thread: Kids playing with 'guns'??

  1. #1
    Registered User

    May 2008

    Kids playing with 'guns'??

    I have never been a fan of playing with 'guns'. It's just not something i want to encourage, we don't have any toy weapons and at home and with me we still only ever really watch ABC2. He knows that i don't like him pretending to play with them but i don't think he really knows why. I'm not sure at 5yrs old that it's the right thing to go into detail and tell him WHY. But lately in his imaginitive play he and his brother will pretend and then look at me for approval/dissaproval. I'm starting to wonder if i'm doing the right thing by discouraging this play when it's harmless and it's just 'play', he doesn't really know what it is he's doing and there is no real 'violence' intended. Like this morning they were just having fun making 'guns' out of their connector textas.

    How and where do you draw the line of it being ok or not ok?

    I'm interested to hear the various points of opinion we will all have, no need to judge one another for our choice in guiding our children

  2. #2

    Jul 2009
    Out North, Vic

    Personally for me i don't find an issue in pretend play with 'weapons' - my girls watch barbie movies - they love the 3 musketeers and DD1 will pick up a stick and pretend to joust (sp?) with people, she will also pretend to protect her little sister from the bad guys.

    She has water pistols and pretends to shoot people with them, to me it's just play - i grew up pretending to shoot & stab my brothers while playing pirates or whatever and i am not mentally deranged or running around killing people.

    I think we need to remember that our children will grow up with the values we instill in them, if at an appropriate age we sit them down and explain what guns are for (hunting, protection etc) and that they are not toys and not for children to touch then we should be fine, if we hide them away & pretend they don't exist then they may get curious about them.
    DP has his shooters licence, my girls have seen guns, we have showed them what they are and that they are not to be touched, they can be dangerous & they can hurt people, they are only to be used by adults and not near other people.
    DP has never shot one near the girls and we don't have any of our own on the premises.

    I know some people who have refused toy guns in their homes, no movies with weapons, no water pistols, no pretend swords for pirate outfits etc but their children seem to naturally have a curiosity - they build them out of texta's, they find a stick to poke at their brother etc etc.

    I don't think there is a right or wrong when it comes to issues like this, it's what you believe & what your comfortable with - me personally it's all in explaining what these things are and what they can do - teaching my children about saftey around weapons and it's not about hurting people etc etc.

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Dec 2008
    Brisbane, QLD

    I would just tell them that guns are used to hurt people and animals and that they aren't very nice.
    We haven't discovered guns yet, and I won't tell him he can't pretend to play with them, I will tell him what they are for and that they aren't nice.

    I think letting them play with pretend guns helps to desensitise them a bit. Just like I wouldn't want him to pay with a knife I don't want him thinking guns (even pretend ones) are toys. Itms?

  4. #4
    Registered User

    Dec 2008
    Brisbane, QLD

    I would just tell them that guns are used to hurt people and animals and that they aren't very nice.
    We haven't discovered guns yet, and I won't tell him he can't pretend to play with them, I will tell him what they are for and that they aren't nice.

    I think letting them play with pretend guns helps to desensitise them a bit. Just like I wouldn't want him to pay with a knife I don't want him thinking guns (even pretend ones) are toys. Itms?

  5. #5
    Registered User

    Apr 2008

    I have 2 girls, we don't have guns or toy weapons in the house, we don't watch things that are violent and we don't encourage it - they still have managed somehow to turn their elbows, toys and anything else into "killing swords" or guns to fight each other! They pretend to be dead and then drag each other around - the first time it was quite disturbing but talking to other mums it is something that other kids do too. They never hurt each other but just use their imagination. Hopefully they will grow out of it but in the meantime I emphasise the being being gentle and kind to each other and not hurting each other in the process.

  6. #6
    Registered User

    May 2011

    I can certainly understand why some parents don't allow toy guns. But for me personally, I don't see an issue with it. I grew up with water pistols and other toy guns. I heard stories when I was young of Dad shooting guns, at least once at someone (he works in corrective services). Now as an adult I would love to go to a shooting range, but never want to actually own a gun. I think I've turned out pretty much ok despite my playing with 'guns' as a kid. My 3 yr old niece hasn't got any toy guns but will often 'make' a gun out of some other toy or object, even if it's just a pencil, and say 'bang bang'. So I think it's fairly normal for kids to play with toy guns, even if their 'gun' is something else entirely, like your kids with their textas.

    As far as where to draw the line between ok and not ok, I'm not sure. I know my sister is fine with my niece pretending she has a gun and saying "bang bang", but there has been times where she's said "bang bang, you're dead" and my sister has told ehr that's not ok cause that's hurting someone.

    I think at the end of the day, you really just have to go with what feels right for you and what you are ok with teaching/telling your kids. I don't think there's really a right or wrong answer here.

  7. #7

    Oct 2004
    In my Zombie proof fortress.

    Our hobbies have included bows and arrows (at people not targets), along with sword and shield. So really we don't have any moral high ground when it comes to telling our girls what they can and cannot play when it comes to weapons.

