I have a 17-month-old little girl, and when it comes to the issue of kids and toy guns; well the thought never really crossed my mind. Until one evening when I came home from work and found two guns laid nicely on the table. These guns didn’t at all look like toys, they looked like real metal pistols! I’m taken aback by shock at first but I calmly ask my partner if he actually went and bought two fake pistols for our 17-month-old. To which he calmly replied “yeah, is there a problem?” I took a deep breath and tried to think of a proper and logical reason like “they breed violence”, I said; “dude, she’s not even 2 yet!”
Him: “If she were a boy, would you still have a problem? You know how boring girl toys are, so I’m trying to mix it up with some boy toys too”.
Me: “Of course I’d still have a problem. There are many other boy toys you can buy that aren’t guns”.
So context before I move on to my point. We don’t own a TV at our place, we listen to a lot of music and we watch a lot of series and different shows on our laptops. So in our minds she’s not that exposed to TV. She only watches TV when she visits her grandparents.
Now getting back to my story. About 45 minutes after my partner and I had the mini conversation about guns; enter my 17-month-old with a pistol in each hand, started shooting at us while making gun sounds; ka ka ka ka while pointing the guns at us like they do in cowboy movies.
She hadn’t seen the guns before then. We were shocked at the accuracy of using a gun. She saw them once and immediately knew what to do with them. Her dad looked at me and said “Okay, this doesn’t look right”, took them and put the away. I think my issue here is not just that she’s very young to be playing with guns, but that it actually looks like a real gun. Toy guns should look like toys, I think this teaches kids that there’s a difference between toy guns and real guns. If your child really wants to play with a gun, avoid guns that look realistic, especially dark colours like black or brown. Stick to toys made with bright colours with foam darts or water features. Allowing your children to play with toy guns should be accompanied with age-appropriate conversations about guns and the risk of real guns.
We try very hard to shield our children from seeing all the violence that is portrayed in the media, but it’s unavoidable, it’s everywhere! My daughter saw how guns are used from seeing snippets on the shows we watch. She saw it and she copied it in her brain. Most children that play with toy guns will not go on to be perpetrators of gun violence. There are many factors that will contribute to one’s behaviour and ultimate life choices.
These are really just rants of a young mother who’s getting a step-by-step shocker of raising a kid. Many things happen and I don’t immediately know how to react to them. I always have to take a step back and observe because whoa, it’s foreign territory.
What are your thoughts on kids playing with guns? Am I being OCD about it?