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Guns vs. Boys: What’s a Parent to Do?

— November 1, 2018

There is nothing wrong with having a toy gun and using it to play. It is normal for boys to pretend to have a gun at their young age and play about with toy guns.

There is nothing wrong with having a toy gun and using it to play. It is normal for boys to pretend to have a gun at their young age and play about with toy guns. When a boy child plays with toy guns at a tender age, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he will take more interests in them when he becomes an adult.

It is only natural that boys tend to be drawn to games that can be termed as ‘violent’ in nature, but this is just a passing stage of childhood. However, parenting and upbringing are very important even when it comes to games. We don’t want our children to grow and become violent as they adapt childhood games of violence through to adulthood.

Many boys in their young age are drawn to how police officers use their guns to stop criminals or how cowboys use guns to hunt. This use of guns by adults draws them more to guns and they turn to toys pretending to act like their role models.

This can be a good thing because apart from playing, it can instill positive morals, such as having the need to stop criminals. If not checked, this can have negative effects and they can take to an odd liking of guns, especially if there is evidence of gun violence around them.

Give boys the opportunity to play with toy guns

Parents should allow their boys to play with guns as a passing stage but they should not turn a blind eye on the matter. Morals from parents are important, and they help shape their children’s behavior. As much as your boys are playing with their toy guns, proper parental direction about the dangers of a real gun is important for boys.

This helps them know that playing with toys is not the same as having a real gun. Playing with toy guns for boys is not dangerous at that young age. Research has shown that this is an expression and symbol of power and authority for them.

What can parents do?

In today’s world, it is impossible to shield kids from the ongoing violence. They see it on television, hear about it from friends and play violent video games. Can gun fascination among kids go too far? To ensure that the toy gun interest for boys at a young age doesn’t get out of hand resulting to an interest in real guns at an older age later in life, there are several things parents can do.

Talk to your kid about guns

Talking with your kids about guns and what they can do is the first step. This is very important since once they know the truth about real guns, they are able to differentiate between having a real gun and playing with their toy guns. Hopefully, later in their life, they will lose interest in having real guns. It is good to emphasize the fact that toy guns are only meant to pretend but with a real gun, things are vastly different.

Monitor what kids watch

Your children, especially boys, will be drawn to action movies that include scenes of violence. It is crucial to check the rate at which children watch these movies. Too much exposure will result in them in being drawn more and find it normal to be violent. Games that boys are exposed to also help shape their attitude towards violence, so it would be a great idea to monitor the type of games they play.

You should monitor but not prohibit your boy’s play with toy guns. Prohibiting will make the boy think he is not loved and may grow his curiosity towards guns in a negative way. You should allow them to play, but that should not be the only game and toy that the boy should have all day or each and every time of game play.

As the kids play, monitor their games with toy guns and ensure that shooting is only imaginary and for fun but doesn’t bring out the notion of killing and death. If any of the toy gun game play is done in excess, consider taking the toys from the boy and having a talk with them.

Buy them toys that don’t resemble real guns

Toy gun with “bang” spelled out; image by Rawpixel, via
Toy gun with “bang” spelled out; image by Rawpixel, via

When buying a toy gun for your boy, make sure it looks more like a toy and not so similar to a real gun. They should not display features of assault or killing, but those that are meant for fun and play. You should probably go for the more colorful toy guns and those with bubble poppers. This type of gunplay displays interest in fun and not the normal violence where killing and death is involved.

Help your child to develop hand-eye coordination as well as cognitive development. This is possible by teaching your boy to practice target shooting with the bubble popper toy gun. This is fun for the boy and has no depiction of violence whatsoever.

Final Words

Generally, boys are drawn to guns even at their young age. Educating them and giving frequent warnings are not enough to deal with the mentality that guns are meant for violence and killing. Taking a different approach, like keeping real guns away from children, really helps. Let the boys enjoy playing with toy guns, but monitor their play and ensure the main purpose of the guns is not for violence, but fun and play important for the development and growth of a child.

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