Toddlers & Toy Guns

Jo - posted on 01/05/2011 ( 50 moms have responded )

541

0

43

I grew up around guns and my knowledge on gun safety is pretty up to par, but I can't get over the nervousness I feel whenever I see a toddler or even a young child playing with toy guns. I'm not talking about water guns... I mean bang bang you're dead cowboy, cops and robbers guns.

My guy has paintball guns and a BB gun that he keeps at his parents and he has an insanely immature obsession with nerf guns... he's always trying to convince me to let him buy our 2 year old a nerf gun. I really don't see the point of it. I don't think our 2 year old needs to know how to aim and shoot a gun. He says it's just fun, and it's not meant in an "I'm going to kill you" way... I understand what he means but I just can't get over the whole idea that ultimately that's what a gun is for - to kill things.

What do you think about toddlers and guns? Are nerf guns acceptable for toddlers? Or is there an age limit where under 3 is unacceptable but older is okay? Where do you stand on the whole toy gun issue in your household?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Nikki - posted on 01/08/2011

401

37

27

Just an opinion but ignorance breeds ignorance.

Parents who educate their children from an early age about guns or anything for that matter, are less likely to have children that are ignorant of the impact their actions can have.

My daughter is 2 and has toy guns, she also helps her Daddy clean his real ones. she know the difference and does not touch the real ones without permission.

My son will be educated the same way. By the time my nephew was 3 he could walk up and look at a gun and tell you if it was real or a toy and (if it was real) if the safety was on. I don't think the toymakers or gunmakers are at fault for kids not knowing the difference or the consequences but the parents are.

Lindsay - posted on 01/05/2011

3,532

26

266

Boys will be boys. Whether you supply a toy gun or not, any stick, finger, or other object will eventually be turned into a gun for play. Kids need to know gun safety and know that guns need to be respected and the potential dangers and harm the can cause if not handled properly. My kids have nerf guns and water guns. they are fun. They are for play. They don't hurt and the kids have fun with them. They aren't pretending to kill each other. It's more like tag.

[deleted account]

I plan on keeping toy guns (and real ones) away from Jacob for as long as I possibly can. I don't know at what age I'll be comfortable with him having any kind of gun, even a bb gun. I've had several people give him toy, plastic guns, a few water pistol guns. I threw them away.

I think it's a sign of the times though, for me at least. I know when I was growing up in the 70's, yes, me and just about every kid I played with had toy guns. If we didn't or if it broke, we made a gun out of a stick. To my knowledge, none of the kids I grew up with have gone on to shoot anyone or become thugs or bank robbers. But we also didn't have Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty back then either. We had...trees to climb, holes to dig (to China), mud to make pies from, sprinklers to play in, forts to build and we ran and chased each other. A lot. With all the violent things kids are exposed (sometimes over-exposed) to today, I just don't feel comfortable with my son having a pretend gun because I worry that as hard as I try to shield him from violence, he will be exposed to it (friends, etc, once he starts school) and I don't want to be that mom whose kid gets hurt or hurts someone else because he didn't understand that guns really can hurt and kill people. That's my take on it.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

50 Comments

View replies by

[deleted account]

I grew up around guns and I agree that I get antsy when my kids or I see other kids playing with toy guns. All but my youngest have started their gun training and such with my dad. My youngest will start next summer when she is almost 4. I don't really care about what other people think of the way and reasons we do this but I refuse to let my kids be coffin bait because some little asshole next door didn't know better. We allow our kids to play with toy guns but they MUST follow some basic rules and it is always a nurf style gun.

Jessica - posted on 01/18/2011

95

8

1

As a strong republican..i dont feel that a toddler of that age should play with any kind of gun unless the parent is willing to teach completely

My 3 year old probably couldnt even pull a trigger on one of the nerf guns. imho..i think that they should be used when the child can understand reasoning. like dont point it at any sort of life, human or animal. Guns are to be treated with respect..on that same note..guns dont kill people..people kill people, and yes i believe ignorance breeds ignorance

Isobel - posted on 01/08/2011

9,849

0

282

My nephews aren't allowed anything that even remotely resembles a gun...and the other day one of them put their hands on the other one's ears and said "I'M TAKING YOUR HEAD OFF!"

