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Thread started 09/01/17 11:48am

herb4

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THE POLICE; Explaining Reality to Your Children

This came up yesterday in a conversation with my 6 year old son and is causing some controversy within my peer group.

My child asked me "Daddy, are all policemen good?"

I told him "No, son. Not all of them. MOST of them are and all of them are nice to children so if you need to ask a policeman for help if you are in danger, he or she is your friend and they will help you. But not ALL cops are good people. They're the same as anyone else and no one group of people are ALL good."

I thought this was a good, well though out, measured, concise and honsest answer to a legitimate question and I tend to the subscribe to the "Old enough to ask, old enough to know" general rule of educating him and answering the things he asks me, especially hard stuff. Of course, I'm generally very careful about how I word my answers and try to frame them in a way he can grasp and logically parse, taking care not to overload his head with age inappropriate information or things that are beyond his maturity level.

I'm beginning to catch a tiny measure of shit though from a few friends (as well as his Mother) for what I told him and am wondering if I should just go with "Yes, son. Cops are the good guys and they catch bad guys!" but...honestly...I feel like I'm lying if I say that. I'm going to follow up with him and make clear exactly what I meant to be sure that he understands, but I'm worried I did something wrong here.

What would you guys have said? Should I walk it back a little?


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Reply #1 posted 09/01/17 12:08pm

maplenpg

herb4 said:

This came up yesterday in a conversation with my 6 year old son and is causing some controversy within my peer group.

My child asked me "Daddy, are all policemen good?"

I told him "No, son. Not all of them. MOST of them are and all of them are nice to children so if you need to ask a policeman for help if you are in danger, he or she is your friend and they will help you. But not ALL cops are good people. They're the same as anyone else and no one group of people are ALL good."

I thought this was a good, well though out, measured, concise and honsest answer to a legitimate question and I tend to the subscribe to the "Old enough to ask, old enough to know" general rule of educating him and answering the things he asks me, especially hard stuff. Of course, I'm generally very careful about how I word my answers and try to frame them in a way he can grasp and logically parse, taking care not to overload his head with age inappropriate information or things that are beyond his maturity level.

I'm beginning to catch a tiny measure of shit though from a few friends (as well as his Mother) for what I told him and am wondering if I should just go with "Yes, son. Cops are the good guys and they catch bad guys!" but...honestly...I feel like I'm lying if I say that. I'm going to follow up with him and make clear exactly what I meant to be sure that he understands, but I'm worried I did something wrong here.

What would you guys have said? Should I walk it back a little?


I wouldn't walk it back. You were fair and honest and, if he's anything like my six year old twins are, he'll have forgotten all about it by now. Adults worry too much sometimes.

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Reply #2 posted 09/01/17 12:09pm

morningsong

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Some of us don't get the choice of telling our kids that everything in the world is happy, happy, joy, joy.







“Do I dare Disturb the universe?”
― T.S. Eliot

“Only by acceptance of the past, can you alter it”
― T.S. Eliot
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Reply #3 posted 09/01/17 12:12pm

herb4

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maplenpg said:

herb4 said:



My child asked me "Daddy, are all policemen good?"



I wouldn't walk it back. You were fair and honest and, if he's anything like my six year old twins are, he'll have forgotten all about it by now. Adults worry too much sometimes.

Well, my ex CERTAINLY falls into that category. All she sees is rattlesnakes and pedophiles.

Something else I never thought about is that, on occasion, child predators pose as policeman to gain a victim's trust. Welcoming more feedback.

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Reply #4 posted 09/01/17 12:19pm

maplenpg

herb4 said:

maplenpg said:

I wouldn't walk it back. You were fair and honest and, if he's anything like my six year old twins are, he'll have forgotten all about it by now. Adults worry too much sometimes.

Well, my ex CERTAINLY falls into that category. All she sees is rattlesnakes and pedophiles.

Something else I never thought about is that, on occasion, child predators pose as policeman to gain a victim's trust. Welcoming more feedback.

Now I wouldn't tell the six year old that - geez, you'll give him policophobia! lol

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Reply #5 posted 09/01/17 12:35pm

djThunderfunk

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I think your original answer was perfect.

He may get a different answer from his mother, but, I doubt it will be the first or last time that happens. He'll learn from that as well.

We were HERE, where were you?

4 those that knew the number and didn't call... fk all y'all!
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Reply #6 posted 09/01/17 12:47pm

SupaFunkyOrgan
grinderSexy

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herb4 said:

This came up yesterday in a conversation with my 6 year old son and is causing some controversy within my peer group.

My child asked me "Daddy, are all policemen good?"

I told him "No, son. Not all of them. MOST of them are and all of them are nice to children so if you need to ask a policeman for help if you are in danger, he or she is your friend and they will help you. But not ALL cops are good people. They're the same as anyone else and no one group of people are ALL good."

I thought this was a good, well though out, measured, concise and honsest answer to a legitimate question and I tend to the subscribe to the "Old enough to ask, old enough to know" general rule of educating him and answering the things he asks me, especially hard stuff. Of course, I'm generally very careful about how I word my answers and try to frame them in a way he can grasp and logically parse, taking care not to overload his head with age inappropriate information or things that are beyond his maturity level.

I'm beginning to catch a tiny measure of shit though from a few friends (as well as his Mother) for what I told him and am wondering if I should just go with "Yes, son. Cops are the good guys and they catch bad guys!" but...honestly...I feel like I'm lying if I say that. I'm going to follow up with him and make clear exactly what I meant to be sure that he understands, but I'm worried I did something wrong here.

What would you guys have said? Should I walk it back a little?


You didn't do anything wrong. the real problem here is that people blindly worship the cops in this country.

2010: Healing the Wounds of the Past.... http://prince.org/msg/8/325740
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Reply #7 posted 09/01/17 12:56pm

herb4

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maplenpg said:

herb4 said:

Well, my ex CERTAINLY falls into that category. All she sees is rattlesnakes and pedophiles.

Something else I never thought about is that, on occasion, child predators pose as policeman to gain a victim's trust. Welcoming more feedback.

Now I wouldn't tell the six year old that - geez, you'll give him policophobia! lol


Of course not. I meant that in the context of "always trust someone who says they're a cop", even if he's driving a van and dressed as a clown wiht blood stains on it sort of thing.

In many ways, I'm acutally asking a larger sort of question here and only just now realized it.

With all the shit going on...

My son picks up on the news...he hears people talk...Harvey, Charlottesville, NK, Trump, Nazis, BLM, etc...parenting is difficult and at his age he not only absorbs EVERYTHING but also, naturally, has a TON of questions about what he gleans; to which he looks to me and his mother for answers. It's tricky to be honest without laying the weight of the cruelty of the world on him at such a young age, yet he is also sharp and knows when he's being condescended.

It's challenging and, more often than not, a rather fine line to walk

I think your original answer was perfect.

He may get a different answer from his mother, but, I doubt it will be the first or last time that happens. He'll learn from that as well.


I appreciate that and I think so too, but his Mother is always going on about "consistency" regarding our co-parenting, especially now that we're divorced. She's always been a bit a bot of a control freak. I don't want to twist my boy's brain halfway sideways or getting him contradicting what his Mom is teaching him, since she's not only his primary caregiver but, in most ways, has her shit way more together than I do. However, I also think I can teach him things in ways that she doesn't always see and offer him a different perspective on things too.

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Reply #8 posted 09/01/17 12:59pm

Horsefeathers

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I think your response was proper and balanced. You humanized cops in an age appropriate manner rather than painting some superhero narrative that is all too prevalent in the US right now (same would apply to military IMO). Humanizing humans is never inappropriate.

