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Would you buy your child a sword? A toy gun? - Page 4

post #61 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by prothyraia View Post
Well, yes, but the odds of a child coming across a fencing foil and managing to pick it up and unintentionally wield it in such a manner as to cause serious bodily injury or death are much smaller than with a gun. Swords are dangerous, but even if they were as common as guns they're not as easy to use, especially when you are less than three feet tall. A fencer with an epee that wanted to hurt me could do some serious damage. A three year old probably would not. A three year old with a gun, though, *could* kill some one.

Besides that, we do mock heavy weapons combat here (wooden swords/axes/polearms) so I can't exactly tell my kids that swords aren't toys because all the grownups DO play with them The firearms we have, on the other hand, are not used for entertainment value.
My ds2 fences, and I can tell you that the points are blunted and probably even safer than the toy swords! We have the toy ones too, and the funniest part is that the other boys are actually using them to learn the fencing moves ds2 has learned!
post #62 of 78
We had a very strict "no weapons" policy here for a while. My dh even took some tiny toy swords away from some pirates at one point. But we have eased up as dd has aged. I did get dd a squirt gun at one point because the neighbor kids were all having so much fun with them this summer and I didn't want her to not be able to join in the fun. She asked for one, and it seemed like a reasonable request. But it didn't look anything like a gun.

We allow the Playmobil pirates to keep their swords now, and my dd does have a fake sword for when she's playing pirate. We haven't gotten any guns but the squirt gun, partially because I'm worried something more realistic might scare other kids. I've always told my dd that if she sees something that looks like a real gun, that she needs to run away immediately without asking questions about it. Where I live, in fairly rural southern Illinois, there are a lot of guns. I wouldn't be surprised if every neighbor except us has one. She needs to take guns seriously. If she wants to pay cops and robbers or something, she'll have to make a pretend gun out of Tinker Toys or something.

I do not believe it is my place, or even necessarily healthy, to direct my dd's play though, so I'm pretty hands off as far as telling my dd she can't play cops and robbers with the neighbors kids or other "violent" games. They all pretend to shoot each other with Tinker Toy and Lego guns. I don't think any of them have play guns. Oh wait, one boy has a Nerf thing, but it doesn't look very realistic either. My dd hasn't asked for one of those, or for any play gun except the squirt gun (which, again, I did get her.) I think she's happy with the Tinker Toys.
post #63 of 78
I don't like guns, I never have. I even attended a military boarding highschool, had to qualify on a rifle range as part of my schooling. The day I qualified I told my teacher I didn't like guns and didn't want to shoot anymore, I was given the job of cleaning the range after classes.

In our home my children have some super soakers and some animal squirt guns. My DS is somewhat obsessed with guns and makes them out of sticks, paper, sandwiches, everything. I try not to make a big deal out of it, but it does really bother me.

My DH does Kendo, a Japanese martial art. My neighbor is an instructor and gave our DS a shinai (a wooden sword) last year for his birthday. DS was supposed to start lessons in Kendo, but those haven't happened yet. For DS's birthday this year he was given 2 plastic swords as gifts from his friends. Swords are a big part of the Japanese culture. For some reason, I don't really mind him playing with the swords. We've taught him how to carry and treat a knife which he does very well. . .I'm not too worried about the sword thing. The gun thing though. . .well, hopefully it's something he grows out of soon
post #64 of 78
It sounds like you might be comfortable with them with the right rules for your family in place. And maybe some kids are different, but I never had the slightest issue knowing the difference between a real gun and a toy gun as was made abundantly clear to me growing up as my Dad owned many guns and once we were old enough, he took us target shooting too. If a kid isn't taught the difference, I can see it, but if you are taught, well kids aren't stupid.

