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If you don't let your children play with toy guns...

(108 Posts)
BoatingLife Wed 05-Aug-20 15:23:33

If you don't let your children play with toy guns, please can you talk about how this has worked out for you? E.g. how you have managed this, and navigated it as the children have got older? I feel quite unsure about my DS playing with toy guns. I am definitely not going to buy him any. (He's a baby just now). And I'm quite clear about conversations I can have with him about it, but not about how to manage within the context of other people's children, or when my DC have play dates etc and see others with toy guns, or when he is gifted toy guns...

I know there'll be some who think this approach is wrong and may say "let children be children", "they are just toys", "don't be so woke / namby pamby / liberal" etc etc. But if you are along the same line of thought as I am, and in your gut instinct as a parent it feels wrong, what do you do about it?

OP’s posts: |
MissNotMrs Wed 05-Aug-20 15:29:20

I did feel similar when my eldest was little. Do you mean no laser guns/nerf guns? All guns?

AldiAisleofCrap Wed 05-Aug-20 15:30:21

Pointless , it’s highly likely your ds will make guns out of Lego and twigs.

Fanthorpe Wed 05-Aug-20 15:32:10

Having seen primary age boys make ‘guns’ out of anything from Lego to sticks I’d say it’s a great idea but harder to remove such a widespread idea from play.

He’ll go to other people’s houses who have them, he’ll watch films and tv with them in, gaming has them in buckets.

Whatever you decide be prepared to compromise, but most importantly talk about how violence isn’t acceptable and the difference between fantasy and reality.

Fanthorpe Wed 05-Aug-20 15:33:04

@AldiAisleofCrap - snap 😆

BoatingLife Wed 05-Aug-20 15:34:41

@MissNotMrs Good question. There is so much thought needed! I guess I'm imagining toy guns designed to look like they are for killing people. There are some guns specifically for sport / targets which whilst i wouldn't necessarily purchase, might be okay within the context of that activity I guess? What do you think?

@AldiAisleofCrap yes, but if you just throw you hands in the air and say oh well I won't do anything as it's pointless, you're surely sending out the wrong message to your child and normalising this? I mean, you could say everything is pointless - e.g. trying to restrict screen time, but parents generally try because it's healthier...

OP’s posts: |
BoatingLife Wed 05-Aug-20 15:35:32

Whatever you decide be prepared to compromise, but most importantly talk about how violence isn’t acceptable and the difference between fantasy and reality.

This is very true

OP’s posts: |
Fanthorpe Wed 05-Aug-20 15:35:41

It was always the children whose mums wouldn’t let them play with guns/watch tv/have biscuits who would make a beeline for them in other people’s houses.

Lelophants Wed 05-Aug-20 15:36:40


MissNotMrs Wed 05-Aug-20 15:36:40

It also really depends on your Ds. I've 3 boys and they've a tonne of nerf guns/laser x guns, they absolutely used and still use sticks as part of imaginative play when we're out. Whereas my brother was never interested in them at all.

When my eldest was young I didn't like the idea of him playing with guns and avoided it for a while, encouraged different play etc. But when we're at the park and all his friends are running around pretending to shoot each other it's a hard battle to win tbh. Friends have had nerf birthday parties in gardens, laser gun parties in halls. Needless to say I gave in. It's really just imaginative play and sometimes team building (depending on the setting etc)

But I do understand how you're feeling at the moment

Lelophants Wed 05-Aug-20 15:37:51

As a general rule my thought was I'd rather ds play with pretend stickguns then use one that looks real and become desensitized to it? Water pistols I'm fine with.

RubyFakeLips Wed 05-Aug-20 15:38:09

They really do make guns out of anything. Fingers even.

I think you should examine what it is your specifically trying to achieve? Is it that you don't want any 'violent' themed play, because toy guns aren't really a broad issue with much day to day impact. Are you going to ban swords? What is your end goal?

Janus Wed 05-Aug-20 15:39:14

I have a 9 year old boy. I’ve allowed nerf guns in the house and for a while he really enjoyed them but not so much now. I am MUCH stricter on no video games, no fortnite etc which is all about trying to shoot someone on the screen. He doesn’t have any of this, a lot of his friends do.

BingPot99 Wed 05-Aug-20 15:39:28

Make it clear to family /any friends who might buy birthday presents that you don't want him having any. If he does get given any, take them back to the shop and exchange for something else. As he gets older, have talks with him about why guns aren't toys etc, not nice to hurt people (eg nerf guns) etc and he should understand /might nor want them anyway. Make sure he has a variety of other toys to play with instead. If he goes to a friends house and they play with toy guns, just explain that like with alot of things, different parents have different opinions /rules. If he makes toy guns out of twigs etc, depending on how strongly you feel by that point, explain why you don't like it and stop him doing it. Basically, you are the parent and don't have to have any toys in your house which you don't agree with.

We have water pistols cos they are fun, and the ones we have don't actually look like guns...

