Kids and Dinosaurs

Updated on April 04, 2017
D.S. asks from Bear, DE
21 answers

Why do people, especially kids, get so interested in dinosaurs? We've never seen any in real life, SERIOUSLY DOUBT anyone ever will, don't understand how people so far have decided what some looked like, what they ate, etc. etc. So why so much interest? I really couldn't care less. Now my adult son really wants to go see some dinosaur thing that costs a lot of money. How to get there, public transportation, etc. sounds like a real and difficult project that I'm not at all familiar with. And I think I'm going to have to be the one to go with him. I wouldn't mind the opportunity to spend the time with him, but for this subject, for so much money, and for something I feel is a waste of time studying, again, I ask, why so much interest in dinosaurs? Some people don't know if they even existed--I'm not sure myself. But even if they did, why do people care to study them?

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So What Happened?

It turned out that my husband went with our son, the next day. What intimidated me a lot was the how to get there part. If I knew the ropes of that I might not have minded so much. My husband is better at stuff like that. So the two of them went, somehow, and apparently had some father/son together time. So it was a win-win for everybody. Now to those who wondered about ME and my lack of interest, I am interested in some history, though not necessarily all. I am interested in Creationism and would be really interested in what happened in various places about that; anything before that, well, I just really don't understand and don't usually go around thinking about dinosaurs before that, to the point where I almost wish they never existed. Not asking for an argument on that; just stating my viewpoint.

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J.S.

answers from St. Louis on

I get you don't want to go but why all the acting like the interest is impossible to understand. If you don't want to go, don't go, don't act like it is so odd an interest.

Barb, the "adult child" is 18. Hardly what most would consider and adult. Oh and he is autistic. Sorry but after her adoption question this poster is not what I would call a nice person.

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E.B.

answers from Honolulu on

Well, guess what. I have seen almost every Marvel comic book-themed movie, Avengers, some Wolf guy, (Wolverine, I think?), Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, plus some Arrow and Flash superhero people.

Do I like them? Nope. Not even a little.

My dd is actively interested (ok, let's be honest, she's obsessed) with all those things. And she doesn't have friends due to her seclusion from being so sick. So I take her to those movies, and she gets a little break from being sick and she loves going and loves that I take her.

I am careful to never tell her that 90% of the time I'm confused. Who's the good guy? Who's the enemy? I always get a basic summary from her on the way to the theater. Ok, so Captain America used to be this guy, and then that happened, so now he's got this power. I enjoy seeing how happy the movies make her, and it helps me relate to her.

You aren't required to like the things your kids develop a passion for. Stop focusing on the "thing" (dinosaurs in this case, Marvel superheros in my case) and focus on the child you have. Ask why your child finds them so interesting. Ask intelligent questions (I get my daughter in a discussion about what super power she wishes she could have, or what real super powers are - such as showing kindness to an unkind person, or being patient under difficult circumstances). You can ask your son about paleontology as a career and an actual science vs just seeing Jurassic Park movies a hundred times. What real science goes into archaeology and paleontology? Egypt just found a new pyramid that's been buried since the 13th century. There's lots to discover.

For you to say you consider paleontology a waste of time to study is pretty condescending. It is an actual field of study. You don't have to be interested in it. You have to demonstrate respect for someone else's interest. Surely you are interested in something: cooking, sewing, your job, computers, floral design, whatever. And surely you realize that not everyone else is interested in the same thing. Don't lie to your son; if he's a functioning young adult, you can tell him that dinosaurs aren't your focus in life, but at least tell him that you appreciate his interest, and you're willing to spend a day with the dinosaurs. And with him.

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

Well, to answer part of your question, why are people interested in anything? My husband and son love to look through rock beds to see if they can find any geods (sp?) or arrowheads or other "fascinating" things. (They think it's fascinating, but I find it very boring.) My husband also likes to collect coins. He and his mom will talk about this and go to coin shows and they've even gotten our other son interested. Again, so boring to me. But I have my own interests that my husband doesn't understand. But that's ok, isn't it? It's ok (healthy, even) for us to have things we like to do together as well as our own interests. This isn't your thing, but if it's a chance to spend time with your son, can you humor him for just one day?

As far as whether or not dinosaurs ever existed, well, the scientific evidences is awfully strong. Archaeologists have found fossils, geologists and other experts have found all kids of evidence. I'm not really sure how that is up for debate. I understand that there are some Christians who interpret the Bible literally and have a very different interpretation of the history of the world. I believe the Bible is not mean to be taken literally and completely disagree with that viewpoint, but that's an entirely different topic.

