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Does your 3 or 4 yr old have toy guns?

(80 Posts)
Gobbledigook Thu 12-May-05 11:45:40

Just wondering. Mine don't have any guns.

Was going to a friends yesterday afternoon and when we met at pre-school she asked me if I minded that her son had some new action men with guns that he wanted to show to my son that afternoon. I said it was her house and I wasn't going to say she couldn't have them out but that we didn't have any guns in our house.

There was no big deal made about it but I've been thinking about it since (oh, because we didn't go to her house in the end, we all went to the park because it was so nice) - her son is only 3.5 and I'm also just really surprised because the Mum is very, very religious and talks a lot about how she hates those Bratz dolls and how she only really wants him to watch CBeebies and keep him away from 'bad things' for as long as possible. I said I was surprised she had them (we know each other well so it was OK for me to say this iyswim! it was said nicely!) and she said 'oh yes but he spotted them in the shop and he wanted them' - this shocked me too really! I don't care what ds spots in the shops - I'm the mummy and I'll decide if he's having it!

Anyway, dh thought I was being silly about the gun thing and said all boys play with them - I know they do but so far we've avoided it as the boys are only 4, 2 and 8 months and I'd like to keep it that way for as long as I can.

Blossomhill Thu 12-May-05 11:47:18

I never bought them for my ds either gdg. However he will make them out of lego, his fingers which is something I do let him do but don't encourage it IYSWIM. I find gun play usually leads to boisterous aggressive behaviour so we try and avoid it!!!

Gobbledigook Thu 12-May-05 11:52:59

I kind of expect that later down the line BH but why would someone introduce Action Man and the like to a 3 or 4 yr old when it would be fairly easy at this stage to avoid it? I don't get it!

coppertop Thu 12-May-05 11:53:39

Ds1 is 4yrs old and has always been allowed to play with toy guns. It doesn't bother me peronally. Obviously if he was going to a house where there was a no-guns rule then I would make sure he didn't take one with him.

elliott Thu 12-May-05 11:55:40

Mine is 3.5 and doesn't have any, but I am a bit confused abotu how to deal with the issue. My gut feeling is that I don't want these sorts of toys in the house, but I wonder really if that is a bit misguided. I mean, if he really wanted a toy gun perhaps it would be better to let him have it wihtout making a big fuss and making it seem forbidden and desirable. In the past few months he has done a lot more pretend fighting and shooting, which I tend to neither encourage nor discourage.
I've also so far avoided buying castles, forts and pirate ships because I hate the way that most 'boys' dolls house substitutes are all about fighting. BUT i know he would really love a pirate ship (and tbh its something I would have enjoyed as a child - I loved playing cowboys and indians with toy cap- guns and bows and arrows too!) so is it wrong to deny it him?

Hulababy Thu 12-May-05 11:59:09

elliott - ELC does a very chunky, child like pirate ship - very much like Happy Land. My 3yo DD has this, and never uses it for fighting purposes at all. Might be a compromise.

Kayleigh Thu 12-May-05 11:59:32

Have two boys of 6 and 3. Once Ds1 attended nursery he was always making guns out of his fingers, lego, cardboard middle from kitchen roll etc, etc but I would never buy a toy gun and he knew this. Ds2 has never been into guns in a shape or perform - he prefers to be spiderman and spin webs

Actually thinking about it, they have had water pistols in the paddling pool in summer. But when they play with them they don't play fighting games, more water games IYKWIM.

suzywong Thu 12-May-05 11:59:59


ssd Thu 12-May-05 12:01:07

Mine does but I think it depends on the child. My ds1 wasn't interested in guns, swords etc. but ds2 absolutely loves them. So he plays with them. I don't think for a second they encourage boys to grow up and want a real gun same as a little girl with a dolly in a pram doesn't want a real baby as soon as she can. They are children and if they want to play make believe cowboys etc. then let them, they enjoy it and boys especially sometimes need to channell their aggression/ feelings through play and this I believe is a good thing, rather than trying to make them contain their feelings and be what their parents think they should be....Not trying to start a fight but these "should boys have guns" debates get on my nerves! Why don't we ask "should girls have dolls" = equally as tiresome

Gobbledigook Thu 12-May-05 12:03:26

Elliot, I know what you mean. Ds1 hasn't asked for toy guns or anything like that and I don't tend to take them round toy shops so it's not really an issue in our house yet. None of my friends who have children the same age, have them either - except for this one yesterday and as it is we didn't go there anyway. I certainly wouldnt' have wanted them to running round her house 'shooting' each other. Ds2 is only 2 so I don't really want him picking up on it just yet.

Like you though, I think 'would it really matter?' My brothers had soldiers etc and they haven't grown up into violent deliquents!

I suppose they are just still so little right now and it seemed a shame that this other boy had guns at such a young age when really it could have been avoided for now.

GhostofNatt Thu 12-May-05 12:04:29

Mine have castles, knights pirate ships and swords galore. they love this stuff and it has actually made them very interested in history in a limited sort of way - a lot of what they do with it is not about fighting but about solving mysteries / having adventures. I just think back to my onw childhood in 70s - went round with cap guns and bows and arrows being cowboys and indians and don't think any harm was done...

robin3 Thu 12-May-05 12:06:07

A friend of mine gave birth to DS2 and asked DH to take DS1 to choose a gift for himself and for the baby.....After a great deal of consideration DS1 selected a soft car toy for new brother and a toy pistol/holster for himself. On entering the maternity ward he shot a number of staff and then his mother at close range whilst shouting 'your money or your life'!

DH's defence was he was excited about the baby and temporarily lost the use of his mind.

