other children and guns? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i do not allow guns or swords (real or fake) in my home. DS (5) is not allowed to play with guns or around children who are playing in a violent manner. i see kids running around playing with guns like it is just the best thing ever and each time, i say to myself "now that is just precious", ugh it makes me sick to see them playing with violent toys like it is no big deal at all. my question is what do you do about it? what about when he tries to join? the other nieghborhood parents think i'm crazy , am i?
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#2 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 04:10 PM
 
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No, you're not crazy. I'm having a really hard time this summer b/c the neighbor kids play with guns every single day. I feel like I can't play in my own yard. We go to playgrounds or parks every day so my kids won't be around the weaponry. I am really uncomfortable with play violence. My kids know we don't "play" with guns but I don't even want them witnessing it. I prefer positive and creative play. It's a hard situation, I wish I knew how to handle it. Now we're just avoiding (and counting down the days til the older kids go back to school) but there has to be a better solution. Wanna come be my neighbor???
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#3 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i am starting to think that a bunch of us from the board should just start a commune lol. seems like it would be a perfect place full of acceptance/openmindedness, creativity and love . :
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#4 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 04:21 PM
 
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I don't think you're crazy at all. I don't go quite as far as some parents (I still will allow brightly colored water guns but my kids don't use them AS guns) but I am now known through DH's family as the "weird hippy one".

My SIL's lets her kids play with guns (snap guns, BB guns, etc) and I freak out whenever we're there because he boys will go around pointing the guns at everyone. I've snapped and yelled at them before when they wouldn't stop doing it to my DD.

I also yelled at a few neighborhood kids here last week. I opened the front door to find 3 boys (maybe 7-9 yrs old) standing in my driveway shooting a BB gun at the quail across the street. I flipped out and yelled at them to get out of my yard and never come back around. The one with the gun looked at me like I was crazy and said "Why?", like it was no big deal. Ugh. I can't stand that.
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#5 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 05:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amydidit View Post
I also yelled at a few neighborhood kids here last week. I opened the front door to find 3 boys (maybe 7-9 yrs old) standing in my driveway shooting a BB gun at the quail across the street. I flipped out and yelled at them to get out of my yard and never come back around. The one with the gun looked at me like I was crazy and said "Why?", like it was no big deal. Ugh. I can't stand that.
In that case, I would have just called the police and told them that there were some boys firing weapons in your yard. Let the authorities deal with it.

OP - I'm totally with you on this.
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#6 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 06:56 PM
 
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In theory I am against toy guns and gun-play. I say "in theory" because my almost-4-year-old ds has started pretending everything is a gun lately. He doesn't even know the word "shoot," so he has his characters "gunning" things (never other people). I'm not entirely sure where he got the whole gun thing from (we do play with other kids, but not on a daily basis, and I'm always around), but he incorporates it into almost every game he plays lately. I try to redirect him, but sometimes I just try to ignore it.

Today while playing outside, he accidentally killed an ant he was trying to catch, and he cried for half an hour. Seriously. We buried it, named it "cutie," and he is still, hours later, whimpering about it from time to time. So despite his new fixation on guns, he is still a sensitive, loving boy. Which isn't to say that I think gun-play is okay, but I DO think it's really normal for boys especially to be interested in that sort of stuff.

So I'm not sure how I'm going to handle the whole gun thing. I do know that, for now, we won't allow any gun toys in the house. But if he wants to pretend a stick is a gun, what then?

Mom to dd (8), ds (6), and dd (1)

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#7 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 08:16 PM
 
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Well, I'll be the odd one out and say I don't really limit my kids pretend play as long as they aren't hurting anyone or saying mean things that we don't allow. My kids have never really developed a gun obsession. They like to play with super soakers in the summer, but more for the water play aspect of it. Now light sabers are a different story. They LOVE those. If it wasn't light sabers, it would be sticks and those are probably more dangerous in terms of someone getting hurt.
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#8 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 08:52 PM
 
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I'm another mom whose theory hasn't meshed w/ reality. My 3 y/o and DH saw a Wild West reenactment at Six Flags and DS came home to tell me about the "boomer" the man had. I told him it was called a gun and that one was pretend, real guns hurt people, guns aren't safe, kids shouldn't be around guns, etc. Well boy does he want a boomer. He was v impressed by the noise, apparently. Like a pp wrote, sticks are boomers, toothbrushes, paintbrushes, even a helmet has been a boomer. What can I do?

