Using toy guns or making a "gun" out of fingers or using sticks as a toy gun.......

Emilie - posted on 04/08/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My son is 71/2 years old. Lately he has gotten into the habbit of "shooting everybody. I hate it when he does that. I don't know if I am being overly sensitive or parinoid but I just don't like it. For example: yesterday I was telling him to do some stuff and he got mad and pretended to shoot me. I got really mad at him about that and put him in the corner. Later that day we was at the park, I made a comment about so many people being there and he said he could shoot everybody. I told him it was wrong and he shouldn't talk like that but I don't think he understands why it is so bad. I have also told him he could get in trouble at school if he does that. I think it is very rude and he also has a friend that does that but his parents don't care and they let him.His friend has pretended to shoot me a couple times before also when I tell him not to do something or if I tell him that my son can't come out to play. I have gotten rid of my son's toy guns but he still uses his fingers or sticks that he finds out side.

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[deleted account]

Okay, I agree with you, I HATE children using toy guns...
But...
There is a lot of research out there that says that pretend gun play is actually good for boys, and that if they're going to do it then they're going to do it.
One idea I have had suggested to me is to discuss the uses/rules of guns in real life (safety with guns, what people can shoot (ie not other people but maybe pests like possums), etc.), make a gun test that they have to "pass" (questions about the above). Once he passes the test, he is given a "gun licence" which you can draw up for him. If he then does anything with the toy guns that is against the rules (such as pretending to shoot you) then he loses his gun licence for x-amount-of-time and he is not to use any toys guns during this time (you'd have to work out a consequence if he still pretended to use guns). It's surprising that it actually does work! Hope that is some sort of help.

Ez - posted on 04/20/2010

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I have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to guns - toy or otherwise. My best friend's husband goes hunting, has guns in the house, and is actively exposing their 3yo boy to it. It makes me sick, and my friend actually agrees with me - she and her hubby have had several MASSIVE fights about it.

Long story short... the 3yo talks about guns and killing kangaroos and pigs quite a lot. I always tell him I'm not going to talk to him about that because I don't like it. He will try and engage me in the conversation for a bit longer then gives up. But I have started to worry about Milla hearing this crap from him in the years to come (the kids play together a couple of times a week), and I can see it causing a rift in the friendship. This father also bought his son toy guns, which he proceeded to shoot at his mother, brother, my daughter and myself. The guns were confiscated, but he continued to pretend. I simply packed my things and took my daughter home.

Obviously once she's at school I will have much less control over what she's exposed to. But for right now, no way is that happening around her. I disagree that it's a case of 'boys being boys'. Let them play with their trucks, build forts and kick a football. Guns have no place in imaginary play as far as I'm concerned.

[deleted account]

As a day care provider for school aged kids I understand this challenge.

Finally I resigned myself to the fact that they were going to play pretend with shooting involved, BUT I sat them down (5, 6 and 8 - the 8 year old is autistic) and had a serious discussion about what real guns do and why I didn't like it.

We talked about what kind of pretend shooting was acceptable (at my house I preferred they shot imaginary bad guys and explained that I was not comfortable with them shooting at each other.) They argued that as long as they all agreed to play a shooting game that they should be allowed to pretend to shoot at each other and that if someone didn't want to play anymore then they were "off limits for shooting"
I actually felt this was a strong argument on their part and conceded.

They also agreed that it was off limits to shoot at the little kids and that it was an outside game only.

They also agreed with me that pretending to shoot at someone because they were mad was just as bad as calling someone a name or hitting/kicking and was worthy of having to take some alone time to calm down and then go apologize.
We also agreed all guns would be imaginary. There would be no toy guns or sticks (mainly because I argued that if they were going to run around, running with sticks was not safe).

There was some cries of "But my Mom/Dad let's me do x or so-so can do x at his house" I just firmly reminded them that they were at my house and these were the rules for my house.

We then discussed that rules varied at different places. That the rules at school were not exactly the same as my rules and the rules at home were not exactly the same as school or daycare.

I explained that whether they liked the rules or not if they wanted the privilege of being allowed to play a shooting game outside they had to follow my rules or I just wouldn't allow it at all.

Friends of the school agers who lived in the neighborhood who dropped by were told the rules and if they didn't comply were asked to leave the yard. Only one was repeatedly asked to leave, but he was a bully and I was not sad to see him go each time I told him to go home.

I am not saying this is what you should do, I am just offering some insight on how I dealt with a similar issue. The 8 year old was bad for shooting everyone and anything until we sat down as a group and had this discussion. He struggled the most to adapting to the rules, but with time and perseverance he eventually came around and I have had no issues since.

I hope this helps.

Good luck!

[deleted account]

This is a tough one for me.....I don't agree with toy guns or mimicking guns for the situations that you've described BUT my brother goes hunting regularily and my nieces have grown up around guns. They ( ages 6 & 3 ) both know that guns are NOT toys and they've always been taught how to use guns responsibly......although I think hunting and killing animals is disgusting I understand what my brother is saying!

