AIBU to think that kids shouldn't play war?(46 Posts)
Ds came home with a toy he won in school this week (he is 4) it was a toy soldier and he loves it. I hate it, don't understand why kids should play 'war' I don't like him playing with guns and wouldn't get him a police playmobil set because it had guns in it. Guns exist to kill people or things, they are not toys and I can't stand ds playing games where people get hurt. I admit that maybe I am over precious, DH thinks it's all part of learning about the world and that war is a part of life, always has been and always will be. Please help settle this argument
and side with me
I've always thought the same way as you OP. But despite my efforts my son was making guns of sticks and stickle bricks before I even knew he was aware of weapons. War and violence is so ingrained in popular culture it seeps through.
Kids have been playing variations of war since time immemorial. Dislike it all you like, you can't change it.
You could just remove the guns from the playmobil set.
To be fair, he didn't ask for the playmobil set, I just thought he would like it but the guns put me off. He has never mentioned soldiers or guns before so it's obviously come from school friends and is a new issue for me. I dont even like water pistols
Oh ok. We also have a no gun house tbh. My son does have the playmobil police sets though but most of his tiny accessories go in a box and are rarely used.
What would you say if he wanted to join the Army? Generations have played 'war', be it with a toy gun or a stick. I think YABU.
I think you will just need to get over yourself.
Instead of getting upset about guns and war, direct your energies into teaching kindness and empathy. That way as you DC grow up they can balance mankind's naturally aggressive nature against a more positive and caring one.
I would have agreed with you before children however:
1. Children make guns out of anything-yes, before you even think they've heard of them
2. Guns are actually better to play with than swords when they're young because there isn't physical contact. not so many parents object to swords for some reason.
3. My uncle and aunt refused to let their dc have guns. One of the dc became quite obsessed with them. Eventually they got him a cap pistol. Three days later he'd got bored with the concept and never used it again. By denying it you're actually making it more desirable.
When ds was about 5yo he asked his dsis (about 12yo) to play with his soldiers. She said she didn't really like playing war, could she be something neutral.
Quick as a flash he responded with "Okay, we'll play Pearl harbour, you can be the US".
Dd1 was but it did make them look at a bit of history together.
I would be devastated if he wanted to join the army to be honest! I would try not to show it but I would really struggle. Maybe I do need to get over myself and I am overthinking. I am a nurse and am empathetic to a fault, he seems to be the same (visibly distressed at some sad scenes in films etc) so I do think if he actually knew the ins and outs of guns he would feel the same
Children have always and will play 'war'. In the kindest possible way you are being over sensitive. Children just see it as a game. As they grow up they grow out of it. You need to let them go through this phase (which it is).
I never had a problem with my DC playing with guns, and my three had a ridiculous amount of toy guns of all different types and loved playing shooting games.
The three of them are now in their late teens and early twenties and are gentle, loving young men with not a streak of violence in any of them.
Playing with guns doesnt make children violent. They need to learn the difference between fantasy and reality.
I believe banning them is more harmful.
Me too OP. I don't allow violent toys like guns, nunchucks. DS is four and we don't let him watch violent things like Batman or even power rangers.
Exception for water pistols (because they're clearly for water soaking not pretending to kill people.
And if he just happens to start playing imagination games which involve pretending to fight I won't stop him because I can't control what he thinks. He doesn't do that yet and I think that's partly because he's not been exposed to the idea of violence as being positive or fun and cool.
mine played with guns(toys) was a big fan of power rangers....and all that type of stuff.
now a man and well a pretty good guy
Just so you know....my ex DP is in army. He has allowed DD to hold and 'explore/ play' with his gun! (When she is with him) I am horrified, but she doesn't understand. So I do understand how you feel, but believe me....you really don't need to worry...
Kids who play at fighting or war don't always do it because they think violence is positive, often there is a substantial element that goes against violence for the sake of it.
OP, we don't allow gun play. I don't think you're being precious.
Yes, my children did make lego or stick guns but I'm fecked if I'm going spend a single penny normalising gun violence.
We have been totally open with them about why.
I think it is totally normal for all children to play games where people die or get hurt.
It doesn't mean they think war or death are positive things. It's just part of the way they learn to understand things and to explore scary ideas about in a safe way - making sense of the darker things in life through games or stories is a normal and healthy part of most children's development. That's partly why fairy tales are full of dark and scary things like witches fattening up children to eat them, wolves eating grandparents, evil stepmothers trying to kill their stepkids etc.
I know lots of parents ban kids from specifically playing with toy guns, and that's up to them; I have no view on that either way. I'm not too keen on military toys either, so I understand why you feel uncomfortable about toy soldiers. It's also entirely reasonable for parents not to let their children watch violent TV programmes full of fighting.
But it's not reasonable to try to stop children playing imaginative games that feature pretend violence or death, and it would be a bit repressive and unhealthy IMO. By all means ban toy guns if you think it will help, but when your child and his friends inevitably point two fingers at each other and shouts 'bang bang' (which they will, whether you let him have toy soldiers or not) I don't think it's reasonable to tell him he mustn't do that.
We've always thought the same as you op. Never bought ds guns. However, he makes them instead. Out of lego, out of sticks, out of anything at all he can find. The fighting and gun play has only become more pronounced since mixing with other kids regularly at primary school. It began in earnest in reception and we fast became aware that we were, excuse the turn of phrase, fighting a losing battle. It's everywhere around them and their peers want them to pretend to shoot each other. They then start getting Nerf envy. At Christmas they put it at the top of their list to Santa and then all of a sudden you're left with either risking a very disappointed child on Christmas Day, or one who no longer believes in Santa at the grand old age of six. Santa bought ds a Nerf gun this year. I've justified it to myself that he's a good, kind boy who takes care of others and knows that real guns kill and maim people. I wasn't prepared for him to visit his cousins over Christmas and see the lovely big Nerf guns that Santa had bought them and feel short changed. I'll add it to the growing list of Things I Said I'd Never Do When I Have a Child.
Children make sense of the world through play. It isn't normalising violence, it's a way to work through their experiences of it. This explains it better than I can!
Yep, we were got be a gun free house. That was until I had a son who turned rulers, twigs, loo roll cardboard and kitchen utensils into guns. They need to role play to understand the world, to understand where they fit in world and to build their gender identity. Oddly, despite being against gun play initially, we have a son who became an army officer. He sees his role not as war mongering but peacekeeping.
agree with lots of what's been said.
I would also add, I don't think children think of war in the way adults do (knowing what it actually means and the consequences of it), but it's just much more about 'goodies' and 'baddies'. Chidlren tend to see the world as very much black-and-white, and want the 'goodies' to be rewarded and the 'baddies' to be punished.
I think this is about learning empathy, and wouldn't discourage it.
Doesn't mean you can't have conversations that go alongside it.
But would really council you against "banning" anything. Forbidden fruit always tastes the sweetest!
I hate guns too, but I also recognise it's a normal part of play, as is violence/pretend killing etc. It's uncomfortable for me to watch and I really dislike violent language etc (I hate violent films or TV programmes) but children need to explore these thoughts and ideas in a safe way. As it happens toy guns get fairly limited play in our house and DS seems to prefer imaginative games with friends (although there's still a fair amount of cartoon violence going on as far as I can tell) - I just try not to make a big deal out of them and even join in the play sometimes.
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