Puppet Abuse Posted by Mr. Magilwood on Oct 25, 2012
I was wondering if anyone else has the same problems. Sometimes when I perform with a puppet and interact with kids talking to them, the kids always hit the puppet. This is something my friend and I have encountered numerous times and it keeps us away from puppet events for this reason in fear that our puppets could get damaged. The best thing I do is make the puppet cry and seem like they are hurting them. Any other advice?
Re: Puppet Abuse Posted by Animal31 on Oct 25, 2012
Maybe limit the amount of time close to each child? I've noticed in many of the Kevin Clash/Elmo clips that he keeps moving and stands in front of each child just long enough for a hug. I guess it gives them less time to react (hit)....hahaha
Re: Puppet Abuse Posted by Shawn on Oct 25, 2012
Animals suggestion is a good one but you have it right that you should point out to the kids that it just like if they get hit by someone it hurts the puppet.  Use it to teach that it is not nice to hit or be a bully. Combine that with what Animal said about moving on. When the child hits step back a bit and have the puppet says it hurts and then move on to the next child before continuing on with things. Try not to focus on the child that hit the puppet since that just gives them attention and is a reinforcement of a negative act.
Re: Puppet Abuse Posted by Shunaka on Oct 26, 2012
I've had similar experiences with children wanting to touch/hit/abuse puppets when working with them interactively.  The best I can tell is that some children are acting out some sort of issue and the puppet is an easy target. Also, children are not that aware of boundaries. Of course the parents should be there to keep things under control but it's not uncommon for some parents to assume an entertainer is also a baby sitter.  In any case I don't usually do interactive puppetry with children, adults are much more fun to work with; they (usually) understand the interaction better and are more willing to play along especially if puppet talks to them at an adult level.

Re: Puppet Abuse Posted by Gail on Oct 27, 2012
We did not get close to kids unless they were crying then we invited them behind stage to see that we were OK after the show. We always had a person out front to stop the kids who would try to get to the puppets.  We had to ask a couple of kids to leave the room when they continued to not obey our rules, that always helped the rest obey. But our most sucessful technique was to tell them ahead of time what we expected and then praise the children who did follow rules when one started to do the wrong thing. They want your praise so much, so we tried to watch "offenders" to catch the times they did do something right and praise those actions. Watch out for full  moons, kids are all more excited when there is a full moon, don't know why, but it is true.
Re: Puppet Abuse Posted by PoggleMoo on Oct 28, 2012
Heh, I have never thought of this as being such a problem for puppeteers. Kids these days are so destructive. I don't get it, I took care of my toys.
Re: Puppet Abuse Posted by Mr. Magilwood on Oct 28, 2012
Thank you all. I am glad I am not the only one out there with the same problems. It seems like when I do something interactive in a public setting there always seems to be those kids that have to hit. It is very sad on how some of today's children act. I do however have the kids who are friendly and gentle with the puppet characters and treat them like they are real. I work at a summer camp and most of the kids I take care of treat my puppet Grovel like he is real, asking for him, and giving him a hug when they see him.
Re: Puppet Abuse Posted by MsPuppet on Nov 04, 2012
The majority of what we do is with children.  Most of it is behind the stage, which takes care of the hitting, etc.  Occasionally we will use a puppet outside the stage, but usually a one on one with a child in front of the group. The puppet may air kiss a girl, but that is about as close as they come.  When I do puppet training, I teach that puppets are tools, not toys.  When our teachers use them in Sunday school, they treat them as tools.  We never let a child behind the stage (takes away part of the fun and mystery of "what goes on behind the stage").  We have someone packing them up as soon as we are finished (especially if we do a variety of things with different puppets). Of course there is always a child or two who comes bouncing up and "peeks" behind the stage demanding to see the puppets.  We explain either they have already left or they have gone to sleep.  Works for us.

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