be a "good pirate" and teaches Bible truths, but the name of his ship is the Jolly Roger...

 

Thanks for bringing this up.

 

Take care,

Suzanne

 

he's called Patch the Pirate because he's missing an eye...in real life. Since children were often coming up to him and asking him if he was a pirate, he took his misfortune and turned it into a Christ honoring story series. That program is one of my children's favorite bedtime CD choices. Have you ever actually listened to them? I find it unbelieveable that you could oppose it if you knew their message.

 

Jo

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I don't want this to get nasty. I just want to sincerely know how people can think it is OK. Let's try to remember to talk to each other as if we were face to face and not on the other side of a computer screen. I agree with Suzanne in regard to:

playing or dwelling on anything that is not good. I base this in part on Philippians 4:8.
I can understand about allowing a "good" pirate. I was actually hoping that there was such a thing so I did an internet search, just in case there was something I was missing. The only thing I came up with was the guy who went out and rammed whaling ships to get them to stop killing whales. Still not very lawful behavior :001_huh:. I guess if they are imagining though, they can imagine they are good pirates and not breaking any laws. Then we can talk about how there are bad pirates also and why we wouldn't want to pretend to be one of those.
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I have tried really, really hard to keep guns and swords and such things out of our house. I have found that the kids (mine are all boys, maybe that has something to do with it) tend to play that way anyway.

 

So, we set certain rules, such as we don't under any circumstances point guns at people. When they play with guns, they are playing games like "hunt the target" or they are shooting rabid animals for protection. LOL

 

Swords, if you watch my kiddos play, are cool because they make lots of noise when you smack them together. :lol: I don't think they've even equated them with weapons.... Well, maybe they have, if you think about things like light sabers. But when they play, they do not try to hurt one another, and if someone accidentally gets hurt they all drop what they are doing and apologize and rally around the hurt kid. It's actually quite heart-warming to see it. (Especially since they hand-to-hand fight like brothers quite often and don't do that way. LOL)

 

 

Anyway. I've chosen to pick my battles, and there are some things for which I will not stand. BUT play is play, and my kids just like the cool clothes, cool talking (can you say, "ARGGH!"), and loud noises. :p

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Eh...we usually put away the box of weapons when friends come for playdates just because you never know what comfort level other parents have when it comes to weapon play. They usually just get more creative and make guns and swords out of the Legos and Tinkertoys though.

 

I really don't have an issue with pirate play and we adore the "Patch the Pirate" series as well!:001_smile:

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It's not so much weapon play that concerns me. Weapons can be used to fight off evil. It is the pretending to be pirates who are lawbreakers. But, like I said, I guess they can pretend to be good pirates if that is possible.

 

So, how does the Patch the Pirate series depict the pirate doing good things? How does he help people in a "pirate-y" sort of way? Meaning, how does he act like a pirate, but not break any laws? I am trying to figure out how I would teach my children to be good pirates :lol:!

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I don't want this to get nasty. I just want to sincerely know how people can think it is OK. Let's try to remember to talk to each other as if we were face to face and not on the other side of a computer screen. I agree with Suzanne in regard to: I can understand about allowing a "good" pirate. I was actually hoping that there was such a thing so I did an internet search, just in case there was something I was missing. The only thing I came up with was the guy who went out and rammed whaling ships to get them to stop killing whales. Still not very lawful behavior :001_huh:. I guess if they are imagining though, they can imagine they are good pirates and not breaking any laws. Then we can talk about how there are bad pirates also and why we wouldn't want to pretend to be one of those.

 

well, if you allow kids to dramatize Bible Stories, does nobody get to be Goliath? or any other bad guy?

 

Do they play anything else that involves a Bad Guy, even if he's not a pirate?

 

we can still dwell on things that are good while we learn about things that are bad: familiarizing ourselves w/ the evils out there in such a way that we understand how to avoid them and why they are bad isn't necessarily shunning the good.

 

Now, I am NOT condoning "drink till you're drunk so you get a taste of what it's like" --no. :) But we can do as Daniel did and learn and study and be considered an expert in things that are NOT of a Godly nature. CPS workers must be ready to seek out evil and know the signs of abuse so they can work to remedy it.

 

I homeschool because i DON't buy the "they need to learn how to deal w/bullies by being bullied ona daily basis."

 

But there is a lot to be said for exploring how the real world works in a safe environment through imaginative play. Children process things a lot differently than we do.

 

I had to LOL at the bank CEO also, but my biggest concern would be: does playing pirates transition to bad behavior? By their fruit you will know them. Playing pirates [in our house] usually leads to lessons in teamwork [taking care of the ship] and opportunities for me to bark orders to me swabs to scrub the deck [and hand them each a scrub brush for the dining room floor].

