Young boys seem to have an endless fascination with weapons. It seems to almost be an innate part of growing up for them.
In the past decade or two, there’s an increasing number of well-meaning parents who think they can overcome Mother Nature by banning “violent” play and “violent” toys in their boys and forbidding them to touch real ones.
So, are you one of those parents?
Or do you teach respect and understanding of tools that can be used as weapons and allow your kids to play with toys and allow them to touch the real McCoy under careful supervision?
Experts in child development and psychology note that playing with toy weapons isn’t so much about pretend violence as it is about what the objects – in this case weapons – symbolize. “Toy gun play isn’t about violence as much as it is about symbols. Toy weapons symbolize power, leadership, authority, strength and control,” says child-led play advocate Jeff A. Johnson. Who is he? He owns Explorations Early Learning and has written a host of books including Let Them Play: An Early Learning (Un)Curriculum.
As for those who would ban toy guns for their kids?
Forbidding toy guns and playing with toy guns, experts agree, simply gives the pretend guns even more power and mystique. Even a Barbie doll folded in two to make a pretend gun will still symbolize power, leadership, authority, strength and control – just as real guns do to the good guys who own them. “Everything is a gun to a three-year-old boy,” one parent was quoted as saying. So true.
It’s part of boys growing up.
You can embrace it and direct it positively, or you can make it the forbidden fruit which will simply increase the allure to children.
So, do you (or did you) let your kids grow up to be cowboys, allowing them to play with toy guns at a young age and then later allow them to explore real weapons once they were mature enough?