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Toy Guns

(68 Posts)
Nutjob Tue 07-Jan-03 17:31:43

Something someone said on the 'Boy's Toy's' thread about their ds playing with Action Men (minus guns)struck a chord with me, but rather than hijack the thread I thought I'd start a new one, so here goes!!

The other day whilst out shopping my ds dragged dh and me into a toy shop as he wanted a blow-up Spiderman, dh picked up a toy gun and suggested we get him that too. I said I didn't want him playing with guns, toy or otherwise, and he said that I was being silly and overly PC and what was the difference between that and his Light Sabre? Anyway, we didn't get it but what do you think was I being daft or do you agree?

hmb Tue 07-Jan-03 17:35:11

This is a case of each to his/her own I think. I did by a wooden pop gun for Ds in the end, as he spent most of his time shooting people with his finger, or a stick, or a pencil. In the end I decided that he would have a 'gun' regardless of what I did. I try to stear him towards more positive play as well. You just have to do what you think is best.

SoupDragon Tue 07-Jan-03 17:41:01

I don't have a problem with my DSs playing with imaginary guns like sticks or building them out of lego but I don't want them to have a toy one, particulary those that resemble a real one.

When they're playing with their imaginary ones (DS1 only so far) I do make a point of saying it's not nice to shoot people and we should only shoot monsters

It is very much a personal thing and I don't think you can avoid boys playing guns one way or another. DS1 taught himself to build lego guns at a young age without prompting from me or DH. It must be imprinted in male genetic coding!

hmb Tue 07-Jan-03 17:49:22

I also didn't want him to have a gun that looked 'real'. So I got a wooden pop gun, which was as non-gun like as I could manage!

mears Tue 07-Jan-03 17:54:03

My kids were never bought guns when they were young - they just made them out of Duplo instead

SoupDragon Tue 07-Jan-03 18:01:15

DS1 loves the "squirrel gun" my parents have to shoot squirrels in their garden. It's one of those huge water guns with the pump action which shoot water 10 feet or so He's too little to work it though (thankfully!!)

Nutjob Tue 07-Jan-03 20:09:52

I have to say that my ds does use other things as guns (ie bits of lego, or big jigsaw pieces) it must just be an in-built boy thing. I can put up with that, I just don't want to actually supply him with replica guns and actively encourage it.

Lindy Tue 07-Jan-03 20:15:15

I hate the idea of any children playing with guns & when I was a Cub Leader I caused a bit of an uproar by refusing to let my Cubs join activities where 'shooting' was involved .......... however, my DS is only 22 months so its not an issue yet & I don't know what my reaction will be when he's older & under peer pressure......... and DH has already said 'I like the idea of our DS joining the services when he's old enough!'.

sb34 Wed 08-Jan-03 00:42:50

Message withdrawn

anais Wed 08-Jan-03 00:48:52

I won't buy my kids guns. I keep hearing the argument that if I don't provide them then ds will make his own, but I won't encourage him by buying him one.

Tortington Wed 08-Jan-03 03:33:45

my kids have had guns in the past and the only issue i had was the noise they made and the crap they were made out of which made them dangerous - thats the reason i dont buy them- no moral one.
my teenager wanted a bb gun or pellet gun which was a craze in the area where we lived the summer before last when he was 12years old. i refused to buy one then when we were on holiday in france hubbie bought him one - son was over the moon, i was furious, i waited til everyone was asleep and trod on it and left it on the floor - then had a go at him for not putting it away and how it was his own fault!

Demented Wed 08-Jan-03 13:55:49

OK it's me who has the DS with the Action Men (minus guns). Even before having children I was not keen on the idea of toy guns. IMO if they want to turn their finger into a gun or a stick it is a million miles away from buying them a replica of the real thing, even if it is lumo orange, I am careful that DS1 doesn't see anything on TV with guns but this is not always easy, found him cuddled up with his Papa one day watching Bridge over the River Kwai.

Over the last few years my feelings on this subject have become alot stronger. Having been brought up just a few miles from Dunblane and knowing one of the families whose son was shot I now find the image of children pretending to shoot each other with toy guns makes me feel physically sick. One of the worst occasions I experienced this was when my DS1 was about 18 months or so I was standing at the autoteller with him parked in his buggy next to me when another mum came up with her DS who looked about 3 in the buggy brandishing a black replica gun (looked very life-like) and he was pretending to shoot my DS, sorry if this offends but I just felt like giving his mother a shake and asking what she is teaching her child and does she not remember what happened to those little children in Dunblane.

My DS1 is no angel by any stretch of the imagination and is going through a gun phase at the moment, pretending he has found a gun, saying who he will shoot with a gun, I don't make a big issue but have explained that guns are not nice, they hurt people, mostly I just try to ignore him when he talks about guns but I am not going to give him a toy gun to play with.

hmb Wed 08-Jan-03 14:00:00

I understand your argument Demented. However when my son 'shoots' his gun it is to make a small bit of cork pop out attached to a bit of string. His gun no more resembles a real one than a banana

anais Wed 08-Jan-03 23:31:43

Hmb, it may not resemble a real one, but IMHO you are still teaching the idea that violence is acceptable.

I'm with you demented. I hate to see kids playing with guns, it really makes me cringe.

WideWebWitch Wed 08-Jan-03 23:55:41

Missed this before but I agree with you nutjob. I don't want ds to have toy guns and he knows this and makes a beeline for them if we're at a friends house (if he knows his friend has one). He says to me "look, it's not real mummy, doesn't kill anyone see?" but that's not the point IMO. Guns are for one thing only - killing - and therefore I don't like them, toy or not. Some action men given to ds did have some guns but thankfully they've all been lost. I do agree that boys very often seem to make their own though if they're not allowed them. ds used to.

hmb Thu 09-Jan-03 07:07:23

Yes, Anais, I get my son to hit everyone in the playground, and then I give him a nice raw steak to get him used to eating babies when he grows up. I am no more 'teaching' him that violence is right than anyone who lets their son point a finger and go bang, or make a duplo gun and use it. My son is taught that violence in *not* acceptable, while recognising that it exists. Rather in the same way we usefairy stories, which are often very, very violent.

hmb Thu 09-Jan-03 07:44:59

Sorry didn't get time to finish my posting. He now seldom plays with his pop gun. He never makes one out of duplo, and never seaks one out at friends houses. His is far more interested in his trains, cars, and cooker. It sounds as if Ds is far *less* interested in guns than the sons of other posters. IMHO, an absolute ban often makes the object far more desired and kids will go for it all the more. And do you ban all films with guns, for example Tarzan, Bambi, and lets not forget the huntsman's axe in Snow white? I realise that eveyone draws the line where they see fit, but I resent the statement that I am teaching my son that volence in acceptable. I am not.

Cityfreak Thu 09-Jan-03 10:37:29

I actually have a big problem with Action Man and I would never let ds have one, because Action Man's body is so awful, he has obviously been taking steroids. If you look at the bodies of real men who actually are fit and play sport every day, they no way look like Action Man. I don't want ds to grow up thinking he is meant to end up with a body like Action Man and is inadequate if he doesn't. I don't think guns can be regarded as toys, but mainly because all the other toys and games involve playing at what we really do, eg play at house, play at visiting a doctor when toy animal gets hurt, play at sailing in a boat with the animals/our friends, play at shopping, or it is metaphorical, eg you be a polar bear and I'll be a penguin, representing something real and a conflict, but not involving humans. Our fantasy games rarely involve humans, but involve, say, wild animals or situations which are obviously unreal. By contrast, I don't have a gun, and never kill anyone. Actually, when I was growing up in a very anti-violence household, we did have a long shiny black plastic machine gun that said, "Akkk-akkk-akkk". This is because my dad had been in the army and in combat he has killed people and seen his men die all around him(which he hates to discuss), so, he taught us really strict rules about this toy gun, eg check the safety catch is on, how to carry it not pointing at anyone or any toy animal, never point it in anger, etc, etc, so it became our most boring toy and we never played with it. I can't see the difference between telling your child he is not allowed to bite his friends and telling him that he is not allowed to shoot his friends.

hmb Thu 09-Jan-03 11:17:48

The difference is that if Ds bites a child is hurts and can bruise or cut the skin. If he uses a toy gun it doesn't really shoot the other child. I would naturally never allow my child to play with any sort of real gun. And we would never have a real gun in the house. I would allow my Dd to play at getting married, but I would not allow her to get married at the age of 6. The difference is between real hurt and imagination.

anais Thu 09-Jan-03 12:02:06

Hmb, there is a difference between tolerating your children playing with guns, and encouraging it by buying them.

Just for the record, my son has never played with guns. It may come (he's only 4) but he has very little exposure to them. It's not a case of an absolute ban, although I would never allow a toy gun in the house. It's just not an issue. Wrt banning films with guns, well, the kids don't watch much TV or videos, anyway. I'm not a big Disney fan, but no, I wouldn't ban the films. I think it's a question of balance.

anais Thu 09-Jan-03 12:04:49

Cityfreak, Action Men (and Barbies) are also not welcome here. I think they stifle creativity and encourage violence (or other issues in Barbies case...).

Batters Thu 09-Jan-03 12:16:39

Anais, my dd plays most creatively with her Barbies !

hmb Thu 09-Jan-03 12:16:45

Anais, I did not encorage by buying, he did it first with duplo. Having a gun has defused the desire. I agree it is all balence.

SoupDragon Thu 09-Jan-03 12:41:12

As I said earlier, I never taught DS1 to build guns, they pick up so much from playing with other children. I bet very few parents actually teach their children these things. I think DS1 built his first one shortly after starting at nursery! Playing by himself (ie without me) with other little boys, some with older brothers, clearly taught him something new Before then, most of his friends were girls - that's just how things worked out in my circle of friends.

I do not believe that by "allowing" him to build guns and play like that will breed violence or make him think violence is acceptable. Quite the opposite as it raises the opportunity to explain what is or isn't acceptable. I never tolerate him 'shooting' anything other than imaginary monsters (or, in the case of the water pistol at my parents house, squirrels). If I find him trying to shoot me, his little brother or any friends, I tell him no and explain how it is not acceptable. Will this breed a more violent adult than denying him this particular imaginary play completely? I don't think so. I would hope it breeds a well rounded person who understands the implications of guns etc.

We had an air rifle as children (from about 9 in my case I think) and it never ever occurred to me to use it for violence. It was purely to shoot tin cans in the garden or at targets or, occasionally, the greenhouse & fruit trees (but don't tell my dad ). It certainly hasn't made me or my elder brothers into violent adults by any stretch of the imagination! When my DSs are of an appropriate age (9 or up), I would have no qualms about allowing them to use it when we visit my parents under strict supervision and with the appropriate lecture about safety and violence.

It is a question of balance and personal taste (I'm not sure 'taste' is quite the word I was looking for). I do not let my DSs have a toy gun at this sort of age (4 and 2) as I consider it inappropriate. I did not, however, stop DS1 playing with a gun that one of his friends brought round on a visit. If we visited someone's house where I knew they were very anti-toy guns, I would discourage DS1 from building any etc. I tend to do this when we go out anyway.

As I said at the start, it's tricky because they have so much outside influence once they start nursery or school.

Temptress Thu 09-Jan-03 12:50:00

With the issued raised in this post I think the key word is "education". If you educate your child as to what is right and wrong then I dont think it will harm them to play with "toy" guns or action man or barbie. My brother grew up with play guns and he has never had the inclination to go out and shoot someone. I grew up with barbie but have never aspired to look like her.

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