A 7 year old and his guns

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.

9 thoughts on “A 7 year old and his guns

  1. YOu know, whether you give boys guns or not, as you say, they are going to find a way to create guns. I sort of think that it is a thing….boys play with guns. Whether it is a stick, a lego or a nerf rifle! D. does not have any toy guns yet, but when it inevitably does happen our rule will be that he cannot point the gun at adults. My daugther is reading as I post this and says I should add “or kids”. Anyhow, I walked into a friends home, not yours, and the kid just pointed his star wars wii gun at me and started firing. that crap just gets on my nerves. There is a lot of space between fantasy and reality—although if eliza wants a consult with kate middleton on the high cost of being a princess it is fine with me.

  2. We have play guns of all kind–nerf, star wars, wooden civil war, pistols–I don’t like it but I couldn’t fight it and win. We do have rules–no pointing at animals like the dog, no pointing at people unless they too have a toy gun and are playing with you, no leaving them lying around the yard and house, can not play by the street, point at cars, etc. In fact, we have so many all the boys in da ‘hood come to A’s house to play cops and robbers or whatever they do with them. More importantly tho, it opened the door for ‘the conversation’ about what to do if you’re at someone’s house and a real gun comes out. And yes, he does gun safety at my step-dad’s hunting club every spring and fall.

    I don’t like it at all but figured I might as well make sure I make the most of it.

  3. I think you may be stressing prematurely (I know, easy for me to say, I only have girls! But I did grow up with a brother, as did my husband, who was himself also a boy at one point….) He may or may not be genuinely interested in guns; he may be more interested in “blam! blam!” games like Cops and Robbers or Star Fleet Patrol or whatever, that require the use of pretend guns or gun-like weapons. Just about all boys have at least some interest in stuff like that at Will’s age. Just because he didn’t reach instant boredom with it once he was allowed to have a “real” toy gun doesn’t mean he’ll still be obsessed with guns in two or three years. If he’s still totally fascinated with them when he starts getting old enough for a gun safety course from a certified instructor, you can visit the issue then. In the meantime, common sense applies to kids of either gender–find out whether there are real guns at any of the buddies’ houses where they play, and make sure that they know never EVER to go anywhere near one or anyone who’s holding one. And as the mom it’s also more than acceptable to tell the kids to TAKE THOSE BLEEPING THINGS INTO THE BACK YARD, YOU’RE BUGGING ME!!

    Just the two cents of someone with no sons, heh.

  4. Guns are bad news, I’m with you. However, boys will be boys. I have an eight year old nephew, and he’s always playing with some kind of gun or another. The worst part is that, like you said, he’s popping some gun constantly, making noise and shooting little things all over the place. It’s kind of annoying, which is worse than the moral aspect of it all.

  5. I recognize that I’m taking an unpopular stance here but I grew up with guns (lived in the country and learned to shoot bb guns at a young age and then moved on to shooting hunting rifles at targets when I was a teen) and I’ve never had an issue with them. For the record, as with everything my father taught me, gun safety was stressed to the point where I barely wanted to touch a gun since I heard the “lecture” ringing inside my head. (This was the same man who required me to learn to change a car tire before I could drive a car.) As an adult I lived in Texas as a single woman for 7 years and owned a handgun which I carried under their concealed carry law. I also had an incredible time at a few different gun ranges, practicing my skills. My father recently asked me if I would allow my Girlie to learn to shoot a bb gun at some point and I said, “If you are teaching her, definitely!” I know that guns aren’t for everyone but it sounds like you’ve taken a very careful and appropriate approach with your little man.

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