Just like anything else in life, we have to teach our children to use them responsibly.......there's a right and wrong way to use them and there has to be a proper TIME and PLACE to use them also!

My thoughts are all scattered today but hopefully that makes sense! Am I way off topic? LOL! Good luck!

Meghan - posted on 04/09/2010

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my ex's son was like this too!!! My ex allowed him to play all the M rated gun games. AND, he had an airsoft gun that they would take the mag out of (all of this against my wishes btw) and my ex allowed him to play in the house. One day he shot it and there was a bb stuck in it and it went flying and landed a foot away from my new born. I had a snap show and that was the end of the gun period-inside or out. My ex always tells me that it is a boy thing-little boys play with guns. I think there are more productive tings boys can do-go play with bugs and dirt lol. I understand your concerns 100% though and wish I had some adivce but my son is only 18 months and I haven't had to cross that bridge yet!

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Anna - posted on 10/28/2012

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I hate guns. i'm absolutely against them. My mom in law is the same way. However, restricting your kids from something is only going to make them more interested. My brother in law would use anything for guns and pretend, even though he wasn't watching violent shows. I think it I'd important to educate your kids and for them to know the reality of the world. With holding does no favors you can ask me and my 5 siblings-we were never told about sex or drugs and it got us ask in trouble

Amie - posted on 04/20/2010

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Not acceptable, not at all. My family own guns, we hunt, our daughter is in range. Guns are not toys. I absolutely hate toy guns. (with the exception of water guns but the kids don't even register that it's a "gun".. it's a water fight after all, they're just concerned with getting wet; not shooting)



There is a time and a place for guns. Children should never be taught they are something to play with. A lot of toy guns now a days look like real guns. A child could easily get confused and end up messing around with a real one. My children were/are being taught gun safety, that they are not toys, how deadly they really are and to never EVER touch one without adult supervision. It drives me nuts when I see or hear about kids with BB guns too... ya it's a BB gun but it's still NOT a toy. Ugh...



He needs to know it's not a joke, guns are dangerous and deadly. It's not a game to pretend to shoot someone, even if it's fake (finger, stick, etc.) It is something very serious and only meant for adults. It drives me mad when I see kids pretending to shoot people or thinking its funny. There are much nicer things to play with and better games to play.

Meghan - posted on 04/20/2010

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I went on a date with a guy who is a hunter...he was going on and on and on about guns and how he thinks it's great for little boys to be involved with their dad's. I have seen someone get shot (let me clarify, I was 9 and we where driving through Detroit and I witnessed this-so it has stuck in my mind since) I agree that boys will be boys but they need to know that they aren't always used responsibly and they do hurt people!!! There is a difference when it comes to hunting and an army prospective but my son realistically will never be either of those so I don't see the need for him to-at a young age- be around it in any glorifying means,..this makes no sense does it?

Jascinta - posted on 04/20/2010

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i hate it too... i've used the approach you can play with them, but if i see you pointing them at anybody or even aiming them at anyone they will be taken away. boys will be boys.

[deleted account]

I was a complete tomboy when I was younger and I did have toy guns and mimiced a gun. I never watched films with violence in, I was only allowed to watch age appropriate films. I don't think it's such a big no no in the UK because guns are illegal unless you own a licence and it's for hunting/sporting purposes only. So there's not much chance of a child laying their hands on the real thing and killing someone. And to be quite honest yes there is a big age gap between say 7 and 16 but if you can go join the army at 16 when you're still considered a child and kill people with a gun then playing with a toy gun is nothinhg compared to that. Children are children - what will people be saying next "Oh they shouldn't have a play syringe in a nurses set because they might inject drugs at a later age". It's ridiculous I think - let children be children! However, I think if I did live in a country such as the US where guns were legal I'd have a completely different perception because I wouldnt want my son to have a gun when he was older.

Jess - posted on 04/11/2010

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Perhaps your son doesn't really understand what dieing means. Could you sit him down and explain to him what it means to shot somebody and how it effects them and people they love? Role playing works well with kids.



I really like the idea Kimberley posted with the gun license.

[deleted account]

I should mention that this idea was suggested to me by a lady who's child I was looking after... she was on her way to the commonwealth games to be in the shooting events, and did not agree with us telling her child that guns are bad, as he was then viewing her big achievement negatively... I had never thought of it that way! Yes, shooting is a commonwealth event, and it can be done in a positive way.

Nikki - posted on 04/08/2010

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I hate that too, does he watch any TV shows with guns? if so I would probably not let him watch them. It's hard because you can't control what his friends are doing but he will want to follow their behaviour. I would probably talk to his teacher and ensure she is discouraging it at school as well. I think it's just a matter of being consistent and reminding him that it is not appropriate, maybe if you feel he could understand; explain why it is not appropriate. If he continues doing it, I would just have some sort of consequence for his behaviour, whether it be missing out on something, or taking a toy or privilege away or even time out, but just make sure you are consistent. I would also try not to make a huge deal over it because he may continue doing it for attention, so rather than getting really mad, just tell him that we don't use guns, if you want to attach a consequence do that as well. Hope this helps a little, good luck

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