We have some foam swords and they're a lot of fun. DS doesn't try to hurt anyone w/ them and he certainly doesn't know there is such a thing as a very large knife that is just for hurting people--he just likes to wave his around and pretend to be a knight. I can totally live with that.
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#9 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 09:01 PM
 
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I have a gun, my partner has a gun. We both know how to shoot accurately (it's a good stress reliever to go to the range, lol). We shoot targets - not animals, for the record!

However, I am against kids playing with toy guns. Guns are serious weapons. I don't think they should be made into toys. I knew how to handle a gun, on the range, from age 5 onwards. I was mature, and was always surpervised. I didn't know where the guns were kept at home or where the bullets were. When I turned 18, they showed me the safe, built behind a wall, no less.

I plan on raising my (as yet unconceived child) in this way too. Definitely no weapons as toys - real or imaginary. In terms of other kids, well, we're going to home school while traveling. We're hoping for a recluse like us.

I honestly can not understand why weapons have been made into toys for kids. I think this is so inappropriate. And I think it's dangerous, i.e. god forbid a child found a real gun and played with it as a toy. It happens, unfortunately. Everyone around us with kids has guns, swords, lethal knives, grenades, etc., as TOYS. To me, this is a little sick. But, then again, I was raised with a healthy respect and fear of how dangerous real weapons could be and that, in no way, shape, or form were they toys.

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#10 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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Is it a mostly problem when you're at a park and there are random children there, and your children seeing it - or are you thinking more about when visiting other families and there is more interaction between the children?

I would say that if any mama told me that they avoided gun/sword play, I would certainly respect that even though we have no such limitation. Just like if someone were TV-free, I would try to accommodate them by keeping the TV off, perhaps even turning off the computer. If someone is on a restricted diet, I talk to the children about not eating certain foods in front of them and why. I can do these things easily, even if I don't agree with the premise, or have the same restrictions.

As long as you are courteous, warm, kind, and non-judgmental in stating your preferences - you hopefully will only be met with acceptance, even if you don't find agreement.

I know that you came here seeking input from like-minded mamas, and were venting your frustration - and if you can't do it here, then where? I get that... but the underlying attitude of sarcastic disdain that you seem to feel probably makes it harder to connect with other families AND will make it harder to connect with your son when if and when he expresses interest in violent play. Please give some thought to the fact that not forbidding gun play can be a thoughtful, considered, and conscious decision made by a loving and educated parent. It doesn't mean you have to agree... but just like you're not crazy, we're not either. We all love our kids and want a peaceful, healthy world.

~ Colleen ~ Joyful Unschooling Pagan mama to hearts.gifenergy.gifsuperhero.gifjog.gif and babyf.gif
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#11 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 09:22 PM
 
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i was like that with ds1.
however, this article is a good one to read: http://www.mothering.com/articles/gr...bang-bang.html
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#12 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 09:27 PM
 
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Well, I do live in a commune and I still have to deal with gun play here only for me it is more difficult. The kids here don't play with guns in a war type play. If they did I would have no problem telling them I don't like seeing people shot even for pretend. My dd knew at a young age (pre-community) that we don't play with guns, and I have told even complete stranger kids that shooting people, even pretend made me uncomfortable and to please not do it around us.

Three of our commune kids are vegetarian, but the fourth (M)is not. They are very ethical meat consumers who feel that meat hunted with respect and gratitude is the best followed by local pasture raised slaughtered with respect and gratitude. Hunting is a big part of this childs reality so of course he plays he is hunting, with things he makes/finds... I cannot find any reason to object to this.