 

i like the way they put it on the talklikeapirateday website:

Q. Not put a downer on all the fun, but aren't pirates "bad" people? Don't they steal and kill and stuff?

 

A. Well ... yeah. You got us on that one.

 

Let's get this straight. Real pirates were and are bad people and are in no way worthy of emulating.

 

We, on the other hand, are thinking of movie pirates, the pirates of books, myth and legend. Think Long John Silver in "Treasure Island." Pretend pirates.

 

But Talk Like a Pretend Pirate Like Long John Silver was just too long to catch on.

 

So when we urge you to TALK like a pirate, we don't mean you should ACT like a pirate. The Pirate Guys are solidly against pillaging, plundering and slaughtering like pirates.

 

for us, dramatic play falls squarely in the Pretend camp w/ LOTR and Narnia and Harry Potter.

 

so while I can't say I'd be proud of my dc growing up to become a Pirate or Goliath or herod or Pontius Pilate, I do realize that in children's drama they need and seek those outlets to more fully comprehend different life skills, and sometimes those things they are seeking to learn have NOTHING to do w/ the character they are emulating.......

 

but good luck reconciling your feelings and making decisions!

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Swords, if you watch my kiddos play, are cool because they make lots of noise when you smack them together. :lol: I don't think they've even equated them with weapons.... Well, maybe they have, if you think about things like light sabers. But when they play, they do not try to hurt one another, and if someone accidentally gets hurt they all drop what they are doing and apologize and rally around the hurt kid.

 

my oldest was watching the fairly-lengthy sword fight between 11yo and 7yo one day and mentioned:

 

why do they think the purpose of sword fighting is to hit the other guy's SWORD??:001_huh:

 

intent, baby! intent......:lol:

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Children playing cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, pirates, or (my personal favorite as a child) kidnappers and hapless victim, all seem fine to me.

 

In the words of Garrison Keillor, it's not good kids pretending to be bad that is a threat - it's bad people pretending to be good we need to worry about.

Edited by Danestress
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Children playing cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, pirates, or (my personal favorite as a child) kidnappers and hapless victim, all seem fine to me.

 

In the words of Garrison Keil]lor, it's not good kids pretending to be bad that is a threat - it's bad people pretending to be good we need to worry about.

 

Oooh, I like that quote.

 

I find my 5 yr old boy has a real need to classify everything in terms of good or bad. If he sees a picture in the paper he wants to know if it's a bad guy or a good guy. Most of his play involves bad guys and good guys. Policeman/robbers, Indiana Jones (which he only knows through Legos), Star Wars (ditto on the Legos), pirates, etc.

 

Recently he even played Master and Slave after I read him a book about slavery. That one really disturbed me so I asked him if the master was good or evil. He looked at me like I was an idiot and answered "Evil."

 

I don't think he wants to BE the bad guys, I think he just has this need to order the world this way. Most of the time he's the good guy, sometimes someone has to be the bad guy to make the game work.

 

And ditto on all the weapons comments. When my 2 yr old pointed a pencil at me and said "Shoot you, Mommy." I pretty much gave up on that one. :)

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he's called Patch the Pirate because he's missing an eye...in real life. Since children were often coming up to him and asking him if he was a pirate, he took his misfortune and turned it into a Christ honoring story series. That program is one of my children's favorite bedtime CD choices. Have you ever actually listened to them? I find it unbelieveable that you could oppose it if you knew their message.

 

Jo

 

We love Patch the Pirate here! My personal favorite is the Missterslippi River Race. We will get to see him in person at a retreat in a couple of weeks.

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Our kids are currently in rehearsal for Peter Pan (Christian Youth Theater) and both are pirates. Tuesday was costume day and I watched a whole room full of teenagers enter the room and instantly transform into pirates as they rooted through the costumes and found things to make their character come alive. They had already written backstories for character development and knew just how they wanted their character to be outfitted. While they were in there, they WERE in character...accents, limps, whatever.

Then they left to return to their class and they were regular teenagers. They LOVE this kind of roleplaying and I haven't seen anything negative come from it.

Now, if a young child only wants to play a bad guy and uses that in a negative way, such as to bully a playmate, then that's a different story. But I'm not convinced roleplaying is the issue...it's usually the kid using the role as an excuse to be mean.

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My son went through a pirate phase when he was about 3. Stayed dressed up that way 90% if the time for about a year! I never even gave it a thought. So much of childhood is role playing...good and bad. I think perhaps this is an area of Christian liberty. It's kind of like modest dress. We can all agree walking around na*ed would not be modest! But some think women should wear long dresses all the time, some are ok with pants, some think tank tops are ok, some think they are awful. I think we would all agree that a child acting like, say Freddy Kruger or Satan or Jason from Friday the 13th-that would be weird! But pirates, cops & robbers, cowboys & Indians? Most of the time the kids who are dressing up like this are too young to know all the history of it. I strongly believe that boys are born with that innate desire to protect and battle. I was determined to have no play guns for my oldest. So he picks up a stick that is slightly bent and starts "shooting" with it.

Anyway, that's just my 2 cents. In the long run, we each have to answer to our own conscience and do what we believe is right in the eyes of the Lord. If it bothers you, then I would not allow it. At the same time, you will have to respect the fact that others will not feel this way, and not be judgemental of them (I'm not saying that you are, just a caution, as I have lost a friendship with someone who became very judgemental of me because I did not agree with her standards of modesty).

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and they are the "bad guys". They also have the Knights, as well as the Magic (or is it Fairy. The "girl" one) castle, and the Roman Arena. The pirates are always the bad guys who attack and have to be defeated.

 

When they first got the pirates (it was their first set), they were the "Pirates, who don't do anything" (Veggietales). I had some doubts about the set, but I've liked how they play with it.

 

Now the Romans have been fun. My ds7 wanted a "Roman" themed birthday cake. My dh joked if it was supposed to be complete with Christians being thrown to the lions. :lol: He didn't do that, nor did we make that a party game.

 

You can see the cake on his blog. The latest cake was for my oldest dd, but if you go down you can see the Roman one.

 

http://cakescukesandcoffee.blogspot.com/

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My kids are ALWAYS playing poor orphan children and Boxcar children. I don't think they want me "offed"- it's just a fun way for them to spin a plot (and they read too much so they see a lot of that useful plot dynamic, which we talk about). I personally don't worry too much about it. We talk about honoring God with our behaviors, attitudes and words - and weapons can only be used to defend and protect others. As moms we can tell when they have heart issues - be it when they are being an evil, sibling-oppressing missionary or a benevolent pirate. Watch their hearts and talk it over with them.

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I have always let my 4 dc play pirates, army men, cops and robbers....whatever they'd like. I'm thrilled to see them using their imagination as opposed to plopping in front of the tv. As a Christian, I know that God knows my heart and the hearts of my children so I don't worry about it. I think we can often get legalistic about God's word which leads to some over-analyzing it. I'm in no way saying that's what is happening here so please take no offense. I just know that our God is an understanding, merciful God who would not look at our innocent children playing as being against His word.

 

*I'm going to apologize ahead of time if I have offended anyone in this post. It seems lately threads get out of control very quickly.:001_smile:

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I was hoping someone could help me understand how it is OK to allow our children to play pirates. I saw an activity book that included such things as making your room into a pirate cabin. Pirates are bad people, right? Why then would I want my child to pretend to be a pirate? Please help me understand.

 

 

Okay, it's not that you necessarily want them to play pirates. You do, however, want them to play imaginatively, you want them to learn that some people are bad, and you want them to learn how to deal with that fact in an emergency situation. If they play pirates attacking, their adrenaline level will go up and they'll have to think under pressure - how to save the ship from the marauding pirates? How to stay safe from them? Better they learn emergency thinking skills in a safe game of pirates (or kidnappers, Roman invasion, cops & robbers, etc.) so they'll be better prepared in their reaction to real-life emergency situations like the bullies in the park or the attacker behind the college dorm, KWIM?

 

You could just get them self-defense training, but it has the same issue - someone has to pretend to attack for the other one to learn to defend himself. A drawback to relying solely on self-defense training is that it doesn't train them to negotiate or verbally deal with the situation - it just deals with the physical aspect of it. They still need the emotional skills they get from imaginative play with bad guy roles.

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I'm a Christian who has strong moral values. I allow my kids to play pirates. In fact, we just love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the ride at Disney World. I see no harm in it. I dont think they are going to want to grow up to be bad people and do bad pirate things. I remember playing Ninjas all the time as a kid. I'm not a ninja now LOL.

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As a Christian, I know that God knows my heart and the hearts of my children so I don't worry about it. I think we can often get legalistic about God's word which leads to some over-analyzing it.

 

:iagree:

 

It's just imaginative play. While there are some studies that link violent videogames to violent behavior, I have never read a study that links pirate play to one actually becoming a pirate. :D

 

I remember as a new mom trying to do the "no toy gun" route as well. My ds chewed his grilled cheese sandwhich into the shape of a gun. There went that idea!

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My kids are ALWAYS playing poor orphan children and Boxcar children. I don't think they want me "offed"- it's just a fun way for them to spin a plot (and they read too much so they see a lot of that useful plot dynamic, which we talk about). I personally don't worry too much about it. We talk about honoring God with our behaviors, attitudes and words - and weapons can only be used to defend and protect others. As moms we can tell when they have heart issues - be it when they are being an evil, sibling-oppressing missionary or a benevolent pirate. Watch their hearts and talk it over with them.

