"Gun" (stick) play at preschool - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-02-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Play shooting to small kids is not the same as wanting to actually shoot a person in real life. In kids games, they shoot you and you die and then you get back up and play again. It's all pretend.
It wasn't pretend to my dd. She was absolutely convinced that kids doing weapon play were trying to hurt her. The line between pretend and reality is very thin at that age and she knew from our conversations that weapons are serious things that hurt and kill people not toys.

There are a few things kids try to pretend to do that aren't allowed in daycare and preschool centers because a lot of the parents at those centers don't want them. Pretending to kill other people and pretending to have sex are the two that come to mind from working with preschoolers. My dd was in one center where they didn't allow magic play because they were Christian based and their denomination was against that sort of thing. Weapons may turn into the forbidden fruit, though I can think of several things parents don't allow their kids to have or do that don't turn into the forbidden fruit so I don't think it is very likely.
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Old 10-02-2010, 12:39 PM
 
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It wasn't pretend to my dd. She was absolutely convinced that kids doing weapon play were trying to hurt her. The line between pretend and reality is very thin at that age and she knew from our conversations that weapons are serious things that hurt and kill people not toys.

There are a few things kids try to pretend to do that aren't allowed in daycare and preschool centers because a lot of the parents at those centers don't want them. Pretending to kill other people and pretending to have sex are the two that come to mind from working with preschoolers. My dd was in one center where they didn't allow magic play because they were Christian based and their denomination was against that sort of thing. Weapons may turn into the forbidden fruit, though I can think of several things parents don't allow their kids to have or do that don't turn into the forbidden fruit so I don't think it is very likely.
Fair enough. I'll clarify/qualify: to *most* kids who WANT to play this way, it's totally pretend and I do NOT think will lead to them necessarily being violent or even callous in the future (of course, it could lead to all of the above in some kids, and I thinkt he answer instead of banning the play is for the parent to be involved and monitoring the kid as they would with every other aspect of their wellbeing and taking action if something seemed wrong or disconnected). And I clearly stated that any kid who *doesn't* want to play this way should not be compelled to do so; and further, nor should they be made to feel badly if they don't want to play that way. In fact, I never wanted to play that was as a kid, but I didn't think that kids who did were "bad" or anything. I just wasn't interested in that specific kind of play as a kid. And I don't remember ever being forced to play that way or being made to feel badly for it.....and if your daughter was, I would gently suggest that a solution would be to be sure the kids doing it were told to - gently, firmly - knock it off (trying to get her to do it and/or make her feel bad) instead of forbidding the play entirely between two consenting kids who aren't really harming anyone with this pretend scenario.

I just have a hard time equating a kid wanting to pretend to play sex to a kid wanting to pretend to play cops and robbers or war. I can't adequately articulate the difference to me in writing, maybe someone else can. I wish I knew how to put into words that made sense. All I know is one at my core they make me feel very differently inside. Anyone else have the words for it?

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Old 10-02-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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The line between pretend and reality is very thin at that age and she knew from our conversations that weapons are serious things that hurt and kill people not toys.
Perhaps those conversations are why she was upset about it?

I've worked with hundreds of children and while I agree in theory that the line between reality and imaginative play is thin at that age, every one of the kids I've worked with have understood that pretend fighting was well, pretend.

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Old 10-03-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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I tried for a long time to keep gun play out of the house. I succeeded for about three years. Once I knew I was losing the fight, we had a few discussions about the difference between pretend guns and a real ones, and we went over our rules for what to do should they encouter a real gun. They know that real guns are for hunting, and sometimes things happen and people get hurt.

They've been very clear to me that "we're just pretending". And I have to trust their pretend play. It is, after all, just pretend.

We do have some rules. They can't point their "gun" (most often a stick) at anyone who isn't playing. They can't take their gun (or make new ones) anyplace where real guns wouldn't be allowed-- schools, libraries, government buildings. Other places, we appeal to civility-- no guns in the restaurant.

I agree it's a sticky subject. I realized, however, that I couldn't stop it, and I wouldn't want to stop it anymore. Many times, when we're on a walk in the woods or on the trail, my sons are carrying sticks (as guns) to protect us from the storm troopers. I've got fanstasy guns protecting me from fantasy bad guys, and that's just as it should be.

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Old 10-06-2010, 05:45 AM
 
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We are on the homeschooling path. Unfortunately, just before our son turned 4 we had family problems that necessitated putting him in preschool. Within a week he was playing guns, killing, superheroes, etc. I told him I was sad that he was pretending to hurt someone. He said it was just pretend. I told him again I was sad he was pretending to hurt someone. I rarely told him he couldn't play guns as that would have made them forbidden fruit, but I did want him to know my values of not hurting anyone.

Fortunately we were able to withdraw him from the school in 2.5 months. The violent play went away. His hero play is as a firefighter. He is constantly rushing to put out fires. His only gun play is to put pretend squirt guns in his lego barns so the animals can spray themselves with water.

I think gun play really limits creativity. Kids get so focused on guns and weapons that they play that to the exclusion of so many other really creative games.

I was selective on who I let my son play with initially. As he is getting older he avoids kids who are doing the violent play. Even when I've offered to arrange playdates he has said he doesn't like the games those kids play.

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Old 10-06-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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I just have a hard time equating a kid wanting to pretend to play sex to a kid wanting to pretend to play cops and robbers or war. I can't adequately articulate the difference to me in writing, maybe someone else can. I wish I knew how to put into words that made sense. All I know is one at my core they make me feel very differently inside. Anyone else have the words for it?
I'll take a stab at it (no pun intended)... First, I've never heard of preschoolers playing sex! Yikes. But, I can see how it's more alarming than guns. Guns and killing are even pretend for most adults! Sex is a real thing for almost all adults, and that is only for adults. If I knew of such a young child pretending to have sex, I would immediately suspect that someone has done something inappropriate to them, or how would they know about it. Guns and killing are all over TV (apparently), so kids are "safely" getting that influence without any traumatic experience necessary to teach it to them. It's a way more normal and accepted thing for kids to know about. (I am not arguing it's a great way to play - as I mentioned before I am not that comfortable with it.)
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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First, I've never heard of preschoolers playing sex! Yikes. But, I can see how it's more alarming than guns. Guns and killing are even pretend for most adults! Sex is a real thing for almost all adults, and that is only for adults. If I knew of such a young child pretending to have sex, I would immediately suspect that someone has done something inappropriate to them, or how would they know about it. Guns and killing are all over TV (apparently), so kids are "safely" getting that influence without any traumatic experience necessary to teach it to them. It's a way more normal and accepted thing for kids to know about. (I am not arguing it's a great way to play - as I mentioned before I am not that comfortable with it.)
I am greatly disturbed by this!

I know guns to be REAL for most adults.
I know that sex to some adults is far from real.

Sex- inappropriate? how about natural and normal? young children often walk in on parents----this in NO WAY means they have been "done something" to them-WOW-IMO

We don't do gun play at all--we do not feel that it is in any way safe to see it on TV, etc---for many children guns are REAL, very very REAL!!!

 

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:38 AM
 
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I know guns to be REAL for most adults.
I know that sex to some adults is far from real.
I have to disagree with this. My everyday exposure to guns is very minimal. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been near a loaded weapon on purpose (not counting armed officers or people doing a concealed carry I am unaware of). All of those times have been target shooting with family members. None of us hunt animals, we just shot at paper targets and tin cans to test/compare our marksmanship skills. I have never had a desire to shoot a living thing, but still find marksmanship to be an interesting skill to watch and acquire.

Conversely, sex is a very intimate, very real, very regular part of my life (though some times more regular than others )

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Old 10-07-2010, 09:29 AM
 
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each area is totally different, within an hour we have a daily gun related incident - within two hours you are almost guaranteed to have a child gun related incident weekly, very little is hunting related

we are two hours from two major cities, guns are real to many children
's lives, I know of no one that does not or has not had a gun related incident of some type happen within family or friend

we support local ZERO tolerance (daycare, schools) that is gaining local acceptance
growing up all my female friends had their barbies have sex, none ever claimed being molested, from a very young age, sex was known and thought of as normal, it was no big deal to act this out, we never ACTED on it, it still happen with children and dolls and doesn't mean they are molested, parents never made us feel ashamed
gun play was very down-played in the circles I grew up with (and at school) and other "pretend" was encouraged for boys, now I know of no one that allows gun play

 

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Old 12-16-2011, 09:10 PM
 
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Our kids always want to play with guns and we just teach them that shooting guns is only ok if they are hunting and NEVER at people. If they start playing war we take their guns away, be it toy guns or stick guns.

 

Recently I heard of preschool and kindergarten sexual harassment charges. What is going on? I am very wary of having my kids in school because of all these kinds of things going on. I completely agree with school, not home-schooling because of the interaction with all kinds of people, but in these instances, I am very afraid of what goes on. I also wonder when I hear these about these kinds of actions of where and how the children know about it and do not think it appropriate for them to know.

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Old 12-17-2011, 12:13 PM
 
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I don't like my kids playing 'guns' and notice that my DS1 occasionally does engage in gun play. We have had several talks about why we don't "play" guns, because I feel they aren't toys. He is 6, knows what they are and what they do. If I see him doing it, I remind him why we don't play guns and encourage something else. I know other kids DS's age do it, and I just have to encourage him what we feel is best and hope that he has the courage to make his own choices. 


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