I'd rather my kids hit each other with nerf darts any day

Nicole - posted on 01/08/2011

736

6

68

Nikki, I agree that a child should be educated about how to tell the difference between a toy gun and a real gun if there is a chance they will come across one. When I lived in the US every home had at least one gun in it and if I still lived there I would teach my child how to recognize a real gun and never to touch it.

Living in Canada, I have only known one person who had a gun in their home and I don't know anyone who goes hunting.

In the US I went hunting with my friends all of the time.

Jenn - posted on 01/08/2011

2,683

36

93

@Joy - if you're concerned about a child making a connection between a plastic gun and a game like you describe, I would have bigger concerns. Why is a child playing those games or even being exposed to them? By the time someone is old enough to play those types of video games I'm pretty sure they're not into toys anymore.

Vegemite - posted on 01/08/2011

916

0

15

i HATE toy guns but for some reason I don't mind water guns and nerf guns. I think it's because it's all about fun not shooting people, the mind set and intention is not the same as other toy guns

Sarah - posted on 01/06/2011

5,465

31

331

I hate all guns. So no toy guns in our house!

I don't see the need for guns, real or otherwise really.

Shauna - posted on 01/06/2011

1,015

19

33

a childrens psychology class i took taught that its better to let the child use their imagination and explore the idea of whatever, killing included. Its just our jobs as parents to teach, you dont point guns at people b/c they can kill. and to ask questions about what you saw your child doing, get their point of it and have conversations explaining right from wrong. And also the differance between reality and fantasy.

Shauna - posted on 01/06/2011

1,015

19

33

I dont think it matters, If boys are into guns and they dont have a nerf gun they will use sticks or their hands to look like guns.

LaCi - posted on 01/06/2011

3,361

3

171

Mine has a nerf gun. I'm fine with that, And squirt guns, all brightly colored and obviously fake guns. I would never buy him anything that even remotely resembles a real gun though.

ME - posted on 01/06/2011

2,978

18

190

Miles (and Mayah for that matter) will NEVER have a toy gun...If action figures come with guns, I will make sure they get "lost"...My husband also has an obsession with nerf guns (phew...I thought he was the only one)...I will be okay with those, if they don't look like real guns, once the kids are bigger 6 and 8 perhaps...I'm not interested in Miles shooting anything at his sister until she is big enough to run away or fight back...I don't feel comfortable with the culture of violence (in the US) that guns represent, and I don't want that violence trivialized in my kids eyes!

[deleted account]

I don't have toy guns in my house i have even told hubby that i don't want them and he is not to buy them for the kids. BUT my children still pretend to shoot things even with a stick or their hand i can't stop it and i haven't taught them any of it, it has all come from other children.

Desiree - posted on 01/06/2011

910

17

12

Guns and Kids no not ever. We live in a world where toy guns look more and more like the real thing, a world where we are becoming more and more desensitised about death, gangs and the general horror in the world outside. More and more kids who know about guns and respect them, "respect" them enough to use them again other children. So no I am not going allow it in my home whether my kids were 2 and 3 or now when they are 10 and 12. Forget it.

Charlie - posted on 01/05/2011

11,203

111

401

Cooper owns this bright orange bubble shaped thing that looks nothing like a gun but shoots water and is called a "water pistol" but it looks nothing like a gun and he uses it to water the flowers but no I wouldn't buy anything that resembled a gun HOWEVER I was thinking about this and as a kid I always played with toy guns , swords , bows and arrows , sling shots ( yes I was a tomboy ) and it never made me a super aggressive person , in fact I am the complete opposite but I think that has more to do with other influences in my life that led me to being peaceful and our society ( Australian ) doesn't have "gun hyseria " that other countries do , we know the dangers from birth , they are not a toy , they kill , people do not just own them because it is their right to , they are in our eyes a very dangerous tool .

Isobel - posted on 01/05/2011

9,849

0

282

There comes a time when that horse gets let out of the barn...and there's not really much you can do about it. I would never buy my son a gun that really looked like a gun...but nerf guns, water guns...they are going to come with the territory...unless you homeschool.

it's kinda like saying you'll never dress your daughter in pink (which I did say by the way) Can you imagine my distress when the child refused to wear pants (or anything else that was not pink) for two years?