 

My kids play orphans and Boxcar children a lot too. At first I was a little worried. But they are having fun, and it is harmless.

 

I'm a Christian who has strong moral values. I allow my kids to play pirates. In fact, we just love the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and the ride at Disney World. I see no harm in it. I dont think they are going to want to grow up to be bad people and do bad pirate things. I remember playing Ninjas all the time as a kid. I'm not a ninja now LOL.

 

:iagree:

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: My ds chewed his grilled cheese sandwhich into the shape of a gun. There went that idea!

 

LOL!!! This cracked me up, because my son was big into making shapes out of his grilled cheese...including guns!! The state of Florida on our educational puzzle became a gun. :-)

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My oldest is 8, & dh & I don't think he's old enough to watch things like Pirates of the Carribean. He hasn't started turning his toys into guns yet, & our tv only plays videos, so he doesn't get commercials, & we have complete control over his selection of films & frequency of watching.

 

Last yr, his only exposure to pirates was SOTW, & he thought they were awful & evil. His best friend was about to have a birthday & was planning a Star Wars theme, but told his mother he wanted to do pirates instead *because* my ds "doesn't like Star Wars." (Really, he just hasn't seen it because he's 8.)

 

I think pirates are cool. I love the romance of the big ships, the islands, the costumes. I'd never really thought about what they were doing, kwim? And I tend to imagine bad guys as tortured good guys who can't figure out how to let their goodness out. :lol:

 

Anyway, ds had a real problem w/ pirates. He's SO serious about everything, & dh & I went round & round about what to do about it. Ya know, however you feel about pirates, you don't really want to *force* them on your dc, & ds was having none. of. it.

 

Around that time, we read Peter Pan, not *because* there's a pirate in the book--it was just on our list. But the book fed ds's imagination, & by the end of it, he was naturally playing pirates. Still not a lot, but there were key phrases, a couple of costume items, etc. that crept into his imaginative play--always as the bad guy, whom he loved to see foiled.

 

It was after the book that his friend planned the birthday party. Dh & I were concerned about ds's reaction, because at that point...we still weren't sure how he'd do, kwim? And politeness was a big deal, given the circumstances. But ds came home flaunting his eye patch & "loot" (candy) & acting as if he'd always played pirates happily. By the end of the week, it had died down.

 

My kids have interrupted me 3 times, so I'm afraid my story is very long & disjointed now, but the point is...I understand your pov completely, & I think you're wise to consider things like this. The vs about only thinking about good things is also excellent. (I can never remember if that's Ephesians or Phillipians!)

 

BUT the logic behind much of what kids do & play falls apart under too much scrutiny. I was an overscrutinizing kid, lol, so I really know. It's taken me YEARS of overanalasys (sp??) to be able to see the value in things like Santa Claus, pirates, & other things that cross the line between good & evil, between syncretism & holiness. I think the best way I could summarize my position now is to say that it is crucial for children to be children while they are children. I don't think that has to entail any kind of screen time, necessarily, or willful immaturity/rebellion/etc. But their imaginations need to be fed stories while they're little & given an outlet to BE imaginative in response. They need to embrace magic while magic is still real.

 

My parenting philosophy is Be the fairy they think you are, & some of the magic will stay w/ them when they're grown. Some of the wonder & awe at who you are will carry them through their teen yrs. Sometimes I even put on wings.

 

Oh my goodness that came out convoluted. GL w/ your pirate problem. I hope you find your answers.

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I think it's just as OK to play pirates as it is to play cops and robbers. My caveat is that my kids know what a pirate IS. A pirate is essentially a thief!

 

I watch my dc's imaginative play and use it as a guage for their hearts. Boys love to act out scenarios of right/wrong and serve up justice - it's inborn:tongue_smilie: I won't stop them from playing pirates, but if I see my child glorifying evil I take note and address it.(that's a wonderful time to bring out stories of heroes;)).

 

As far as the cutesy pirate stuff that makes pirates seem like a harmless little character.....I don't like that. Not to ruffle any feathers, but I would never take that idea to say....drug dealers, or bank robbers - Eeek! I try not to be legalistic about these things, yet I want my kids to know the meaning of the words they use and understand what they are pretending.

jmho

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Oh man, we just had this discussion in our co-op. I have girls, but still they get in on the play. On pretty days, we finish the co-op up around 1pm so the dc can play at the park. A popular game recently was "defend the fort" complete with "princess in distress" (usually the youngest girl at the co-op that day) and knights. There are the "good knights" defending the castle/fort and the "bad knights" trying to capture the castle/fort. Again, the whole "who gets to be a "good guy" and who gets to be a "bad guy"".

