Monday, October 19, 2009

Is it ok to play?

Before actual post - Do you have those times where you just don't feel like blogging. And maybe don't even feel like reading anyone elses blog. And then the desire starts to come back and you're like, wait I missed so much and now I need to catch up but where do I begin. Or do I just start from here and sort of forget those weeks that just went by. Well...moving on.

So I usually stay away from "controversial" topics on here. Because I don't like confrontation. And honestly, I have my opinions and you have your opinions and that's just the way life is. I probably won't change mine you probably won't change yours so lets just sit in a circle and sing Kumbaya. But I have a dilemma and I'm actually interested in hearing your opinion. Yep yours. Not that I don't feel that away about any post...back to subject.

Will wants a toy gun. I hate guns. Dilemma. Do you let your kid have something that you really really dislike cause its just a toy and making a big deal about not having it seems like a bigger deal then the fact that you don't like it? Or do you say, no, I don't like this and I don't care that I don't know anyone else that has said this, its still my feeling?

History - When Will's dad Pat was little his mom didn't want him to have a toy gun. She bought him a toy drill and instead of having a gun like all the other kids, he used his drill to shoot things. And he was laughed at. Now the main point of this is that even if you don't give a kid a toy gun, they will make one up. Use a stick, their hand, a drill, what have you. So is that any different than just buying them the gun?

Here's my issue. Guns are made to hurt things. Kill things. Not a fan. And I'm not saying that I have a problem with people owning guns. Not the point. You have your gun and we can talk about that another time. I'm talking about kids. Little kids. Pointing a toy at someone and pretending to kill them. Cause that's what you do with toy guns. You take turns being the bad guy and you kill each other.

Now I know the vast majority of kids that grow up playing cops and robbers do not go on to commit school massacres or such. But you know what, some do. And not that I'm worried about my kid becoming a criminal, but it just seriously disturbs me to see him point his finger at someone and make shooting noises.

Today I read a story in the paper about some kids running around outside with an air gun. They were running around the neighborhood chasing each other and all of the sudden the kid found himself staring down a real gun. It happens that they were running outside of a police officer's home. He heard kids yelling, looked outside and saw what he thought was a real hand gun. He went outside and pulled his gun on the kid. Now luckily the story ends there. The kid didn't get hurt. But he could have. Just because of appearances.

So does it come down to what kind of gun, where you let them play with it, how you let them play with it, or is that just all irrelevant and you say, you know what, I don't want you to have a gun? And if you do, do they grow up wanting this thing so badly that it becomes a bad thing? Something that they get into trouble with because they don't understand the power of a gun? Circles and circles and circles in my mind.

So...does your kid have a toy gun? Did you have a toy gun growing up? Talk amongst yourselves. And then leave a comment :)


Wade The Rascal said...

Very interesting and, possibly, complicated topic. First of all, let me congratulate you on posting such a topic, as you DO tend to shy away from such debates.
I have guns now; I have 3 to be exact. (Well, 4 if you count my air soft pistol.) Anyway, I have guns. You might be surprised that I didn't have toy guns growing up. I had friends who had toy guns and I remember liking to play with their toy guns. But I didn't have any. My dad had lots of real guns and bows, things for killing animals and people. But he taught me a lot about gun ownership, use, responsibility, etc... (By the way, I don't think you can EVER teach your kid too much about responsibility, and not just with guns.
Anyway, my opinion is that giving in and getting him a toy gun is not likely to make or break him. It's not likely to shape his future, as long as you do as I know you would and teach, teach, teach him about guns and gun safety, and how you NEVER, EVER, EVER point a gun at a person, even if it's a toy gun. And, by the way, I do like the idea of getting him a toy gun which looks nothing like a real gun. If you get him one, make sure it looks exactly like a TOY gun.
Anyway, good luck with that. So much to think about. I'm glad you are sort of pioneering the way ahead of me, raising a son.

Andrea said...

Here's my opinion, take it for what it's worth. I don't have kids, I don't remember playing with guns as a kid, although i did have a bow and arrow. (I was so cool.)

I don't think you should stress too much about the gun thing. I don't think it's a huge deal if he wants a toy gun, like you said, even if you don't give him one, he will pretend with other toys anyway.

If it were me, I would consider buying him a gun (like Wade said - that LOOKS LIKE A TOY) and take the opportunity to teach him about guns. That way, he gets what he wants AND you have the chance to explain to him that guns can be dangerous, why you don't like them, etc.

Lori said...

I agree with Wade. Any subject with kids like that is all about how you teach it and back it up with what you believe and how you expect your kid to step up to the plate morally, ethically, and as a responsibility he's taking on with understanding!
If that's too heavy for right now, you can insist on the same rules that we did in our house when the boys without guns grabbed candy canes, spatulas, or toothbrushes to play guns...Chairs and Bears. Those are the only items they are allowed to point their guns at to shoot. Chairs and bears.
When he's ready to take on more than that, you'll be there to make him understand how you believe the world should be.

Colt said...

Let me explain something to you about boys...if you don't let us have a toy gun we will make one. I used my cousin's Barbies as guns, I ate pieces of bread into the shape of a gun. Sticks=Gun, Broom=Gun, Anything at all=Gun.

If will keeps an interest in guns and you want someone to teach him about guns, when you feel his age is appropriate let me know.

Wade The Rascal said...

Sort of ironic that Colt likes guns and made EVERYTHING into guns growing up, and wants to teach Will about guns. I'm just saying.
BTW, one of the things I would like to own before I die is an antique Colt Peacemaker.