Remember, just because you are not interested in someone else's hobby, doesn't mean it is bad or wrong or stupid or a waste of time. It's ok to have different interests, and I really think that is the essence of your question.

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H.W.

answers from Portland on

I'm really puzzled by this post. You seem put out that some people would be interested in paleontology. You also seem pretty overwhelmed that this trip would require simple tasks such as planning a trip on public transportation. Most transit websites will offer 'trip planning' options to get you nearly from door to door with directions. Yet you seem to view this all as a big pain. You might get to see a part of your town or state that you haven't yet been to. You might see or do something interesting you've never experienced before.

Let me ask you this: why AREN'T you interested in the history of the earth? I find it utterly fascinating. My son went through a dinosaur phase for a few years when he was 4-6 and honestly, I'm sorry to see it go. I have learned so much about ancient geology, the formation of the earth over time from its inception to the present day. I've consequently learned about plants, evolution, and the ancestors of some of today's animals.

We are interested because some of us thirst for knowledge and we like learning. My philosophy is that when we stop learning, we stop living. It is through the study of our, and our earth's, history, that we gain knowledge and context about our current world. Challenge yourself... what is it about dinosaurs and paleontology which *might* be interesting for you? Even challenge your own assumptions: write a list of things you think you know about dinos and see which ones are correct...leading a curious life, open to new ideas and new experiences, is how we grown as human beings. *That's* why I love dinos... because I CAN.

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Donna,

May I ask why you had kids when you don't want to spend time with them? You wouldn't MIND spending time with him?

What's wrong with being interested in something - ANYTHING - for that matter? What interests YOU? Are your interests as important as your child's interests?

Step outside your box and figure out a way to make this happen.

Dinosaur's DID exist. There's proof all over the place. The gas you use to operate your car and heat your home are FOSSIL FUELS...further proof they existed.

Good luck.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

Spending time together is important, even if the activity is of greater interest to one person than to the other.

I think little kids are very interested in dinosaurs because many of them were huge and scary, and it's more comforting to deal with something that no longer exists or poses a threat. For kids getting through fears of monsters or ghosts, it helps to deal with something that isn't going to come back and threaten you.

For others (older kids through adults), it's fascinating to study what once was, to learn about geological changes that cause a species to die out, and to learn what changes may affect the earth we live on today. Studying the layers of the earth, continental drift, volcanic history, astronomy (especially meteor activity) explain so much about human activity, evolution and much more. I have no idea why you would question whether dinosaurs ever existed - the fossil evidence is undisputed! Just because a few people make a lot of noise saying that the earth is only 6000 years old doesn't make it true! The evolutionary and geological evidence is extensive. In fact, it's widely believed that today's bird species are descendants of the few dinosaur-era creatures that survived the cataclysmic event that wiped out the larger species.

Archeologists may uncover new evidence of destroyed civilizations and paleontologists may discover a new species of dinosaur, or they may gain additional information about the timing of their rise and fall, but absolutely nothing has ever indicated that these things didn't occur. Maybe the reason your son wants you to go to these exhibits is to help you learn more facts.

We have solid knowledge of many things we never saw in real life. I believe that Queen Victoria existed and ruled England, even though I never saw her. I believe the Pilgrims sailed to New England. I believe Marco Polo established trade routes to China. I believe meteors have hit the earth. I believe in the Big Bang. I believe in evolution. I believe in continental drift. I believe seriously in the grave threat of climate change. We have plenty of evidence of all of these things, without actually seeing it happen. That's what science and history teach us.

Gaining knowledge is never a waste of time. Only you can decide if the expense is justified, but to dismiss an opportunity to learn just because you don't see the value is probably not a great attitude toward education in general. I believe in life-long learning - we, as adults, are never done learning. We are so lucky to have museums and libraries that allow us to broaden our horizons!

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R.A.

answers from Boston on

History leaves behind all kinds of evidence from those that lived before us.

Dinosaurs are no different.

People of all ages love dinosaurs and study them. I have such an appreciation for them and for things left behind by them. It's a way to connect to the past. That's just me though.

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N.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, their bones are real. Not made up at all.

They can tell what they ate by what's in their remains when they find them. They are of course fossils by that time but most of the time they can figure out some of it.

