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Guns or Roses?

29 Nov

I hate guns. Since my kids were born I have had a very strict no gun rule in my house (be it toy or otherwise). I have never bought toy guns for my kids, and have always asked family and friends not to give them as gifts. I simply don’t want them in my house, not even if they are only pretend. It’s frustrating when I get dismissive responses from people after hearing my feelings on the topic. An eye roll here, a snorting sound there… Occasionally someone will say something like “oh boys will be boys; if you don’t let them have toy guns, they’ll make guns out of anything they can find.” Why is it that people find it totally reasonable to question my ruling on this subject? My aversion toward guns is a strongly held conviction which I do not expect to disappear just because someone clucks her tongue at me.

I am disgusted by the fascination with violence and don’t understand why so many families, even ones with strict views against violent movies and games, so readily accept the prevalence of toy guns in their homes. Someone recently told me she didn’t think she wanted her 12-year-old to read or see The Hunger Games due to the violent themes in the story; however, this same child owns more than one toy gun, and this mother once gave a Nerf gun to my son as a gift. Am I the only one who sees a a disconnect between these policies?

But recently I have begun to reconsider my policy on the subject of toy guns. My son (now 13) asked me “why can’t I have a toy gun if I pay for it with my own money?” This is a regular argument in my house actually. “Why can’t I buy XYZ with my own money” is probably an argument I employed more than once in my own teenage years. Of course the ‘my house, my rules” counter-attack usually fends off these arguments with minimal tears and complaint, but honestly, at some point I need to be willing to let go a little with my kids. This has never been an easy task for me. My son is now 13 & my daughter will be 12 very soon herself, but my insides still clench up when they walk to their friends’ houses unaccompanied by an adult. At this point they are well beyond the ages when I should need to worry too much about the sort of games and toys they enjoy, right?

They play fantasy games like Magic: The Gathering, Bakugan, Beyblade, and Dungeons & Dragons but I have never been concerned this would lead to a fascination with the undead, trolls, etc. Nor have I any worry that they will try to become Jedi after watching Star Wars or run away to Hogwarts after reading Harry Potter. The difference of course is that all these things are make-believe and we all know it. Even if they wanted to learn how to cast spells like Harry Potter and his friends, no amount of wishing is going to make it happen. Guns, however, are very real. At these ages they surely understand the difference between a toy gun and a real one, so I shouldn’t be concerned that allowing them to play with Nerf guns would somehow translate to a fascination with real guns, should I?

I am torn between my own personal hatred of guns, and allowing my kids to grow up along with their friends. Am I the only person in the world who struggles with this subject? I would love to hear some feedback from other parents and caregivers; or anyone else for that matter. I’m not afraid to admit I’m a bit desperate for educated opinions from anyone other than my teenager.

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4 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Family Life

 

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4 responses to “Guns or Roses?

  1. Dustin

    November 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    In my experience, individuals are afraid of a particular subject if they don’t know a whole lot about it. Having grown up around guns, and having gone hunting for the first time when I was 7, it’s like second nature to me. My brother and I had one toy rifle, which we received when I was 7 or 8. Having been around real guns at the same time, we were taught never to point a gun at anything you didn’t want to shoot. The same held true for the toy guns. The only thing our little toy gun “shot” was birds and the occasional window.

     
  2. Dustin

    November 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    To really get you thinking:

    Your concerned that allowing your kids to have toy guns is going to potentially hurt them, whether directly or indirectly. One thing to think about is that within a couple of years they are going to be DRIVING. I have no idea what the numbers are, but think about how many young drivers are injured that you hear about. Again, knowledge is key. Similar to gun safety, if you’re a knowledgeable driver, you can reduce the risk of having a car accident.

     
    • karifur

      December 1, 2011 at 8:33 pm

      I try not to think about the fact that my kids will be driving soon. It seriously gives me nightmares. Yes, I am a complete worrywart.

       
  3. dustinkerberKerber

    November 30, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I’m much in the same situation as Dustin. My brother and I got our first BB guns around 7-8 years old, had access to toy guns, and grew up hunting. Then again, we also grew up with no restrictions to violent media. I never really had any interest in them beyond occasional target practice and gopher hunting, but my brother was another story. He had a variety of different caliber guns before he graduated high school, but was also given the guidance to know how to use them as tools.

    Neither my brother nor I have ever had any issues or close calls with guns. In fact, neither of us even hunt anymore.

    I think that it’s impossible to give any wide-spread advice on a subject like this, as it’s almost entirely dependent on the child in question. If your child is responsible and you’re willing to instruct them, guns don’t have to be associated with violence.

     

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