This post has been sitting in my draft folder for I kid you not over a year! I have questioned a few times whether or not to post it because it could be seen as controversial. However this is my blog to voice my thoughts and my opinions so here it is. I am in no way trying to force my opinion on other people I believe every situation is very different and when it comes to your family you have to choose what is right for you!
I saw an interesting thread on Facebook about the use of gun play in an early childhood setting. Most had the opinion that it was just imaginary play and there was no harm to it at all. Even going as far to say that if we say no to playing with toy guns we should be saying no to playing ‘mummies and babies’.
Here is my take on the use of guns as toys in a early childhood/ school setting. Please be aware I am speaking from a responsible gun ownership point of view.
Coming from a family where guns are used for hunting purposes like half of the country, I have always seen guns as a tool and not as a toy. I never had guns as toys (side note; my parents did not use gender stereotype toys I played with barbies and action men- tea sets and motorbikes) and from an early age I remember seeing guns- obviously being used in a safe hunting type context not a hand gun in your back pocket type of way. It was always seen as a serious, don’t touch, come and tell dad if you ever see one kind of thing. The same as lighters and matches.
My husband comes from a family who love hunting and fishing, going duck shooting or deer hunting and catching fish at the beach. My daughter has seen how we catch fish and I have explained to her how Poppy and Daddy are going to get the fish and we are going to eat it for dinner. She has seen fish in a bucket and watched as Poppy has filleted them (Not getting it’s head cut off though I think that’s just a wee bit gory for a 3 year old!) So she understands where meat comes from we talk about how pork and ham comes from a pig and beef from a cow etc. I don’t think she entirely grasps the concept but we are making her aware that meat just doesn’t come from a packet at the supermarket.
I am an animal lover, I don’t go hunting. I have a tremendous respect for animals and I don’t believe in killing something for fun. If you shoot it, you eat it and make use of every part of that animal you can because you have taken it’s life.
Any who, I’m getting way off topic!
Guns are apart of our lives, they are on TV, they are in books sometimes they are in our homes (again I am talking in a locked up completely legal scenario). To a family who is never around guns, doesn’t have anything to do with guns it’s probably not a big deal. To a family who is around guns in a farming, hunting or sport situation, guns are a much more serious topic. I personally would like to be the one my daughter learns gun safety from. Not at daycare one day from a 4 year old boy who has brought in a toy gun for show and tell.
You really only have to look overseas in cases where a child has found a relatives gun and hurt themselves or someone else with it. Either the education hasn’t been there to tell a child not come and tell mum or dad and don’t touch it. Or it may have even been glamorized as being a really cool thing to have a gun. (obviously the gun should not have been left in a place where the child could gain access to it, I’m more speaking of the intent of a child to want to pick it up and play with it in the first place.)
My daughter sees me putting on lipstick and how many of you have found your daughters in the bathroom sneaking some of the lipstick and putting it all over their face? Children do what they see and it is up to us to teach them the safe way to do it. I would want my daughter to know what to do in the situation if she ever saw a gun ie; don’t touch it, come and tell and adult. Rather than wanting to pick it up and play with it.
I do think that if children have an interest in guns that we should take notice in what our children are interested in, if your child is interested in guns talk to the gun licence officer about gun safety or even take your child to an archery class. I’m not saying it should be something we shun and tell children off for doing just that it should be used in the right context. Yes playing with guns is pretend play and so is playing ‘mummies and babies’ but we talk to our children about holding a baby nicely and being gentle with babies so if they see a real baby they know they need to be gentle and not hurt the baby. The same standard should apply to guns too. I would want my daughter to hear true and accurate information regarding guns than from a daycare teacher who has never seen a real gun before.
Again this is just my opinion, there is no right or wrong when it comes to parenting there is only choice and whether you let your child play with guns or not is your business and your decision. Every situation is very different just as every child is different and you have to asses your situation and your family and do what is best for them.