Granted, I think guns that are clearly toys (nerf, squirt guns, etc.) are better in general as ones that look too much like real guns are just asking for trouble (someone outside thinking a kid has a real gun = bad misunderstanding at best). And while a toy gun isn't a bad way to do the initial gun safety teaching, a firearm that is not loaded would serve the same purpose, and that is not going to be the main purpose of the toy and is a silly argument IMO and even if you have very strict rules with the toy guys, they are unlikely to be the same ironclad safety rules that are needed when handling a real firearm.
post #65 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by abimommy View Post
We have toy swords but not toy guns.
Same here. My parents have bought a couple of toy guns for DS and most of them have broken. So we found a foam sword at the dollar store the other day and DS was ecstatic. He loves it! He has a TON more fun w/ the foam sword and his light saber (he and DH 'pretend' fight and they have a blast) than he ever did w/ a gun.

DH and I personally don't like guns and have talked to DS about this. We're just not a gun type of family. It doesn't fit our personalities.
DS knows not to point guns at anyone or any animals. But again, he hasn't touched the toy gun since he got the sword.
post #66 of 78
Sort of off-topic, maybe, but here's an excellent collection of writeups about how a gun-owning parent can teach children about gun safety without letting guns become "forbidden fruit". Actually her whole site is awesome, since it's about gun ownership from the perspective of a mother of five boys, but this section is particularly relevant.
post #67 of 78
We have swords, light sabers, nerf guns, and Star Wars "Blasters." I started out cautious about guns and weapons. But my 4 yo pretty much exclusively plays "get the bad guy or monster" type games and he was using sticks, trains, anything. I finally stopped worrying because my son is a gentle kid, very considerate, never hits other people with his swords, and I don't have any worries that they will make him violent. It's just his imagination and I like to encourage that.

I don't believe fake guns/swords teach violence...I think people teach violence.
post #68 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
Sort of off-topic, maybe, but here's an excellent collection of writeups about how a gun-owning parent can teach children about gun safety without letting guns become "forbidden fruit". Actually her whole site is awesome, since it's about gun ownership from the perspective of a mother of five boys, but this section is particularly relevant.
Thank you so much for the link! Great articles, very useful.
post #69 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
Thank you so much for the link! Great articles, very useful.
You're welcome! Her site is a gold mine of great information, even if you plan to never own a gun in your life. There's no such thing as knowing too much about guns, no matter your personal politics. And I think that's never more true than when it comes to keeping children safe from shooting accidents.
post #70 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
Sort of off-topic, maybe, but here's an excellent collection of writeups about how a gun-owning parent can teach children about gun safety without letting guns become "forbidden fruit". Actually her whole site is awesome, since it's about gun ownership from the perspective of a mother of five boys, but this section is particularly relevant.
Not OT!! This is my dh and I: gun-owning parents who want to teach strict gun safety without making guns/swords forbidden fruit. This is actually why I posted this thread...because I am having such a hard time with this issue! Thanks for this link - I'm going to read it tonight.
post #71 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post
I'm having a hard time with this. Ds desperately wants a toy gun and a sword. He is four, and so many of his friends have these things.

He promises he will never point them at anyone, etc., and he overheard my dh talking with me a few weeks about it. I'm hesitant, and dh isn't opposed to them: "Playing with a toy gun would be a good start to teaching him about real guns..." ((we live in a northern, rural area where hunting is the norm & I should also mention that dh is a law enforcement officer and wears a duty belt with a gun every day to work...ds is fascinated...)). Since overhearing that, ds is actually using that to try to reason with me: "It would help me to learn about using a real gun safely, mom!"

I'm not entirely opposed to guns - we own a few, and I like to target-shoot with a .22 ----- but he is 4, and there's something about seeing a small child with a gun in his hands that just gives me the willies.

Thoughts??

I find this topic very interesting because I went from never wanting to allow any sort of weapon toy to allowing many, with no change in behavior resulting from weapon play. I think that my one rule is I don't like play phrases like "I killed you or , your dead" That's just is my own thing it sounds yucky . My son has an aversion to screen violence. So violent video games is something we don't due here, not just because of his aversion but because I think that they are different then the toy weapons themselves.

I have done target shooting as well. I actually prefer him having some knowledge about guns as opposed to them being this mysterious thing. I think that sometimes boys are more likely to come into a situation later on where they are with a peer and a gun and the fascination gets to the both of them and they mess with it without having any knowledge about it, and tragedy strikes.

I don't own guns.But we have discussed gun safety and knife safety. I want him to be able to say with confidence to a peer that he has seen and knows about gun safety. I want as an adult to be the one to teach him about these things, not his first understanding of them to come from a possibly ignorant peer who happens to come into possession of a gun. Yikes.

Besides the safety issue and back to the play issue. I always joke that my son has a stockpile lol. My favorites are old western style metal cap paper blast guns and his natural wooden swords. The wooden swords are really lovely . They are unfinished and came in handy for a lovely halloween costume when he was a roman last year. He plays guns and sword fight with both boys and girls and they have an awesome time playing this way in a large group, forming teams etc . No one gets hurt! Lots of laughter.

They are all so careful for each others fingers for instance when they are play acting a sword fight.And they love the guns with the blasts for the noise or the ones with lasers, and forget about the NERF . Well I hate the nerf for the mess it makes but whatever.

I really feel that gentle play fighting like this is very natural. Kids often make swords out of sticks even. I think it is definitely a primal sort of activity and no one is intending to hurt the other. Kittens do it, apes do it and I think people in their childhood do it as well.

I think that violent games and viewing material are unnatural though. My son hates them, I hate them. I just don't approve and neither does he. With the former it is almost like a variation on tag, the whole sword/nerf thing. When it's video games there is a voyeuristic brutality to it that makes me very uncomfortable. A lot of people IRL are confused about my choices with this (allowing play weapons but no viewing violence). I just find there to be a huge difference.

If it were me I would allow very unrealistic looking weapons at this point. That is what I did. Mainly for safety and to cut down on the confusion between a real gun and a fake gun. If it's crazy purple and shaped like a space ray gun he won't confuse it with the real thing and think the real thing is a toy.
post #72 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
You're welcome! Her site is a gold mine of great information, even if you plan to never own a gun in your life. There's no such thing as knowing too much about guns, no matter your personal politics. And I think that's never more true than when it comes to keeping children safe from shooting accidents.
That is probably something we can all agree on! I really liked the advice about demystifying guns for kids. I know what I was like as a kid, and I don't want my kids to be tempted at all. I like the basic rules of don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult, which is pretty basic stuff, but I was really impressed by her take on "if you really, really, really want to touch it, ask an adult to help you."
post #73 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
I like the basic rules of don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult, which is pretty basic stuff, but I was really impressed by her take on "if you really, really, really want to touch it, ask an adult to help you."
Yeah, I thought that was really smart. The first rules are the Eddie Eagle rules created by the NRA (Stop! Don't touch! Leave the area! Tell an adult!) and I think she added the last one herself. It sounds really counterintuitive until you stop and think about it. Let a four-year-old hold a real gun?

But under safe, extremely controlled conditions that's exactly what you can do to make guns appear about as mystical as the chainsaw or power drill in your garage. Not for children to play with, but not magical either. And it ensures that you're not punishing them for their natural curiosity, nor are you making it so that if they do tell an adult, it means an instant end to their fun. I think the author of that site is a very wise mama.

I just worry that when adults fear guns so much that they refuse to learn anything about them, they're inadvertently raising children who will be extremely curious about guns (If it scares Mommy and Daddy, it must be awesome indeed!) but lack the basic knowledge necessary to keep them safe. And the thought of a child innocently finding a gun in the woods and not knowing what to do makes my blood run cold.

Or what if I found a gun somewhere? How awful and irresponsible if I didn't even know how to safely pick it up and put it away, out of the children's reach.
post #74 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
But under safe, extremely controlled conditions that's exactly what you can do to make guns appear about as mystical as the chainsaw or power drill in your garage. Not for children to play with, but not magical either. And it ensures that you're not punishing them for their natural curiosity, nor are you making it so that if they do tell an adult, it means an instant end to their fun. I think the author of that site is a very wise mama.
This made me smile - good comparison. Ds was taking stock of my dh's duty belt one morning before work, and dh compared it matter-of-factly to a tool belt - you just put your tools on/in it, just like a "worker" (ds's dream job, complete with tool belt and safety vest). He is very matter-of-fact about guns with ds, and I know I don't have a better partner to teach my children gun safety .... but it still stresses me out.

Times feel different than they were when we were kids - Columbine and the like seem to have changed everything we ever knew about guns and violence and children's capacity to commit violence under certain circumstances. It just doesn't feel the same, giving children toy guns, as it did when we were kids, yk?
post #75 of 78
Thread Starter 
Also, btw - great website!!!!


I need to add today that all things considered, I think I am going to shop for a Nerf gun - something wildly fuchsia/purple/lime green/yellow that doesn't look like a real weapon. Dh and I talked, and we'll continue to give ds the party line about gun safety, etc. (and continue dialoguing about when he will teach the kids to shoot), but a Nerf gun should satisfy ds's need to "shoot stuff" without making me crazy.

I want to thank everyone who responded on my thread, also -- talking it out like this really helped me to come to a decision I can feel good about. Thanks, all!!
post #76 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
Yeah, I thought that was really smart. The first rules are the Eddie Eagle rules created by the NRA (Stop! Don't touch! Leave the area! Tell an adult!) and I think she added the last one herself. It sounds really counterintuitive until you stop and think about it. Let a four-year-old hold a real gun?

But under safe, extremely controlled conditions that's exactly what you can do to make guns appear about as mystical as the chainsaw or power drill in your garage. Not for children to play with, but not magical either. And it ensures that you're not punishing them for their natural curiosity, nor are you making it so that if they do tell an adult, it means an instant end to their fun. I think the author of that site is a very wise mama.

I just worry that when adults fear guns so much that they refuse to learn anything about them, they're inadvertently raising children who will be extremely curious about guns (If it scares Mommy and Daddy, it must be awesome indeed!) but lack the basic knowledge necessary to keep them safe. And the thought of a child innocently finding a gun in the woods and not knowing what to do makes my blood run cold.

Or what if I found a gun somewhere? How awful and irresponsible if I didn't even know how to safely pick it up and put it away, out of the children's reach.
Absolutely. My first encounter with a gun was around 12, when I took my mom's vintage gun from the high shelf in her bedroom wardrobe, and took it apart completely. Thankfully she actually had no ammo for it, but I was curious about it because I wasn't allowed to touch it. I hate to think what would have happened if there had been. Of course, my mom ended up finding out because I was unable to put the gun back together after having taken it apart. She was shocked, because "she trusted me to not touch it". I do trust my kids... ...to follow their natural curious instincts and touch anything that fascinates them.

At the moment, for my 3 yo DD, that is not a gun, but the food processor. Probably because we use it all the time, and she's not allowed to touch it . So I explain that there are little knives that go around really fast, to chop up the food. She is allow to throw stuff in, but not touch it in any way. Now, she's satisfied. Same basic principle .
post #77 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post
Times feel different than they were when we were kids - Columbine and the like seem to have changed everything we ever knew about guns and violence and children's capacity to commit violence under certain circumstances. It just doesn't feel the same, giving children toy guns, as it did when we were kids, yk?
I couldn't agree more. I do get freaked out about the world we live in, and it does change the way we act and feel about this kind of thing a lot.
post #78 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MittensKittens View Post
I couldn't agree more. I do get freaked out about the world we live in, and it does change the way we act and feel about this kind of thing a lot.
I really think it does. My dh grew up in a very rural area where the kids often brought their rifles to school so that they could fashion new stocks for them in wood shop - he has carried a knife in his pocket since he was old enough to use one, which was around 4th grade. Can you imagine these things now? Given this perspective, my dh is more inclined to allow whatever type of gun my ds would want, but he has graciously deferred to my feelings about this, which is why I've been soul searching now...
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