Letting My Kids Play With Toy Guns

There are certain things you can't change.

by Gill Bullen
letting kids play with toy guns

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My husband wants my 18-month-old son to play with toy guns and I absolutely don’t. Should I let my kids play with toy guns?

When my children were small (they are now in their 30s) I started off with some pretty weird ideas. To begin with, I was under the vague impression that a baby arrived as a blank sheet that you could write on. Wrong, as I very quickly discovered — you have a small person there, with their own likes and dislikes, and there is very little that you, as a mere parent, can do to change those.

So my daughter never did want to play with dolls — though she did play house games with small toy animals. She didn’t much want to wear dresses and skirts, and still doesn’t. Her choices.

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And her brothers — well, they wanted to play games that involved toy guns. I tried to avoid this, and gave them nice non-violent things like Lego instead — until I realized that they were (amongst all the other things they built) using it to make toy guns. So I gave in, and let them have toy guns anyway, spud guns, water pistols, cap guns, super-soakers, whatever. When they were in their teens they had an air rifle each, and did a bit of target shooting, both in the back garden and at a rifle range while they were members of their Scout group.

And you know what? They have grown into two perfectly nice, non-violent young men. Which they probably would have anyway, but we didn’t have lots of rows about it.

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Don’t worry about it — your little boy will be fine. Remember he is your son, and that he is going to grow up into a man; if he doesn’t want to play with guns, he won’t try to, but he will be his own person. Don’t try to force him to be a miniature of either of you, because you won’t succeed. Let him be the person he wants to be, and trust that he’ll be okay. If he’s more like his father than you, well, where’s the problem? Presumably you like his father, or why did you marry him? Relax, and don’t worry about it. He will be fine.

Gill Bullen enjoys writing about parenting and British culture. Read more from Quora below: