Monday, January 16, 2012
I tried not to overreact when Isabella aimed her Barbie at me and said, "Princess Gun!" I didn't know if I should laugh or reprimand, so I used the best known parenting strategy when you are caught in a jam - I ignored it. We don't encourage gun play or purchase gun related toys. But, it seems inevitable that guns, shooting, and all around weaponry finds it's way into the imaginative play of children. I used to think it was gender related. Boys can turn everything from a french toast stick to a baggie tie into a gun. Or as my boys call them~ their "shooters." They have some play swords with pirate costumes that they always make sound like machine guns even though they have never actually seen one. We monitor what they watch on tv and talk about why we don't believe in gun play. But, they are 5 year old boys and don't live in bubbles so they have exposure to fake guns. One friend showed up over the holidays with his new plastic shotgun. The boys loved it! They also love going to that friend's house because they have an arsenal of Nerf guns. They can't think of anything cooler than that! For Christmas, Cousin Justin moved up to favorite status when he bought the boys their first Nerf guns. They were overjoyed! We had to set up some ground rules like you only use them in the playroom, don't aim them at people, use objects as targets, etc. I was pleasantly surprised how well they followed the rules and it also encouraged them to actually be in their playroom which had been filled with wonderful and educational toys for the past 5 years, but basically overlooked and ignored. When they ask Hubby and I why we don't like guns we are honest about telling them that guns hurt people and they are not toys. But, at the end of the day they are kids. They enjoy playing. And as long as they are not hurting anyone, that has to be enough right now. We will love them, teach them about the dignity of human life, and hope for the best. And every once in awhile I have to give in to a bit of laughter when my beautiful, thoughtful little baby takes aim at me with her Princess Gun.