kids' obsessions

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kids' obsessions

Postby melsbells » Thu Oct 6, 15:21 2016

What are your kids' obsessions? Have they changed over time?

My kid is obsessed with saunas. Everything and anything becomes something to do with a sauna in the kids imagination. The kid wants to build saunas, draw saunas, look at pictures of saunas, listen to songs about saunas, play pretend sauna, and go to actual saunas. The infatuation started about a year ago.

I don't remember being so into just one thing when I was young, but I've certainly met kids who are. What about you?

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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby Charli! » Sat Oct 8, 12:56 2016

I don't remember my own obsessions, but I do remember my sister (younger by 4 years) watching Disneys Pocahontas several times a day for about a year. She then moved onto watching Space Jam.. as many times a day as she could.

I was a bit manic about dinosaurs for a few years! And Star Wars (but I was in my twenties at that point!)
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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby Nachos » Sun Oct 9, 16:04 2016

I remember my sister being completely obsessed with dogs when she was little. Also watching either 101 Dalmatians or Aristocats EVERY DAMN DAY when she got home from school. Never anything else.
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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby Eravial » Sun Oct 9, 18:32 2016

I had a few, I guess, but cats were probably at the top of my list. Beanie Babies were pretty important too. Neither of those are that odd though, honestly. My several-year-long (starting at age 5) obsession with the musical Lés Miserables, on the other hand, probably was.
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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby Sonic# » Sun Oct 9, 19:49 2016

I drew power lines with transformers on everything. Books, walls. It concerned my parents before they deciphered what it was.

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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby MFS » Mon Oct 10, 19:19 2016

My oldest, when he was but a wee lad, was obsessed with red cars.
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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby ladyhawk » Mon Oct 10, 21:50 2016

My oldest has a...fixation....on butts. He is also obsessed with educational documentaries about animals/dinosaurs, because he likes to sound sophisticated when he spouts off some random fact and says, "I saw it in a documentary."

My youngest is obsessed with My Little Pony and superheroes, who, according to him, are all named "Zoom."
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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby melsbells » Tue Oct 11, 15:16 2016

Eravial wrote:Neither of those are that odd though, honestly.
I'm curious what makes me think some obsessions are strange, even concerning, while others are adorable or at least completely expected. I'm a little bit concerned about my kid's sauna obsession.
Sonic# wrote:power lines with transformers
I would probably be concerned about Sonic even after I figured out what he was drawing. I knew a kid who was obsessed with vacuum cleaners and that was another one that got my something-is-not-quite-right radar up. But animals, movies, cars, don't set off any alarms for me. Does anyone else notice a distinction, intuitive or otherwise?

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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby rowan » Tue Oct 11, 15:41 2016

Hmm. I don't know. Kids are weird in general. I think my kid has a weird not-obsession? Like, you know how kids often have a Special Stuffed Animal or something? My kid pretty much all the stuffed animals (and there are A LOT) get equal time.

OTOH the sheer quantity makes me think stuffed animals might be an obsession
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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby antfancier » Wed Oct 12, 16:07 2016

I had obsessive tendencies (still do although they manifest differently) so if I had a couple of items within the same category, they would become a collection and I'd add to it at every opportunity I could. Thus, I ended up with a bunch of owl figurines, sheep toys, souvenir erasers, pencil sharpeners etc. I think around 10 or 11 I decided this was kinda unnecessary and I stopped collecting but people would still buy me gifts of these items for while afterwards.

When I was seven I was obssessed with Disney's Little Mermaid. I think you could actually say that I had a crush on the movie. My best friend at the time was the same way so we'd sing the songs together at school all day. Later, I became obssessed with Jurassic Park. I was eight when I saw the movie and ten when I read the book, so it was a relatively long-lasting obsession. I reread the book immediately and then read it aloud at bedtime to my brother (who was 6 or 7). I even wrote fanfic, although I didn't know what fanfic was at the time. I still love that movie to this day. It's partly why I chose archaeology at university (yeah I know, they're paleontologists not archaeologists, but I just loved the idea of living in a science lab trailer in the desert like they do at the beginning of the movie). Also, I liked that Laura Dern's character wasn't all girly. Also, when they light from the ceiling grate shines on the raptors and the pattern is made up of ATCG.

Ok, rereading this, I may still be obssessed with Jurassic Park.

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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby Sonic# » Wed Oct 12, 17:22 2016

mels, could the difference be between things you think are acceptable for older people to have obsessions with and things it'd be odd for older people to obsess over? Animals, movies, cars - these seem like conventional items with personality that even adults sometimes like. Power lines with transformers? Vacuum cleaners? Saunas? We aren't used to thinking of those as having personality or expressing a kind of identity the same way hobbies do. So they're radical; they break my categories for what merits attention. But I don't see harm in that.

