Tuesday, November 24, 2009

little boys + guns = one confused mama

I have little boys... I was raised in a family of mostly girls, and really don't have that much experience with boys.

I get insecure on some issues of raising good little men. They are super active, kind of aggressive, and interested in a whole realm of things I know nothing about.

Max likes guns, and super hero's, and good guy/bad guy play I don't really understand.....
Ollie has never really been interested in any of these things, it is weird to see the two personalities and interests of the boys develop.

I know B and I aren't the best at keeping the boys sheltered from watching movies and shows that may be to violent for their age. Brian and I discuss this often, b shares allot of his childhood movies with the boys, star wars, transformers, indiana jones.... the stuff he loved as a kid. The problem is he forgets that he may have loved this stuff when he was older, not at 3 or 4, the young ages he is starting them out at.
Max has always turned anything into a "shooter" sticks, lego's, hairbrushes.... anything and everything..... We decided (kind of on a whim) to get him a toy gun for his birthday. I wish I would have thought about it more. I don't think I am cool with my decision anymore. Max has not put the "shooter" down since he opened it.
So now what do I do?
It has brought up way more conversations and questions than I would like to have rolling in my head. At first I thought very non-chalantly about the gun thing, what's the big deal it is just a toy, but really do I want him playing with something that is designed to kill, even if it is a toy? I don't think so!
I am planning that the toy will get "lost"........

I read up on some different websites and here is a comment posted... I thought it was a great response to the "gun decision".....
I, too, have agonized over the "gun decision." At first, I swore my son would never have a gun. Then, when he confiscated all the toilet paper spindles for guns, I gave up and bought him a water pistol. My husband owns both a gun and a rifle (which I made him put away and render inoperable), and he and my son often play toy guns together and have the greatest time. (Oh, how I wish it were basketball or baseball!)

I decided I needed to either change my attitude or go bonkers. I thought about the role weapons play in our society and others. In Japan (a much less violent society than ours) a warrior earns respect and honor. Native Americans trained young boys to become braves and thus reach a higher position in their society. I thought about the kinds of play my son did with his gun and other weapons; it was good guy against the bad guys. We rely on our police officers and our military to protect us from the "bad guys" and threats against our country. After observing my son and his friends, I have come to believe that this protective and fighting instinct is as natural as the nurturing and mothering instinct, stronger in some than in others.
I explained to my son that the desire to protect others is a wonderful thing. Our society needs police and the military, and the person who risks his personal safety to help others is a hero indeed. It is okay for a little boy to play at these roles, but he needs to understand that fighting with others is not okay.
In the meantime, I do not allow my son to watch violent programs on television, or movies containing violence.
While I encourage him to play in other ways, I've accepted that he (and his dad) will continue to play guns and fighting games.
--Linda G., Vienna, Virginia
Maybe it would be different if Brian hunted, or if we owned guns. Maybe I would have a different view of guns. But I think this house may do away with toy guns, like the cool cap gun rifle thing we ended up handing over to our three year old.
Man, Parenting is hard. .. ..


Tiffany said...

Parenting IS hard! Growing up my brother was not allowed to have toy guns. He knew what they were for blah, blah. He is now an avid hunter and my nephew has a toy "hunting" gun. He can not point it at people or pretend to do anything besides hunt or protect the family from bad guys. It's a tough subject no matter what. D was raised playing with toy guns but with looser rules...it drives me nuts. I know the topic will be coming up for us soon enough, I'm not looking forward to it. I am a big fan of things just disappearing LOL.