Parenting

Do You Allow Your Son to Play With Toy Guns?

Do you allow your little boy to play with toy guns? Last Saturday I went into the dreaded Walmart to pick up some groceries and the place was crawling with people. My 5-year-old had helped me do so much around the house that morning, so I had promised he could pick out a treat.

As we walked up and down the toy aisle, he became overwhelmed with joy, squealing with delight because he had made his selection. He chose a toy machine gun. It was big and loud and he loved it.

I always allowed my older son (now 15) to embrace his natural instinct to be a boy and play with what he was naturally attracted to. Guns, trains, and gear from the Army surplus store were just some of the toys he loved to imagine with as a little boy. He understood that toy guns and empty grenades were just that: toys. I taught him gun safety, so that he knew not to point even a toy gun at a real human being and I never had any issues with him thinking they were real. He eventually graduated to BB guns and now has even shot handguns with his family members.

Naturally my younger son is also drawn to boy toys and so I allow him to play with them. He loves to play cops and robbers and pretend he is Darth Vader. An article I was reading recently suggested that boys are predisposed to this behavior due to their “hunter/gatherer” instinct, and that boys may have an “unknown gene which contributes to this behavior.”

With the media sensationally reporting on what they have portrayed as a massive rise in gun violence, some parents have become ultra sensitive to toy guns. A mother standing in line behind us while we were waiting to pay for the toy decided she needed to add her two cents about my decision to buy the gun for my son. She said to me in a very annoyed voice, “I can’t believe with all of the violent crimes here in America you would allow your son to play with a gun. I would never let my son do that.” I was so stunned by her intrusive comment that I didn’t even dignify her with a response. We purchased the toy and left the store.

Before my son began playing with the gun, I reinforced our rules and made sure he understands it will be taken away if he does not follow them. I think if you take the time to talk and explain common sense issues to them, children will learn right from wrong. The problem is that too many parents don’t talk and don’t teach their children from an early age, and that is where most issues begin.

Do you allow your son to play with guns? Leave me a comment and let me know how you handle this issue.