Dear Dr. Bill,
My wife and I have a parenting dilemma. Our 5-year-old son is increasingly interested in playing with super hero action figures and characters from Star Wars. I’ve encouraged this because my parents let me play with similar toys when I was little. But my wife’s family believes such toys are “spiritually unhealthy.” And my wife is especially concerned about anything having to do with lasers or guns. I, on the other hand, see this as a very natural thing for little boys to be interested in. Can you give us some direction?
As you mentioned, boys are naturally drawn to more aggressive types of play than little girls. Sometimes that can be scary to their moms, especially if they didn’t grow up with brothers.
Also, certain elements in our culture frown on boys expressing themselves in aggressive play. The radical feminist movement has tried to deny the physiological differences between boys and girls, and they’ve done their best to “feminize” boys over the past 30 years.
The fact is that boys are genetically wired to be attracted to “good guys and bad guys,” “cowboys and Indians,” and wars and battles. As long as the play doesn’t get out of hand or dangerously aggressive, I don’t think your wife should discourage it.
You also mentioned your wife’s concern over action figures that could have a spiritually dark dimension to them. Many fantasy games on the market these days deal with witches, warlocks, wizards and demons. Kids can get sucked into these games and Christian parents have good reason to be concerned.
A book that will help you and your wife understand both the positive and negative aspects of fantasy games and toys is “Fantasy and Your Family” by Richard Abanes.