My DS is too small for guns idea what I'll decide to do when he's not.

jodee Thu 12-May-05 12:06:57

No (sort of). He has a couple action men and they come with tiny little machine guns.

I don't like them, but he (aged 5) is now getting sucked in with all the latest Star Wars merchandise (he won't be going to see it!) and keeps asking for a light sabre.

basketcase Thu 12-May-05 12:17:24

I agree elliott, just refusing to have toy weapons in the home does seem a little bit misguided to me, even if I totally understand why. My DD goes round pretending to "shoot" the "baddies" in her bedroom using a broken Barbie doll leg (I am serious, she really does this) because we have no toy weapons. So by not having any weapons, what have i acheived? I guess I have helped her creative skills a fraction by coming up with an alternative weapon but she still shoots baddies. I guess my inability to help her understand why playing "shooting games" is so wrong is at the heart of the problem. Why have I not successfully explained to her that it is wrong? because I have no clear way of explaining it that makes perfect sense to her - she says things like "but I am being good mummy, I am stopping the baddies." I have tried explaining that two wrongs don’t solve anything, about justice and morality but she is only 4 years old and will answer me with things like "yes mummy, but it is only a game, I am only playing at shooting, not really hurting people..."
So should I buy her that ninja turtle dino thunder sword thingie and outfit for her birthday? Still undecided

happymerryberries Thu 12-May-05 12:26:16

Ds has one or two pop guns. It isn't an issue. He playes with them sometimes, he mostly plays with his stickle bricks, lego and train sets. Friends of his who don't have them at home make a bee line for them when they come round to play.

It is all part of boys imaginative play, if you make it a no-no you just put it underground and make it all the more alluring.

I played with mechano as a kids, doesn't mean that I grew up to be an engineer.

this one will run and run, girls, it always does.

Magscat Thu 12-May-05 12:28:53

My boy is neaarly 4 and has just started playing shooting games with next door's lad's weapoms (guns & swords - he's 10).

I have told him I don't like them and I won't stop him playing with them but I won't join in and he can't bring them in the house.

I told him guns are only made for one thing - killing and he said 'Yes but it's only pretend' which reassured me a bit.

I agree that making a big deal out of it will only make him want them more and I'm glad that so far he hasn't asked me to buy any cos I'm not sure what I'd do.

tarantula Thu 12-May-05 12:34:57

dd(16 mnths) has got an action man dolly and loads of powerranger things that she has nicked from dss's toybox and she loves them so Im not going to take them off her but then shes a bit young to understand any of the guns/shooting stuff. We didnt buy any guns for dss and I actively disapproved of them when he was little but fat lot of notice he took of that tho he didnt ever point them at me as I objected to that. I think kids will be kids and some will be interested in guns and swords etc and some wont. If they dont have them theyll make them.

tarantula Thu 12-May-05 12:39:07

Have to add at this point that both dp and I have 'toy' weapons (axes and knives)in the house for reenactment so us banning guns might be seen as being a bit hypocritical . and dd has a stuffed axe and dss a wooden sword and leather axe too. So def changed my mind about this as time has gone on.

flum Thu 12-May-05 12:43:24

my niece has got a toy nuclear bomb!!!!! I'm not kidding. Its from Japan and you can fill it up with buildings and trees and plastic people and stuff and special powder and when you drop it everything flies everywhere and it makes a big pop and a powder puff.

its kinda cool

tarantula Thu 12-May-05 12:48:38

wow sounds like a cool toy Flum Probably not the best thing to give to a kid but cool all the same.

WideWebWitch Thu 12-May-05 12:51:22

Flum, are you serious? They make those? This was a swear expression but I've moderated myself! My ds didn't have them and I wouldn't allow them because guns are solely designed for killing people. I didn't care that he wanted them, he wants chocolate for breakfast lunch and supper too and he won't get that either. I didn't care that it's a toy, I didn't like it so he wasn't getting it. Having said this, he did have Action Men given to him and I didn't actually remove the guns that came with them. Yes, all the boys I've known want them and go through a stage of shooting each other with toy somethings but I'm still glad I didn't buy them tbh. And it's the only toy that can get you into trouble outside the house if police think it's a real one (not that it's a great reason against them but still, if they're not ok in public, why ok in private).

roisin Thu 12-May-05 12:53:06

We don't have guns, and the boys (6 and 7) know I disapprove. When they were very young we had some plastic swords, but they just hit each other with them (what else were they supposed to do with them!) so I banned all weapons. We also immediately throw in the bin anything used as a weapon.

Occasionally they go through a phase of making guns with lego, or pretending guns, but those phases are fairly rare and don't last long.

I'm happy for them to play with guns on playdates, but not in my house.

kid Thu 12-May-05 12:53:26

My DS (3) doesn't have any guns. He has often asked for a one in a shop but I tell him no because they hurt people. He now tells me if we see a toy gun in the shop that he isn't allowed them. I wouldn't care if he played with them at someone elses house but I wouldn't let him have any at home.

In the past, he has eaten a piece of toast and made it into a gun shape to shoot with! He also makes his fingers into a gun shape, when I ask him if its a gun, he says 'no its a water pistol!'

WideWebWitch Thu 12-May-05 12:54:09

Ha ha roisin, I remember a friend screaming at her son when he whacked another boy with a sword "IT'S NOT A WEAPON!" er, yes it is actually!

roisin Thu 12-May-05 13:00:43

DS2 came home from a party the other day with a 'party bag present' - a horrible plastic man with 4 guns. Even dh commented, and he doesn't feel as strongly as me. Ds2 just said "he looks really ugly, doesn't he?" and I think he approved (he certainly didn't object at all) when I threw it in the bin.

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