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Would you let your son go to this party?

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icsipixie

Coming from a "hunting" household it would be hypocritical of me to not let my DS have toy guns. Having said that he has to use the same safety rules that apply with a real gun, eg. never point it at a person, hold it pointing down etc. We are responsible gun owners and try to instill these values into our child.

Having said that the party actually even goes against my belief system where shooting at other people is not allowed. But I would still sent my son, I would be fascinated to see if he actually used any of these skills (which he does use at home). Realistically I know he would be happy to 'pretend' shoot other kids, I'm yet to see a boy that doesn't. I personally think that the exclusion from the party would be more detrimental to his development than letting him go and discussing the issues after. I would have a gun safety talk with him and explain the differences between real guns and toy guns, ie. real guns can kill in the wrong hands.

PS no 'hunting' or gun owner criticism necessary, you can't tell me anything I haven't already heard! I am only offering my opinion which you do not have to agree with. Thanks :)

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snappy

I was unknowingly put in a similar situation recently. I have a strict no gun policy in this house. The reason is that I use firearms for my job and therefore likely that my boys will be exposed to real firearms. It is important to me that they understand guns are not toys - we treat all guns as real live functioning guns.

 

I am not concerned if they use a stick or a finger to pretend, it is quite obvious to them that this is not a real gun. But I don't have confidence in their ability to distinguish a toy gun for a real gun (some can be very life like). It is really a safety precaution.

 

Last week we attended a 3rd birthday party for a girl and they had cap guns for all the boys???!! I didn't know this in advance so had to deal with it on the spot. As alll the other boys were playing with them I didn't want him left out of the games so I let him have it.

 

I did however make it very clear to him that if he wanted to play with the gun he was only allowed to point the gun at the floor - we NEVER point guns at people. I also asked the other boys to point their guns at the floor for the same reason and whilst I was expectging them to just ignore me and see me as a downer, surprisingly they generally complied.

 

I think she should have a long chat to her DS and explain why they don't have guns in their house and then ask him if he would still like to attend. 7 year olds are able to understand quite a lot. If he did want to attend I would then explain to him that I respect his decision and will allow him to go but I would request that he not use his gun to 'kill' other people. Maybe he could shoot things at a wall or engage in some other activities.

 

I think it is a great opportunity to have a discussion with your child about why you ban guns

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KristyMum-
Guns are a serious thing and are not 'toys', they are used for hunting or when a horrible situation demands it, not as props at a childrens party. We would probably organise a fabulous outing to do instead and decline
along those lines for us.

 

'I'm pretending to race a car/drive a car' is very different to 'I'm pretending to shoot someone'...

 

as to social exclusion - kids over the years won't be able to attend every party they're ever invited to. This won't be the first time a declining rsvp is on the cards. Then comes the 'only girls' or 'only boys' or 'only my best friend' or 'small group' party... not everyone gets to go all the time.

Edited by KristyMum-

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Guest chntlrose
I think there is a difference between kids playing with toy guns and kids pretending to play with toy guns using sticks or their fingers etc. A stick can be anything - one minute it is a gun, but the next it is a magic wand, or a walking stick or an umbrella. When you buy a child a toy gun there is not much else they can do with it except play shooting people. It sits there, in the toy box or on the shelf as a constant invitation to play violent games. All kids might play make believe with a stick or their hands occasionally (which doesn't mean you can't tell them you don't approve) but as soon as their mind wanders elsewhere and the game moves on the stick goes back to being just a stick and they can forget about it. A toy gun is constantly suggesting violent games to them.

 

:yes: I agree with this.

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fairymagic

We've also had a no guns, no swords policy in our house since DS (now 10.5yrs) was born. NO issues there. If he were invited to such a party at 7 years of age I would let him go. He has friends who have let their boys have guns and swords at home - he has played with them there and knows that I don't like them and that we don't have them in our home. I suspect that being 7 year olds , they may spend more of their time shooting the water pistols at each other to soak each other rather than trying to actually "kill" each other. The "killing" side may last the first hour or so but once the water fun side of things kicks in, that will take over. Your DS is old enough that you can explain about this party having guns but that you don't like guns and see what he says - he may choose not to go. I don't think declining the invite would necessarily be the right thing to do just because of the theme (although I probably wouldn't choose it for a 7 year old party even if I did allow guns in our household) otherwise he is going to feel left out and upset and miss out on sharing his friends birthday with him.

 

I would let him go but sit down and have chat about the theme and why you dont like guns etc but on this occasion it is okay for him to go and play.

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mummamia02
By "I found" do you mean you actually conducted a controlled, research study on a large, diverse group of children on the effects of violent cartoons on the children's behaviour, or did you just hit up JSTOR and get corroborating articles for your argument?

 

Well it was a uni assignment, and I read a lot of articles based on research studies of large groups of children suggesting this. I also conducted my own study with around 50 families, and came up with those findings. I also go on my own experience of 20 years in childcare and kindergarten, and do find this is often the case. I am not saying that every child who watches violent cartoons is aggressive, I am saying that children who are exposed to it, play more "aggressive" type of games in their play, and if exposed a lot, some do become quite aggressive in their behaviour, but this is just my experience. I am no expert in this matter, just a kindy teacher who deals with children's behaviour all the time!

If people think there is no impact on children's development/behaviours by exposing them to violent cartoons, games and other media, I believe they really have their head in the sand, but that is just my opinion. :rolleyes:

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Guest **KM**
What would your strategy be in the same situation?

 

No strategy, I'd just send him and tell him to have fun. We did the "no weapons" for a few years and then I read a fantastic book called "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge (a Christian book) which really challenged the whole no weapons policy and talked about many boys natural desire to be part of 'the war' of life and to take part (not meaning that means 'real war' but role playing the bigger adventure of life). Since then we dropped our 'no weapon' policy and we believe our son has flourished. He has lots of toy guns, nerf funs, swords etc and has heaps of fun playing with friends with them etc or even just playing with my DH (or his 2 yr old sister who loves a sword fight). My DS is the most gentle little boy at aged 11 yrs and has been playing with weapons since around 6 yrs of age (before that he was left with his fingers and toast to shoot people with).

 

My DS also knows the seriousness of real guns. My DH actually raised the subject of buying a gun together when he is 12 yrs (my DH had 5 brothers and they all had guns as young boys) and so far he has said he's not interested, so for him it's more around the role playing that he finds enjoyable.

 

 

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twistedmama

I think it sounds like heaps of fun, so yep my child would be allowed to go :) My brother and I used to LOVE playing with cap guns!!!

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A Pocket Full

I would just mention it to the parent that I feel uncomfortable about it and so you're not sure if you should let your son go or not.  

 

It's probably just that she hasn't considered how other parents might feel about the issue and you never know she might just try to adjust the plans a little to be more mindful of those who feel uncomfortable about the current plans.  

 

I dare say you aren't the only parent who is feeling the same, but amazing how no one ever says anything.

 

 

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twotoddlers

i don't think its necessary to not let them attend the party.. just reinforce the rules of your house when they get home.. and i believe we should give children a little more credit to how much they really understand.. you can't completely eliminate weapons or the understanding of violence from them because they will get exposed to it anyway.. but it is important they understand their boundaries.. what is okay, what is a game and why weapons are so serious to be banned in your home in the first place..

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ThreeInBed

In every aspect of parenting, from birth to baby names to feeding, there is always someone who believes they know better than you and will just need to tell you what you're doing wrong and how to do it better. Take on board what you need, and trust your instincts as a parent, and you will do fine.

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Super_85
i don't think its necessary to not let them attend the party.. just reinforce the rules of your house when they get home.. and i believe we should give children a little more credit to how much they really understand.. you can't completely eliminate weapons or the understanding of violence from them because they will get exposed to it anyway.. but it is important they understand their boundaries.. what is okay, what is a game and why weapons are so serious to be banned in your home in the first place..

I could not have said it any better my self. As long as you reinforce your boundaries once they come back into your home environment.

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hellsmail

I intially had a no gun policy but when my boy was then 2 he was shooting with the hose trigger and an old man said I played with guns and toy soilders and I am now a member of the anti gun group teach him values and let him play so we did our street was full of bys then 6 were born within 18mths so there was heaps of playing in the street with bikes footy and cricket. We allowed guns but had an amourory in side the front door and all weapons swords included had to be left in the armoury when they came inside and no pointing guns at people faces. my boys and the others in the street would have a wonderful time playing cops and robbers wild west and spys they had all the spy equipment. then came the nerf guns and really they are so much fun I still will load up a nerf and shot my 17 y o if he is annoying me and he loves it. let him go spud guns are unreal, ask your hubby about them water pistols teach aim let him

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ikt
People kill people, not guns.

 

A little known fact, 100% of all gun related deaths involve a gun.

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fit_dad
A little known fact, 100% of all gun related deaths involve a gun.

 

*facepalm*

 

100% of kinfe related deaths involve a knife.

100% of fist related deaths involve a fist.

feet, brick, rock, bottle etc...

 

Oh and here's a really shocking one ... life is 100% fatal! Your logic is faulty. :)

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I'm Batman

You do realise that war games are about strategy and one upping. Boys are competitive, it doesn't matter if its cricket, chess, cars, golf. my dh bil and fil went on a scrunched up paper wrapping war at Christmas recruited my Ds. we have nerf guns and my fil whos in his 50s turns into an instant boy again.

 

They want to out wit their opponent.

 

You have to give them enough credit to realise its not real, not even close. Its definitely about mental and physical strategy and all the sportmansship that goes with it not killing each other. A certain ammount of rough housing is good for boys development, it helps them develop boundaries and critical thinking skills amongst other things.

Edited by BabyJaguar

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