My Kids Will Have To Figure Out How To Pretend Shoot Themselves Without Guns

I don’t remember having toy guns when I was little but I don’t remember them being forbidden either.  I like to think my brother and I were smart enough to realize we had no use for them.  More likely, my mom was a smart and sly parent who jedi mind tricked us into thinking we didn’t even want them.

At this point in my children’s lives I cannot imagine buying them a toy gun.  I am all for them exploring the topics of power or “good vs bad” but they are going to have to use their creativity to find suitable weapons.  A stick, their fingers, or a ruler will just have to do.  Especially when toy guns today look like this:


Seriously?  How can I explain to a child that somehow this is appropriate as a toy, but as a real object its only purpose is to inflict incredible harm on others?  It’s not that I think playing with guns will make your child a violent person, but I don’t feel comfortable buying a gun for my kids under the premise that “it’s just a toy.”  Even a toy gun needs a context, especially given the way violence is glorified by video games and movies.  I’m not saying my kids will never play with them ever because I don’t want to make a huge deal out of it.  However, there’s a huge spectrum between a toy water and that Nerf monstrosity.  A toy machine gun will never find its way into my house.

Do you allow toy guns in your house?  Would you?  What are your limitations on gun play?

I participated in a Huffington Post Live segment debating whether our children had the “right to bear toy arms.”  The discussion began with Halloween costumes but explored more, from Angelina Jolie to the media’s glorification of weapons.  (Spoiler alert:  I was the lone parent horrified by these objects.)

12 thoughts on “My Kids Will Have To Figure Out How To Pretend Shoot Themselves Without Guns

  1. You are not alone! I’m also horrified by these weapons. I didn’t buy my girls machine gun-style water guns this summer because they freak me out. That said, we went to a party at Chuck E. Cheese recently and my youngest bee-lined to a gun video game. No idea what drew her there (she told me it looked fun) and my heart sank. I’m likely a bit over-reactive on this topic having been held up at gunpoint years ago. Thankfully, she was only interested in the game for a few moments then moved on to shooting water into a clown’s mouth – progress! 😉 I love that you’re speaking up for the unpopular side of these topics! Way to go, mama!

    • I think you picked the right course of action – making a big deal out of anything is just going to add to the allure of it. But I am with you, my heart would sink. I remember reading your gunpoint danger on Yeah Write (it was a great story!) and I don’t think you are overreacting a bit.

  2. We discourage our crew from engaging in gun play, especially since it is such a taboo at school. We have, however, played around some with water guns and a bit with Nerf guns, but that pretty quickly lost its allure. I’m of mixed views on toy guns. I’m not sure it’s inherently dangerous or likely to make our kids more violent, but I’m not a huge fan of too much violent pretend-play. Gah–sorry not to give a certain answer but I simply haven’t figured this one out.

  3. Yea, I’m not down with the toy guns at all, ever. Especially with a toddler/preschooler. My husband agrees and has even stated that when our son is older, if he is curious about guns, he needs to learn gun safety and the reality of the damage guns can do. I think they are kind of dumb toys, there are so many other things I’d rather my son play with and learn about. One of our friends bought a huge Nerf gun as a b-day gift and we immediately hid it away, my son forgot all about it :)

  4. No toy guns here, either. Or, should I say, no toy guns that we’ve purchased. My boys make them out of everything they get their hands on: Legos, K’nex, popsicle sticks. It’s still not clear to me where they get this tendency from since neither my husband nor I have any interest in guns, they don’t watch violent programming on TV, and it predates my eldest’s entrance into preschool. Boys will be boys? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean I like it or really understand it.

    • Yes, we can’t control their imaginations (nor would we want to!) but like you I can’t stomach buying stuff like that. I love your thinking — boys will be boys, but I don’t have to like it or understand it. Isn’t that the truth? Thanks for stopping by Kristen!

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