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QUESTION: I don’t want my son playing with toy guns but his friends have them: What should I do?
“My son is 5.5 years old, and we do not allow toy guns in our house. But every time my son plays with his neighbor friends who are also 4 and 5 and kindergarten friends from school, they all have toy guns and nerf guns, and he goes ecstatic since he knows he can play with them over there, and we have no control over it. My husband and I were really firm on not ever buying these things.
But now he is adamant that his friend is going to get him a nerf gun. I really don’t think this is age-appropriate; I don’t want to teach my son that shooting people and things with toy guns are allowed, and I don’t want him getting hurt with shots to the eye from toy guns. What do I do? Look, I know, I’m from Canada, not from the states where people’s views are different. But should we stick to our original views here, or do I cave in and my son assume and get the idea that rules can be broken? What would you guys do?”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“In my personal opinion playing with toy guns is normal and can lead to good conversations. It always encouraged imagination with our kids and got kids playing together.”
“Perhaps change your stand point. Teach gun safety in an age appropriate way such as aim at targets not living things. In my opinion banning something only makes a child want to do it more. I understand many people are against guns but is it better to educate the child and allow it (and take away as needed if they don’t follow gun safety you teach) or having the child obsessed with using guns in possibly unsafe ways because of no teaching and learning from friends? At the end of the day it’s your choice but look back at your own childhood. How many times were you denied something and that just made you more curious and maybe even deceitful when your parents weren’t around regarding their rules?”
“Teaching him how to handle it properly would be more of my priority. You won’t always be around… what if when he gets older and goes to a friends house and they find a gun. My children knew at very young ages about guns and how dangerous they can be. I realize a Nerf gun is not the same but he could get the basic principles early. Most gun accidents happen bc the children have never been exposed to or taught about them. He obviously has an interest. Teach him responsibility.”
“If you don’t let him play, he will be curious to them for the rest of his life. Push the curiosity out by getting him just one.”
“How about instead of teaching him guns are bad you take the time to teach him how to properly handle one. Gun ignorance is more dangerous than anything else.”
“I’m from US and again, our views do differ some, however, I think teaching a child the correct way to use even toy guns is incredibly helpful later on in life. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he shall not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6”
“You could teach him young. Better now and he could gain respect to use firearms then later on sneaking around with a real one.”
“My son is the same age and we don’t allow guns of any kind for a very particular reason: they should not be toys. As a gun carrier I know how dangerous they can be so we decided NO until he’s old enough to learn about them the correct way and be respectful of them. Also I’m not okay with kids pretend shooting each other. So far we haven’t had an issue with it as family respects our wishes, his school follows the same rules, and he knows not to touch them at friends houses/play dates. When he’s older I plan to take him to the range with me.”
“I decided when my son was born not to allow toy guns. That didn’t last. I discovered that he would make guns out of hangers or sticks or anything else he got his hands on. They need to learn the difference between real and pretend and they are capable. As far as putting an eye out … that could happen with a block or a lego or an avocado.”
“The earlier you teach gun safety the better off your child will be.”
“Teach the differences. Nerf guns look different than real guns. Use that as a starting point. Teach gun safety! Gun safety is HUGE. We had guns growing up and there was never an issue. But we were taught to respect the tool as guns are tools not toys and taught how to care for them and how to use them to show the differences as well.”
“Educate him not only on the difference between real and toy guns, but also gun safety. If you take away the curiosity, the only thing left is facts. Guns are tools. They are to be used and respected in a certain way.”
“Letting them know the difference between fake toy guns and real guns that can truly hurt people will make the difference. I don’t think you’re creating some violent human being if you let them play with Nerf guns. You also take away that Elation to see a toy gun when he has one of his own. Meh, I’ve got two at home. Good luck. Whatever you choose will be right for your family.”
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