The other stuff, well, it's our history, the history of our planet. Finding out what caused them to die off, where they lived, what sorts of things we can learn about earth's past helps us figure out things going on right now and that might happen in our future.

What I don't get is why Chucky, Frankenstein, Predator, and other movies about things that don't exist and won't ever exist.

Dinosaurs actually did exist and studying them is a very high paying job that a child might find to be the one they want to do with their life.

Who knows? I wouldn't spend a "lot" of money to go see some dinosaur thing unless I could afford it. But if the child really really wanted to go and they have a complete interest in it I might find a way to go. If they really do love dinosaurs.

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D.D.

answers from Boston on

Some people don't know if they even existed--I'm not sure myself.
Really? Some people think the earth is flat and you'll fall off the end if you sail too far in the ocean.

If your son is an adult then he should be paying his own way to the event and going with friends who have an interest in the same subject matter. He can figure out the logistics of it all.

If you are uncomfortable with the trip then you can go along and opt out of attending the event choosing to go shopping to visit some other thing in the area. You can set a time and place to meet up after the event

This advice is being given to you by a mom who's son was OBSESSED with dinosaurs. He would spend hours in there walking around and looking at the dinosaurs in the Yale Peabody Museum great hall and I would sit on a bench in the hall knitting and watching him. He'd check back with me every so often filling me in on facts about different dinosaurs. We still laugh about how my hubby had to take my other 3 children everywhere in the museum while I never saw anything but the Great Hall.

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C.C.

answers from New York on

Different people have different reasons for being interested in dinosaurs or any other topic. Focus on asking your son about his own reasons for being interested - you said that he is your adult son, so he might have studied dinosaurs in detail in advanced classes in college or something similar...he might have some very interesting things to say on the topic!

Also, since he is an adult, you could encourage him to just go to the dinosaur exhibit alone, if you really do not want to go.

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J.☯.

answers from Springfield on

It doesn't have to make sense to you in order for it to be interesting to someone else. I've had this same conversation with my husband so many times. He has a tenancy to dismiss anything that he doesn't understand. If he doesn't understand why something is important to me or why it matters, he will often dismiss it. (though, he really is getting better it this) I've told him that sometimes I don't have time to explain or I just don't have the right words or don't explain effectively, but if it's important to me, he needs to respect that.

You don't have to love dinosaurs. You don't have to be interested in something your son is interested in. If you find it boring, that's ok. But you do need to respect the fact that your son is interested.

Your lack of interest in something does not make it stupid, and it kind of sounds like that's what you are saying ... that you think dinosaurs or stupid or that it is stupid to have an interest in paleontology. You don't have to care about dinosaurs, but that doesn't mean it's stupid to enjoy learning more about dinosaurs.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

I've always found them to be fascinating.
Our son was about 3 when he became hyper focused on them (and firetrucks).
I thought 'Jurassic Park' might scare him - nope - he was absolutely convinced the T-rex would be friends with him and let him ride on his back.
We both sounded out the names and we went to every museum that had exhibits about them and a 'Walking with Dinosaurs' show - which was ok - I liked their series on dvd better.

Not everybody likes the same things - and that's ok.
Dragons, Star Trek/sci-fi conventions, Renaissance fairs, historical battle reconstructions - all can be lot's of fun if you're into it/them - or an awful bore - if you're not into it/them.
Personally - I think theology is a waste of time (I like mythology though, I'm a mass of conflicting impulses) - and I'm suspicious of anyone claiming to be a close personal friend of God.

Does your son put down your interests/hobbies as a waste of time?
If this is an interest of his - and not of yours - maybe he should ask another friend to come along to this event - or he'd enjoy it more if he went alone.
Just politely decline his invite if you can't muster any curiosity about it and do something else that you enjoy.
Or if you want to spend time with him, then enjoy his enjoyment of the topic and smile and nod a lot.

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N.K.

answers from Miami on

Because it's cool, it's something that happened long ago, a part of the earth's history, and we will never again have dinosaurs roaming the earth? I mean, c'mon, why do people have to have reasons or convincing arguments for something they like? If you don't like something, then that's your prerogative, but why put someone down for a healthy interest?Better to be interested in dinosaurs than drugs, extreme violence, or sex. I was into collecting fossils and stamps as a kid. I still have a few fossils and minerals around.

Some people are fascinated with UFOs, ghosts, angels, Greek mythology, God, Bigfoot, geography, superheroes/Marvel heroes, outer space, Star Wars, Star Trek...some like learning several languages or amassing passports full of stamps from airports around the world, so what? I don't see what is so upsetting or harmful about having such interests. To each his own. It doesn't make you stupid to like something I don't and it doesn't make me any better for not liking it. As a parent, it's in your best interest to suck it up and accompany a kid to something they are passionate about, rather than complain or make him refrain from attending just because you don't like something. See it as a bonding experience and time spent being with your kid, seeing his eyes light up, and smiling. THAT should trump everything else you're angry about, and the "inconvenience" of engaging him.

You may not like football and find it to be a neanderthal-like sport, but if your son is playing that sport, 99% of people would go watch their kid play football, would cheer at the bleachers, and go to every game even if they HATE the sport! At the same time, maybe it IS best that he goes alone or with friends, if you're going to be groaning, complaining and miserable the whole trip. It will only ruin his experience and make him uncomfortable. I have come to regret dragging friends on trips when they didn't seem interested and it made me feel awkward, uncomfortable, or rushed. I would have rather gone alone, and spent as much time as I'd like. If that's how you're going to behave, then I suggest letting him go on his own or with some friends rather than ruining his experience.

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

You don't have to be interested in the same things as your son but you should go with him and try to have fun! This is good quality time you can spend together. I am a biologist and just so you know...yes, dinosaurs really used to live on the earth! They lived on the earth between 230 and 65 million years ago! The fossils of our earliest human ancestors are bout 6 million years old. It was so long ago it is hard for us to wrap our minds around understanding that much time. They were real! People are interested because these large reptile-like, bird-like creatures are not here anymore and they are fascinating! It's hard to imagine them walking around on the earth. We know these things because paleontologists study the fossils and fossilized bones that we find...they have about 12 methods to date fossils (discover what date that animal died) and they test these methods against each other. I find it very interesting. Why should people study dinosaurs? Paleontology helps us study the history of life. Understanding the evolutionary steps and processes that brought about life today helps us to understand more deeply how living organisms, ecosystems, and our own bodies function, and why. Also, ecosystems are always changing. It may be helpful know know what happens to species and ecosystems when large changes happen. Throughout time, life has had to respond to big changes in climate, major geologic disasters, sea level rise and fall, the extinction of important species, the invasion of foreign species, each many times over, and all of that change is recorded in fossils. I hope you enjoy your time with your son! :)

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M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Please don't discourage or make fun of him. This is a passion of his and may lead to a neat job someday. You should be thrilled he has such an inquisitive mind. Moms build up their kids. There are a LOT worse things he could be doing!

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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

They're fascinating creatures, and yes, they really did exist.
Why do you HAVE to go with an adult? Is he mentally or physically disabled?

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A.B.

answers from Louisville on

Because the variety of life that has existed and continues to exist on this planet is absolutely mind blowing and fascinating. Someone else could as easily ask what is wrong with people who don't have even a cursory level of interest in or curiosity about the amazing world they live on.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

You're really not going to find a "why." People have varied interests and there is no accounting for differences. We just are different. I went through my kids being obsessed with pokemon - which are not even real at all. I learned every one of those little things and what they could do. I watched the cartoons, I bought the fast food meals with toys, I bought the packs of cards, games, gadgets and even stuffed animals. I took them to pokemon tournaments. I wasn't interested in the things, but my kids were and I respected that. I could have spent money buying things I wanted and going to places I wanted to go to, but what would be the point of that? I was doing this for THEM not ME.

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J.C.

answers from New York on

SO don't go. What's the problem. Why do you feel like you are the one having to go with him, your adult son?

ON a separate note, there is lots of interest in aliens and talking pigs and such and those are not part of our everyday reality either. Yes, Peppa and Star Wars make tons of money!

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B.A.

answers from Columbus on

If he's an adult, why does he need someone to go with him? And why can't he plan the trip?

I personally think dinosaurs -- and history in general-- are fascinating. Like Nervy Girl said, learning about history helps us put the current world in context. It helps us to understand things like the fact that although our current political situation may seem horrible, the world has survived much worse. You say that you don't understand how people have decided what some dinosaurs looked like and behaved. If you'd take the time to study these things you'd understand their methodology, and you might find out what some of us are so interested in it.

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M.W.

answers from Billings on

My friends always give me a hard time cause I hate dinosaurs. I, too, don't get it! But hey we all have our interests! I could care less, but I guess if my kids liked them, I would pretend!

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