Johnny - posted on 01/05/2011

8,686

26

318

We don't do guns and never will be doing guns, even if we had 10 boys. My husband's culture absolutely forbids them. And I'm not a fan either. Water shooters that don't look anything like guns and nerf ball shooters that don't look like guns are a different matter. But if it looks like a gun, it shows that we buy into a culture of violence and war, which we are strongly opposed to.

[deleted account]

It depends on the toy gun. The ones that can actually shoot stuff are dangerous for young children, but the ones that don't shoot anything are ok.

[deleted account]

When J was born, I swore I would never allow him to have toy guns. He is 6 now, and things have changed a bit :P

When he was about 2, he started making "guns" out of EVERYTHING!! While I marveled at his creativity for that age, I was disturbed in the direction he was taking it. I reviewed everything he was allowed to watch, and found nothing to influence the behavior, I eventually chalked it up to having picked it up from other kids at the park. I stuck to my guns on not allowing any actual toy guns, but relegated myself to the fact that I could not stop him from playing with 'guns'.

Then, when he was 4yrs old, he got a set of water guns from a family member who lived out of state and didn't know my rule. They did not look like guns at all, one set was shaped like animals and the other looked like a space blaster type thing, but cute with bubbles on it. A family member told the gift giver about my rule and he profusely apologized but the kids were having such a blast and for the first time all day, they were NOT play fighting and killing each other! It was a friendly game of "moving target practice" so to speak, and I actually thanked the guy!


Now he is 6 yrs old and we got him 3 nerf guns for Christmas so that we could have family battles (he is an only child, so we have to play with him a lot). Again, they look nothing like a real gun.

I did struggle with the concept, as it is still the same thing, but he plays "shooting" with his legos and sticks which he pretends are guns anyway (we have a rule that he is only to shoot monsters, dragons, and aliens with imaginary guns). I know the only purpose of a gun is to kill, but I've played target games (we have one on wii where you shoot targets and balloons) and I have a blast with the water guns and the nerf guns. There is just something fun about aiming at something and hitting it with a little flying foam dart or stream of water.
Eventually, I decided these were harmless, as when we are playing with anything that actually shoots something (water or foam pellets) we are not play fighting, and no one pretend dies, we just see who gets hit the most etc.

That said, because I live in a country where guns are legal, and in a region where they are popular, I will have my son trained in gun safety because most child gun deaths are accidents that result from kids who know nothing about guns coming in contact with a gun and trying to see how it works.

Kate CP - posted on 01/05/2011

8,942

36

754

Nope. I don't do guns in my house-toy or otherwise. My husband has an Airsoft gun around here some where but it's buried in the boxes of crap we just moved out of his old office to make room for the baby.

Lacye - posted on 01/05/2011

2,011

31

160

If I had a son I wouldn't let him have the toy guns or the nerf guns. Not going to happen. My step brother had a bunch of them when he was younger and guess who he used as target practice. Yeah, that's right, ME! I don't like the things. They say that the nurf guns don't hurt, bullshit! they do!

Kylie - posted on 01/05/2011

2,391

81

190

I dont like toy guns and refuse to have them in my house, even water pistols. Except... my hubby likes bb guns and he has a fake hand gun which he keeps in his wardrobe and I could not talk him into throwing it away. He grew up making and playing with guns and with gun video games so he doesn't fully get why I'm so apposed to the idea. I dont like what they represent and there are so many other types of toys in our house that encourage creative play.
My 5 year made a gun out of toilet rolls last year and I asked her why she wanted a gun and she said the boys at school shoot her and she wants to shoot them back. :(

Jo - posted on 01/05/2011

541

0

43

Kati:

"now as far as nerf guns go....i'm still a little bit out on that one. they look nothing like "real guns" and they are fun. there's no mistaking any real gun for a nerf gun, they are so drastically different. so for now i do allow them. but my 3 year old has a hard time even pulling the little launcher things on the gun to make the bullets come out, so i don't know if gabe will be able to even use it yet. i'd say wait a few years and a nerf gun would be fine. other guns that look like real guns, FUCK NO."

Gabe has no interest in them at all. It's Devon that wants to get him one to teach him how to use it so that they can play together. I just don't see the point - there are so many other things they can play together with. Cars, tools, animals, sports...

