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why do some parents not allow toy guns?

(104 Posts)
baskingseals Thu 28-Apr-11 22:21:43

dd was playing with her cousins, who had a friend round. they were playing an elaborate army game with nerf guns. friend particularly enthusiastic, dd said he got on her nerves because he kept on shooting her. mum comes to collect friend and tells my sister that she doesn't allow guns at home - not judging my sister, just stating a fact.

do some parents think that by not allowing toy guns they are minimizing agression?
does it work ie if you don't allow toy guns are your children less aggressive?

BigCook Fri 29-Apr-11 11:44:48

It's not just about minimising aggression. For me it's about teaching ds that weapons of any kind, swords/ guns etc are not toys. The games that they encourage are violent and that in real life the actual things cause pain and suffering which should not be trivialised imo.

I hate seeing children pretending to shoot eachother. It's just not nice.

My son has zero aggression but I am not sure if that's a result of the no gins thing or if it's just his personality. Our parents never let us play with things like that either. For me it's a personal choice but I don't think playing with them HAS to make children violent iyswim?

BigCook Fri 29-Apr-11 11:45:55

guns though we also have a no gin rule too grin

mamsnet Fri 29-Apr-11 14:37:21

I'm with BigCook.. They trivialise something very, very serious..

For me it would also boil down to the question "what exactly would they get from playing with guns that they would miss out on without them?"

FreudianSlipOnACrown Fri 29-Apr-11 15:01:14

I don't believe it minimises aggression. That would be incredibly naive! It is really important to realise that children do naturally have aggressive urges sometimes, and it's important for them to run off steam and find safe ways to release excess energy and anger.

To me guns are a separate issue. I know my DCs will come across them at some point, and will no doubt run around with their hands clasped like a gun, or make a gun out of Lego, again it'd be naive to think we can avoid them forever. I basically just don't see the need to condone it myself, if that makes any sense, by having them at home. Same with swords.

faveroyalles Fri 29-Apr-11 15:03:36

I'm with bigcook too. When you see the damage that guns can do in RL, it really makes me wonder why so many people are happy to let their dc play with them.
Ds1 isn't interested in them anyway, ds2 likes them, but understands why I don't and doesn't play guns at home.

thisisyesterday Fri 29-Apr-11 15:04:40

of course it doesn't stop them being aggressive. you can't only be aggressive with a gun

i know there are people who argue that "children will make a gun out of anything"

well i disagree... they only make guns because they've SEEN guns or their friends tell them about shooting people.
utterly unnecessary and it trivialises something very dangerous imo

baskingseals Fri 29-Apr-11 15:39:53

thanks for your replies. i understand why now.

InPraiseOfBacchus Sun 01-May-11 15:34:02

"It's not just about minimising aggression. For me it's about teaching ds that weapons of any kind, swords/ guns etc are not toys. "

Presumably you'd be ok with a toy car? Or a toy baby?

peeriebear Sun 01-May-11 15:42:11

I don't allow guns either because it brings down something lethal to a trivial level. I despise them as a means of gaining power. "I hold the gun therefore I can make you do whatever I choose". Letting my children play with fake ones would not sit right with me in any situation.

NotJustKangaskhan Sun 01-May-11 16:20:09

Our kids don't have toy guns, but my eldest has a small wooden practice sword. I don't like toy guns because to me, all weapons are a kind of tool, and toy guns make using of it seem really trivial with no real scope of reality, big bravado without the responsibility - whereas you can practice with a wooden sword with good rules in place and start to gain skills. I would consider letting an older child have a nerf gun or water gun type thing, but only after a lot of discussion of the nature of guns.

My eldest did go through a phase of making guns out of things though. We have a rule where he could fight 'bad guys', but if he pointed at a real person or animal, it was going to be taken off of him. He stopped after a few weeks, though he still does swords (with the same rules applied, unless an adult wants to practice with him and then only with his wooden practice sword rather than his made up ones). We teach that these are tools that need to be used properly and respectfully, if he's not using the tools properly he can't have them because they can harm, and when he's older (He's only 6 now) he can be trained in them properly if he likes, but the same rules will apply.

I'm not sure about the minimizing aggression, I think toy guns would just be a part of a larger whole of a household on that.

BigCook Sun 01-May-11 17:36:46

InPraiseofBacchus what a pointless post. Errrrm last time I checked I actually see anyone pretending to kill their friends with a toy baby or car hmm.

It's the act of violence and the harm they do not the object I am uncomfortable with. Watching my 3 year old ds pretend to change baby's nappy is entirely different to watching my 3 year old pretend to blow someones head off and delight in the act of doing it. I previously stated it's the trivialising of the devastation they cause that I don't like. Entirely different to watching him pretending to race a car or feed a baby OBVIOUSLY.

baskingseals Sun 01-May-11 20:50:27

been thinking about this.
do you think that children's play is trivial?
if it is perceived to be trivial to adults, do children think it is trivial?

thank you for your patience

thisisyesterday Sun 01-May-11 21:49:47

interesting question BS....
am trying to remember being a child, and while I wouldn't say i thought my play was trivial, i didn't think it was that serious either.... I'm not sure!

DS1's play is most definitely not trivial, he takes it very seriously and this is one reason why I am not keen for him to be playing guns

FreudianSlipOnACrown Sun 01-May-11 21:53:29

No I don't think it's trivial at all. Play is the work of childhood - it is their life!

madhattershouse Sun 01-May-11 21:57:12

For what it's worth I remember playing "professionals" with my brother, driving my grandad mad with spud guns...never turned me to violence- I am a pacifist!! My kids play with guns and swords, they have to study war at school!!

baskingseals Sun 01-May-11 21:58:39

thanks again - just tried to post something but need to do more thinking
<slow emoticon>

bruffin Sun 01-May-11 21:58:43

Research shows that children that are allowed to play with guns, make guns etc out of lego are a lot less agressive than those that have been banned. It's to do with letting out their agression out in a non physical way ie hitting.

Bumperlicioso Sun 01-May-11 22:00:29

DD is three and has started talking about 'bangs' which I think means guns sad. I'm not happy about it really, she must be getting it from nursery. My mum thinks I am being ridiculous, but I couldn't really articulate why it bothered me.

baskingseals Sun 01-May-11 22:00:59

oh that's interesting bruffin.
more thinking

MotherJack Sun 01-May-11 22:13:29

My brother and I shared a cowboy outfit in the 1970's. It included a gun and he and I delighted in shooting everything with it. Speaking for myself, at that age I never imagined anything actually dying as a result of playing with a toy gun, in spite of what may have been apparent satisfaction of death of said object. Neither of us has subsequently owned a gun, had the desire to own a gun or indeed killed anyone by any means.

Around four years ago, I remember a debate on toy guns (not on Mumsnet) and the pro-lobby mentioned that by actually including toy guns (of which the real ones seem more prevalent these days) the parent was actually able to discuss them and talk about the reality of them.

Lets face it - if you live in leafy suburbia and/or the adults around you don't use guns, it's unlikely you will. I never turned into a gun toting psychopath and neither did anyone I knew/know that had a toy gun.

bejeezus Sun 01-May-11 23:30:19

i also played with toy guns alot as a lass, growing up in the '70s (hunting wolves across the moors!). And I have never had the urge to own a real gun or shoot anyone (or any wolves!)

However, I now live in an inner city area where violent crime is a problem. I would not let my kids play with toy guns at all. I dont want to normalise them.

thisisyesterday Sun 01-May-11 23:33:39

specifically playing with guns makes them less aggressive? I'd be interested to read about that

because for me it isn't about being aggressive. it's about guns being dangerous weapons that I am in no way going to normalise by allowing toy ones in my house or letting my children play at killing other people.

my children aren't particularly aggressive, but i find that any other form of releasing aggression would work... jumping on a trampoline, pillow fights, tearing about on bikes etc etc

suburbophobe Sun 01-May-11 23:43:54

hunting wolves across the moors? -shocked emoticon -

Really? wolves in UK in the 70's? Don't remember that, to be honest...

(they're wiped out in Europe!)

Not surprised really with your children playing with "toy" guns, with all these wars going on
I wouldn't have it, just continues the same old, same old (shit)

Maybe they need to get it out of their system? (the role playing).

MavisEnderby Sun 01-May-11 23:52:13

I REALLY tried with ds re the anti gun stuff.The thing is a gun is a lethal weapon.ok my ds is unlikely to ever have a gun unless he joins the military (His choice as an adult,if that was really his thing i wouldn't go against it but i would be a right old worry wort).The thing is the gun is a weapon to kill.I never gave him a gun o0n principle but he still built one out of Lego.Having said this ds also has a lovely caring side,he is really caring of his disabled sister.he builds guns out of Lego.I am a biut conflicted about all of this and hope his feminine side wins otu!!

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