Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Slackstress Fires a Rant Round at Gun Toys

Why are so many boy toys so violent? Here I am teetering yet again on my soap box.

Hey, I had a fake Uzi submachine gun as a kid and I'm not a serial killer. It came complete with realistic firing sounds that I proudly annoyed my parents with to no end.

Should we helicopter parent to the point of limiting our boys' toys to only nicey-nice, educational gear like Leapsters and Matchbox cars? Are modern moms caring too much? Creating a slippery Pollyanna bubble for our children that might soon pop in our overly concerned faces?

Why not give our sons (and daughters) the gun toys they want so they can work it out for themselves?

You already know where I stand. So, what do YOU think?

Here's a stellar Feb. 25 article from the opposite camp called "My Sons Like Shootouts. What's Wrong With That?" by a Washington Post writer who allows his sons to play with toy guns:

Oh, and I haven't forgotten about Part 2 of It’s Only Breastfeeding in Public, People, Not a Wet T-Shirt Contest. My 6-year-old has a major case of the evils, or what we call the flu around our house. I'm way too busy picking up sick. Anyone know where I can pick up some Teflon nose clips? I promise I'll follow up with Part 2 as soon as I can.


At 11:58 PM, Anonymous karenkt said...

Well, i read p. 1 of that 2 pager washington post article, and I totally disagree. I'm with you, sister. My 2 year old boy wouldn't know what to do with a toy gun or sword if he got one b/c he's never seen one on TV, as far as I know. I may not be the mom who drags her screaming kids from the parade if toy guns show up, but I will be the mom who does NOT allow those toys in my house. Moreover, I'll probably discuss the issue with other moms if their kids start training my boys in the use of toy weaponry.
But who knows.. never say never, they say. With #1 going on 3 and #2 at 6 months old, I have yet to actually encounter this problem head on.

At 5:06 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

You know, this is a really really hard one for me. First off, my boy is only 9 months old so the thought of him running around pointing guns at his sister is a horrifying abstraction right now (deep breathing...deep breathing, we aren't there yet....).

I am very protective of my children seeing as they have been born in wartime. I don't want to be overly dramatic about it because we are safe in our beds at night blissfully ignorant of the real violence that is happening to families like us in other places in the world. I also don't want to get all conspiracy theorist and claim all the toy companies are in cahots with the g'ment to make our children young warriors.

I guess the bottom line for me is that no one cares about my personal children's exposure to violence more than me. I can't see myself allowing plastic guns in my home. I also can't see freaking out if my boy play pretends war/bad guys/violence type play. i do think kids can work things out in their play in a way that is unique from the adult world...but I wouldn't 'arm' them with plastic replica's of guns.

I think I could be more okay with sword play. maybe because it feels less real, more pretend...

So yeah, I make no sense what so ever.

My husband feels quite differently and feels kids should be exposed to real guns and learn how to handle them safely.

*snort* over my dead cold body!! Turns out we don't live on the frontier and have a need to know how to shoot our dinner. That ought to be fun to work out!

At 6:29 AM, Blogger Em said...

With our first son, we tried to be all non-violent and gender-neutral. He just used the spatula for his Fisher Price kitchen as an uzi. Doesn't matter what we gave them...they turned it into what they wanted. And none of them are weird stalkers or psycho-killers (yet). So I think we may have gotten just a bit too weirded out about the toy thing. Just my humble opinion.

At 12:20 PM, Blogger Iris said...

I do not like the idea of toy guns at all. I think that it confuses the lines between real and fake. If guns are part of your life and family, I am all for teaching kids how to be responsible and safe with them. I never allowed my kids toy guns....but, they built their own, out of legos.......not sure if that was better or not.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Henitsirk said...

We tell our kids that guns are not toys, they are tools (they've seen this with Pa from Little House). They are not allowed to play gun at all inside the house, and outside they can play gun but never shoot at people. I will never give them toy guns, they can use sticks or whatever they find outside.

I don't want to overcompensate and make guns forbidden fruit, and I honestly believe guns are useful in limited circumstances, like hunting. But I think it's crucial to treat gunplay like other behaviors, where we teach our children that we don't hurt others. Maybe we all turned out OK playing cops & robbers, but that's not the image I want in my kids' minds.

At 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was TOTALLY against guns until my 3 year old son bit a graham cracker into the shape of an L and said "look Mommy a gun!!" I almost threw up- then I realized that my brother's and I always played cops and robbers- cowboys and you know the rest- the sight of guns make my stomach turn but for some reason it's a natural interest- anyone interested in how guns changed the world watch Guns, Germs and Steal by ? Diamond- great documentary
one love

At 11:38 PM, Anonymous karenkt said...

Maybe I'm goanna make a lot of enemies with this one, but why are moms surprised if their kids make guns out of celery sticks or blocks? Their kids must have been exposed to guns in SOME way...
"Exposure leads to interest." go figure.

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous staticspinning said...

I totally agree with the need to lessen our children's exposure to guns and weapons. i think that by having toy guns, by playing video games where they shoot guns at people, and by seeing movies that do this we are completely desensitizing our kids--and the future--to the violence. I do believe that swords do this as well--but to a much lesser extent. When you think about it, shooting a gun at someone doesn't mean that you have had to get close enough to touch that person, feel that they are alive, that they are a real person and that you have wounded or killed a real person...with weapons like swords, a person would have to be more aware of that--it's more contact--more energy, skill--so most people would be forced to see the person they were fighting. as far as making a gun out of legos, graham crackers, etc--my boys did that as well...i discouraged it, but they were using their imaginations--something they wouldn't have to do if they had the toy. so between the two, i'd encourage creating their own weapons--while discouraging guns or anything that is so remote--

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous healingmagichands said...

First of all, I was raised with guns in the house. We lived 45 minutes away from the sheriff's dept. in the sticks, it was important to be able to defend ourselves if necessary. From the time I was in second grade, I was taught that guns were not toys. They were for shooting. We were taught how to do it properly, complete with targets, and target practice.

If a kid wants to play "shoot em up" games, they will figure out a gun substitute -- a stick, whatever. I feel this is much preferable to them having a toy gun. Toy guns look too much like real guns, and can get a kid into trouble. Not that long ago in San Francisco, a retarded child was shot dead by a cop because he was carrying a play gun that looked real and did not understand the orders he was being given by the authorities.

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