Interestingly, one day M was playing hunting and dd came to me and said I should take dgd away because of it. I asked her why it is ok for her to be around M playing guns and not dgd, she said it was because she won't copy M and dgd will. Also dgd was around war play before she came to me so I need to watch that she doesn't take it in that direction.
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#13 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 09:45 PM
 
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Before meeting DH, I never dreamed I'd live in a home where guns were kept; now I do, and so do our 2 DS's. DH carries a weapon for work & is extremely serious about safety and education issues with our boys. They have no idea where it is kept, nor the bullets or any other part of his required work gear.

Nevertheless, DS1 (5yo) is now 'shooting' things with any object that he determines could be a gun. Of course, DS2 (3yo) is mimicking. (we do not permit ANY specifically designed toy guns/weapons in the house) I do try to encourage them to "shoot water from fire hoses", or have a rocket "shoot up into the sky".

We are working on calmly educating our boys; talking about work/hunting for food vs. violence/pleasure hunting, etc. I now feel strongly that awareness is critical and I have expectations that our kids will know what to do if ever faced with finding or seeing a real gun. I also am working on balancing their need for good vs. bad guy playing and how to address their genetics. (FTR, these are 2 very, very sensitive boys who freak out when they see meanness at a playground)

You are not crazy, OP. it is absolutely your choice while you remain the parent. I like what someone else said about making yourself clear with "courteous, warm, kind, and non-judgmental" tone. I only encourage you to consider what your DS might learn during those brief, yet inevitable future moments as he ages and is playing with other kids. I'd wager that you'd rather talk guns/weapons through with him yourself, than have anyone else do it. KWIM?
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#14 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 10:19 PM
 
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We live in northern Canada very close to a reserve and our neighbor grew up on one of them. I agree with the pp about the hunting/meat respect thing so when our neighbor's DS showed up with a fake 22, I asked him what it was for. He told me he was going to get a moose with it. 'Nuff said.

The next day, he showed up with some space guns and started aiming at my kids. I was shocked. Then my precious, peaceful and CALM DD started shooting back. I think my shock blocked my mind a bit so when he went home and left his guns here, I addressed it with my DD. She brought them back to his house.

Then he started bringing over various Ninja Turtles weapons. It makes me sick. I usually just supervise the play and make sure no one's getting hurt or threatened. He will chase DD around and call her a 'Bad Guy' to which I reply we don't believe in 'Bad Guys' in this house.

The last time he had a gun here, he started to aim it at my son. Prepared this time, I pulled out an old one from my grandpa. 'Under no circumstances will you ever aim a gun at another person. I don't care if it's a toy. I don't care if it's a stranger on the street. It is not funny or even fun to aim a gun at another person. Ever.'

We haven't seen a gun or weapon here since.
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#15 of 48 Old 08-27-2008, 10:52 PM
 
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When the guns come out...we play pirates!
Aye matey gimme your treasure!!
Little kids with little multi colored guns does not bother me one bit. We hide behind trees and chase each other. We find treasure in trees and mark trees with pirate flags.

The first rule of homeschooling: water the plants! :
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#16 of 48 Old 08-28-2008, 05:44 AM
 
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This is also something for me that has changed as my children (my son really) has gotten older. I always held that we'd be a gun-free home (and we still are) but I've "softened" my stance about that type of play. My son is not exposed to any violent shows and has never seen Power Rangers, Star Wars, etc. (maybe when he's a little older) So he typically doesn't act out any kind of violence, but once one of the neighbor boys comes over w/his Nerf guns (which I am ok with), I let them play, and interact and watch them so I can understand their play. I have made it clear that you never point any guns at anyone, even if they are play.

It's one of those things where while I'm feeling a little out of my comfort zone, I've also realized my son is craving that sort of play. And then I remember to my own childhood where I did the same thing

My son has not asked for a gun, so we don't have anything in the home.
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#17 of 48 Old 08-28-2008, 10:52 AM
 
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It is supposedly developmentally appropriate for boys to play in this way, even in the absence of stimulus for such play. There's a program that runs on PBS from time to time (I think it's called Discovering Psychology) that discusses how they did an experiement in a classroom around boys and "violent" stories. For example they didn't allow the boys to tell or write stories where the character gets "killed". They required them to use different terminology that didn't involve "death". They found that when they denied the boys these kinds of stories that they acted out even more.
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#18 of 48 Old 08-28-2008, 11:06 AM
 
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I don't really have issues with pretend play as long as it isn't hurting/affecting/bothering anyone else. We do have guns in our house but I stand very firm on toy guns. I do not want my children thinking guns are any sort of toy. But I don't stop them from pretending a stick is a gun or from eating their sandwich into gun shape. We do have a rule about pretend gun play though, no pointing it at people.
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#19 of 48 Old 08-28-2008, 11:19 AM
 
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there is also a lot of issues raised in that article i linked. Raising Boys is a good show on PBS also that addresses some of the issues of not allowing boys to express themselves the way they want to.
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#20 of 48 Old 08-28-2008, 12:00 PM
 
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I agree that guns are an unavoidable part of our society and children need to be educated about them. To me, water guns are obviously a toy and there's plenty that aren't even shaped like guns anymore. I do have a problem with play violence though, and I think that was what the OP was addressing. My neighbor children play war with guns that look like guns except for an orange tip. They point guns at each other and pretend to kill each other. I regularly hear "I've been shot" shouted from the backyard. They bring their guns to our house and point them at our children. We've repeatedly told them not to but they are always unsupervised and don't really listen to their parents either. It's not an easy situation of "go home" because we do have a nice neighborhood where the kids are welcome to play in any yard and I like the idea of communal space.

I think the suggestions of creative, non-violent play is good if your child is interested in weapons. It's exhausting to deal with it every day but luckily our kids respect our ideals more than the neighbor kids. There was an interesting piece on NPR last weekend about how kids playing with guns (paintball, nerf) are just playing and it's better than sitting inside playing video games. I have to admit though, watching the riot police at the DNC lately has had my tolerance of violent play at a minimum. Maybe I'm too sensitive. Good luck sagemomma, hope you find a solution that works for your family.
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#21 of 48 Old 08-28-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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Before I had a son I assumed I would keep gun/sword play out of the house. We don't buy anything meant to be used that way, but he turns anything and everything into a light saber or gun. He doesn't watch violent TV, of course, but he seemed programmed from the beginning to play that way. I don't stop him - in fact, I find it strange when I see a mom running around the playground yelling for her 3 year old to stop acting like a stick is a gun. It's pretend play, a natural part of growing up, and I don't think there is anything wrong with it. In fact, I feel like pointing out why it's wrong all the time is worse than just letting them do their thing. My DH said he played gun battles when he was little and he is a gentle, caring, completely non-violent man. I think children learn about violence from their parents, not by pretending a stick is a gun.

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#22 of 48 Old 08-29-2008, 05:10 PM
 
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I don't allow those in my house either. I don't think that there is ever a reason to kill someone and I don't believe in pretending to kill them or justifying killing anyone just because you think they are a bad guy. I give alternate things to dd that she can do like sticking them in jail, spraying glue on them, stopping them with her super powers and changing them to good guys. I have heard that not allowing kids to pretend to kill each other makes them do it obsessively whenever they can and all that but my brother and I didn't get guns and I don't remember us ever thinking it was okay to pretend to pretend to shoot guns even when we weren't with our mother. I think it depends on the kids and on how well you tell them your reasoning behind the rule and she told us hers very clearly and we agreed. I also think that if you have a value that you are really set on having then it is good to stick to it and keep the rules that hold up that value in your home even if your kids do play them somewhere else when you aren't around. I think that it is good to tell kids and show them by our actions how to stay strong with our values even in the face of criticism.
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#23 of 48 Old 08-29-2008, 06:38 PM
 
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My daughter doesn't have any play guns, but she'll put a finger out and her thumb up and pretend her hand is a gun. The neighborhood kids all run around pretending to shoot each other. They play cops and robbers mainly. I'm not going to buy her a toy gun, but I'm not going to worry about imaginary gun play either. I'm glad they're running around outside instead of sitting around inside.

I disagree that it's just something boys are developmentally set to do. I think a lot of that is socialization - teaching boys to play one way and girls to play another. In out neighborhood, all the kids play together - boys and girls - and everyone plays house and everyone plays cops and robbers.
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#24 of 48 Old 08-30-2008, 07:09 PM
 
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i was like that with ds1.
however, this article is a good one to read: http://www.mothering.com/articles/gr...bang-bang.html
That is an interesting article.Thanks.

You know, we aren't gun people. No hunting,no self defense,no antique guns,etc. We don't watch violent tv/movies,etcf. If one of my DS's wants to play at a home he's never been to, I have called these neighbors/friends houses before,to ask if they are gun owners,and if so,if their guns are locked up. I don't really care how/what their reaction is to me and my line of questioning. Some people have been very respectful of my questions,others have treated me like I am "one of those" moms. Whatever. If there are BB guns, I make it clear,that while my DSs are there, I do not want them playing with those.My Dss know our rules,and they haven't budged in all of these years. These guns are not allowed at our home either. Period.

That being said, one day a few years ago, one of my DSs picked up a stick,and started using it like it was a gun. I was shocked. I wondered where he could have even gotten the idea to use a stick for a gun.And, that the gun was to be aimed,and "shot." Talking with my DH later, we concluded, that he had seen kids with water guns(we allow those),so thaqt's how he learned the how to shoot and aim thing. Then, we realized, that he was obviously really listening to the older kid's read alouds-which were about world and american history, and had wqatched his faqir share of Little House on the Prairie! The little stinker put it all together,and thus the pretend gun from a stick. I didn't stop it-just let him play it out. Harmless, in my opinion.

Skip ahead a few years. A couple of my DC are really into all things mysteries-books. Two police officers moved in down the street. This really impressed one of my Ds's! Then, our street started having trouble with one of the neighbors-drug dealers with dangerous dogs. MY youngest DS was scared to even walk past this paricular house.One day, I saw my DS at the window,with a water gun, talking about killing the bad guys! We had a nice,long talk,and I really think he was feeling powerless in that situation, and this was his way of dealing with these over whelming thoughts and feelings.

All of this to say...it can be harmless play,that doesn't need direction from us adults, or, it can be a "useful" type of play...to work through thoughts and feelings. Nothing huge to dismantle and analyze.
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#25 of 48 Old 08-30-2008, 07:35 PM
 
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I distincly remember playing cops/robbers, cowboys/indians and good guys/bad guys growing up. I really really enjoyed it. I allow pretend gun/sword play, I have two boys and that's what they really enjoy doing. They are NOT allowed to 'shoot' at each other or anyone else. I don't allow real looking guns, but if they're using their imagination than it's fine by me. I know different houses have different rules, and so do my boys, when we go visit friends that don't allow it than my boys are more than happy to follow their rules.

And they are sensitive caring boys.

Mom to Ds1 (8 1/2) Ds2 (6) Dd (2 1/2)!!!!
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#26 of 48 Old 08-30-2008, 07:38 PM
 
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I don't think you are crazy but I think perhaps you shouldn't be so bothered by it.

What really changed my perspective about it is the documentary "Raising Cain" it was amazing and taught me so much about boys and "violent" play.

I would suggest you rent it.
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#27 of 48 Old 08-30-2008, 07:43 PM
 
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I don't think you are crazy but I think perhaps you shouldn't be so bothered by it.

What really changed my perspective about it is the documentary "Raising Cain" it was amazing and taught me so much about boys and "violent" play.

