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post #21 of 163
I was going to recommend this same site. http://corneredcat.com/Kids/firstlesson.aspx is really the best, most sensible, most effective take on gun safety for children that I've come across.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
The extremely excellent site, Cornered Cat, which is designed by a mother of five exclusively for women who own guns and/or want to know how to teach their children gun safety, has some great information about kids and guns. I highly recommend that all mamas read it, even if you never plan to own or handle a gun yourself. Not teaching your children the basic rules of gun safety just because you yourself do not own guns, seems to me to be as shortsighted as not teaching them to swim just because you don't own a pool or go to the beach. Guns are everywhere and knowing to

Stop! Don't Touch! Leave the Area! Tell an Adult!

could literally save a child's life.
post #22 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinYay View Post
Devil's advocating here, but chainsaws, spoons, sinks, and cars are all tools, but we allow children to play with toy versions of them.
Yes but they aren't tools with the sole intention of being used to killing.



InMediaRes, I have two boys (and two girls). We have no guns and actively discourage and/or prohibit gun play. Honestly it's never been an issue with my kids with the brief exception of a short time with a neighbourhood kid who was quite into guns - to the point that my boys were uncomfortable and just stopped playing with him.
We talk a lot about how play is how kids learn to "be" in the world and about whether it is a good idea to practise something in play that I would never want them to do in adulthood. I would intervene in play that could be racist, homophobic or sexist (not that my kids have ever done that) but it's the same principle to me as intervening in play that is warlike. It goes against our family values and I think it is important for my kids to see that the value of living peacefully applies to all areas of our lives. I personally don't buy the argument that gun play is an inevitability. I think it is cultural and I think it can be circumvented in a healthy way.

We also talk about how there is really only one outcome for gun play and how it is kind of boring. My boys do have swords but I find sword play is just more creative and less limited in outcome. We have talked about how there is honour and skill in being good at sword play (and their fencing teacher has reinforced this) and how that doesn't apply in the same way to gun play. They can slay dragons, or be Samuri or Jedi or knights, or magicians etc. They can still have their hero play and work out the whole "good evil" thing in ways that don't involve killing as the only and predetermined outcome.

I don't have tonnes of advice. I know this is a difficult issue to find your way through. However my instinct is that we should follow our instincts. If gun play bothers you at your core, I think it is okay to put tight restrictions on it and to talk talk talk to your kids about why you want to live those values. We talk about peace a lot in our family. I've taken my kids to peace demonstrations and marches, we've run a Kids for Peace program, and we read a lot of stories about it. I just could never see myself living/preaching one thing and letting my kids practise another. So far it has worked for us.

good luck
Karen
post #23 of 163
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
(And who knows, you might just enjoy plinking at targets once in awhile. It really is fun! And one of the few sports in which women often surpass men. )
OT but this lady is awesome!

Great post, pea. Thanks for giving me so much to think about and read.

And when I said I hate guns, I meant I hate play guns and violent play. I do have some interest in learning to use a gun myself. I don't know if I want one in my home, but that wouldn't be a problem since my Dad would be happy to keep one for me.

Thanks for the info on the women's shooting class.
post #24 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by InMediasRes View Post
OT but this lady is awesome!
She's great! Speaking of YouTube videos, check out this lady! She's a proud babywearing AP mama and an avid shooter. I love her videos.

Quote:
Great post, pea. Thanks for giving me so much to think about and read.

And when I said I hate guns, I meant I hate play guns and violent play. I do have some interest in learning to use a gun myself. I don't know if I want one in my home, but that wouldn't be a problem since my Dad would be happy to keep one for me.

Thanks for the info on the women's shooting class.
I'm really, really glad to help. The more women--and especially mothers--who are willing to open their mind and learn about gun safety firsthand, the fewer gun-ignorant children we'll have running around treating guns like mystical objects that should be coveted and handled in secret. It's hard to argue against commonsense precautions like teaching little ones how to properly react to a found gun.