    Honestly it is not something that phases me, but then again it is not something the girls have yet incorporated into their play. They are still obsessed with Mums and sisters play

  8. #8

    May 2008
    Melbourne, Vic

    My DH is a shooter, I knew that before we got married. I also knew that he would want to show our kids how to handle guns safely and properly and that the best person for them to learn that off is him.

    They've got nerf guns and play with them but already know not to point them at other people.

    DH gets a bit narky when he hears people calling guns "bad" or "evil" - they are just a tool, a weapon, for someone to use as they will. He uses them as tools to hunt, vermin and game, and he intends to teach that to our kids.

    Anything can be a weapon, really!

  9. #9
    Registered User

    Jul 2008

    it's a really tough one. ds doesnt have any toy guns bit will make amything & everything into a gun (the potato ricer is a favourite) for imaginary play. i didnt tealise how disturbing i would find it - esp as he won't be 3 for another couple of weeks.

    we try to let him go with the imaginary play but say no or explain not to shoot at ppl when he pretends to. im not sure if it's the right way to handle it but the less of a fuss we make, the less he does it.

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited by sloane; June 14th, 2012 at 09:20 AM.

  10. #10
    Registered User

    Jan 2012

    We have only come across it once or twice so far, i try to walk a middle ground, I wont have toy guns/swords (though with 2 girls no one has tried to give them any) (Ugh gendered gifts whole other issue ) The couple of times i have heard shooting/killing games i have stepped in and asked why they are playing that.. to talk through it.. both times it was instigated by friends with older siblings and my 5yo has not seemed comfortable in the game, so perhaps a factor i will deal with more as they get older. We are aware of what they watch, but it seems to me the more violent kids television is on the commertial channels and we dont have those on really.

  11. #11
    Registered User

    May 2008

    Thanks so much ladies.

    I think my initial intention was that i didn't want to encourage violent play by just allowing it as they please but then again dissaproving of what really is just innocent play doesn't feel right either. It really does come down to the teachings behind it doesn't it!? It's not something my kids see a lot of at home in anyway but they still pick it up in one way or another it seems from my own and others experiences.

    I suppose there are a few ways to look at it. The violence part, the weapon part, and understanding what it's capable of. I feel like i owe my kids a bit more of an explantion but not quite sure they're old enough for it.

    I too agree that not allowing something can often build more of a curiosity for it and therefore them feeling the need to do it secretively.

    OP your husbands way of looking at it is really quite true, it is a tool, a very powerful one but it's how it's used and the intentions of it's use that should be the focus.

    We are now in a time where there are so many more rules regarding weapons that maybe we are over complicating a childs innocence? As many have said we grew up with being allowed to play with them and are not wrose off because of it.

    Goodness me the mummy gig is a tricky one

  12. #12
    Registered User

    Jan 2010
    Shoe Heaven

    I shot my first gun at 4 or 5.

    I've seen my friends kids grow up around people using shield, sword, axe etc.

    As long as you teach them respect for things, it should be ok. Personally I'd not be teaching that guns etc are wrong, because how do you then explain the police (who are there to protect and are people to go to when you're afraid) carrying guns.

  13. #13
    Registered User

    Dec 2005
    In Bankworld with Barbara

    I"m a bit *meh* about it too. I love a good nerf gun fight with the kids and what everyone else has said about them is so true - you can not let them watch violent things and not have toy guns in the house, but imaginative play is a natural and normal part of their development and I'd hate to stifle that. I don't condone letting children watch anything violent, but my point is that they pick it up anyway - from other kids, from other environments etc. The most important thing is that you keep the lines of communication open and make the difference between pretend play and reality very clear to them.

  14. #14
    Registered User

    Dec 2005
    Melbourne, Vic

    I don't mind the pretend gun playing so much for me its more the words like "I'm going to kill you" or similar. If I say anything DD1 points out its not real, she's just pretending. I know but still I have to explain why I don't like that sort of talk.

  15. #15
    Life Subscriber

    Jul 2006

    I have really changed my thinking on this since having two boys. I never thought I'd like the idea but the boys make guns out of anything. It is such a natural way for them to play so I've come to be meh about it too. I think it's just the way it is and going with the flow is a good approach.

  16. #16

    Mar 2004

    For me...... picking up a stick and making it into a gun is an act of imagination so I'm ok with it. I'm also ok with water pistols/super soakers in summer although I do prefer the ones that are non-realistic.

  17. #17
    Registered User

    Oct 2009
    Bonbeach, Melbourne

    I won't be teaching DD that guns are wrong, but I will be teaching her that they are dangerous and not toys. I grew up knowing how to shoot etc, but I still won't be actively buying realistic toy guns or realistic toy weapons. Aside from light sabers, ofcorse

    Snap Onyx

  18. #18
    2013 BellyBelly RAK Recipient.

    Apr 2006
    Winter is coming

    We play nerf but other guns have to be made from whatever is lying around. We just correct them with 'we don't shoot people, only animals' or ask what animal they are hunting.
    DS has been out hunting with his dad quite a few times and there is never any issue with him thinking that a real gun is a toy. He obeys all the rules to the letter around the real firearms.