Skip to main content

A Touchy Subject...

I need to preface this post by saying that this is IN NO WAY a criticism of other people's parenting choices.  My own choices are not black and white on this topic.  I'm just exploring my own feelings on the topic.

This looks pretty innocent, right?
The other day, our family was coming home from an outing and got into a lift at our local railway station with another couple and their toddler in a stroller.  The toddler had a little gold pistol which clicked when he pulled the trigger, and he proceeded to "shoot" each person in the lift in turn.  Ari looked at him confused, because Ari has never really seen a toy gun.  Bryn laughed at the boy, because the boy was laughing and was very cute, and Erik and Luey put on their best poker faces because they know all-too-well that their mum objects strongly to toy guns.

Before Christmas, there was a Kris Kringle in the 3/4 classes at school, and both my boys participated.  Erik came home with a yo-yo and Luey came home with a twin pack of water pistols.  As mean as this may sound, the pistols went in the bin.  Not only will I not buy fake guns for my boys, but I won't allow others to buy them for them either.

Bryn does have one toy which resembles a gun, and it launches a bat-like creature into the air.  I have allowed him to keep this gift because it's not actually a gun, but a propeller mechanism for the bat-like creature...  I'm not 100% comfortable with that decision, but I'm trying not to over-react to my complete loathing of guns.

Not quite so innocent looking.
I really do have a problem with guns.  I don't have a problem with knives or swords, bows and arrows, or even spears or axes, but I do have a problem with guns.

Guns were solely invented for the maiming or killing of humans at a distance.  Yes, they have been used for hunting, but that was secondary to their original purpose.

People often say gun play is harmless, and yet, if toy shops sold "water-boarding" kits, or "Nooses", or games that encouraged children to mimic strangling one another, parents would be appalled.  My children have had Lazer Tag parties, and have accepted (and will continue to accept, I'm sure) invites to Lazer Tag parties, so I can't sit on my high horse and judge others, and this is not what I'm trying to do, either.  I do wonder why I have allowed them to have Lazer Tag parties though, when the very thought of having toys guns in the house makes me anxious and even a bit angry.

My brother once had a real life gun held to his person.  It was unloaded, but the threat to him at the age of eight was still very real.  I just don't see gun play as harmless.  At the very least it's is a form of disassociation and desensitization, at worst it makes pretend maiming, killing, and generally evoking fear as a form of power over someone else, a fun game.

By the way - these boys are holding TOY GUNS.
Why does our society continue to tolerate or even encourage this form of play?  Why do I?

Comments

Rachael said…
I don't like it either and haven't allowed it. That said a psychologist once told me they are fine, and they can have a toy one or they'll just pretend something else is one anyway, and that it's a totally normal way for boys in particular to let out aggression in a safe way.
I just don't like them full stop.
Leah said…
The scene you describe in the lift is extremely off putting to me. Little kids running around shooting each other, falling over, creating a story line, not so much, unless a child was particularly obsessive and using it as an outlet for something concerning. In which case it isn't the guns then i guess.

What I find off putting is the coldness of shooting someone without their consent, without being engaged in a mutual game. Perhaps this is why you find lazertag acceptable, you go to a certain place, don equipment, there are rules, it is more like "tag" than real applications of guns.

If I let my kids have guns, they would never be allowed to shoot strangers ... what is that teaching them, that others in public are the backdrop for your amusement, at *best*?
Sif said…
Rach, I don't stop my children from making guns with lego or sticks or the like (though I strongly discourage it by gone on ad nauseum about what it actually means to shoot someone), it's the placing into a child's hands a gun replica that I find abhorrent...

I find gun play more offensive than hand to hand combat scenarios because it's so "remote" - killing with a greatly minimised risk to self.
Rachael said…
Leah has made an interesting point which probably touches on my main concern...which is perhaps the other person doesn't want to be 'shot'. I know I don't, and often the girls don't...so yes this distinction is important. F doesn't have a huge obsession with guns per se but geez if all the lego games/sets etc these days don't have firearms?

Popular posts from this blog

12 Things Happy People Do Differently - a self-reflection...

A few days ago a Facebook friend posted the above poster on her wall. I believe she got these points from this blog which she enjoys reading, and the bloggers on the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog derived their discussion of these points from this book, available on Amazon - you're welcome! I have to admit, I haven't read the blog or the book I've just mentioned but wanted my readers to have access to the sources of the poster for their own reflective purposes.
The New Year will be upon us in but a few days and I thought this a great opportunity to do a little personal assessment on how I'm playing the happy game. I'm often not very happy at all - I don't need to be happy all the time, let me just say that up front - I personally believe that life is a balancing act and those who seek euphoria often will also often feel desolation because in all things there must be balance. The great riches of the few on this planet come at the personal cost of the many as is …

The symbolism of elephants...

Just recently I've been seeing and noticing elephants everywhere!

A few weeks ago I saw the Samsung Elephant Ad, and watching that led me to watching a video with an elephant painting (seriously, you have to watch it to believe it!).

Then last night the boys told me they were having a free dress day at school to raise money for 'Mali the Elephant' - who turned out to be a paper maché statue which the children will paint and then show around the council before it comes back to the school to stand outside the performing arts room.

Then this morning I followed a link from Twitter to Toushka Lee's blog and read this post about an elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka.

This morning the Grumpy Old Man did another driving test and unfortunately didn't pass. We've booked his next test and are looking forward to that now. About ten minutes before he walked in the door I saw this poster on Facebook...


At the time, I didn't know if the Grumpy Old Man had been successful or …

Alone... And Stuff...

Do you ever just need to be alone?



As the boys are growing up, we have more times when the house is quiet. The youngest will be asleep. One will be reading, one will be playing on his computer with headphones on, one will be painting and there is stillness.

Sometimes, even that is not enough.

Sometimes I crave being alone, with no possibility of someone suddenly realising they have to tell me something important or ask me a question or even just crash about in the kitchen.

Sometimes I crave S P A C E, lots and lots of space, being able to walk from room to room without encountering another soul.

This is how I felt when I woke up this morning, so instead of getting ready for work, I decided to stay home. Get up, but not go anywhere, no hear the sound of my own voice, or anyone else's.

I think this might just be part of getting older. After a lifetime of chasing after other people and trying not to be alone, my mind and body is full of thoughts, experiences, feelings, and busy-ness …