20 answers

Guns - Westchester,IL

Ok, I know this is a hot topic. I don't want my son playing "guns" at such a young age (he is 3). I just don't think they can possibly understand the devastation guns can do, and someday I would like him to understand that. My son plays with a 6 year old neighbor a few times a week, who is REALLY into guns. He knows we don't play them at our house, but they play them at his house (because I cannot control what they do there). Can some of you give some insight as to how you've handled the issue? I've talked to my son and explained that I don't like guns, and I understand that his friend is allowed to play with them. For now, he accepts that, but I know a time will come when it will get more complicated.

Help!

Thanks,
T.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all of your input! I really appreciate it. I understand that boys play guns and grow up to live "normal" lives. I know most of us did this as kids. I also know we live in a different world today, and I want my child to take guns seriously. There may come a day when I will allow him to "play" guns, but I don't think 3 years old is the time. Not in my opinion.
Anyhow, I appreciate those of you that mentioned that I was not being consistent. You were right. I contacted the neighbor and asked if it were possible that they find other things to play when my son is at her house. I explained that I respect that her son plays with them, but asked that they play other things when my son is there. We will see what she says. I guess, as with all things, you have to trust what your gut tells you about the issues that affect your children.

Thanks to everyone.

Featured Answers

Am I the only one who does not think it is a big deal for boys to have toy guns??? I have never made a big deal about this and as a result they have pretty much NO interest in guns at all. They will phase in and out of playing with all of their nerf guns and they used to have a bunch of western guns they liked and they would also use their fingers as guns. But really no huge interest. I have to wonder if the kids of the moms who ban guns are more interested in them as a result...I bet that the answer is yes.

5 moms found this helpful

The rules for my boys are much like that of momofmany.
It seemed senseless in my house to say NO to guns when they all know that Daddy carries one for work. Daddy goes to war with a rifle and their big brother now has an excellent pistol qual on his own uniform. Guns are part of the military. That being said when they did play guns which my 9 year old still does, no shooting people, animals only if they are hunting, and bad guys if they are playing war.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

We are not anti-gun, but we are anti-violence and killing. :) Our children can play with toy guns, but in the context of noble things. They can hunt, they can protect, they can play war, they can take dominion. But, they cannot shoot innocents, women and girls, or just shoot 'em up for the thrill of it. If there is a clear bad guy who is doing harm, they can shoot. If someone is trying to hurt the girls, they can shoot. If they are in a war, they can shoot. If they are hungry, they can shoot the animal. Those sorts of things. I hope that makes sense. :)

7 moms found this helpful

Am I the only one who does not think it is a big deal for boys to have toy guns??? I have never made a big deal about this and as a result they have pretty much NO interest in guns at all. They will phase in and out of playing with all of their nerf guns and they used to have a bunch of western guns they liked and they would also use their fingers as guns. But really no huge interest. I have to wonder if the kids of the moms who ban guns are more interested in them as a result...I bet that the answer is yes.

5 moms found this helpful

The rules for my boys are much like that of momofmany.
It seemed senseless in my house to say NO to guns when they all know that Daddy carries one for work. Daddy goes to war with a rifle and their big brother now has an excellent pistol qual on his own uniform. Guns are part of the military. That being said when they did play guns which my 9 year old still does, no shooting people, animals only if they are hunting, and bad guys if they are playing war.

4 moms found this helpful

Boys love guns. I don't know if it's in their DNA or what, but they really do love their guns. I only have girls, but my cousins all have boys. They all have play guns in their houses, and I think one of my cousins' logic makes a lot of sense: if you forbid your child to play with something, it will only become more fascinating to them. You're better off allowing them to play with it as if it's just another toy, AND at the same time educating your child about the evils of playing with real guns, and what gun safety means. I was raised in a town where it seemed like all the men liked hunting and everyone (and I do mean everyone) had guns in their homes, and yet none of us grew up to be thugs. I think our parents talking to us all the time about gun safety (and knowing that our dads would unleash hell on us if we were ever caught playing with real guns) made us less fascinated with them.

4 moms found this helpful

Instances like this can be seen as an opporunity to teach a lesson. Teach him about proper gun safety and uses and of course how dangerous a gun can be when used improperly.

My 2 1/2 yr old son has a play rifle, but we are a hunting household. When he's 4, he will get his first real rifle. I haven't been through a hunter's safety course and my husband said he would like a refresher, so once our son it old enough to take the course, we're going to go through it together as a family.

4 moms found this helpful

This is a complicated question, isn't it?

My husband and I are both former military. While my husband has firearms in the home, they are under lock and key, stored with safety locks, and separate from the ammunition. I would love to get rid of all of them, personally. I have never seen a gun do a *good* thing, and as I'm a vegetarian, it's not part of our food-gathering (while I do understand and respect families who hunt for food, respectful of the animals that give their life so that they might eat).

In regard to my 3.5 year old son, he's in preschool and there is no gun play allowed there. Neither do I allow it in my preschool; if I have a child intent on "shooting", it has to be something goofy and we pretend we are squirting jelly, or whipped cream or something yummy and gooey. And we only aim at things, not animals or people.

I also agree with Laurie, that 3 and 6 is a big age difference. Play together will work if supervised, true, and being clear with the neighbor mom about your family's values is important ("we don't allow violent play, and this includes guns"). There are plenty of other things to do. If her son 'only' wants to play guns, maybe it's time to find new friends for your son.

Most of us have conflict from time to time in regard to parenting styles/family rules with other adults. I am clear with my son that living things are not for hurting, period. (This includes not stripping/destroying plants, as some of our neighbor kids are allowed to do.) I expect that, if my son is with a family that doesn't have this same regard for life, it's my job to make the better choice and either redirect the play or find some new playmates. This only very occasionally causes conflict in my own family as we have plenty of older boy cousins, but this value--regard for the life of other sentient beings-- matters deeply to me. If everyone agreed not to hurt other living creatures, imagine how much better the world will be.

3 moms found this helpful

Maybe a 3-year old shouldn't be 6-year old because there is an age gap between the two. 6-year olds play a certain way and 3-year olds have thei own age appropriate type of play. When my children were 3, I always stayed around to supervise their playdates so I always had a lot of control over what they were exposed to and what they were doing on those playdates. Of course, each mom handles things differently and has their own playdate set ups going on. This is just the way that I handled ours.

2 moms found this helpful

How about "You aren't allowed to play with that, no matter where you are. Next time Joey says to play guns with him, you need to tell him "My mom won't let me play with that.""

I remember that my parents allowed us to watch the Simpsons when we were in Middle school. Our friends were not allowed, so when they came over, we were not supposed to watch it with them. It's just respectful to the other parents and their wishes. In your situation - let the other mom know your issue with it. Are there not about a million other toys that the two boys could play with together?

2 moms found this helpful

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