The dog does her part to discourage the Nerf guns by nibbling on any foam bullets that get left on the floor (I take them from her before she swallows them), but it’s not even the shooting that he’s that enamored of. It’s more about holding the gun, cocking it. He has a Nerf rifle (a gift given to him by a family member with my permission) and the other day, I watched him cock it by dropping it to his side, like some macho military hero. Oh dear Lord I’m raising a Terminator!
Before you jump down my throat. I’m not anti-gun. I’m anti-careless gun use. We don’t have a gun in the house, but that doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t have a gun it yours. So long as guns are cared for and treated with respect, I’m fine with them.
Respect is the issue I’m struggling with. How do I teach Mim to respect guns and their power. I don’t want to restrict his imaginary play by saying “No guns”, but I want to inform it. I understand the feeling of power when you hold a gun. He’s 8, he has so few opportunities to be all powerful and in control, he should be able to do so in his imaginative play. At the same time, imaginative play is where kids work out the issues they are struggling to grasp. It’s where they role play and try on different personas. It is were they practice being citizens of our society. I need him to understand that real guns come with responsibilities and if you aren’t responsible with a gun, there can be real and dire consequences. How do I do that in an age appropriate way?
I also worry in today’s bully aware society that a child who plays at pretending to shoot a gun and says “I’m going to kill you.” could land in real trouble. Mim is not a malicious kid, but he is not always as aware of the feelings of those around him as he could be. At times, he’s downright oblivious. I’d hate for some other child to be scared of him or worse take his play as a serious threat.
There is so much gun violence on TV and in video games. I don’t believe either is inherently bad, but like anything too much exposure to fantasy without any comprehension of reality is unhealthy and counterproductive to functioning as a successful individual in society.
I welcome feedback on this issue so long as it is respectful. You are entitled to your opinion, just as I am to mine. I don’t have to be wrong for you to be right and vice versa. The underlying question I am trying to address is how do I foster a healthy respect for guns in a manor that is age appropriate for an 8 year old and going forward? Be warned, I will delete comments I believe to be inflammatory. It’s my blog, I can do that 🙂