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Gun play?

I think I may be over reacting here but it has made me nervous. This week BBwas playing catch the bear with his Daddy. Daddy was the bear and BBwas the catcher.  During the game BBwent to his tool chest and pulled out his toy drill and started pointing it at Daddy like a gun. Panic!

Me: BBwhat are you doing?

Noah: Getting rid of the bear

Me: What do you mean? With what?

Noah: With my bear go away machine! (Duh Mummy!)

Me: So your not shooting it then? (Kerry stop putting ideas in his head)

Noah:  What?  (Mum you’re such a weirdo!)

Noah: Shhh shhhhhhccchhh Go away bear! Mummy the bear ran away – I saved you!

Ok, so he didn’t think it was a gun. I am not surprised, we have never introduced him to them as toys and he had never watched anything with a gun in (I didn’t think until we were watching Peter Pan yesterday and one of the pirates had a gun and when I questioned what it was BBsaid a horn!) Anyhow it has not been the kind of play we have encouraged.

I never really knew I was that anti gun play until this fear that I thought he thought he was killing a bear and I just didn’t like it – in fact the thought made me feel quite sick.

Gun play has surely been a boys game from the times of cowboys and Indians! How is a gun any different to a sword used by pirates or a light saber used by Luke? Somehow it is though. Somehow it seems worse, or is it that is now seems more real. In the times of cowboys and Indians, was guns imagery almost like a light saber. Now they are so much more of a reality.

I really don’t think BBhas any concept of what a gun is at all. I am not really sure why I am worrying but the time will come when he wants one won’t it? Then what do I say? Also how do justify a water pistol over a gun? Is that not hypocritical?

Just to finish off during the game the differences between my three children were revealed. BBwanted to get rid of the bear with his magic machine, Zachary took the bear by the hand and led him into the kitchen, whilst Little Madam grabbed the plastic gold club and went charging after the bear!

With all the hype this week with the riots and all the harm that has been caused I realize I am in protection mode, but am I being unrealistic.

Can you protect your children from weapon play and should you?

Let me know your thoughts.








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24 comments to Gun play?

  • My brother and I were never allowed to play with toy guns, catapults, etc etc. People are worried about that breast feeding doll “sexualising” young girls but why is ok for little boys to play with guns?!

    • multiplemummy

      My brother did, he had everything and he is normal (ish)…O if you are reading this I am teasing! I just don’t want to condone violence but then am I blocking imagination?

  • Amy

    I don’t think that playing with pretend guns is a problem when your little as long as they understand its all a game, in fact it can help them play out their imaginations and the roles of good vs evil. Well.. Sam, Tom and me (such a tomboy) all used to play with guns, pretend to kill each other but we knew it was always a game and mum played the ambulance role very well!! I wouldn’t worry too much :) xx

    • multiplemummy

      Yeah you three are all normal *cough ahem cough* he he

      The key here is you had an ambulance lady…it was all about making the wounded better! x

  • I’ve never bought my boys a toy gun (replica kind), although Sam did get one bought for him as part of a dressing up set, I wasn’t too pleased about it though. He has since had water pistols and Nerf guns, even though I was reluctant – it’s what all his friends have and as they get older it is more difficult but hopefully by then they understand the difference between a toy water pistol/Nerf gun and the real thing, if they ever saw one.
    A tricky one…

    • multiplemummy

      See I can see the fun in a water and nerf gun – that is what has thrown me! I think peer pressure from friends is inevitable. You can’t avoid it. x

  • I wrote a post about this a while back and then never posted it… however my view is on the other side of the argument, I have no problems with toy guns, its all play and my boys know its not ‘real’ my eldest is really quite sweet and sensitive and doens’t like hurting anything yet he will run around all day with his brother shooting… maybe I should publish my post thats been sat in the edit section for a couple of months now…

    • multiplemummy

      Please do…I would love to read it. I am so torn with how I feel I am looking for both sides of the argument to make an informed choice. x

  • I would like to protect them, but I don’t think you can. I have never bought toy guns or similar, we never watch TV that has guns in it. Yet Z came home from nursery and made a gun out out duplo and started pretending to shoot things, little sister then copied. I was also most upset when someone bought him a toy gun for his birthday.

