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<p>My son is 4.5 and has just been recently introduced to gun play by a couple of friends.  I had no idea it would happen this soon and dh and I aren't sure how to deal with it.  I'm not comfortable with gun play but from some reading I've done it is fairly normal for kids to explore them.  So, I don't think that banning them is the way to go but I need some suggestions on guidelines maybe?</p>
<p>What is your families take on it?</p>
 

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<p>Our rule is you can't shoot anyone who doesn't agree to be shot. (I.e. they have to be playing the game and enjoying it.)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We don't encourage it but we don't discourage it either. I tried the "love gun" approach from Playful Parenting but that didn't go over so well.</p>
 

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<p>No rules about it here.  My kids are free to <em>pretend</em> anything they want.  Why not?  So they can have toy guns, and they can do anything they want with them, as long as it doesn't hurt or annoy anyone else.</p>
 

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<p>Our rules are only those that are playing are involved. You don't shoot at me, or the neighbor.</p>
<p>No toy guns where real ones wouldn't be allowed. People get uncomfortable. (not at the library, schools, courthouses, etc)</p>
<p>Be civilized (no guns at the table)</p>
 

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<p>When I was a kid, toy guns could not be pointed at people.  We always followed that rule, but that didn't prevent us from pointing sticks and fingers at each other. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>No real rules about it here, but LOTS of education about real guns and death.</p>
 

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-Lots of talks about how real guns are dangerous and only used in certain occasions (hunting, police use to stop someone from hurting someone else).<br>
-Lots of talks about how war is scary and wrong and against our faith.<br>
-No "toy" guns allowed in my house. Sticks and other things can be "pretend" guns, but I'll donate anything that has to do with war (toy soldiers included).<br>
-No guns pointed at people who aren't playing.<br>
-Try to discourage, redirect and distract as much as possible, especially when DS is trying to include me in the play (so, water guns or guns that shoot glue or other silly things that are not harmful)<br>
-Any kind of fighting play must be okay with all participants; hurt feelings means it is time to choose another game.<br><br>
I initially thought I could just outright ban the whole thing, but I have become more lenient now. DS does a lot of superhero play or hunting monsters that does involve violence in a pretend fashion. He is still such a sensitive and non-violent child towards everyone still that I'm not as concerned.<br>
 

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<p>There was a thread about this a couple of months ago with lots of good replies.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I was in the minority I think in that thread but we don't allow gun play for a number of reasons. I do lots of talking with my kids about why and have not had any issues. It hasn't made them "want" it and they choose not to participate in gun play with the few friends neighbourhood kids that do that sort of play.  There experience is that the gun play isn't very fun - it's of the "bang you're dead" variety and not overly interesting or creative. They do super hero play, and have play swords but no guns.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I believe gun play may be culturally typical in NA but I don't believe it is necessary developmentally normal. </p>
<p>hth</p>
<p>Karen</p>
 

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<p>Thanks for the input so far.  We too tried the love gun idea and it didn't work.  I'm hoping b/c it's new to him that he will explore it a bit and soon be distracted by another new interest.  He has not seen a toy gun before but is trying to make them with some mega blocks and his finger at this point.  I have to admit his mega blocks guns are pretty darn creative.</p>
 

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They want to make guns out of legos or whatever, that's ok. They may not point them at adults. We do not allow actual toy guns. The "love gun" idea is one of the most squicky, disturbing parenting techniques I've come across.
 

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<p>I wasn't to excited when my oldest (now 16) started being interested in guns.  He was the typical kid - pretend shooting, playing war, etc.  We followed guidelines like some of the others - time and place for gun play, only with friends who are playing the game, etc.   I wanted to add my input, because my son is now into modding nerf guns.  He takes them apart, modifies them so that they shoot farther (some shoot 100+ feet), and he attends nerf 'wars'.   He has been doing this since about the age of 13.  The nerfers have rules they have to follow (eye protection at the wars, respect your fellow nerfers, net-ettiquette on the forums, etc).  I never thought that his interest in guns would last this long or turn into something creative, but I'm glad he has this hobby.  He has learned some basic mechanics/engineering, and basic respect for others.  He's also found a group he fits in with that respect him.  It has been a really positive experience for him.</p>
<p>I guess what I'm saying is - gun play doesn't have to be a bad or negative thing, it can turn into something positive.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>GuildJenn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280866/pls-share-your-families-take-on-gun-play#post_16063008"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Our rule is you can't shoot anyone who doesn't agree to be shot. (I.e. they have to be playing the game and enjoying it.)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>We don't encourage it but we don't discourage it either. I tried the "love gun" approach from Playful Parenting but that didn't go over so well.</p>
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<br><br><p> </p>
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Daffodil</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280866/pls-share-your-families-take-on-gun-play#post_16063246"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>No rules about it here.  My kids are free to <em>pretend</em> anything they want.  Why not?  So they can have toy guns, and they can do anything they want with them, as long as it doesn't hurt or annoy anyone else.</p>
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<br><br><p> </p>
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Red Pajama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280866/pls-share-your-families-take-on-gun-play#post_16063433"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Our rules are only those that are playing are involved. You don't shoot at me, or the neighbor.</p>
<p>No toy guns where real ones wouldn't be allowed. People get uncomfortable. (not at the library, schools, courthouses, etc)</p>
<p>Be civilized (no guns at the table)</p>
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<p><br><br>
I like all these ideas!  I've never heard of the Love Gun idea, can anyone post a link?</p>
 

