Q: I feel silly for asking, but what is your position on children killing bugs? I do not know if this is just 4-year-old boy behavior, but my son seems rather fascinated with bug-killing. He is, by the way, very kind with our dog and other pets. I have explained that bugs have families too and need to return to them.
A: I’ve said it many times before, and I will undoubtedly say it again: Americans increasingly are becoming intolerant of normal boy behavior, which includes such things as fascination with bug killing, setting off firecrackers and other things that don’t interest girls (vive la difference!).
Mind you, I may be biased concerning this issue, given that I am an unrepentant bug-killer myself. In fact, I probably kill more than your son on the average day. I squash them when they land on me, swat them and spray them when they find their way into my house, and I even hire professional bug assassins who use various toxins to protect my domicile from bug attacks. It never has occurred to me (but perhaps I should give it some thought) that my bug-killing might be indicative of some hideous pathology.
All kidding aside, it would most definitely be cause for concern if your son was cruel to animals of all varieties — if he seemed to take pleasure in inflicting pain on the family dog, for example. Animal cruelty is an early and very reliable marker of later anti-social behavior. But he’s not, so you can rest easy.
Oh, and by the way, bugs only have families in animated movies. Otherwise, they mostly eat one another. Die on some other mountain, for sure.
A psychologist, Rosemond answers questions on his website at www.rosemond.com.