I have a 10yo nephew who is obsessed with violence. It's all he talks about. He asks me and my father things like;

If I had a gun and you had a knife, could you kill me?

If I start doing weights now, would I be like the hulk?

Where is the best place to shoot someone?

He seems to live in a fantasy world, as me and my father have noticed.

He doesn't seem to have a dark side, he's always playing with my daughters or playing Call of Duty: Black Ops when I see him on the weekends. He watches You Tube a lot.

He is very skinny and I don't think he has a lot of friends in school. He hates school, he hates his teacher. He says she picks on him for no reason. Which could be true as my sister has had personal problems with her and the school. He gets bullied at least a bit. There is one big boy who gets mentioned a lot, they have fought at least twice.

He has never had a father really, I think he looks to my father and me for guidance, but I don't see him that much. When I do see him, maybe once a week, he is really excited to see me and he usually has something violence-related to ask or tell me.

My mother, who sees him a lot more than me, brushes it off with "It's just a boy thing". But I'm not sure and I'm worried he is influencing my daughters, one of which is two years younger than him and play-fights with him all the time.

I have talked with my mother about sending him to Karate lessons to give him some discipline and a taste of real-world defense fighting.

Is encouraging the fighting with Karate the right thing to do?
Should I be worried about him and possibly my daughters?
or is this normal behavior?

  • 3
    I don't know about your jurisdiction, but in my country COD is free for ages 18+. This is no game for a 10 yo, IMHO. And no, I'm not a anti-gaming proponent per se.
    – Stephie
    Apr 21, 2016 at 20:26
  • His mother needs to confront the school about bullying. Bullying is child abuse; when you are 10 it doesn't matter if the fist hitting you is 10 years old or 20 years old, it still hurts. If his teacher won't support him then go up to the head. Apr 23, 2016 at 11:34
  • @Stephie I should have elaborated more on the gaming point, it's been a hot issue between my sister and my mother. He only had COD two weeks ago and he only plays it at my mothers house, on friday night mostly. I turned off the graphic content option, but I still don't think he's old enough to play it really, but my mother won't hear it. She likes to please him. Before, when my sister heard my mother had bought him GTA without asking her, she snapped the disc up straight away.
    – theDADDY
    Apr 25, 2016 at 20:16
  • 1
    @theDADDY and I'm totally with your sister in this part of the question.
    – Stephie
    Apr 25, 2016 at 20:18

3 Answers 3


I'd probably recommend Tai Chi over karate, but you should try out different styles and see if anything "clicks" with him. If he is reluctant, show him the recent remake of the Karate Kid. I'd imagine he would be able to identify with the protagonist, and it might motivate him, as it has enough "violence" to appeal to him, but the message of the movie doesn't glorify violence and if it can get him to want to learn from a good instructor it will help him.

I wouldn't worry too much about the violence aspect yet. Kids go through stages and as long as you can channel his obsession with violence into healthier outlets you shouldn't need to worry. My son is currently obsessed with WWII and soldiers and Nazism and has decided he wants to go into the military. That got started because we started watching Hogan's Heroes, so his idea of what war and Nazis are is decidedly unrealistic.

Most of my nieces and nephews went through "we wanna hit each other with sticks" phases, inspired by Star Wars and anime movies. My husband, who has had a lot of fencing and bokken training would take them out in the back yard with 3-foot lengths of PVC pipe wrapped with thick insulation and duct tape, and teach them the mechanics of sword fighting, including lessons on safety and sportsmanship.

If he is being bullied at school, of course he is going to fantasize about a world where he is strong and tough and in control. This is normal, and is no unhealthier than a world where kids are bullied and have no advocates in the teachers who should be looking out for that. I'm sorry your son's school isn't doing a better job. The school my kids went to was outstanding in that regard. Zero tolerance for intolerance, and "bully awareness" in every grade. I took every opportunity I could to tell them how much I appreciated the job they were doing. Both my husband and I suffered a great deal of bullying in our childhoods because the schools were either ignorant or indifferent to the problem, and we are both so grateful that our children are being spared that.

What may make the difference between raising a child whose personality develops in reaction to being bullied (and we've all seen the possible results of that, plastered all over the media), and one who has a healthier perspective, is what steps you take to give your son the opportunity to control his environment as it affects him in regard to violence and other threats.

Talk to his teachers, maybe they will be able to make changes that will make him feel safer. If it were me I'd start with the principal and ask him what measures were in place to deal with bullying in school. If he has a good answer, make sure your son knows what help is available to him. If there is nothing in place to help him, raise h**l. You are, and must be, your son's greatest advocate. There is no excuse for a school which doesn't address this issue. None.

Training in martial arts can also be a game changer. As long as you get a good instructor. If you haven't seen the Karate Kid (2010 version) I'd recommend it...it has some great examples of both good and bad instructors. Exaggerated of course, but you have to exaggerate a bit with kids :)

Aside from the self discipline and physical and martial training, one benefit kids can get from martial training is that it reduces the trauma of physical violence. Children who grow up tussling with their siblings have healthier attitudes about and reactions to physical conflicts. There's a good article about that here: http://www.todaysparent.com/family/parenting/roughhousing-aggressive-or-constructive-behaviour/

If kids don't have access to that kind or outlet, martial arts may supply an alternative.

  • Thanks for this answer, It really makes sense and is helpful to me. I'm his uncle, not his father, but as he has never had a father, he looks at me (and my father) as male role models. I only see him once or twice a week, which adds to the concern I think. I will definately watch the new karate kid with him(I loved the original) and check out the options for Tai Chi or Karate. I know he will love learning to fight, even defensivly.
    – theDADDY
    Apr 25, 2016 at 20:48

To answer one of your questions: Yes Karate is the right thing to do.

One of the main principles of Karate is control. You learn that through Karate you have real skills to hurt people and it is your responsibility to not abuse that power. A good Karate teacher should go over how wrong it would be to use your (as in your nephew) skills to harm someone who could not defend themselves from you. It is first and foremost a method of defense, not attack.

IMO this would be a great outlet and would probably help him make some new friends.

  • Thanks for the reply. I don't think he'd care if it's defensive, he'll just be happy he's learning to fight!
    – theDADDY
    Apr 25, 2016 at 20:51

It depends,see if there are any negetive things around him. If he watches movies at this age(especially action)avoid him doing so. Or if it is an influence of people surrounding him daily avoid him from them as much as you can. Actually, at this age it is obvious. But It is mostly for a short period of time. It won't last longer when child will grow bigger and be ethical.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .