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"You'll Shoot Your Eye Out Kid!"

My husband found a toy gun in our vacation cottage this week. And he gave it to my son.  It’s not the first time that our little guy has played with a gun or sword (friend’s houses with older siblings), but it’s the first time that he’s really had one of his “own” and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

I mean, my sweet little two year old boy is walking around with it saying, “Pow, pow!” and “Bang!”  Are kids born knowing that guns are for shooting and swords are for stabbing?

I don’t really like the idea of my son playing with violent toys.  Especially at such a young age.  But he seems drawn to them like a moth to a flame.  I don’t know where it comes from… does it have to do with that “be tough” message that I discussed earlier this week?  And I really don’t know whether or not to let him continuing playing with these types of toys. Remember, I grew up with sisters. This boy stuff is all new to me.

I asked my aunt, who raised three boys close in age to my sisters and I, how they dealt with the “violent toy” issue, because they are a peace-loving kind of family. She told me that, at first, they tried to keep toy guns and swords away from their boys COMPLETELY. But when the boys started chewing their sandwiches into guns at lunchtime and shooting each other, she knew they needed to teach them how to handle these toys responsibly and appropriately.

So, they were allowed to play hunting in the backyard where they could “shoot” animals, but not each other.  As they got older, they gave them squirt guns and super soakers, but never machine guns or assault type weapons.  I think that sounds like a good compromise.

Then again. There’s my son, pointing the gun at my head, and saying, “I’ll shoot you in the eye!” And even though I tell him to shoot other things around the cottage – the fan, the couch, the stuffed goose, he still comes back and pretends he’s shooting me.

How do we, as parents of little boys, raise them responsibly when it comes to guns and swords and other violent toys? Pretty soon we’ll be dealing with this more seriously, when they want to play video games that depict realistic shootings, either in military combat, or just on the street.  Where do you draw the line?

Do you let your son play with guns or other violent toys?  How do you teach him to responsibly play with violent toys?

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