Also, I don't believe blind trust in any form of authority whether cops, teachers, whoever is a wise thing to teach children. What you said leaves space for future lessons in both respect and building and trusting intuition.
Murica: at least it's not Sudan.
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Reply #9 posted 09/01/17 1:01pm

herb4

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SupaFunkyOrgangrinderSexy said:

herb4 said:

This came up yesterday in a conversation with my 6 year old son and is causing some controversy within my peer group.

My child asked me "Daddy, are all policemen good?"

I told him "No, son. Not all of them. MOST of them are and all of them are nice to children so if you need to ask a policeman for help if you are in danger, he or she is your friend and they will help you. But not ALL cops are good people. They're the same as anyone else and no one group of people are ALL good."

I thought this was a good, well though out, measured, concise and honsest answer to a legitimate question and I tend to the subscribe to the "Old enough to ask, old enough to know" general rule of educating him and answering the things he asks me, especially hard stuff. Of course, I'm generally very careful about how I word my answers and try to frame them in a way he can grasp and logically parse, taking care not to overload his head with age inappropriate information or things that are beyond his maturity level.

I'm beginning to catch a tiny measure of shit though from a few friends (as well as his Mother) for what I told him and am wondering if I should just go with "Yes, son. Cops are the good guys and they catch bad guys!" but...honestly...I feel like I'm lying if I say that. I'm going to follow up with him and make clear exactly what I meant to be sure that he understands, but I'm worried I did something wrong here.

What would you guys have said? Should I walk it back a little?


You didn't do anything wrong. the real problem here is that people blindly worship the cops in this country.


thanks. My ex doesn't "worship the cops". This was more "he's too young to understand what you meant and won't get the nuance." Maybe not and she may be right but I give him more credit than that.

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Reply #10 posted 09/01/17 1:03pm

herb4

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Horsefeathers said:

I think your response was proper and balanced. You humanized cops in an age appropriate manner rather than painting some superhero narrative that is all too prevalent in the US right now (same would apply to military IMO). Humanizing humans is never inappropriate. Also, I don't believe blind trust in any form of authority whether cops, teachers, whoever is a wise thing to teach children. What you said leaves space for future lessons in both respect and building and trusting intuition.

Thank you. I feel the same way. I wasn't approval seeking either, just...well...seeking advice really and allowing myself some self reflection.

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Reply #11 posted 09/01/17 1:13pm

poppys

Kids are perceptive. Maybe he heard a snippet of something and wondered about it. I picked out a child molester in my neighborhood (family aquaintance) when I was 7 - just by watching the way he treated my friend (kept insisting she sit on his lap). I told my mother and she dismissed it. Many years later, he got into trouble and turns out I was right. My mother acknowledged it to me after that happened.

I think what you said was just right. Kids are aware that things are multi-faceted - more than we want them to be sometimes.

A brand new story in the making beginning endlessly.
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Reply #12 posted 09/01/17 1:22pm

poppys

Horsefeathers said:

I think your response was proper and balanced. You humanized cops in an age appropriate manner rather than painting some superhero narrative that is all too prevalent in the US right now (same would apply to military IMO). Humanizing humans is never inappropriate. Also, I don't believe blind trust in any form of authority whether cops, teachers, whoever is a wise thing to teach children. What you said leaves space for future lessons in both respect and building and trusting intuition.

Excellent post, HF.

A brand new story in the making beginning endlessly.
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Reply #13 posted 09/01/17 2:07pm

Bodhitheblackd
og

herb4 said:

Horsefeathers said:

I think your response was proper and balanced. You humanized cops in an age appropriate manner rather than painting some superhero narrative that is all too prevalent in the US right now (same would apply to military IMO). Humanizing humans is never inappropriate. Also, I don't believe blind trust in any form of authority whether cops, teachers, whoever is a wise thing to teach children. What you said leaves space for future lessons in both respect and building and trusting intuition.

Thank you. I feel the same way. I wasn't approval seeking either, just...well...seeking advice really and allowing myself some self reflection.

herb4, you batted it out of the park with your answer...kids have very finely tuned bullshit detectors and had you lied and said "all cops are good" (or all anything), he would have known not to trust you totally in the future. Now he knows you can be trusted...your credibility is established...though I suspect your credibility with him had been established long before...that's why he felt safe and confident enough to approach you with a tough question. Bravo.

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Reply #14 posted 09/01/17 2:09pm

herb4

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poppys said:

Kids are perceptive. Maybe he heard a snippet of something and wondered about it. I picked out a child molester in my neighborhood (family aquaintance) when I was 7 - just by watching the way he treated my friend (kept insisting she sit on his lap). I told my mother and she dismissed it. Many years later, he got into trouble and turns out I was right. My mother acknowledged it to me after that happened.

Was the guy a cop? Bonus points if he was a teacher. Or a Catholic Priest.

I started out with the "what to tell my kid about cops" post but, after writing it and re-reading it, realized that the things I'm second guessing and concerned about are bigger than that one issue and hope it'll make a good thread if we all want to and agree to take it there.

I don't recall any "WTF do I tell a 6 year old, beautiful, innocent child about this shitty world the grown ups have built" discussion. I don't recall seeing ANY thread on this forum addressing basic parenting skills and the challenges of communicating to kids the often horrific details of reality once they start getting old enough to ask.

Maybe some of you guys have run into similar stuff and can share?


Might make a nice diversion from bashing Trump, since that's too easy while raising a child is quite hard, especially in these times.

I appreciate the feedback so far and look forward to a good discussion moving forward. Doesn't have to be about police or anything I wrote and I hope people will feel free to share and participate about anything they've struggled with explaining to their kids or disagreements they've had with the other parent.

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Reply #15 posted 09/01/17 2:41pm

poppys

Bodhitheblackdog said:

herb4 said:

Thank you. I feel the same way. I wasn't approval seeking either, just...well...seeking advice really and allowing myself some self reflection.

herb4, you batted it out of the park with your answer...kids have very finely tuned bullshit detectors and had you lied and said "all cops are good" (or all anything), he would have known not to trust you totally in the future. Now he knows you can be trusted...your credibility is established...though I suspect your credibility with him had been established long before...that's why he felt safe and confident enough to approach you with a tough question. Bravo.

Great post, hit the nail about what childhood is really like.

A brand new story in the making beginning endlessly.
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Reply #16 posted 09/01/17 3:00pm

herb4

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poppys said:

Bodhitheblackdog said:

herb4, you batted it out of the park with your answer...kids have very finely tuned bullshit detectors and had you lied and said "all cops are good" (or all anything), he would have known not to trust you totally in the future. Now he knows you can be trusted...your credibility is established...though I suspect your credibility with him had been established long before...that's why he felt safe and confident enough to approach you with a tough question. Bravo.

Great post, hit the nail about what childhood is really like.

yeah...he can tell when I'm giving him some bullshit "a wizard did it" or "it was SANTA" answer most of the time or otherwise being disingenuous and untruthful.

Funny story, and I probably shouldn't share this, but I was recently cleaning out my walk in closet and boxing up a few things my ex wife had left at my house and I stupidly left it out. He was rummaging though it and stumbled upon a dildo. "What's THIS, Daddy?"

um....errrr...

"I use it to clean the sink drain, son. You know the sink drain with the hole that gets clogges up? yeah, it's for that." before hastily putting it away. Unsure if he bought it and I had no choice but to laugh.

Orgers: what's the most uncomfortable thing you've had to explain to your kids?

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Reply #17 posted 09/01/17 3:09pm

poppys

herb4 said:

poppys said:

Great post, hit the nail about what childhood is really like.

yeah...he can tell when I'm giving him some bullshit "a wizard did it" or "it was SANTA" answer most of the time or otherwise being disingenuous and untruthful.

Funny story, and I probably shouldn't share this, but I was recently cleaning out my walk in closet and boxing up a few things my ex wife had left at my house and I stupidly left it out. He was rummaging though it and stumbled upon a dildo. "What's THIS, Daddy?"

um....errrr...

"I use it to clean the sink drain, son. You know the sink drain with the hole that gets clogges up? yeah, it's for that." before hastily putting it away. Unsure if he bought it and I had no choice but to laugh.

Orgers: what's the most uncomfortable thing you've had to explain to your kids?

falloff falloff falloff evillol think that will probably fall into the maplenpg forgetting part. you're good.

A brand new story in the making beginning endlessly.
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Reply #18 posted 09/01/17 3:33pm

herb4

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poppys said:

herb4 said:

yeah...he can tell when I'm giving him some bullshit "a wizard did it" or "it was SANTA" answer most of the time or otherwise being disingenuous and untruthful.

Funny story, and I probably shouldn't share this, but I was recently cleaning out my walk in closet and boxing up a few things my ex wife had left at my house and I stupidly left it out. He was rummaging though it and stumbled upon a dildo. "What's THIS, Daddy?"

um....errrr...

"I use it to clean the sink drain, son. You know the sink drain with the hole that gets clogges up? yeah, it's for that." before hastily putting it away. Unsure if he bought it and I had no choice but to laugh.

Orgers: what's the most uncomfortable thing you've had to explain to your kids?

think that will probably fall into the maplenpg forgetting part. you're good.


The what now?

And NO, I'm not good or I wouldn't have left that shit out for him to find. Can't wait to hear his mom ask what my "sink drain cleaner" is that he describes as looking like his penis.

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Reply #19 posted 09/01/17 4:15pm

poppys

^^ Reply #1. The level-headed intelligent orger, maplenpg.

You can say it's Art, it could be, a la Michaelangelo, an shit.

A brand new story in the making beginning endlessly.
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Reply #20 posted 09/01/17 4:28pm

Horsefeathers

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Are... are there kids out there that haven't had a dildo explained away in some way or another? I bet it's waaaaay more common than a lot of folks think. They're also great car dent popper-outers. And have you seen the wide array of phallic dog toys out there? Like most of them, I swear. Stick a dildo on the shower wall and you have an instant handle for, you know, leverage or balance or whatever. They put handlebars in showers; there can be individual handles. Dildos are good for so many things, and so many things look like dildos.
Murica: at least it's not Sudan.
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Reply #21 posted 09/01/17 4:52pm

herb4

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Horsefeathers said:

Are... are there kids out there that haven't had a dildo explained away in some way or another? I bet it's waaaaaaay more common than a lot of folks think. They're also great car dent popper-outers. And have you seen the wide array of phallic dog toys out there? Like most of them, I swear. Stick a dildo on the shower wall and you have an instant handle for, you know, leverage or balance or whatever. They put handlebars in showers; there can be individual handles. Dildos are good for so many things, and so many things look like dildos.


Will file this away for future reference.

I've heard tell that you can use them for other things too.

As to your first question...I...I don't know. I didn't automatically assume it was common but maybe I've surpressed a few memories about shower handles and things and this is why I am fucked up.

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Reply #22 posted 09/01/17 5:13pm

Horsefeathers

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You got off easy (uh, no pun)! I can't hardly think of anyone my age (50ish) or younger who hasn't had to explain that at least once, and at least half involved some public display of these things preceding the discussion. Like the kid meeting the pizza delivery guy with one at the door, or the kid who produced one at the church potluck. Careless dildo storage and the subsequent explanation to young kids is practically a rite of passage.
Murica: at least it's not Sudan.
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Reply #23 posted 09/01/17 5:24pm

poppys

Horsefeathers said:

You got off easy (uh, no pun)! I can't hardly think of anyone my age (50ish) or younger who hasn't had to explain that at least once, and at least half involved some public display of these things preceding the discussion. Like the kid meeting the pizza delivery guy with one at the door, or the kid who produced one at the church potluck. Careless dildo storage and the subsequent explanation to young kids is practically a rite of passage.

truth fallinluv

A brand new story in the making beginning endlessly.
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Reply #24 posted 09/01/17 5:32pm

poppys

Look at it this way. If, by chance he remembers this from age 6 (unlikely), you can look at each other someday, say the words sink drain cleaner, and crack the hell up.
Big picture. cool

A brand new story in the making beginning endlessly.
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Reply #25 posted 09/01/17 10:35pm

maplenpg

poppys said:

^^ Reply #1. The level-headed intelligent orger, maplenpg.

You can say it's Art, it could be, a la Michaelangelo, an shit.


Thanks Poppy! biggrin
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Reply #26 posted 09/01/17 11:34pm

maplenpg

Two awkward conversations come to mind:

1. We were having a bit of a party when I noticed my old collie dog eating something. As I got closer I realised to my horror that he had stolen a tampon out of someone's handbag and was chewing on it! "What's that mom?" my son says as I try to remove it from the dogs mouth (he must have been about six at the time). Mortified, I said the first thing that popped into my head, "Er...it's a mouse" I said, much to the amusement of everyone in the room. He ran off crying! Still feel I should have just said, "It's a tampon" and left it at that.

2. Very recently my husband was in hospital. When me and the kids were visiting him, we parked outside the IVF clinic. Flippantly I remarked to my son (now 10), "That's the place you were made. If it weren't for the lovely doctors and nurses in there you wouldn't exist". Cue questions that resulted in a long speech about how mummy and daddy couldn't have babies naturally and needed extra help from the hospital which my son took in really well. Just when I thought he'd got it, he turned around to me and said, "Mum....does that mean I'm not a human then?" lol lol lol (To add a little context, he has been learning about Frankenstein recently).

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Reply #27 posted 09/02/17 6:57am

benni

Herb4 - your response to your son was very well thought out and age appropriate. At his age, he is beginning to realize that not everything is fair, that his parents aren't perfect, that the world isn't perfect. He is starting to see that not everyone wins, there are losers, too, when it comes to games and developing a sense of competition. Your response that "no, not every cop is a good cop" is in keeping with his developing world view. At this age, they don't usually have a sense of "grey" as everything tends to be more black and white, but that sense of "grey" is developing and we don't want to instill in our kids the idea that things are "this or that with nothing inbetween" when we know the world doesn't work that way. There is always a range between the "this and that". I don't think I would go back and revisit the conversation, though. He has moved on from that conversation. He has taken from it what he needed. If you go back to that conversation in attempt to clarify something, something that to his mind fits with his developing world view, it may confuse things for him.

Regarding others that are saying you shouldn't have said that - as a parent you are always going to have people telling you what you should and should not do regarding your own children, what you should and should not say. They are well-meaning, but misguided. You know your child best. If your son seemed fine with your conversation and you haven't noticed any behavioral or cognitive disturbances, then I would just say to them - "I appreciate your feedback, and I will take it under consideration," and then let it go.

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Reply #28 posted 09/02/17 8:46am

herb4

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benni said:

Regarding others that are saying you shouldn't have said that - as a parent you are always going to have people telling you what you should and should not do regarding your own children, what you should and should not say. They are well-meaning, but misguided. You know your child best.


Well and good except one of those people was his mother and he lives with her.

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Reply #29 posted 09/02/17 9:43am

benni

herb4 said:

benni said:

Regarding others that are saying you shouldn't have said that - as a parent you are always going to have people telling you what you should and should not do regarding your own children, what you should and should not say. They are well-meaning, but misguided. You know your child best.


Well and good except one of those people was his mother and he lives with her.


Right, but as you said, she worries a lot. As a mother, I do the same thing, even when I know my children are capable of handling the truth, I worry about forcing them to grow up too soon by giving them too much information too early. It's what we mothers do. We try to protect them from the harsh realities of life and dad's try to teach them about the harsh realities of life so that they are ready when they get into the real world. Your explanation, though, even as a mother, I would not have found any fault with, because it was concise and explained reality on a level that your son could understand.

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