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Kids exposure to guns / violent play Lock Rss

My DS1 who is turning four in August said the worst thing ever to me tonight. I had been a bit cranky with him as he was mucking around before bath time, not listening and when he rode his happy hopper down the hall nude he got the 1,2,3 count to get in the bath. As he got into the bath he shouted at me in his cranky voice that he was going to go down stairs get his gun out of Dad's pocket and shoot me (just FYI there are no guns in our house). At which point I told him to get out the bath and get into bed and my husband came up and heard what had been said and continue to put DS1 in pjs and straight to bed with a massive lecture.

So my question is what are your thoughts about kids and gun / violent play? I am not a fan of encouraging guns but in January my cousin gave DS1 one without checking with me first. I wasn't impressed and not keen to have it as a toy but he had already been given it and we were staying at my cousins house so did not want to offend her. I also had mixed thoughts, that kids at some stage, get exposed to violence / guns from peers and other sources so that as a parent I cant shelter him forever but I can teach him good values and give him tools to be able to make choices. Anyway the gun didn't last very long at house as DH who was equally unenthused about a gun for a toy threw it in the bin when DS1 pointed it at DS2 and said he was shooting him.

So what to do about this type of play? I kinda think that its natural for kids especially boys to play with violent themes. Even since the gun went in the bin DS1 will pick up a cushion and say its a gun. And before he had even seen a gun or knew what one was he would pretend he had a hose and would shoot fire at me.

How does everyone else handle these types of play?
My 4 yr dd saw a water pistol at her cousins house. She was play shooting with it. I spoke to her about it and she said "its alright mum. I am just pretending to shoot a pigeon so we can cook it for lunch." blink I was torn between feeling ill at her pretending to shoot something, but then once I thought about it - glad she kind of understood its purpose. This then led to a big discussion about how people shoot animals for food. etc

I don't necessarily think that violence is a natural part of play. I mean it is to a degree - but I think it has been accelerated somewhat by the shows kids watch and the things they are exposed to. I think because violence in kids tv is so common now and the younger kids watch what the older ones do, that the play reflects that. I think ultimately parents are responsible for the level of violence that a) their kids are exposed to and b )what they let their kid do. If you think back when we were kids - violent play was things like sword fighting pirates or having a pretend war. It was roleplaying. Now it is just fight, hurt the other person and a little bit of roleplaying too. But the violence is a lot more extreme.

I think when it comes up, it is a good opportunity to talk about what the games actually mean. In this house we don't tolerate any kind of play where the aim is to hurt another person. Sword fighting is simply to hit the other sword, no guns apart from the occasional shooting the odd bird for supper, ( tongue) If they started pretending to shoot each other, then the game would stop and we would have a quick chat about how we don't hurt each other and pretending to hurt each other is not ok. I would then redirect the game and give them something to work with. Obviously no kid wants to stop playing so I would have a proper talk with them later about it. You can't be with them all the time though, so I think its really important to at least give them a grounding in what is actually acceptable. Also do it from the other persons point of view. Depending on their age you could use puppets or stories to show how violence towards other people is something we don't want to do. People say its a rite of passage and all kids do it, but I think its a bit of a cop out. You need to limit their exposure including tv and then get them to talk about it. Don't lecture him have an open discussion. If you accept violence towards each other in play, the message is lost. You wouldn't accept rape in play or torture, this is no different.

Tough one. All the best with it.
xxx
Just saw he is nearly 4. If he pretended to shoot me, I would become really sad and say "that makes me really sad that you pretended to shoot me. If you shot me I would never see you again, that would make me sooooo sad."
listen to his response and maybe say something like "we don't hurt people, we need to keep people safe because we love each other." then give him a cuddle. Or something to that effect.

I haven't yet experienced this and dread ever experiencing it! My children will never have toy guns in the house. I don't know if a water pistol counts as a gun though? I understand that boys learn these tendencies outside the house so there is only so much you can do to prevent exposure to violent things. I'd just do your best as a parent to prevent your son from watching violent tv shows/movies and having toy guns. If he is using a cushion as a gun I would take it off him and explain that it is not nice to do that and you don't want to see him do it again. Good luck with it all it wouldn't be easy to hear something like that from your little man xxx


I would say a water pistol is a replica of a gun. Its the same shape and it shoots. Instead of a water pistol you can use a spray bottle or a water balloon. Or one of those very awkwardly shaped water pistols that don't really look like a stereotypical gun.

If he is using a cushion as a gun I would take it off him and explain that it is not nice to do that and you don't want to see him do it again.


I think you would struggle to get any message across with this. (for any topic) Kids understand a lot more then they let on and this is a very dismissive approach means the only thing they would get out of it is you don't like it. Not being allowed to do something usually means they just get better at hiding it from you.
Kids need something to grab onto. Why isn't it nice? Why don't you want me to do it? Whats wrong with it? That person is doing it..... my mums mean. etc
Im the oposite to what most people have written here where i dont have a problem with my girls playing gun. shoot em up type games. They quite often run around with sticks chasing monsters have turns at being the monster, bad guys, robbers. They even play Halo reach smile. My partner plays shoot em up games and my girls watch them to. I dont think its a bad thing and they dont have any violent natures outsides of their games and shooting something never comes into real day life. Its just a part of make believe and when they have questions bout real life and shooting we answer them honestly.