Britta said...

My comment was going to be that maybe you should have Colt talk to him about guns. Seriously. I think you shouldn't step away from it, and should definitely talk to Will about why you don't like them, but as a kid obsessed with cops, he might listen to Colt a little better.

Anyway. I have girls so I don't know if this will ever be a problem for me - but I don't plan on ever buying my kids toy guns, unless they are the water-shooting kind and have no resemblance to a real gun. I wouldn't go all psychotic about it or anything, but I will let them know exactly why I don't want them to pretend like they are killing another person. And I'd even explain my feelings about killing animals and the responsibility that comes with it all.

It's probably a lot to take in for a 4 year old, but he might understand more than you think he will, and as long as you are consistent - he'll understand more and more as he gets older.

Britta said...

And P.S.

I have plenty of times where I either just have nothing to say, or don't feel like blogging. I tend to leave most things in the past when I catch up, unless it was something hilarious, or something that I keep getting bugged about. (Yes, I will take pictures of the front entryway - sheesh!)

Britta said...

Why do I keep pushing the publish button before I'm done?


And at least once I week I wonder if anyone really gives a crap about my latest visit to Target.

Kari said...

Good points everyone. Much appreciated. And Britta, yes I love hearing about ALL your trips to Target. Makes me feel like you are just a tad big closer :)

Susie said...

We actually don't let Zarek have toy guns. Not necessarily because we hate guns with a passion, but he has enough violence and such in his past, it's the last thing he needs. We have told him that later on in life, if he would like to enroll in hunter safety or something, he is welcome to when he is of age. We talk to him openly about guns, and how, just like other things that are helpful in some situations (pain pills, etc.), they can be abused if they are not used properly. We don't shy away from the topic. He asks what guns are on movies or whatever, and we openly talk to him about it.

But he does have things like a Spiderman toy shooting thing that could resemble a gun...stuff like that. We think that's ok, but the rule in our house is you never aim at any person or animal. If he aims at a person or animal, even pretend, the toy gets taken away. It's helped him earn a healthy respect for guns, but we don't necessarily "forbid" them.

So yeah, I'm not entirely sure I would buy Will a toy glock or something, but maybe a Batman device or something like that would be good, with some healthy talk about weapons and how not to abuse them, etc. Just my two cents. I'm not saying I'm 100% right, but it seems to work for our family.

Melinda said...

Now this is a battle I have fought myself. I never have liked the idea of kids shooting at each other with toy guns, I still don't. However, being the mother of 4 boys has given me a reality check. Like others have said, anything and everything will become a gun to a boy. And, even though we always said "you only shoot animals", it's crazy that every other adult your kids come in contact with (and other kids too) will love to play the "pretend to shoot me and I will pretend to die" game. I hate that! Anyway, I think the best response is that if you get a toy gun, make sure it LOOKS like a toy gun. Also to discuss gun safety with him at his level, trying not to get too deep. In all honesty, boy will be boys and their interest in playing "guns" will continue. I think most of it falls in that innocent child play category and won't intend anything of their future. As with everything, you just have to try to be the best parent you can and hope you've tsught them well. Good luck.

Grampi (MjHuntsman) said...

When I was a kid, one of my favorite TV shows was "Wanted: Dead or Alive" – Starring Steve McQueen

There was one Christmas I begged for the Josh Randall (Steve McQueen) gun, a sawed off Winchester rifle! This was back when we got one, and only one, toy for Christmas. It was the one childhood toy I still remember and associate with my father's spirit of sacrifice for making his kid's dream come true (yeah I got the toy gun, and was the happiest kid on earth for awhile, providing intoxicating relief from all of the toxic circumstances of my parents traumas & dramas at the time).

As long as I had the Wanted Dead or Alive gun, I was not ever envious of Chuck Connors' Rifleman Winchester, which was also being sold as a toy rifle at the time.

(Below is authored by Guy Belleranti, edited by myself)

Westerns were big on television in the 1950’s. One forgotten by many, but quite popular at the time was Wanted: Dead or Alive.

The series ran for three seasons from 1958 to 1961 on CBS, with 94 one half hour episodes being produced. But what really stands out about the series is the fact that it brought a new star into the national spotlight. This star was Steve McQueen.

McQueen played Josh Randall, an intense and coolly efficient bounty hunter. A man of few words (like many of McQueen’s later famous movie characters), Randall was also a man of integrity. For unlike most other bounty hunters, Randall tried to bring his quarry in alive, even helping them if he believed they were innocent. He garnered the respect of many lawmen, and some even went so far as to hire him on to bring in criminals they were unable to.

Randall’s character was made even cooler by the gun he carried, a sawed off Winchester rifle. He carried the weapon on his side like a regular handgun. However, unlike a handgun, Randall’s weapon packed the power of a rifle. Indeed, probably the only gun as cool as Randall’s in all celluloid westerns was the special Winchester rifle used by Chuck Connors’ Lucas McCain character in The Rifleman television series.

In addition to bringing back wanted criminals, Josh Randall also hired himself out to protect others, to ride shotgun on stage lines, to find missing people and more. He also sometimes gave part of his reward money to charitable causes.

Certainly there were some implausibility's, or even impossibilities, about the program and Randall’s sawed off rifle, but somehow the character’s cool persona made these seem unimportant.

Maren said...

Okay after this, can we talk about Barbies?