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Boys and guns/killing

(10 Posts)
skewiff Mon 01-Aug-11 22:21:19

DS is 4 1/4 and he is quite a gentle boy - or has been, I think.

But he's recently got into 'deading' things. I prefer his word for it, so don't correct him. He'll chase flies around the garden and dead them and all other insects, if possible. I have not made a big thing of it. I say its not nice and that flies are dirty and he must wash his hands etc.

Recently DS has started to say things like 'i'm going to dead you' under his breath, if he's cross with me. And this morning he said he'd dreamed he killed me with a spear because he wanted a different mummy who has an older daughter so that he could have an older sister!!!

I then watched a bit of Whistle down the Wind with him and there is a bit at the end where the man in the barn has a gun.

Since then DS has been out playing in the garden with pretend guns, shooting and killing pretend people. I know this is 'normal' for boys and he already does stuff like this at nursery but pretending to be a fireman and doing 'peeling' they call it, instead of shooting.

I felt really upset when I heard him doing the shooting and killing today though. My feeling is that I have to say something and stop it because if he doesn't realise what its all about now it could get an obsession and out of control.

I have said that we are kind to people in this family and do not go out of our way to make anybody hurt. I've linked it to other things we talk about like teasing/bullying/being mean/stealing things/ hitting etc

Is this too much? Should I just let him play and explore the theme? I really don't feel comfortable doing this, but don't believe in blocking children from exploring stuff either. However I would stop him from exploring jumping off a very high building or anything else dangerous ... so ...

I don't know ...

noblegiraffe Mon 01-Aug-11 22:33:19

The book Playful Parenting suggests that instead of trying to stop them playing guns, you join in. Then subvert the game. So you might make a gun a 'love gun', and if you get hit you fall in love with the shooter and sing songs about them and kiss and cuddle them.

It is something that he needs to get out of his system, but he might be stuck in a rut and you joining in would get him out of it.

However, my DS is not at that stage yet, so I don't know whether it would actually work in practice.

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Mon 01-Aug-11 22:47:14

We are just entering this phase and I don't like it either. It started when he started at a new nursery and lots of the boys play like this. I think because of that, stopping it will be an uphill battle!

You only have to have the lunchtime news on, guns are everywhere sad

Awaits more advice!

Jesusgirl Mon 01-Aug-11 23:02:06

Oh dear! I can imagine how you feel.

My ds age 7 now got interested in guns briefly about that age and right from the start I just explained to him that guns are not really nice cos people use it to harm other people and because of that 'we don't play with guns in this family' and thank goodness that was the end of that.

I never allowed toy guns or toy swords even (a bit extreme maybe) but I really do feel uncomfortable with kids going around threatening to kill someone.

I liked the idea of the 'love gun' though!
You could try distracting him with something else when he starts 'deading' things. You don't want to make a big deal but if you feel uncomfortable then just gently tell him when he starts 'oh do you want to play football' or whatever he enjoys doing.

Whoever said parenting was easy!!!

DeWe Tue 02-Aug-11 09:08:16

My cousin was really into pirates and desperate to have a gun, but his parents didn't want him playing with guns. Eventually they bought him a cap pistol, which, within a few days he decided he was frightened of and asked to have it put on top of the cupboard away from him. Cured him in record time. grin Probably doesn't work most of the time though.
Ds (just 4) comes out with these things, which I can only assume is from preschool, as we don't have a TV and what he watches on DVD is limited. I think the only thing he watched with a gun in is Famous Five, and that's fairly played down. I don't think at any point they do anything other than produce it and Timmy usually attacks them at that point so they're promptly overpowered. grin

AMumInScotland Tue 02-Aug-11 10:13:59

In all honesty, I don't believe that this type of play has any connection in their minds with "being nasty to people", or with violence, and is extremely unlikely to lead to an obsessive interest in guns, or to him doing anything which is dangerous to himself or others. It's just something which all boys seem to go through - in a few months he will almost certainly have stopped doing it, even if you do nothing to discourage it.

OTOH that doesn't mean you have to leave him to it if it upsets you. But I think you might get better results just by restricting it - eg he can shoot inanimate objects and pretend people, but can't shoot or point "guns" at people or animals, apart from other children he's playing shooting games with.

I and most of my friends spent a whole summer jumping out and shooting each other. We all grew up to be nice sensible caring adults!

BarbarianMum Tue 02-Aug-11 10:34:10

Ds1 (5.5) is very into the idea of guns, swords and killing at the moment. I don't like it, or encourage it but won't forbid him from doing it, as long as he understands not everybody likes it and he has to respect that. He is absolutely not allowed to kill living things though - including insects.

I loved gun games as a child and my ambition at one point was to emigrate to the States so I could own a real one. Then I grew up, became a pacifist and environmentalist. It was just a phase.

fargate Tue 02-Aug-11 10:51:39

Oh dear! I remember all the dreadful 'deading' of insects and shooting obsession when my DS was this age. Altho' we were also a gun-free,too as was his nursery and most of our friends households, it didn't seem to make much difference. He made guns from lego and sticklebricks and even toast.

I agree with AMumInScotland it doesn't last, it won't turn him into a gun-toting psychopath or a sadistic animal torturer - tho I found that like other undesirable behaviour escalated with too much negative attention from me.

The only thing I'd add is that there is no real understanding of death at this age and only a limited understanding of real vs pretend violence. My teenage DS completely understands this now.


Message withdrawn

skewiff Tue 02-Aug-11 21:10:22

Thank you everyone,

that's all very useful and helpful and has put my mind more at rest about the whole thing x

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