I would suggest you rent it.
THATS the documentary i was thinking of. Thank you!!!
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#28 of 48 Old 08-30-2008, 09:17 PM
 
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For what it's worth, I don't think you're crazy. I would love to find a like minded mama around here. We are gun/weapon/violence free. We don't have toy guns/weapons. We don't watch violent shows (actually, ds doesn't watch any tv at home, except movies and those are mostly Thomas, VeggieTales, Elmo, Blues Clues, etc). Oh, and the rare show on the food network, maybe once a month So far ds (5 in October) doesn't have any interest in gun/weapon/violent play. Except those stupid foam swords at the store. He got ahold of one of those once and pretended to stab me and DP (!!!). Yeah.... no more Peter Pan after that The kids in his daycare try to build lego guns. We are working on stopping it, and they're getting better about not doing it (or at least they're getting more creative. If I "catch" them they quickly try to cover it up.... "It's not a gun... it's a boat/airplane/whatever"... I work at the daycare so I can see what's happening day to day). But sometimes they still get caught chasing each other around the room "shooting" each other. Thankfully my ds hasn't caught on and has no interest (one perk of his autism... he doesn't play like typical kids and has no interest in what they're doing).

An added reason of why we don't do weapons- my ds, at almost 5, still doesn't get the difference between pretend and real. Everything is real to him. Just a couple weeks ago he was in therapy and his therapist said "we're going to pretend to go to the beach today!". The whole therapy was centered around beach themed things. DS broke down hysterical when he realized they weren't, in fact, going to the beach. Anyway, if I let ds play with toy guns, or allow him to watch it, I have no doubt that if he ever came across a real gun he would attempt to shoot it, without hesitation. If I allow him to play with toy swords/knives I have no doubt he'll stab someone (or himself) if he comes across a knife. It is a very real safety issue with him. We do not allow violent/weapon play. We do not allow him around kids who are playing violent. This is for the safety of Owen, along with everyone he's around. I would hate to get a call from a mom who has ds on a playdate explaining that Owen and her kid were playing toy swords, Owen dropped/lost his so reached for a knife on the counter and stabbed the kid. It's not a risk I'm willing to take.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#29 of 48 Old 08-30-2008, 10:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amydidit View Post
I also yelled at a few neighborhood kids here last week. I opened the front door to find 3 boys (maybe 7-9 yrs old) standing in my driveway shooting a BB gun at the quail across the street. I flipped out and yelled at them to get out of my yard and never come back around. The one with the gun looked at me like I was crazy and said "Why?", like it was no big deal. Ugh. I can't stand that.
I can see both sides of this gun play issue (having 3 boys opened new thoughts on this one), but I have a hard time understanding this reaction. To me, this would be a violent response -yelling and shaming. Isn't the intense violence what you are actually trying to stop when you forbid, limit or even manipulate gun play?

I'm really not trying to make this Mama feel bad about her reaction, but I do think it gets to the core of what a lot of people are trying to do when they put rules on gun play. The best response I have seen when kids are doing something like this is to check-in with them (to pull them out of group think) and engage them in an understanding of the situation. In this case, going up to the boys and saying, "Hold your fire - what's up here?" and then telling them more about the quail "Did you notice how pretty the feathers look when the light shines on them and have you noticed how cool it is to watch them walk around with their babies?" etc.

I guess I think the actual gun play is less worrisome than the kids not caring.

That being said, I do ask my kids not to play with toy guns because I fear the confusion with a real one. Sticks, k'nex, legos - that's all fair game. I just hate how real toy guns look. Our rule is that no one playing or watching should feel uncomfortable with the play.
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#30 of 48 Old 08-31-2008, 10:01 AM
 
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The fact that the boys were playing with BB guns would scare the jeebies outta me though, bb guns are sooo dangerous. My cat was shot by one once and she litterally had a hole in her back

Mom to Ds1 (8 1/2) Ds2 (6) Dd (2 1/2)!!!!
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