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Advice please: What do you think about ‘shooting’ games?

Posted on: July 17, 2011

I don’t mean video games, I mean imaginary games, where Tiernan (not Molly yet but I suppose she might start copying him soon) will bring me pretend guns that he has made, or tell me that his toy Spiderman is shooting the baddies, or poisoning the hunters so they don’t shoot him, etc. etc. etc. I’m not sure where these ideas have come from, really (perhaps the boys at Preschool?), as I try to restrict the shows that they are allowed to watch – he’s never seen Ben 10, Spiderman, or other violent shows… however, guns and shooting are a recurrant theme in his imaginary play, and I really don’t know what to do about it. I have tried talking to him about hunting and shooting, saying that I basically don’t agree with people hunting for sport, but concede that there is a difference between this and hunting for food. I’ve explained that guns can hurt people, although they aren’t always weapons as some people shoot guns at clay targets for sport. So he knows that generally, I don’t approve of the weapons, especially when they are being used against people or animals. Yet this keeps popping up in his games. Do I let it go as a healthy way of exploring this social taboo, as long as he is not hurting anybody? I am finding all this weapon play quite irritating and even a bit disturbing, but am worried about overreacting and don’t want to ‘forbid’ him from it because I think that will probably make guns and violence all the more fascinating to him.

What do you think? Have you come across this problem in your parenting, and what did you do about it? Do pretend weapons even bother you at all?

On a slight tangent, can I just say how very annoying it is that kids clothes have characters like Ben 10, Spiderman, Batman, etc. stamped all over them, almost from babyhood – Tiernan idolises these characters, without even having the slightest idea who they even are, because I won’t let him watch the shows yet! I try to buy him generic clothes whenever I can, but the choice is often very limited, and I can’t really stop friends and family from buying what they want to. It’s very frustrating! And same goes with ‘girls’ clothes, too – it’s all Dora, My Little Pony, Barbie. Ick.

1 Response to "Advice please: What do you think about ‘shooting’ games?"

It’s such a hard one isn’t it? I have the whole princess/fairy/beauty thing going on with Scarlett at the moment and it’s hard to know how to deal with it. Like you said, if you forbid things they will be only more enticing. I figure that all kids go through these stages of self discovery (I recall being OBSESSED with pretending I had babies at a young age), bit as long as you let them know your stance subtly as they go along the message will sink in.

I also detest all the branded merchandise. I’ve let anyone buying stuff for the kids know of this and have managed to keep it ubdef control but some things do get through! It’s also why I don’t let the kids watch commercial television. There are SO many ads for ridiculous (and so often sexist) products it drives me insane!

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