There are nerf ball launchers, that I think are pretty cool, that they could get and play with... there are nerf balls that they can toss around... etc etc etc... the guns are unnecessary, IMO.

Joy, we have some water animals too lol we have an elephant, hippo, octopus, and we have a Buzz Lightyear Rocket too that Gabe loves... he aims that in the sky and says "Tooooooo beyonnnnnnnnnnnd!" lol

Nikkole - posted on 01/05/2011

1,505

31

49

@Joy i know what you mean about kids learning things now a days from video games and such! My mom is the type of women that thinks she dosent need a man for anything (even tho she is married) and she play fights with my son and she teaches him things he shouldn't say it drives me nuts like he will get to playing and will hit you because he thinks its ok and then he will say im gonna beat you up you wimp, and as soon as i stop and look at him he starts to cry and say sorry! So hopefully when we move out i can teach him better! And no violent video games for him or not till hes a lot older.

Rosie - posted on 01/05/2011

8,657

30

315

well, i used to think toy guns are toys. no harm no foul. no problem right?most boys grow up with guns, they'll make things into guns if they have to, it's just in them (from my observations anyway).
i've instructed my children that if they ever find a gun of any sort that isn't theirs they ARE NOT to touch it. don't care if they think it's a toy, or that they're certain it's a toy, i don't want them touching it, and they are supposed to go tell an adult. so my oldest found a gun on his way home from school and was walking around pointing it at his friends and other people and it turns out it was a REAL FUCKING GUN. some jack hole had left a BB gun laying out in their yard for a little boy to find. everything i taught my son went out the window. to this day he still doesn't believe that it was a real gun. now my kid may have some type of autism (i'm convinced he does, but nobody is diagnosing him correctly) but still, it frightens me.

now as far as nerf guns go....i'm still a little bit out on that one. they look nothing like "real guns" and they are fun. there's no mistaking any real gun for a nerf gun, they are so drastically different. so for now i do allow them. but my 3 year old has a hard time even pulling the little launcher things on the gun to make the bullets come out, so i don't know if gabe will be able to even use it yet. i'd say wait a few years and a nerf gun would be fine. other guns that look like real guns, FUCK NO.

[deleted account]

I do think there's a time and a place for guns and IF someone chooses to have them around children, those children need to learn and understand what their actual intention is for and how to use them properly. There MUST be rules.

My 7 year old niece went hunting with my brother for the first time a couple months ago. SHE understands the seriousness of guns and would never aim one at someone or even pretend play. NOT COOL!

Caitlin - posted on 01/05/2011

1,915

5

171

Water guns I don't mind - those don't look much like real guns anymore anyways, but our girls will learn gun safety young.

Bonnie - posted on 01/05/2011

4,813

22

257

Guns are bad. Even if they are just toys they give off the wrong vibes. My boys are almost 2.5 and 4 and they have never even held a toy gun. I hope to keep that from happening for as long as I can.

[deleted account]

I remember my little brother would run around and ho "BANG BANG OK now your dead!!!" He would get pissed off if you didn't play dead. Then his hamster died and we explained the death to him. He quit playing with his guns because his words "well what if you don't come back this time". That is pretty deep for a 4 year old.

Meghan - posted on 01/05/2011

3,169

33

202

I really hate the idea of guns...I don't know how I feel about nerf guns, water guns etc because I hate realistic toy guns so much

Stifler's - posted on 01/05/2011

15,141

154

597

I don't like it. They think guns are a toy but guns are not a toy. I especially dislike toddlers who run around going "Im GUNNA KILL YOU!" and shit. What are they thinking.

Nicole - posted on 01/05/2011

736

6

68

I remember one day my son was downstairs playing with some kids when he suddenly pretended to shoot them. They were laughing and none of the kids had a problem with it but one mom walked up to me.



"Excuse me," she said, "but can you get him to stop doing that? I am Christian and my kids are in kindergarten"



"I prefer this to him hitting them" I said.



"You prefer that he shoot them rather than hit them?" she asked, in total shock



"You do know that he's not actually shooting them, right?"



She took her kids home.



