I’ve never seen a parental brawl or fistfight (unless you count what happens in the Legislative Yuan – those fights aren’t about kids, but they often act like kids, no doubt many of them have kids, and I wonder if kids as legislators wouldn’t be more mature). I’ve seen kids get into fights, livid parents, then everyone smiling and embarrassed and mutually apologetic when they meet face to face. I remember a kid with a penchant for grabbing other kids by the neck and shaking them – his dad didn’t seem much different (a lot of gangsters, after all, have kids). The performance brawl, however, is pretty shocking. Any idea what on earth set them off? Not that it really matters in the end, since what they did is inexcusable.
The thing is, Taiwan is generally pretty safe for children. Although there’s a lot of indirect exposure to violence in Taiwan media (esp. movies, TV shows, and don’t forget about ads and the news), there’s relatively little direct exposure (here I mean, as in the above, in school and community – there are definitely other types of exposure). Consider some comparisons. In America, 75% of children in Washington DC reported witnessing violence in their neighborhood (half of parents were unaware, many more were in denial), 50% of 1st-3rd grade students witness acts of violence in school each year, and 10% of expulsions involving firearms are of elementary school aged kids, and as you go up the ladder it gets worse and worse (740,000 violent crimes occur per year in which 12-18 year old students are the victims - of these 150,000 involve rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault).
There will always be media violence and real-life assholes. As a parent, I’m far more concerned about the effects than the causes. There have been literally thousands of studies on the relationship between exposure to violence and aggressive tendencies in children. Findings are mixed, so there’s no definitive causal link. What has been shown, however, is that for preschool age children there’s little difference between indirect and direct violence (they can’t yet distinguish fantasy from reality), that some children show a marked increase in short-term aggressive tendencies after observing violence, that many children become increasingly fearful that they or their loved ones will become victims of violence, and that adult violence teaches children that violence is a common and acceptable means of resolving conflicts.
We’re never going to get completely away from it. The best we can do is minimize exposure, and, if the children are old enough, encourage them to talk about what they saw and share their feelings about it. Then we can be reassuring and comforting and teach acceptable strategies for expressing anger (and down the line teach street smarts – how to keep out of danger and avoid violence).
Sorry for the extended ramble. I really just hope both you and your little girl are okay, navillus. Don’t let the fucktards grind you down.