Sunday, 2 May 2010

To gun or not to gun? Call for help!

In a recent post, (click here to read) I touched on the gun issue. I have mixed feelings about them and I'd welcome your thought and experiences. Life was easier when Elf was into Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam. I realised there was a huge difference between age 3 and age 4; this last birthday (his 4th) suddenly he was into Ben 10, Transformers and Power Rangers. Star Wars too, but then as we all love Star Wars we could live with that. Lightsabering someone isn't as bad as shooting them, is it?

The last few days have been a turning point. Firstly, on Friday, at Woody's house, Elf immediately went for the two Batmen that Woody had been given for his birthday but hadn't played with. Woody himself played with some animals. Don't get me wrong, the two of them love wrestling and running around, but Woody is into more gentler pastimes compared to Elf. Elf is going to be like Ben in Outnumbered. Secondly, today we visited friends with two boys, 7 and 8. We don't see them much but Elf got on with them like a house on fire (you know that Big Boy Envy manifesting in staring open-mouthed at the older boys in awe of them and their toys). They were playing guns around the house, running around and hiding behind doors and then PEAWWW shooting at each other. I felt slightly OK about it as their mum is a doctor of psychology! She admitted they had the same issue when her boys were younger but that she's accepted that they are like that. They had dollies and kitchens, but they love guns! When we went to go home, we had to drag Elf out in the middle of a little tantrum as he didn't want to leave the big boys, and throughout the 10 minute car trip home, he kept shouting that He Wanted A Gun NOW.

At nursery recently, another child (NOT Elf) was told off for announcing "I've got a gun in my bag and I'm going to kill you all." That's when the gun issue worries me. I'd be mortified if that was Elf.

We do have rules - Elf doesn't shoot mummy, he calls them water pistols not guns when mummy is around, and that we don't talk about killing anyone. He doesn't actually own any guns, apart from some water pistols, but whenever he is out he finds a stick that doubles as a gun, but his fingers will do just the job. When he is with one of his friends C, they end up playing shooting or lightsabers.

My question is do I accept that he is going to be into guns and as long as we have a few rules, it is ok to sometimes play with them? Or do I ban any gun game in my presence? Would that draw attention and make the issue worse? He is going to play with his best nursery friend tomorrow and I know he has toy rifles at his house.  I'm sure the gun issue will be revisited this time tomorrow!

6 comments:

  1. This is SO my thing!! I co-run a preschool and we often have this issue with guns, as you can imagine. We have been told by the experts (!!) that there is no need to ban guns, just make them do good things. Easier said than done but a good principle. How about asking Elf about what is coming out of his gun, and whether he can fill it with 'super powers' or 'get stronger rays' etc... then the gun becomes something good, not a killing machine. By banning it you curb all his natural instincts... and by allowing it, but in a good way, you let him express all those instincts. There doesnt have to be any talk of killing or death. It does work... our boys (at preschool) play really well now, and funnily enough, dont seem to want to play with guns so much anymore... interesting!

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  2. Great post!! And thanks for stopping by my blog today too. I guess you kind of already know what I think from my post, but I will say for the sake of repeating myself that I think you're son is totally fine. Guns are too much a part of the global culture to avoid. I think making rules and talking about them is better than pretending they don't exist. Kids are going to experiment with everything. Play is just that. As long as we are talking with them and sharing with them why it is bad to hurt people, animals, etc. they will be fine! Even if they are killing off all the toys they have on a daily basis. I'm happy to find your blog and I'm going to follow you now!! Thanks for finding me. XOXOX

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  3. Hi there Humdrum Mum! Thanks for stopping by earlier. Your musings about the 'managing not to work late when he is going out' really made me laugh. It's a complete mystery to me, too :)
    I don't have an answer to the above question, I am afraid. My mum would take all toy guns away from us - so we played with sticks as our guns. I think explaining and talking a lot is a good idea. xx MM

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  4. LBW - Thank you so much for that good advice, I will defo try to ask Ben about what is coming out of his gun. Watch this space! Thanks again. x

    Organic - Thanks for following! And I am defo coming round to it now, I will be talking to Elf about it from now on. Thanks x

    MM - I think your answer is in what your mum did. (Are all OHs the same then?!) Thanks x

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  5. Little boys have been playing soldiers for ever. As others have said, as long as parents supervise and communicate the right messages about guns, there's nothing harmful about it.

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  6. Thank you Kellyansapansa, I am now waiting for the time to start talking about what comes out of his gun, but do you know what? He hasn't mentioned one all week! - HMx

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