    Just the other day he was pretending to shoot his sisters and I told him that I don’t like guns, which led to a whole very long discussion about how guns hurt people, he seemed to really take it in, and hasn’t been quite so free with his gun playing since.

    But, if you don’t expose them to guns or fighting and they still make one from another toy totally off their own back what can you do? He has no idea what it means to shoot someone, and I don’t really want to explain at this point.

    • multiplemummy

      Yes you have described how I feel really. I suppose it is highlighting to them pretend and how the baddie always (or should always) get caught! I suppose it is a way of teaching them about good and bad!

  • My son 8 n plays with nerf guns. N I don’t th
    ink there nothing wrong it. There so much on telly n even cartoon with guns and all this riot all about fighting. Playing with a toy gun not gonna make them thug or a killer its roll playing!

    • multiplemummy

      That is exactly what I mean by Cowboy and Indians…it is role play! I am so glad to get differing opinions, it is making me relax more knowing that actually it is just child imagination! I have to say I am still not a gun fan, but I think it something I will have to accept!

  • Totally agree with the role play, imagination thing. Its not just boys, by daughter joins in too but in fairness the boys love physical boofing up role play and yes it includes toy guns – water guns, pistols, air riles, sticks, and even just fingers when they can’t find anything better! I like to think they are all normal and understand the difference between real life and play. I think I would worry more for them growing up without these oportunities to play as children.

  • There is *no* way that I will allow The Boy to play with any form of violent toy in the future. I am completely with you.

    • You might find, as I did, that they make guns and weapons for anything, lego, sticks, cardboard tubes. You name it. I too was concerned about this and asked a play expert about it and was told it is all part of goring up and role play. They have toy castles, knights, army men, even cars 2 has weapons on it. I was told that even the children of pacifists would fashion guns out of things.

      I have learned not to sweat the small stuff, they understand that it is pretend and that is OK and as long as they keep on understanding then I am OK with it, it is part of being a boy.

      • multiplemummy

        You have put my mind to rest somewhat with firstly showing me I am not mad to have been worried but also that it is normal and to go with the flo a little more. Ensuring they know it is only pretend is the key I think. Thank you.

  • It’s tricky because I have no trouble with water guns and would possibly consider the ones with foam ‘bullets’ but even that would take some thinking. But pellet guns are a huge no go zone. My friend got hit by one and I remember him bleeding. It missed me, although a week later I ended up with a dart stuck in my knee (it was a very dumb idea of which a goldfish also died from our stupidity).
    I think water guns are my limit for young children during the summer. We had some and mostly used them to keep cool in the heat as well as it being a safe and fun way to play with my friends – no paint involved and water doesn’t hurt!

  • Kelly

    Hiya hun,

    Gun play for little boys is something intrinsically built into their boy nature. Max has never seen a real gun or had a toy gun bought for him, but he will still make ‘guns’ out of lego bricks and pretend to ‘shoot’ his cousins with them.
    I read an excellent book a while back called ‘Wild at Heart’, by John Eldredge. If you can get a copy, page 10 says the following:

    “Capes and swords, camouflage, bandannas and six-shooters – these are the uniforms of boyhood. Little boys yearn to know they are powerful, they are dangerous, they are someone to be reckoned with. How many parents in vain have tried to prevent little Timmy from playing with guns? Give it up. If you do not supply a boy with weapons, he will make them from whatever materials are at hand. My goys chew their graham crackers into the shape of handguns at the breakfast table. Every stick or fallen branch is a spear, or better, a bazooka. Despite what many modern educators would say, this is not a psychological disturbance brought on by violent television or chemical imbalance. Agression is part of the masculine design; boys are hard wired for it.”

    A bit controversial maybe, but I absolutely agree when John Eldredge says that “…God doesn’t make generic people, he makes something very distinct – a man or a woman. In other words, there is a masculine and a feminine heart, which in their own ways reflect or portray to the world, God’s own heart.”

    A bit earlier on, it also says that in the heart of every man, is “…a desperate desire for a battle to fight, an adventure to live and a beauty to rescue. Think of the films men love, the things they do with their free time and the aspirations of little boys and see if I’m not right on this”.