 

A friend wondered if so much attention has been on this type of play because boys dont have physical activity to do in our culture. They are not fixing fence posts, planting the wheat, tending the farm animals, etc. If they were out doing chores after school, together or with their father, their brains would be actively involved in a physical activity and not looking for imaginary play to spend that energy on. In our modern society, most boys do not have that level of physical activity unless they play a sport.

 

Her theory was, growing boys (not toddlers or preschoolers), they have this energy, this need to be physically active and productive, responsible (like protecting or defending from the bad guy) but there is no outlet for them in modern culture besides imaginary play and sports.

 

It was an interesting point and food for thought.

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My issue is not so much with them playing pirates as it is with the kids choosing to portray specific pirates from movies.

 

I am surprised at how many people are not disturbed by their children re enacting exact scenes from trendy popular movies. This is not imagination, just repitition! We watch a few of these movies (after pre viewing) but I become concerned if they take over the kids' minds and begin to control their play to the extent that they are repeated just acting exact scenes from movies. I also have concerns about the extent of the mind control ...as evidenced in the buying of movie related toys, notebooks, clothing..etc. It seems many children are learning to follow the trend. This seems to me to be just turning children over to the whim of marketing. I want my children to be aware of when they are being manipulated. Not that they can never buy any of these things, but they need to be aware, so that they are not easily lead away from their own convictions later as adults.

 

Imaginative pirate play that does not get carried away, I have no problem with. I have stopped my own children from play acting that got carried away recently at park day. The whole capturing, or jailing can be upsetting for some kids. I was witnessing some play acting that began to cross the line into bullying one child who did not want to play the game anymore. Other mothers didn't notice because to them it was all 'part of the game'. Meanwhile the child was becoming more and more traumatized by the "game". I want my children to be sensitive to others, so I told them what was happening and asked that they not play that type of thing anymore. Also told the other kids that "so-and-so does not want to play, please leave her out".

 

I just think we do need to keep a watch on our children and notice when their play begins to cross a line, or when certain ideas are becoming obsession-like to the point that other, better interests are being pushed out. The mind can only be occupied with so many ideas...I want them to choose the better ones. I actually watched my own DS completely lose his interest in science, literature, and music when he became involved with a group that was highly into whatever trend (in movies & TV) came down the pike. Those trends began to replace all the wonderful interest that made him him! We cut those associations way down, and thankfully he is back to himself again.

 

I suppose it really come down to a matter of deciding what you and your husband want your kids to value. If you think pirate play crosses the line, then don't allow them to do it. You have to follow your convictions...not the convictions of the posters here, not your neighbors...not anyone else's...... your convictions for your family.

 

In a way, the book "Hold On To Your Kids" is related to this issue. It will help you to see that parents should be the primary relationship and guiding factor in a child's life. This book helped me to see that I had to follow my own convictions and not worry about what other kids and their parents are doing (or not doing).

 

*Not wanting to ruffle feathers here, just sharing our particular point of view. There are many POV out there.*

 

"To thine own self be true" ~ Shakespeare (hope I quoted correctly!)

 

(In our family, God comes before self, but it is He that gives us the convictions we need to be true to Him -- which will be slightly different for every Christian)

 

Shannon

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I chalk it up to pretend play. Honestly a sword fight in pirate play is no different than my son and his friends fighting with lightsabers while pretending to be characters from Star wars, or when they play cops and robbers and someone is the bad guy and the fight is on. Imaginative play is just that, play. It is not who they really are, they are just using their imaginations to "try on" another persona. I don't care if it is school teacher, fireman, chef or pirate, I am happy if they are playing cooperatively with others, using their imaginations to spin fabulous tales and having a great time safely exploring different characters

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Pirates have become romanticized and part of our children's stories. Please don't over analyze this. Boys (and some girls) like to swashbuckle. It's what they do. They fight with swords, therefore they are cool. If you take this line of thinking to the end it wouldn't be pretty. Imagination is good. Let kids be kids.

 

If they start to play bank CEO come back and we'll discuss.

 

[joking- nobody get your panties in a wad. I know some bank CEOs are wonderful, upstanding people:D]

 

Jo

 

:iagree:

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Pirates are bad people, right? Why then would I want my child to pretend to be a pirate? Please help me understand.