Also, shooting is FUN. And women tend to be at least as good at it as men, which is awesome to witness in person. My father-in-law is an avid trap shooter, and once confided in me that the reason so many private "old boys" shooting clubs exclude women (except for a few days a month) is they don't want to be shown up by their wives on the range.
post #25 of 163
Gun safety I am big on. Guns for toys, not so much.

I do feel that a huge aspect of teaching gun safety is teaching that guns are not toys. You want to pretend to hunt for food? Fine, go a head. You want to pretend to shoot other people or animals for fun? You better believe I'd put a stop to that faster than you can say "bang".

If my kids develop a true interest in guns, they can learn about them through experienced and responsible adults who know and understand the importance of gun safety.
post #26 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
She's great! Speaking of YouTube videos, check out this lady! She's a proud babywearing AP mama and an avid shooter. I love her videos.
She reminds me of Joan Cusack.
post #27 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
Yes but they aren't tools with the sole intention of being used to killing.

InMediaRes, I have two boys (and two girls). We have no guns and actively discourage and/or prohibit gun play. Honestly it's never been an issue with my kids with the brief exception of a short time with a neighbourhood kid who was quite into guns - to the point that my boys were uncomfortable and just stopped playing with him.
We talk a lot about how play is how kids learn to "be" in the world and about whether it is a good idea to practise something in play that I would never want them to do in adulthood. I would intervene in play that could be racist, homophobic or sexist (not that my kids have ever done that) but it's the same principle to me as intervening in play that is warlike. It goes against our family values and I think it is important for my kids to see that the value of living peacefully applies to all areas of our lives. I personally don't buy the argument that gun play is an inevitability. I think it is cultural and I think it can be circumvented in a healthy way.

We also talk about how there is really only one outcome for gun play and how it is kind of boring. My boys do have swords but I find sword play is just more creative and less limited in outcome. We have talked about how there is honour and skill in being good at sword play (and their fencing teacher has reinforced this) and how that doesn't apply in the same way to gun play. They can slay dragons, or be Samuri or Jedi or knights, or magicians etc. They can still have their hero play and work out the whole "good evil" thing in ways that don't involve killing as the only and predetermined outcome.

I don't have tonnes of advice. I know this is a difficult issue to find your way through. However my instinct is that we should follow our instincts. If gun play bothers you at your core, I think it is okay to put tight restrictions on it and to talk talk talk to your kids about why you want to live those values. We talk about peace a lot in our family. I've taken my kids to peace demonstrations and marches, we've run a Kids for Peace program, and we read a lot of stories about it. I just could never see myself living/preaching one thing and letting my kids practise another. So far it has worked for us.

good luck
Karen


This is how we feel about guns and gun play in our home. My four year old son still has no idea what a gun is... I keep waiting for the inevitable "gun play" that everyone tells me boys become obsessed with, but it's not even on his radar. He does, however, love a good sword fight.
post #28 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicianDad View Post
She reminds me of Joan Cusack.
She does have a bit of that going on, you're right.

I think this is my favorite video of hers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJriDAhIIQs

post #29 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by peainthepod View Post
She does have a bit of that going on, you're right.

I think this is my favorite video of hers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJriDAhIIQs

I'll watch in a sec., I came back to thank you, I was looking at the rudy project website and I think I'm gonna check out their product in the store since I'm in the market for new sunglasses.
post #30 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alyantavid View Post
We don't have toy guns because guns are not toys. They're very real and since we do have them in the house, I don't want gun and toy associated.

DS1 knows that he can hunt when he's 12, so that's what we talk about. He has shot a gun a few times at targets and that's all he'll be allowed to do until he's 12ish. Even now at their ages (8 & 4), we talk about guns, what to do if you see one, safety, etc. It's never too early to start, imo.

I dont have a child that is old enough for this to be an issue for me, but I totally agree with this. Most of the people I know have at least one real gun. I hate to see kids with toy guns, especially the ones that look real, but just have a red tip.

I do think that young children being around guns while they are being cleaned, and even going to an outdoor range where safety is the biggest priority is totally appropriate. If every child who was pretending to shoot someone heard real gunshots once and awhile, I think they would have a better idea of how powerful and dangerous guns can be.
post #31 of 163
Play involving toy guns or pretend shooting is A-OK around here, though my son rarely plays with toy guns, he prefers his wooden swords, battle axe, etc. However, those are dangerous for play fighting, it's much safer for the kids to chase eachother around pretending to shoot a bow or a pistol.

I can understand not wanting to have toy guns in the house (especially if you keep real guns in the house--we do not), but I don't think it's a good idea to try to control a kid's pretend play. I think if kids want to pretend to shoot eachother, have at it. It's pretend and it's fun. BTW, the only place I've had anyone say anything to their kid about playing pretend involving fingers "shooting" with my kid (as in "No! No shooting! If you do that we're going home!") was in the U.S. It seemed kind of ironic.

And no, guns are not toys and murder is not a game. Fortunately my child doesn't play with guns or plot murders. He isn't interested in the military either, he says he wouldn't want to risk being killed or ever have to kill someone else.
ETA-- in case that last part offended any military families, I just want you to know we have a lot of respect for those who serve.
post #32 of 163
We don't play with guns or weapons. I don't allow my kids to pretend other things are weapons. We don't even play with water guns.

As a family, we are opposed to personal gun ownership and hunting. Our kids can certainly form different opinions as the time comes, but for now, this is the value we teach.
post #33 of 163
I'll just say... yeah, what Peainthepod said I have nothing to add to that but that is exactly how we feel

I lied, I do have something to add. I want my kids to learn how to use, clean, disarm a gun by a fairly young age (I'm thinking around 10-12) so that if/when they go to a friend's house and his/her parents own a gun and friend gets curious and goes to show my children said gun, they'll know what to do to make sure that no one gets hurt. He/she can say "That's nice, let me see it." Then takes the gun, disarms it and locks it back up because they have respect for the power it holds along with the knowledge of how to make sure neither child is hurt. We don't currently own any guns other then an old muzzle loader that hasn't worked in over 50+ years but my mother is an avid shooter and I have given her persmission to show my children as they get older all of the ins and outs of the guns and eventually take them shooting. My husband and I will also teach them bow and arrow shooting as well since we enjoy that.
post #34 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
Play involving toy guns or pretend shooting is A-OK around here, though my son rarely plays with toy guns, he prefers his wooden swords, battle axe, etc. However, those are dangerous for play fighting, it's much safer for the kids to chase eachother around pretending to shoot a bow or a pistol.

I can understand not wanting to have toy guns in the house (especially if you keep real guns in the house--we do not), but I don't think it's a good idea to try to control a kid's pretend play. I think if kids want to pretend to shoot eachother, have at it. It's pretend and it's fun. BTW, the only place I've had anyone say anything to their kid about playing pretend involving fingers "shooting" with my kid (as in "No! No shooting! If you do that we're going home!") was in the U.S. It seemed kind of ironic.

And no, guns are not toys and murder is not a game. Fortunately my child doesn't play with guns or plot murders. He isn't interested in the military either, he says he wouldn't want to risk being killed or ever have to kill someone else.
ETA-- in case that last part offended any military families, I just want you to know we have a lot of respect for those who serve.
I'm curious - and I am not being snarky - I am genuinely curious about the idea that because gun play is pretend and fun it's okay. Would you let your kids play house and have the Dad play hit the mum because dinner was late? Or let them play school and not intervene if they had one kid being black and being treated differently?
post #35 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I'm curious - and I am not being snarky - I am genuinely curious about the idea that because gun play is pretend and fun it's okay. Would you let your kids play house and have the Dad play hit the mum because dinner was late? Or let them play school and not intervene if they had one kid being black and being treated differently?

I saw on your previous post that you do allow sword play. Sword play involves violence and yes, even killing. So do you let your kids do the above, also? Of course not.
post #36 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaJunkie View Post
I saw on your previous post that you do allow sword play. Sword play involves violence and yes, even killing. So do you let your kids do the above, also? Of course not.
My kids sword play actually very rarely involves violence or killing. Epic dance-battles a la fencing and lots of spinning it around like Samuri but no pretend killing or injuries. Sometimes some dragon slaying - but of course they are magical and come back to life immediately.....
I wasn't being snarky. I just wonder at the distinction between allowing kids to "play kill" versus "play demean" for lack of a better term from someone who says that gun play is fine because it is pretend. Why is one okay and the other not (assuming that is the case)?
post #37 of 163
We have a couple of very fake looking squirt guns kids like to run around and squirt each other with on hot days. And I've seen puzzle pieces and fingers and things used as guns. We don't buy play guns other than the squirt guns, though we do have a light saber.

I'm not bothered by pretend violent play. The kids seem to use the squirt guns as things to squirt water with rather than as guns when they play. (like "HA you're all wet!" rather than "bang bang!") It's fingers that get used as guns most.

Here's an article from Mothering I like about this issue: http://mothering.com/parenting/bang-bang-youre-dead
post #38 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post
I'm curious - and I am not being snarky - I am genuinely curious about the idea that because gun play is pretend and fun it's okay. Would you let your kids play house and have the Dad play hit the mum because dinner was late? Or let them play school and not intervene if they had one kid being black and being treated differently?
I'm not answering such a ridiculous question.

If you think you are doing your kids and society a favor by not allowing pretend gun play then you should do that. If you think parents who allow it are doing their kids and society a disservice, then I think that is an extreme stance and have no interest in arguing it with you.

Eta: reading your post again reminded me of two kids i saw playing house in a little play structure at the playground once. They had nine babies and the boy was told to watch them while the girl went out. A few seconds later the boy was running around and she said "hey you're supposed to be watching the babies" and he replied "oh, well, the babies are dead so I can run around with you out here". It sounds awful to adult ears but was innocent play.
post #39 of 163
Quote:
Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
I'm not answering such a ridiculous question.

If you think you are doing your kids and society a favor by not allowing pretend gun play then you should do that. If you think parents who allow it are doing their kids and society a disservice, then I think that is an extreme stance and have no interest in arguing it with you.
I'm sorry you are offended but I disagree that it is a ridiculous question.
I am genuinely curious as to why one kind of play is considered okay and another is not and why parents make that distinction. Is it strictly cultural? And if so does that mean that the premise in articles like the one linked above that weapon play is essentially human nature is flawed? Why is it okay that children work through one kind of violence and power play through games like gun play but that we don't allow them to work through violence and power play of other sorts in their games? Is the issue that we as a culture have decided one kind of violence is okay and the other is not? How did we make that shift? And if we as a culture can say that certain types of violence are not okay in play then is there not value in the discussion to perhaps make a shift away froma gun culture as well?

And btw I never said that parents who allow gun play are doing society a disservice. I said gun play doesn't fit with my values, and the values I want to teach my kids.
post #40 of 163
Okay, I'll go ahead and go into detail with the whole "if you allow gun play, do you allow pretend spousal abuse?" thing.

I don't micromanage my kids' play. They play with guns sometimes, swords others. Mostly they play other types of things. I have never shown them "this is how you play with guns, this is how you play with swords, this is how you play house". So pretend spousal abuse isn't an issue. My kids are naturally inclined toward pretend play that involves a certain level of violence. Mostly where they team up against an invisible "bad guy/force/monster". They have not been naturally inclined toward pretending to beat a spouse for having the pretend dinner late. They also are not naturally inclined toward re-enacting racist scenarios. So it simply isn't an issue. You can say "Well what if they DID?", but it's a what-if that is simply ridiculous.
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