SickOfNorthernExile Wed 05-Aug-20 15:40:09

I’m a very relaxed parent but don’t allow toys that approximate weapons- even made sure his water pistol didn’t look at all gun like grin. (He has more than enough cake, the occasional lemonade and haribo etc etc so don’t feel sorry for him.)

despite this he pretends bananas, sticks, his arms, and once, memorably, the toilet brush, are guns of some kind. Mostly he claims they shoot lasers or spider webs but even so...

He won. It was a pointless battle. Pun intended.

Still haven’t bought a gun type toy, but turns out he doesn’t need one.

Also having massive issues with “ninja moves” atm.

pallisers Wed 05-Aug-20 15:40:12

We never bought toy guns (but ds once bit his toast into the shape of a gun smile) We didn't police it in other people's houses. daycare and school wouldn't have toy guns anyway.

Apparently Matt Damon's mother refused to let them play with toy guns and one of her neighbours said to her after The Bourne Identity came out "well that no-violent toys thing worked out well right?" smile

Justgivemewine Wed 05-Aug-20 15:40:12


It was always the children whose mums wouldn’t let them play with guns/watch tv/have biscuits who would make a beeline for them in other people’s houses.

This ^^

Ds3’s friend is a classic example of this.
To the point the other kids get annoyed with him because that’s all he ever wants to play with when he’s at someone else’s house.

JingleCatJingle Wed 05-Aug-20 15:41:15

We banned guns and didn’t have them in the house. My sons did not even make pretend guns out of lego because they were not exposed to them.
We had water fights with those long tube suction things.
Nerf/laser tag was an occasional thing at friend’s houses.
We even had a child come to the house and say ‘I want to make some war, where are your guns?’ And my sons were like hmm . He did find a sword though. I think we had a trident too.
We just said ‘we don’t do guns’.

MissNotMrs Wed 05-Aug-20 15:41:26

You do have to be firm with rules of play though. Nerfs for example can hurt, so it's chest shots only allowed and I even bought them visors for their face because accidents happen.

Water guns...great fun
Guns that look real... mine weren't really interested in them and not readily available tbh
Swords... mine loved them, you get two still do
Bow and arrow type toys... again mine liked them

Seeleyboo Wed 05-Aug-20 15:43:32

I didn't let mine play with guns and he is now in 5 Rifles

ImFree2doasiwant Wed 05-Aug-20 15:43:34

Ds1 is 5 with no interest (yet) in anything gun or weapon related, apart from water shooters. Because he loves spraying water.

Ds2 is 3. He loves playing with toy guns, swords, daggers. He's had them in dressing up (sword from the highway rat for example) and won them on the fairground. He has no concept if what the guns are really, as he's never watched anything with shooting in. But still he loves them.

Camomila Wed 05-Aug-20 15:46:31

Pointless , it’s highly likely your ds will make guns out of Lego and twigs.

It may not even come up.

Modern superhero cartoons don't really show guns much and I've not seen a toy gun in a shop or advert other than water/nerf/laser guns....nothing army style.

Dilbertian Wed 05-Aug-20 15:46:43

I will not buy guns for my dc, nor allow our families to do so. On my side of the family we have experience with real guns. My father disagreed with me, until I explained that I had no issue with my dc learning to handle real guns, it was the trivialisation of guns that I objected to. I have seen injuries.

My dc can make guns if they wish. Some have, some haven't. One made a functioning crossbow 'pistol'. That was a very interesting and educational project, which I supported him in.

Mostly my friends know my position, but occasionally the dc have received Nerf guns as gifts when the child's parent was not in my friendship circle. I don't make a big deal of it.

The rule for all weapon toys in this house is that they are never to be pointed at anybody. I will and have confiscated them from guest children as well as my own dc when that rule has been broken. It doesn't take long for them to learn.

3teens2cats Wed 05-Aug-20 15:47:37

Gun play is controversial but not necessarily bad. It, and other kinds of superhero or rough play gives them a way to explore being the good guys or the baddies in a safe way. We tell them our soldiers are heroes after all. I didn't want to let mine have guns but they just made their own out of anything they had. So we had boundaries instead. You don't point in people's faces. You only shoot people who are playing with you and are happy to join in the game. You don't hurt anyone. You can always encourage play where it's pretend water being shot rather than bullets.

ThisMustBeMyDream Wed 05-Aug-20 15:50:32

My boys are 18, 7 and 5. My eldest had a nerf gun at some point, gifted at a birthday maybe when he was 8 or so. I never encouraged them, but just sort of ignored it's presence in the house. I think it got played with twice? It certainly didn't have the attraction that others said it would (boys make guns out of anything etc). I knew back then that I didn't want to encourage gun play, but figured making a deal out of it would encourage the attraction. It certainly never became a big deal to my son.

My younger two are the same. They don't have any, never asked for them, and don't make them out of other things.

I am probably quite lucky in that respect. I don't know what I would have done if there had been repeated requests. Maybe let them have them but teach them age appropriately about how real ones are used.

I guess education is the way forward really.

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