 

When my children play pirates, they are pretending to 1) be a tight-knit band of friends as close as brothers, who would die for each other, 2) survive and thrive within a world that's out to get them, 3) travel, explore, and cut a path through the harsh wilderness of the ocean. Though I'm not a Christian anymore, if I remember correctly, all of those activities were very New Testamenty sort of things to do. I don't so much mind that they're pretending to be outlaws, either. I'm raising my munchkins to make a distinction between morality and legality. Now, the killing and the stealing, that bothers me. My kids tend to tie people up and not shoot them, discover other pirate's booty rather than taking over a civilian ship. I don't believe I ever had to tell them to do this (though my partner may have). They know how their parents are about that stuff.

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When my children play pirates, they are pretending to 1) be a tight-knit band of friends as close as brothers, who would die for each other, 2) survive and thrive within a world that's out to get them, 3) travel, explore, and cut a path through the harsh wilderness of the ocean. Though I'm not a Christian anymore, if I remember correctly, all of those activities were very New Testamenty sort of things to do. I don't so much mind that they're pretending to be outlaws, either. I'm raising my munchkins to make a distinction between morality and legality. Now, the killing and the stealing, that bothers me. My kids tend to tie people up and not shoot them, discover other pirate's booty rather than taking over a civilian ship. I don't believe I ever had to tell them to do this (though my partner may have). They know how their parents are about that stuff.

 

:iagree:

 

Not all pirates were lawbreakers, Especially during the reign of Elizabeth the first the English "pirates" were not breaking English Law. The Spanish didn't much like it though.... ;)

 

:iagree:

 

My kids have played these games because pirates and the like have become romanticized in movies and books. I think that a lot of children have not been exposed to the "ugly" side of this kind of life.

 

I don't think there is anything wrong with enlightening them, just make sure it's age appropriate. In our history studies we have read quite a bit recently about pirates and even privateers ( the distinction is fuzzy at best:)) For my younger kids I checked out "You Wouldn't Want to Be a Pirate's Prisoner!" by John Malam. Boy that was an adventure for them! Lots of great information, easy reading, and bright pictures. For my older kids besides the history reading I have talked to them about the recent pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean to help them understand that it is still going on.

 

I think it's important for children to have an understanding of the difference between fantasy and reality but also be allowed to imagine and explore. Otherwise, you end up with an extremism that makes it difficult for them to relate with others and thrive outside the home.

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We don't really play pirates at our house, not because I have strictly forbidden it or anything, but because it hasn't really come up. We do not watch a lot of modern movies, so they have never seen the recent pirate movies.

 

If this were to come up somehow, though, I think I would spin it as them being "Robin Hood" sorts of pirates. I think that coupled with abstaining from the movies would keep their play from going over the top.

 

I have a lot of sympathy for the Phil 4:8 thought. Our rule of thumb for many years has been to play what we want to become. If there's a bad guy, he is sure to get his comeuppance before the end of the play session ; ). So I guess that has naturally let out pirate stuff.

 

DS does have a sword from a knight set and likes to use it, but we do not permit him to use it on people. In addition, they have seen the VeggieTales "Pirates who don't do anything" song, and they like to sing it, but it hasn't translated into pirate play.

Edited by WTMCassandra
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I'm beating my head against the wall. Without even reading all the responses I'm going to say dits to whatever Peek says.

 

Why do Christian moms (and I'm one of them) that homeschool their little boys do their best to squash any male tendencies they have??

 

For Pete's sake, why is it criminal to be a boy? Off to tell mine to quit their math and go out hunting.

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So much of childhood is role playing...good and bad. I think perhaps this is an area of Christian liberty. It's kind of like modest dress. We can all agree walking around na*ed would not be modest! But some think women should wear long dresses all the time, some are ok with pants, some think tank tops are ok, some think they are awful. I think we would all agree that a child acting like, say Freddy Kruger or Satan or Jason from Friday the 13th-that would be weird! But pirates, cops & robbers, cowboys & Indians? Most of the time the kids who are dressing up like this are too young to know all the history of it. I strongly believe that boys are born with that innate desire to protect and battle. I was determined to have no play guns for my oldest. So he picks up a stick that is slightly bent and starts "shooting" with it.

Anyway, that's just my 2 cents. In the long run, we each have to answer to our own conscience and do what we believe is right in the eyes of the Lord. If it bothers you, then I would not allow it. At the same time, you will have to respect the fact that others will not feel this way, and not be judgemental of them (I'm not saying that you are, just a caution, as I have lost a friendship with someone who became very judgemental of me because I did not agree with her standards of modesty).

 

BUMP! There have been so many good analyses here...I wouldn't add anything fresh.

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My boys played "Pirate" but it was really just sailors. They loved pretending they were one ships and boats and chasing whales and running from whales and even better......Sea Monsters!!!!!!!

 

The "pirate" aspects we don't want for our kids didn't really come up... they wanted to sail, avoid being eaten and then dig up buried treasure....

 

 

My DS recently said he wouldn't really want to be a pirate 'cause they drink alcohol and smell bad and they are mean and God doesn't want me to be mean.

 

.... (some book he read)

 

I think its fun and educational.

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Imaginative play is just that, play. It is not who they really are, they are just using their imaginations to "try on" another persona. I don't care if it is school teacher, fireman, chef or pirate, I am happy if they are playing cooperatively with others, using their imaginations to spin fabulous tales and having a great time safely exploring different characters

 

I agree with this. Even if kids play "bad pirates", it's the way they're learning about the world and themselves. How does it feel to be a bad guy? How does it feel when someone treats me badly? What motivates the bad guy to be bad or the good guy to be good? What is good and bad? Childhood play is a safe place to explore these ideas.

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My boy have played several times. They take the cushions off the couch to build their pirate ships. They just recently saw on the news about a pirate attack off the coast of Africa and one of them said "You mean pirates are REAL????" We were able to have a big talk about real pirates and what they did (or do). It opened up a lot of discussions about how bad things are sometimes glamorized in books and movies, and how we always need to firm in our Bible studies so that we do not get desensitized against evil things.

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I am surprised at how many people are not disturbed by their children re enacting exact scenes from trendy popular movies. This is not imagination, just repitition!

 

 

=========

I want my children to be aware of when they are being manipulated. Not that they can never buy any of these things, but they need to be aware, so that they are not easily lead away from their own convictions later as adults.

 

Imaginative pirate play that does not get carried away, I have no problem with. I have stopped my own children from play acting that got carried away recently at park day. ...... Other mothers didn't notice because to them it was all 'part of the game'. Meanwhile the child was becoming more and more traumatized by the "game". I want my children to be sensitive to others, so I told them what was happening and asked that they not play that type of thing anymore. Also told the other kids that "so-and-so does not want to play, please leave her out".

 

I just think we do need to keep a watch on our children and notice when their play begins to cross a line, or when certain ideas are becoming obsession-like to the point that other, better interests are being pushed out. The mind can only be occupied with so many ideas...I want them to choose the better ones.

 

there's a lot of good info in this post too :)

 

i will, however, point out that there's a certain level of skill and understanding involved in being able to accurately portray in detail specific scenes, so i don't see repetition itself as a necessarily bad thing. :D

 

 

Personally, I see as much reason to be concerned about my kids dressing up as knights as I do about pirates... and we permit it in both cases, knowing that it is the cultural myth not the historical fact they are roleplaying.

 

 

:iagree:

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the religion in my family is "be kind." So I can't imagine that we are too far apart from each other here.

 

I will give the same answer that I gave a few years ago when we discussed this on the boards. My sister and brother have spent many years (separately) on the "high seas," and because of that I am well aware of piracy. We do not play "pirate" for the same reason that we don't play "Civil War Battle." Death is simply not amusing, nor is stealing and taking hostages. Read here about pirates seizing a ship that was delivering rice to Somalia under a UN program -- pirates took the crew hostage for 110 days. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/07/060706-modern-pirates_2.html

 

All that said, my son has never played with guns. (He's 10 now --- I'm assuming he's not going to start now?) He enjoyed "Pirates of the Carribean" but never pretended to be any of the characters. He dressed up as a pirate when he was required to (summer camp -- "pirate day"), but he thought it was kind of dumb. So I'm not sure if I would really press the matter if my son really wanted to play "pirate."

 

So, I guess I don't buy the "boys will be boys" stuff. Since little boys don't have much testosterone, do you really think this is an inherent difference? If your daughter organized her Barbies into a ring of bank robbers, would this be O.K.? Because there are a lot of maritime games that do not involve organized crime. Voyageurs, anyone? (My tongue is in my cheek here...)

 

Julie

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Great thoughts!

 

We're observant Jews, not Xtians, but we give careful thought to what our children are exposed to and we do limit their imaginitive play in some ways.

However, I am completely unfamiliar with your scriptures and the worldview you're coming from, so I know my thoughts might not be at all useful to you...

 

With that caveat:

 

Is lawbreaking always wrong in your opinion?

 

It certainly isn't in mine! The Civil Rights movement involved peaceful civil disobedience, Gandhi engaged in peaceful civil disobedience, anyone who hid Jews from the Nazis was disobeying their government... and all of these cases are, imnsho, examples of extreme heroism, models I want my children to admire. As a Peter, Paul, and Mary song 'Have You Been to Jail for Justice' says "rotten laws stay on the books 'til folks with guts defy it". I want my children to stand up to injustice & evil and to fight against laws they believe to be wrong - in most cases that would be legal "fighting", but there is, imnsho, a time and place to break an unjust law.

 

There are other more morally ambiguous cases, which have more in common with piracy than the ones above.