My obsession with doodling power lines at the ages of 2 and 3 was concerning to my parents because they didn't know what I was drawing. Cross-hatched lines with little boxes on them? What? Once they figured out that the only thing I could see outside the car (while riding) were the abundance of above-ground power lines, it made some sense to them, and that helped. Other obsessions were easier once I got older and could talk about it. I was obsessed with hot tubs after a vacation, and spent much of elementary school reading about space and astronomy.

Have you asked your kid why saunas?

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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby melsbells » Fri Oct 14, 15:15 2016

^My kid doesn't answer "why" questions yet.

I think more specifically, the ones that stick out to me, stick out as though they could be signs of being on the Autism spectrum. That's still really subjective, just that the intense interest is an unusual subject.

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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby Eravial » Fri Oct 14, 16:23 2016

I figure my cat obsession wasn't that weird since we had a cat and it was the only other non-adult living thing in my household, so I was pretty darn into that cat. Beanie Babies were a national (international? I'm not sure) fad, so an obsession with collecting them is no weirder than people getting super into Pokemon Go. I really just liked the music of Les Miserables at first, which actually isn't that weird either; I just imagine it was probably really hilarious to hear a five year old naively singing about revolution.

I could see saunas becoming an obsession for a number of very social reasons as well, depending on your family's sauna practices. I honestly can't think of any common themes or rituals shared by all branches of my U.S. family, other than like eating together, but that seems too banal(/essential for survival) to really become an obsession. My Finnish family, on the other hand, all sauna as a social ritual. Whether or not you allow your kid in saunas yet, if there's a lot of exposure to the ritual, they could probably pick up on the social importance. It might make sense that kids are probably wired to pick up on things that the adults in their life think are important (**not a child psychologist**).

As far as non-humanoid objects in general, it's totally accepted that lots of kids are obsessed with cars, trains, and trucks, right? I don't really know why these are such pervasive interests in small children, but I don't think expanding that category to other machines like vacuum cleaners is that much of a stretch. Things that physically behave or effect the world differently than other things are maybe particularly interesting? Along those lines, I know I was super into the instant evaporation of water and associated *hissssss* the first time I was in a sauna at like age seven.
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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby octarineoboe » Sat Oct 15, 9:45 2016

Eravial wrote:other than like eating together, but that seems too banal(/essential for survival) to really become an obsession.

You might THINK it's too banal but come hang out with my family for a while and you'll see it's very, very possible to make eating an obsession, lol ;)

My childhood obsessions were book phases, I think - first it was Green Eggs and Ham, then the Berenstain Bears, then the Babysitters' Club. One of my younger cousins was really into shoes for a while.

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Re: kids' obsessions

Postby melsbells » Sat Oct 15, 14:08 2016

Eravial wrote:I could see saunas becoming an obsession for a number of very social reasons as well, depending on your family's sauna practices. I honestly can't think of any common themes or rituals shared by all branches of my U.S. family, other than like eating together, but that seems too banal(/essential for survival) to really become an obsession. My Finnish family, on the other hand, all sauna as a social ritual. Whether or not you allow your kid in saunas yet, if there's a lot of exposure to the ritual, they could probably pick up on the social importance. It might make sense that kids are probably wired to pick up on things that the adults in their life think are important (**not a child psychologist**).
[...] I know I was super into the instant evaporation of water and associated *hissssss* the first time I was in a sauna at like age seven.

This is an excellent point. And although I know they exist, I haven't encountered any Finns who don't like sauna. There are a lot of steps to it. The kid gets to help their grandfather build the fire when we're together, knows that wood burning saunas are better than electric saunas, and absolutely loves the sound of the water hitting the hot stones. I can't imitate the sound as well as the kid does.

I might say aspects of going to church would be the most parallel ritual from my childhood.

Eravial wrote:As far as non-humanoid objects in general, it's totally accepted that lots of kids are obsessed with cars, trains, and trucks, right? I don't really know why these are such pervasive interests in small children, but I don't think expanding that category to other machines like vacuum cleaners is that much of a stretch. Things that physically behave or effect the world differently than other things are maybe particularly interesting?

This is also a great way to look at that. I think with the vacuum cleaners and the sauna, there are other indicators beyond simply having the obession that cause me concern. And Sonic, I'm sorry for claiming concern for your toddler obsession without actually knowing you as a toddler, I never meant to imply that there was or is something "not quite right" with you.

As a general note, I like the variety of early interests that are being listed in the thread.


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