This is easily one of my biggest parental struggles. Let’s see if you can relate: I have a boy. He is 7. He very much likes guns. He has for years. I don’t like guns. I didn’t grow up in a house with guns, hunters or boys that like guns. I struggle with boys and guns and the fascination. I’m a mom. I set the rules, and these guns cause me a conundrum.
We didn’t allow any toy guns (I insert toy here just to clarify I’m not considering any gun of the real variety. Cheers!) in our house for a very long time. Since they didn’t exist, he created. Guns were made out of sticks, out of legos, out of chicken nuggets. Plan B was to introduce a Super Soaker, aka a squirt gun aka summer fun, which in my parenting head wasn’t really a “real” gun. This led to Star Wars guns as birthday presents, and then Nerf was discovered (yes, probably discovered from a commercial on Nickelodeon. Yes, he also watches TV. SHREEEEEEK!)
This was life changing. A whole aisle had been found at Target made of joy and greatness and happiness for my young man. Suddenly it was requested that the only thing Santa could bring to make Christmas morning a success was a Nerf gun. (of which Santa brought the wrong gun which is an entirely different blog post that will be filed under parental guilt, how to ruin Christmas morning and how mommy made mommy cry.)
So back to the gun fascination and my conundrum. We now have toy guns in my house. My internal parenting expertise told me that rather than continue to deny, I could expose the young man to these toys and he will move on. Apparently there’s no moving on. I waffle between “yes you can play with those today” to “you’re annoying the crap outta me shooting everything and anything in sight so put them away NOW!”
I’ve become THAT mom that allows her son to play with guns. I’m also that mom who really struggles with what is the right thing to do. If he’s not exposed to them, what happens when he’s at his friends house and they come across a real one. I don’t want his reaction to be “Thank the good Lord! Finally a gun to play with!” We all know how tragically that situation can end. My dad recently recommended, and I’ll call the guy a very wise man, maybe we should just embrace it and sign the kid up for a gun safety course. Not a bad idea. Someone much wiser than me, but hopefully not some kinda gun fanatic, can teach my boy the dangers and the safety.
And maybe my son’s destiny is to become Jason Bourne. Who am I to deny him his destiny? Doesn’t mean I won’t continue to struggle with this one each and every day.