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<p>I'm pretty strict about no gun play, no pretending to shoot anyone, and no toy guns.</p>
 

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<p>Gun play is fine here, but we also have the rule about no shooting at anyone who doesn't want to be shot. We do let ds shoot a bb gun (usually at cans) under our direct supervision only, so if he ever runs across a gun in real life, he'll know what to do with it. Or, actually, what NOT to do with it.</p>
 

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<p>When my first son was a baby, I thought I would have a no gun play rule in our house.  As he got older, though, I changed my  mind.  Now, I have an almost 8 year old and a 5 year old boy and they are very interested in Star Wars, superheroes and such.  They started with only having light sabers, but then got "blasters" as part of their Commander Cody and Captain Rex Halloween costumes a couple of years ago.  They don't actually use the blasters very often, but do play creative Star Wars themed games where they pretend to shoot at the enemy.  They really want nerf guns for xmas this year and I told my mom she could get them some.  We'll see how that works out!  I do talk to them about real guns, my stance on them and how they are different from pretend guns and very serious and dangerous.  I also tell them only to play shooting type games (and wrestling and such) if everyone involved wants to be playing. </p>
 

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<p>Our rules are:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Always treat a gun like it is real and it is loaded.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Never point a gun at anything that you aren't willing to shoot.</p>
<p> </p>
 

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<p>DD has requested a pink princess gun for christmas. And she is getting one. Frankly, noisy toys annoy me a lot more than gun play. We do not have a gun culture here - no one owns a gun (a very few people own hunting rifles), police are not seen with guns, my kids don't see a ton of tv... Yet they pick up the play. DS had stick guns when he was only 2 or 3. Now he is 6 and has lego guns and rubber swords, and a water gun in the summer - that is actually quite fun. </p>
 

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<p>When my oldest (who's now 10) was little, I tried to discourage gun play. Now that I've seen the kids (we have four and I've babysat many, many children) engaging in gun play, sword play, etc without trying to be mean to actually hurt anyone, it doesn't bother me anymore. I leave them alone about it unless someone gets upset.</p>
 

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<p>It hasn't been a biggie at our house (this may or may not be because we have a house full of girls).  Our household doesn't own a real gun.  My older children have fired real guns at a safe facility.  And they are very educated about guns.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Regarding toy guns:  we eventually decided that we were ok with 'toy' guns that didn't replicate a real gun.  I don't want my children ever to think a real gun is a toy simply because it looks like the toy at home.  Therefore, we have brightly colored waterguns, wooden "handmade" guns, and a plastic orange thing that shoots foam disks.  I like the ones that have a clothespin at the top to shoot rubber bands, but we don't actually have one of those.  We also have a couple swords and fake daggers.  They don't replicate real swords and daggers either--though I really don't expect them to run in to a real sword anytime soon.  It would be remarkably heavy too esp compared to the foam counterpart.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Amy</p>
 

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<p>This is an extremely touchy issue for me. I study war/armed conflict and its effects on children and I work directly with war-affected children.  My motto is "I study war and war is not a game and I will not let you play it as though it's a game." </p>
<p> </p>
<p>That said, I have three boys.  I will not allow guns in our house.  It was a tough decision to buy them water guns, but I tried to find some that did not look like guns.  As for gun play, if they seem really intent on playing a shooting game, I stress that they can play (with imaginary gus of some kind) that they are spraying magic liquid that makes their opponent temporarily blind or that they're firing nets to capture the bad guys.  No killing. That is a complete no-no.  Our neighbours' kids have guns, so it's difficult to monitor their play outside, but if it looks like my boys might join them, I remind them that killing is not a game.</p>
 

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We're another no-guns household. Our religious convictions on war make war play a big one for me. So far, it hasn't been a real issue for us-- my kids have no interest in guns. They've never seen one-- even a cartoon one-- shot on TV, so I don't think it would ever occur to them to play shooting. I don't think it's ever occurred to them that anybody would use a gun to shoot a person.<br><br>
That'll most certainly change when they get older-- I can control what goes on my TV, but I can't control what they learn from other children or on other people's TVs. We'll deal with that when it comes-- but I think I would ban even guns made of stuff like Legos. I will not allow games that involve killing to happen in my presence, without interrupting the play to make strong statements about how I believe it's wrong to play that way.<br><br>
My kids do know what real guns are, though. Their grandfather hunts, and so do a few of DH's other relatives. DH can shoot, and they have on occasion watched through the window of DH's family's country cabin, while DH shot the rifle. They've also seen me learn to shoot it. They have seen all of the adults around them treat guns with extreme respect and care. I intend to allow DH to teach them to shoot, when they are the right age. And they will learn all about gun safety too, at that age.<br><br>
As far as "bad guys" play-- they play pirates, or musketeers, with foam swords, and I've decided to be okay with that so long as the play is slapstick and playful. I think I'm okay with it, though, because there is such a slim chance that they would ever encounter a real sword being used against a real human-- I mean, seriously, what are the chances? I wouldn't allow knife play, though. I realize that sounds kinda arbitrary-- I haven't finished thinking it all out clearly, yet.<br><br>
 
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