2.5 yr old pretends to shoot people he is angry at - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > 2.5 yr old pretends to shoot people he is angry at
staryla's Avatar staryla 11:29 AM 04-11-2011

I don't know if I should be concerned about this or what I should do about it.


My son is totally obsessed with knights and armor and bows/arrows (his Dad does archery in our backyard, so that's where he learned about the bows/arrows).  DS spends most of his imaginative play time pretending to fight 'monsters and dragons' with his imaginary sword or his bow and arrow.  We recently went to our town's medieval fair and so got some more exposure to jousting and sword fighting.


We constantly try to reinforce that while it is okay to shoot at the dragons, it is NOT okay to pretend to shoot at people or pets.  Recently DS has started pretending to shoot arrows at people that make him angry.  Such as last night when I made him brush his teeth and put on pajamas.  I've just been slightly annoyed at this behavior, but then I realized that if he was pretend shooting us with a gun I would be quite a bit more concerned.  But really there is no difference between pretending to shoot your mom with an arrow than there is with a bullet.


Is this just typical boyish behavior?  Should I try to stop this and how in the world would I do that?



JudiAU's Avatar JudiAU 01:06 PM 04-11-2011

I wouldn't be okay with it. My almost four year old likes knights but we limit his exposure to fairly gentle books. I won't allow him to have an actual sword yet and he knows the only reason you can "poke" a dragon is that it is pretend. He does have some playmobil with associated weaponry but he is more interested in "accessorizing" them than making them fight.


What kind of books or media does your LO see? That sounds pretty mature to me, but we are media free so it is hard to say. 

natural momma86's Avatar natural momma86 06:38 PM 04-11-2011

My 2 y/o also pretends to shoot at people, and it's because DH plays video games in front of him. splat.gif

Now I'm working on getting him to stop.

anjsmama's Avatar anjsmama 06:48 PM 04-11-2011

I so feel you on this one! Unfortunately my DS actually pretends to shoot with a gun! (He is also 2.5). He plays with squirt guns in the summer and my DH's grandmother actually taught him to say the words "bang, bang" when he does. You can only imagine my horror the first time he pretended to shoot at me and say bang bang (and yes, he was mad at me). I gave him a relatively stern talking to... sat him in one place, held his hands and explained that type of thing is for water play outside ONLY and we NEVER direct that sort of thing toward people or animals... in that "I mean it" voice I only use for dangerous situations. I have only had  two incidents of him doing that since (about 2 months ago) ...... I also had to talk to my grandmother-in-law about the serious implications involved with teaching a young child who doesn't understand real danger to associate a gun and bang bang! Talk about a tough situation.... I am 21 years old, and she has 21 great-grandchildren!!!!! 



Even though DS has stopped with that behavior (THANK GOODNESS!), I am still really bothered by the potential lasting effects. I am terrified about the possibility of him EVER coming anywhere NEAR a real gun.... AND DH is in the process of becoming a police officer! Scary, scary, scary, scary. 

tnh2007's Avatar tnh2007 08:29 PM 04-16-2011

I think this is a hard situation because society seems pretty okay with this type of behavior with young boys.  We are very avid hunters and our 3 yo has gone with us literally since he was an infant.  As soon as he started "playing gun" with random items (sticks, etc.) we started the "you don't ever, ever point that at people, or dogs, etc, etc.".  We are ultra stern and very consistent with it because of the fact that he will be exposed to guns in his life.  He is actually very good about it, we never have bought him any toy guns but a good intentioned friend did and he is only allowed to play with it while supervised.  He still finds sticks or toys though and makes believe he is hunting.  I do personally think it is important to drive this point home, but that is just our .02.


I was super proud recently when we were visiting family and his cousin (who is also 3) started shooting him with a toy gun.  DS was adamant and started lecturing him about not shooting at people... :)

Good luck, this is a tough age, they so want to be big and do what they see us do!


redvlagrl's Avatar redvlagrl 09:05 AM 04-19-2011

It wouldn't be ok with me either. But then, I personally believe that it's too young to be exposed to guns or any type of weapon until the child is old enough to understand (which is how old, who knows?). We are TV free and DD hasn't seen a movie yet and I certainly wouldn't be ok with movies depicting any sort of violence, even Cars. But that is us.


Obviously it's a part of your family's life, so could you maybe explain that it's Daddy's thing and he isn't even allowed to do it, much like you would do if a relative smoked or with alcohol. We certainly drink alcohol, but DD knows wine and beer is for grownups and doesn't ask for any.

Greenlea's Avatar Greenlea 09:16 AM 04-19-2011

My 2yr old son is not exposed to guns.  We do not have video games at home, we do not have cable, he does not watch violent DVD's, he has no gun toys and my DH does not have play guns either.  We don't even have a water gun in the house.


However, he STILL makes guns with his legos or uses sticks as guns.  I don't know where he picks up on such behavior.  He loves Toy Story, but Woody doesn't have a gun even though he's a cowboy.  He does go to daycare, but I know she is even more vigilant about guns than I am.


I post this because I truly believe it is just a boy thing.  Its like engraved in their brain or something.  Unless I'm missing somewhere, anywhere, my son may be picking up on guns, I just think its normal.