[My son] plays with guns (toy guns of course) My older neighbor said to me
one day....I let him play with them? I said sure, why? She said: well,
with all the violence out there going on. I didn't have a good
answer...still don't...I only said that i think there are more factors
involved then just playing with guns. My other neighbor said she
doesn't allow her son to play with toy guns either.
I need more info and your opinions on this subject, please.
I am finding people quite opposed to "letting" their children play
with toy guns. Why do they feel that is going to make a kid prone to
do something bad?
I would point out,
though, that if playing with guns made you grow up to shoot people or do
violent things, we'd ALL be dead because there was a time when no one ever
thought anything of it and every little boy in America had a toy Lone Ranger
revolver and that bb gun that the kid in Christmas Story wanted (my husband
can recite that little blurb about the Daisy rifle, LOL).
It's not playing with guns that makes you think it's okay to shoot people
because you got picked on at school or work. Kids don't shoot up their
school because they got confused between a chicken finger and a real gun.
Kids shoot up their school because of deep disconnection from people around
them and a lack of coping skills. They don't need anger management and gun
free zones, they need someone to really behave as if they give a rat's ass
about them and it wouldn't hurt if it started with their parents, because
you don't get a basis for that kind of connection from daycare or school or
Marilyn Manson (who also doesn't make kids shoot up their school, btw). ; )
Girls too, had guns. I had a Dale Evans outfit (Roy Rogers' wife)
with a fringy cowgirl skirt and vestt and holsters and all.
I've never wanted a real gun.
I had a Man from U.N.C.L.E. gun. (Actually still do!)
I've shot real guns.
I have no desire to shoot people with them. Or even animals.
I think the biggest problem is that people see children as broken and
evil. That the only reason that we're all not running amok is because
someone squashed the evil in us by making us go through the motions
of being good (no candy, no guns, no TV) until it was so ingrained
and we were old enough to tell ourselves to stop with the evil
thoughts that we wouldn't slip back.
It's very comforting to think that we can prevent our children from
becoming murderers by never letting them play with a plastic gun. But
it also shows that they haven't really thought about it much. It's
just too darn comforting to grasp an idea like that and implement it,
even be blind to evidence to the contrary (telling ourselves that
there are just too many complicating factors that only experts could
Do they really think the *only* difference between a gang member and
their own child is because the people in ghettos allow their kids to
play with toy guns?
And how *do* they explain adults who played with guns as kids and
never shot anyone?
The people who are the *least* likely to beat you up are the people
who could mash you to a pulp. Just ask anyone with a black belt ;-)
When you have the confidence that you're powerful, there's no reason
to go around proving it.
Powerlessness is what causes people to shoot others, not guns. (And
using ones power to prevent kids from playing with guns is pretty
disempowering! Or gives them the opportunity to learn to be sneaky.)
There're a couple of pages on my site about violence:
Passing on nonviolent values
When our son was born we decided that he would not have any toy guns as we
wanted him to learn respect for real guns—not because we were afraid he would
grow up to do something awful on purpose with a real gun. As he grew we showed
him what a real gun would do—no we did not shoot people nor animals. ;) We
shot various types of guns we owned at fruit and various other things on our
property to demonstrate the power of a gun and why it was not to be played with.
Long story short—he was obsessed with guns—and obtaining a toy one—LOL—
he made them out of sticks, legos, fingers, etc.
We soon figured out that there really was no stopping the fascination so we
chose to ditch the "rule" He is 13 now and still fascinated with guns and
various types of weapons—he knows all types of weapons and war history as well
as strategy from the beginning of time to present.
Connection: a couple of days ago he was watching a show about the Moghuls in
India and how they invented a rocket that tumbled—then when the British took
over India they acquired the knowledge and then used it against us in the
Revolutionary War. AND those are the rockets that Francis Scott Key wrote about
the "Rocket's Red Glare" in the Star Spangled Banner. So Zachariah finished the
show and then literally ran upstairs to put on his CD of the song to listen to
He has a full arsenal of toy guns and weapons. Right now he is into making
wooden swords based upon historical records and imaginary from his Manga books.
He has also made a few wooden guns. He has an air soft gun and a BB gun. We
found that the air soft gun seemed to be more dangerous because it tended to
ricochet off of even a cardboard box.
Oh and his latest acquisition is a small machette—from the camping department—he wanted to whack weeds on one of our lots.
I think forbidding toy guns is another instance of superstitious magic practiced unwittingly by parents.
The idea that one can make a sacrifice to assure future success is ancient among humans, isn't it?
Deprivation doesn't create appreciation. It creates some or all of desire, neediness, curiosity, fascination, resentment, obsession, anger...
Unfortunately the real sacrifice parents make too often is their child's happiness and their own hope of a full and healthy relationship with that child and future adult.
My Mom was one who never allowed my brother to play with guns—toy
or real. We lived in the country until he was 10, and every other boy
he knew had a pellet gun. By high school, my brother's life dream
was to be a Marine Recon Ranger (he ultimately got 4-F'd) and he
could field-strip and reassemble a M-I in under a minute. As an
adult, he keeps a gun in the house and shoots at a target range, but
has never shot anyone.
When oldest son was young, I 'allowed' gunplay. He had nerf guns,
noisy machine guns, a paintball gun at 15, and spent two years of
high school in ROTC. He, too, announced his desire to become a
Marine. At 16, he quit all that, and explained that while he still
enjoys target practice with real guns, he doesn't believe he could
ever kill another human being.
Both my son and brother are decent human beings, with no violent
tendencies. My son does seem a gentler soul than my brother—or
maybe just less battered by life, so less angry.
I believe kids are smarter than many adults give them credit for.
I know mine are. As unschoolers, we know our kids are bright
enough to figure out there's a difference between real violence and
game playing. I'd bet that as free children living more autonomous
lives, they understand that you don't have to have a gun to be
violent towards someone else. That violence isn't about guns
(they're just tools, after all)—violence is about power and
control over other people. My instincts tell me that people who have
been controlled, limited or denied by other (more powerful) people
are more likely to be violent than those who have been respected and
supported in pursuit of their own lives.
CAET by e-mail:
As for the discussion about kids and guns I'd like to tell you that I have changed totally. I was totally against "violent" toys before, but my son has shown me a whole new world thanks to his interest in pirates, vikings, ancient Egypt—well you name it. He now has a small, but growing, collection of swords, shields etc.