    Boys will be boys. They are made with warrior hearts and to surpress their ‘boyness’ will have a knock on effect on their masculinity. I’m not saying I would ever go out and buy my son a Kalashnikov, but if he shoots me with his lego bricks, I might even pretend he got me once in a while. He knows we’re only pretending :) Course, if he was ever anywhere near a real gun, I’d make sure the difference was explained to him. (Although by the time he is old enough to even see a real gun, he will be old enough to understand the difference and the danger).

    Above everything, I want my son to grow up to be a good man, to feel manly and strong. If you ask him, he will tell you he is a ‘mighty warrior’, as well as a ‘good boy’. There is a big difference between encouraging your son’s warrior nature and encouraging him to be violent. If you raise your boy to be loving and empathetic; considerate to those around him, he will never even consider picking up a real gun and using it in later life. He will not want to hurt anyone or anything, but he will still want to be the ‘hero’… 😀

    What do you think? x

    • multiplemummy

      Amazing comment – thank you so much for taking the time to write this.

      The book sounds really interesting and actually I think you may have hit the nail on the head. I was so torn with the conflict of does encouraging or allowing gun play lead to violence or is it just boy play?

      I love your last paragraph when you ‘There is a big difference between encouraging your son’s warrior nature and encouraging him to be violent. If you raise your boy to be loving and empathetic; considerate to those around him, he will never even consider picking up a real gun and using it in later life. He will not want to hurt anyone or anything, but he will still want to be the ‘hero’… ‘ Perfect – you have really given me a sense of clarity on this topic!

      I hope I am able to fulfil the ‘mighty warrior’ and the ‘good boy’ this in the right balance.

      Thank you again.

  • Kelly

    You’re welcome hun! It was a very interesting read…I would definitely recommend you get a copy for Mr. Farrow, and then nick it and read it yourself afterwards! I thought it’d be a good read, as I am raising a little man and even ocassionally spending some time with his daddy. It has given me a lot more insight into the way I should try to raise Max, without actually being an instruction manual on how to raise a boy if you know what I mean?!
    You are doing a fab job with the children. Try and let them ‘be’ at this age, as remember, they are the person they’re supposed to be right now, before this messed up world gets a chance influence them. :) x

  • This is a great post and made me realise that I am not the only person uncomfortable with “gun” play. Over the years I have always felt uncomfortable with children playing with toy guns etc and have received a lot of flak for this opinion including being told to stop being silly and let them play whatever they want to. I agree that it’s perfectly normal for children to play cowboys and indians etc but with the world we are living in it is hard not to read more into it. I don’t particularly want my son to play with toy guns etc but if someone buys one for him then I guess the compromise I will make will be to teach him not to point it in peoples faces, even if it is “only a toy”. Some great food for thought here x

  • This is something that concerns me. I didn’t want me boys to have guns, because they terrify me in real life. But at the end of the day it is a toy and they make guns from anything from rolls of paper to lego, so I cannot stop them playing with them. All I can do is teach them right from wrong. x

  • This is something that has always interested me.I’m the mother of 3 boys and I guess if it was up to me I would say NO guns,I don’t like guns and I don’t really like the kind of play they encourage but and there is a but for me I don’t think this is so simple as just ban the gun.
    Boys will be boys no matter what and it seems to be part of their very selves to be at least a little bit interested in weapons and guns.As many people who have commented have said anything can become a gun ~ sticks,duplo infact any construction toy can be made into a gun.I work in a nursery and we obviously do not allowthe children there to make guns but they do and as soon as they see a adult approaching they say “It’s a water pistol!”When both we and the child know it’s obviously a gun!
    For the early part of my eldest sons life I would not let him have a gun until someone I respected said that banning things often makes it worse and make the banned objects seem very desirable,so I went to the cheapest shop I could find and bought all kinds of cheap,shiny guns and put them in the toy box and do you know what my boy played with them a bit and then never bothered with them at all!He’s all grown up now (18) and he shows no inclination to even think about guns!
    The book that someone has quoted from sounds great,I think I need a copy of it!I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments,it’s a thought provoking subject isn’t it!

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