I don't like encouraging play violence but I do distinguish between play violence and actual violence

Jenn - posted on 01/05/2011

2,683

36

93

Honestly? I used to be against it. Now? Meh - I really don't see the connection between a child playing with a toy gun and growing up to go on a shooting rampage. I didn't buy my son any toy guns yet he still used sticks or other objects as "guns" anyway. I did buy him 2 toy guns at Halloween to go with his cowboy costume, but he hasn't really played with them since.

Nikkole - posted on 01/05/2011

1,505

31

49

Yea i agree with Lindsay even if they dont have guns they will pretend with sticks and such, like my son LOVES buzz lightyear from toy story so when he gets mad or does something hes not supposed to and i tell him he holds up his arm and pretends to lazier me and makes the noise and everything! Kids will be kids. I dont like the guns that look so real that you cant tell a difference i wont buy those! And i agree water guns are fun and we will probably get some this summer!

September - posted on 01/05/2011

5,233

15

691

Although I grew up around guns and have taken gun safety courses I will not allow our 2 year old to play with toy guns. Whether it is a water gun or nerf gun. The way guns tend to be played with teaches children the opposite of what guns should be used for since most times it's "shoot em up" type play and I'm not ok with that. Although water guns are fun on a hot summer’s day you are still pointing and shooting at another person, just not cool imo, same with nerf guns.



Edit to add: Our son is 2. When he is old enough to understand the real purpose of guns I may allow him to play with water guns/nerf guns but never realistic looking guns.

Laura - posted on 01/05/2011

698

59

56

My husband is an avid hunter so yes we have guns in our house. My 4yo has even been out hunting with him. We are teaching them right away to respect guns and how dangerous they are (bows too cuz DH is also a bow hunter). Hubby's aunt got all the kids at the family gathering nerf guns this year (boys and girls) I have one rule in my house, you don't aim them at people or the dog. If you do, they are gone for the rest of the day. And I have had to do that a couple of times. I have a 2 and a 4 year old and as long as they have rules I see no problem with it.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/05/2011

18,920

9

3002

We let him use water balloons, but I am not crazy about water guns...something else needs to be invented.

[deleted account]

I'm not ok w/ toy guns at any age. Brightly colored water guns.... yeah, but not the realistic looking kind. It's way beyond my comfort zone.

My 2 year old pretends to shoot things w/ his finger. That is WAY more than enough... IMO.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 01/05/2011

18,920

9

3002

"YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!" No toy guns in our house. I am very anti gun and I don't see any reason for a toddler, or older kids to have them. Unfortunately water guns are fun. I suppose I will let him have that when he asks, but anything that looks like a real gun...no thank you. I just think it advocates owning and killing. I don't agree with gun use, rifles, etc. I hate hunting, and if my husband ever tried to bring a gun into the house, we would have a big big issue. He feels the same way about guns that I do.

Becky - posted on 01/05/2011

187

10

11

I have four boy's age 4 to 18 and it is something i have never worked out, the eldest two were not aloud guns, but spent a lot of time making them out of lego, sticks, sausages etc..... the younger two i have let have water pistols and pop guns and they are less interested!
As a peace loving mum i hate the whole boy gun thing but even though my kids have spent time marching for peace and understand that guns cause unnecessary pain and death they just love to have a good old game of cowboys and native americans.
So i stand with my head in the sand on this one!

Nikkole - posted on 01/05/2011

1,505

31

49

My husband bought our son a nerf gun and he dosent play with it much plus he lost all the little foam bullet things! But my Brother in law bought him this plastic gun that is almost taller than him and it lights up and makes noises and he love that one but so does my 6month old (its the lights) lol!! I dont see anything wrong with it you just have to explain to your kids that real guns are not toys and just keep teaching gun safety! I would rather my son have a toy gun than play dough (shivers) we have carpet and it gets stuck in it and is a pain to clean up!

Lady Heather - posted on 01/05/2011

2,448

17

91

I have no idea really. On the one hand, my brother had them and he's turned out fine. On the other, it just seems like a bizarre way to play. But maybe that's just because I'm female. I don't get it.

We do have guns around though. Well, not laying around. Unloaded in a gun safe. So our kids will definitely learn all about them one day. They are for hunting. We don't keep them for protection or whatever. Just another source of food procurement. Seems to me it's hard to teach them about respect of a weapon when they're running around pretending to shoot things with toys, but maybe I'm wrong about that. I hope I don't have boys.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms