March 15, 2011

No exposure to violence cripples

Speaking of how aggression is good, have a look at what kind of trouble kids these days get themselves into because they've never experienced violence, assume they're immortal, and inevitably run into a big fat reminder that they are not.

Pint-sized spazz of a bully gets dropped by junior viking

YouTube keeps taking the video down, but see this fan site that has the video in the top right. Here is a permanent description.

This is just like the lack of exposure to toxins and pathogens while growing up -- your immune system is completely clueless what to do when it eventually does encounter them, goes haywire, and makes you allergic to everything.

Bone fractures are also more common among kids today, and probably not just because of their grain-only diet which robs them of calcium and vitamin D, but because of the lack of rough-and-tumble play. In such a world, their bones get the signal that they don't need to be particularly robust, so why waste the resources in making them strong? Again you can run but you can't hide from bone-fracturing situations, so eventually they'll find themselves in one and get hurt a lot worse than if they'd been toughened up years beforehand.

In a world with so little rough-and-tumble play, so little bullying, and so little violent conflict in general, young boys don't develop a mature sense of when, who, and how to fight. This little nerd probably only picked on kids just as wispy as himself. It may take longer than in a more violent world, but eventually he'll run into someone who won't take his shit, and instead of "merely" getting a bloody nose or maybe even knocked out, he is so unprepared that he gets bodyslammed and finds himself so hobbled that he can only gimp around.


  1. I have fought for almost 6 years (my oldest son is 8) with the women in my family regarding appropriate rough play. I have 2 sons that worship me because I wrestle, throw, chase, tackle, etc. I play much rougher with them than I've ever seen other parents do with their children. I extend that to my nieces and other close friend and family children and I'm their favorite toy. Kids (girls and boys) really want to let loose and tumble around, but parents are scared and/or plain lazy, so they call their children down when they get "wild" so that there won't be a need for the parent to participate in any way, either through action or helping with injury.

    Now I can see distinct differences in the children in my circle vs. children from outside. If there is play to be had, mine power through any bruises and scrapes, while other children breakdown and stop completely waiting on an adult savior.

    I'm sad to say I actually broke another child once. It was a good lesson in the brittle-bone theory of inactivity. I was on the couch grabbing children that ran by. They then struggled to free themselves and occasionally I let go early so they'd go sprawling. Big fun until a visiting neighbor kid rotated in and, when he caught himself from the release, he broke his arm. 2 reasons: unaccustomed to rough play, so he didn't have good tumble skills, and his bones were weak.

    Between that incident and how my family can now see the confidence (not over-aggression or anger) my boys project, I no longer get scathing looks from the "Moms" when I toss a boy halfway across the room or give him a beat-down with pillows if he dares attack Dad.

  2. Surely that video is an example of kids playfighting (with escalation) and learning who they can mess with? At their age, obviously they're growing a lot and so they constantly need to test how and with whom they can afford to fight, not just give up after the age of 6. The little guy was over-ambitious but he'll know his limits better next time.

    As a 90s kid in the UK I recall a fair amount of fighting, physical bullying and the pecking order of who was "harder" than whom. How much is supposedly a sufficient amount I don't know, but it does seem that Agnostic generalises strongly about things that differ between countries, regions and social classes.

    Also, as a relatively smart kid who was unfortunately socialised mostly with proles and even lumpenproles I can vouch that the benefits of fighting and getting bullied should be weighed against the underdevelopment of more refined means of status competition that the middle class kids in nicer and more intelligent social environments acquire.

    Conversation skills are more useful to adults than fighting abilities, and it's more difficult to unlearn low class attitudes, perspectives and mannerisms than it is for a sheltered kid to learn to recognise the limits of his physical prowess on becoming a young adult. I mean, if I have sons I'd prefer them not to grow up soft but I won't achieve this by being stupidly blind to social class and heredity and throwing them in with the council estate types.

  3. @ Martyn: That is NOT playfighting. The little bro'tard is bullying the chubby kid and the chubby kid finally snaps and smashes the little wanker. It happened in Western Sydney and it has been all over the news today.

    - Breeze

  4. Without buying in to your general violence theories, there seems to be at least some anecdotal evidence from professional basketball for your claims here.

    It seems that NBA players who spent either no time in college (pre-2006) or little time in college do encounter more injuries and have shorter careers than players who have longer college careers. The general opinion is that the wear and tear of playing the longer NBA season (82 games in the regular season for the NBA vs. 32 games in the regular season for college basketball) damages the growing bodies of the players. The claim is essentially, that 18-22 year old bodies aren't fully developed and need to be eased in to full contact. Personally, I'm going to merely remain sympathetic until I see a study that looks at productivity declines and major injury rates for these players, but the anecdotal evidence does seem mildly persuasive.


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