And truely there is nothing like a monster free backyard grin
i've grown up playing cops and robbers (our favourite game), so never actually stopped to think about it.

I can see your point as it is voilence, and i hate guns but dont seem to mind children having them as i have never heard a child relate it to a real gun in a negative way.

i have only observed DS and his cousins use them in the game of cops and robbers (where they would rarely shoot, only when the robber would resist arrest) and in a water fight which i have the extremely strict rule of nothing above the chest. I think that while they are young and arent voilent at the moment, i will not interfere, however,

I will be carefully observing them in the future and making sure they understand how nasty a real guns are and make sure they never become violent with them otherwise they might just dissapear.





I'm not all for the violent your shot and dead now type of play it's a bit too violent but we do have nerf guns that shoot those lil foamy things and Dp and dd1 have a ball chasing each other and trying to "shoot" one another it's not violent and no bang bang sound affects either all you hear is a daddy and a daughter having a great time smile
we live in the country so we have farmers with guns and dd1 will more then likely make friends who live on farms as she gets into primary school I want to teach her what a gun is and that it's dangerous and not to be touched etc its pretty easy to leave a gun out on a farm believe you me we have had some incidents around this area! I want her to have the knowledge but at the same time not turn that knowledge into a violent game Ahh a hard one lol but when we walk past the primary school all you hear is "pew pew pew" lil boys playing those games so in the end shell learn I guess no matter how I try for her not learn the games!!
I read an awesome article on boys and toy guns - I'm trying find a link, if I find it I'll post it smile

It was along the lines of boys playing with guns or weapons is a great way for them to express their feelings and it was actually healthy- I'm not saying it as well as the experts of course but it was a very interesting read that said they will grow out of it, it's healthy and toy guns are no more a cause of violence than toy kitchens are a cause of obesity tongue

I'm all for no violent shows, video games etc.. But anything that gets my kids outside and role playing in the future, I'm pretty much all for it. A bit of role play with weapons etc is ok so long as there's not other warning signs or ACTUAL violence to their peers.

As for the threat, my kids aren't at that age so not entirely sure how I would respond but think I would say something like "why would you shoot mummy, that's not a nice thing to say" and not make to big a fuss as kids that age wouldn't even know the ramifications of shooting someone tongue








I read an awesome article on boys and toy guns - I'm trying find a link, if I find it I'll post it smile

It was along the lines of boys playing with guns or weapons is a great way for them to express their feelings and it was actually healthy- I'm not saying it as well as the experts of course but it was a very interesting read that said they will grow out of it, it's healthy and toy guns are no more a cause of violence than toy kitchens are a cause of obesity tongue

I'm all for no violent shows, video games etc.. But anything that gets my kids outside and role playing in the future, I'm pretty much all for it. A bit of role play with weapons etc is ok so long as there's not other warning signs or ACTUAL violence to their peers.

As for the threat, my kids aren't at that age so not entirely sure how I would respond but think I would say something like "why would you shoot mummy, that's not a nice thing to say" and not make to big a fuss as kids that age wouldn't even know the ramifications of shooting someone tongue

I think I may have read something like that too? It rings a bell I think it was in the herald sun maybe? My ds isn't at that age yet and I know I don't have too much to worry about with dd1 unless they bring out a princess Barbie accessorised with a machine gun laugh
I have the best memories of water gun fights with my dad and brother thybwerent violent obviously lol so if dd can use a toy gun like a nerf or water pistol in a non violent morbid way I really don't have a problem

I think I may have read something like that too? It rings a bell I think it was in the herald sun maybe? My ds isn't at that age yet and I know I don't have too much to worry about with dd1 unless they bring out a princess Barbie accessorised with a machine gun laugh
I have the best memories of water gun fights with my dad and brother thybwerent violent obviously lol so if dd can use a toy gun like a nerf or water pistol in a non violent morbid way I really don't have a problem


Argh, I'm racking my brains lol I thought it was the daily telegraph, no luck. Tried sun herald- same again! But it was so interesting and changed the way I thought about the whole thing smile

My DH has nerf guns and water pistols - but we do get pretty violent laugh








Argh, I'm racking my brains lol I thought it was the daily telegraph, no luck. Tried sun herald- same again! But it was so interesting and changed the way I thought about the whole thing smile

My DH has nerf guns and water pistols - but we do get pretty violent laugh

Ba ha ha yep the nerf guns were for Dp too!!! Oh and tech decks ao over tech decks his nearly 24 and I still buy him toys poor dd1 lost her woody doll to Dp when she first got it as he was so fascinated by it blink
My mum has a habit of ripping things outta the paper she thinks I'll find interesting it's like homework she calls to see if I read it yet!! And I think the article on that was one she ripped out laugh Ahh gotta love her though lol
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