Originally Posted by sunnysideup
What if your child really wanted a sword to play knights, or a toy pirate ship? Or is it only toy guns you're talking about?
We recently went through this with my 4 1/2 year old. I'm totally biased, but he is the most gentle boy I have ever met. We can't kill bugs in front of him. When he learned that some animals eat other animals, he wanted to know if those animals were sorry. He says he only likes "plant-eaters" for dinosaurs. He is so incredibly gentle. I don't think I've ever seen him do aggressive play that we often see with boys.
But he developed this fascination with swords and armor. He loves knights. He was originally concerned that the knights were hitting each other and he wanted to know how they avoided hurting each other. But the next thing I knew, he was wielding an imaginary sword and making swishing noises.
I was open to buying him a foam sword for outside play, provided he only hit objects with it, not people. But dh was really really against that idea at this age. Since he respects my "no toy gun" wishes, I am respecting his "no swords yet" wishes. Meanwhile, my sensitive little soul drew a sword yesterday and cut it out so he could use it.
I would not buy toys that encourage violence. But now that he's showing an interest in a specific thing, I guess I'm wavering. I think I take it more seriously than he does. As an adult, I'm thinking of swords as cutting people open and horrible things like that. As a 4yo, I think he's thinking of having a really cool tool and just being exciting. At the same time, I really hate to see preschoolers beating the crap out of each other with plastic swords; I see that a lot and I think it comes from somewhere (media or adult encouragement).
I don't know. I don't have brothers, so this is all unchartered territory to me, the whole boy thing. I just wanted to share what I've recently learned. I think that if my son had a sword, he wouldn't be construing it in the same way that I would be. And he gets all our messages about being kind and respectful, so we're covered there. I'm starting to think that a certain amount of it is just testosterone. I'm sure there are people who have never owned one violent toy that turn out to be violent, disrespectful people, because their parents didn't teach them certain things.