 

Is Robin Hood a hero? And when we consider that, are we thinking of the historical Robin Hood or the mythological one?

 

...and Francis Drake? In British history he is a gallant hero... in the eyes of the Spanish of the times he was a pirate. He was a privateer - a government sponsored pirate. (There were colonial privateers during the American Revolution...)

 

My take on pirates and kids: my kids aren't dressing up as historical pirates - though they are all familiar with at least the basic historical information- they're playing storybook pirates (Treasure Island & Peter Pan come to mind and the derivative pirates of Ransome's Swallows & Amazons series ), mythological pirates.... we talk a lot about the difference between history and myth - the historical vs the mythological 1950's came up last week. There are archetypes in the stories we hear and tell and they speak powerfully to the imagination...

 

The villainous pirates (Captain Hook) and the heroic ones (Captain Blood) can be seen as flip sides of the same archetype... freedom from cultural mores and laws can come from/lead to self-indulgent evil or selfless heroism... or some weird blend of the two. The heroic end of the spectrum has the appeal that other swashbuckling images do - honor bound rather than law bound, courageous & daring, working for a higher cause, etc (The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic swashbuckler).

 

In many ways pirates fall into the trickster archetype - Loki, Hermes, Coyote, Brer Rabbit, Anansi... there's a mischievousness, yes, but they are ambiguous characters often... and you can see how some of the trickster archetype comes from a drive for freedom and individuality... they are also often agents of chaos and/or change.. tricksters often uphold a greater good while making life hard for a given individual... it is a fun and fascinating process to explore an archetype and its manifestations across cultures and time periods...

 

I think kids can get something out of exploring these things, and others, in a playful context... and, as they get older, they can benefit from talking it through and playing with it intellectually. ...while still getting a thrill from some heroic swashbuckling.

 

...for me the appeal ties in to a deeper passion - I am a sucker for protaganists fighting against the odds for a higher cause.... Wilberforce (Amazing Grace is an incredible film), the Scarlet Pimpernel (the Andrews/Seymour film while vastly different from the book captures the swashbuckling appeal), Aung San Suu Kyi (I like this book), and Pete Seeger (my mother highly recommends this documentary) show some of the range that has for me... but Cyrano de Bergerac and the Three Musketeers appeal too... though neither is about any higher issue I value...

but all of these folks, the real and the fictional worked around or against the laws and/or government(s) they dealt with - some to a greater extent than others.

 

And, speaking of weird blends, despite the looting and killing historical pirates engaged in, they also, at times, freed slaves from transport ships & their society was more democratic & egalitarian than the conventional societies of the times... not a justification for wrongdoing, but an interesting thing to consider, that, perhaps, the same disregard for law and conventional morality that made a piratical lifestyle an acceptable choice (not that everyone involved freely chose, or, perhaps, even felt they had many other options) led to unconventional choices that we'd recognize as positive, in some aspects. Sally Watson, who wrote a number of rose-tinted but delightful kids' historical fiction novels, has one called Jade which is a gentle, kid appropriate way to introduce some of these discussions...

 

Personally, I see as much reason to be concerned about my kids dressing up as knights as I do about pirates... and we permit it in both cases, knowing that it is the cultural myth not the historical fact they are roleplaying.

 

Fwiw, our kids have not see the Pirates of the Caribbean films (nor will they!) - their primary exposure to pirates has been literary (Treasure Island, Peter Pan, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea & The Mysterious Island, etc); their one film exposure was Captain Blood, and that was fairly recently....

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I also agree with another poster who puts her children's pirate play in terms of a close knit band having traveling adventures while thumbing the nose at figures of authority.

 

I can understand how the last bit might be problematic for the OP if take as encouraging a disdain or disrespect for authority. However, as Eliana points out, there are ample cases in history for the need to resist and even challenge authority. Workers on the Underground Railroad, American privateers during the American Revolution, protectors or smugglers of Jews out of Nazi Germany and smugglers of Bibles into Easter Europe and China could all have been branded as pirates.

 

That doesn't mean that all pirates are worthy of imitation, any more than all lawbreakers have a righteous purpose. But I don't think that children's play involving headscarves, patches and swords indicates a tendency to capture and ransom cargo ships in the Red Sea.

 

Sometimes a cutlass is just a cutlass.

 

 

FWIW:

We all have our ticks and tolerance levels. In our house, it is fine to build block towers and knock them over. It is fine to fly combat flight simulators playing the side of the US's historical enemy while shooting up cargo aircraft. But let us catch a child pretending to fly an airplane into the block tower or crash into a building on the simulator and that will be the absolute end of that play (including total loss of the flight simulator). September 11th was too personal for that to be acceptable play at our house.

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