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How do you feel about toy swords and guns / Nerf guns for children? At what age do you find them appropriate for children to begin playing with, if at all?

How would you handle dropping your child off to a babysitter that lets their children / your child play with them if you do not find them appropriate?

Inspired by me picking up my 2 yr old son from my sister in laws where he spent the day playing with swords all day with my 4 and 6 year old nephews. :/ I'm not a fan of toy swords for older children, and definitely not my two year old. I just don't feel that they are necessary, and not pretend play I want him engaging in.

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( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
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redfield79
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
Husband got one of the nurf multi shooter things during his best man speech and we were playing around one night and that shit hurt when he shot me!! Lol it was pretty close though
lisasimpsonfan
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:37 pm (UTC)
I am perfectly OK those type of toys once they are old enough to understand fantasy from reality and to not hurt people with the toys.

I wouldn't be OK with a 2 year old playing swords since they could hurt themselves or someone else not to mention that the other kids are so much bigger.

claddagh
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
My kids were playing at the park the other day with a child who brought toy swords. They all had a blast. My kids don't have swords, but will use any number of other toys (bats, brooms, pool noodles, golf putter). With the swords my kids pretend they are characters from Star Wars or from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

As for Nerf guns, I bought them for my twin nephews several years ago. My sister said she was waiting for a nice day to play with them OUTSIDE (emphasis from original). They are fun, but are not suitable for indoors.
claddagh
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:20 am (UTC)
The swords brought to the park were foam as was the one my son briefly had.

Plastic is fine as long as they are very much toys.

I have never seen kids with anything as realistic as you picture below.
(no subject) - mimda - Nov. 30th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
sayga
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
We have a pair of nerf guns for our daughters (5 and 8), but they really were unwanted Christmas gifts that my brother and husband abandoned. I don't mind if they play with them, as long as they're shooting the windows (they have suction cups on them) and not each other. Swords, I don't mind really, again, as long as no one is going to lose an eye or hurt the other person. I prefer foam swords but I did buy the girls plastic pirate swords once. My husband made me hide them after a few days because he was sure they were going to get hurt, but I liked seeing them practice fencing.

We have taken our girls to the shooting range and each of them have shot a rifle before, though, too, so I don't know if that means my views differ radically from yours. I would NOT like it if my daughters (or sons, if I had them) were playing with realistic looking guns, especially hand guns. And it depends on the game. I don't like war games, but target practice is fun and I think it's good for motor development (aim, etc, though there are lots of other ways to practice aim so I'm not saying it's the only way!).
sayga
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)

Pirates and their swords


My younger daughter learning to shoot with my husband at age 3.5. I don't want my kids to play with realistic looking toy guns because we are teaching them real gun safety and we do not PLAY with real guns either.
bratty_lil_fae
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
We participate in the SCA (sca.org), and as part of the SCA my husband does medieval style sword and shield fighting with rattan swords wearing armor... so my son has grown up around sword fighting. I have two choices, give him nerf/foam swords that are age appropriate, or have him try to steal Daddy's rattan swords every 2 seconds because he wants to fight like Daddy does. I choose to give him age appropriate nerf swords.

He doesn't have any toy guys, I"m sure it will happen eventually but as of now he has no interest and really no exposure so wouldn't know what to do with one anyways.

For the record, he's 2, nearly 2 1/2. For reference I added a picture of the 2 year old with his sword, and the Daddy with his armor/sword. :)

Caelsword
Jon
sayga
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
Cute kiddo! He looks quite proud of himself.
(no subject) - bratty_lil_fae - Nov. 29th, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mimda - Nov. 29th, 2012 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bratty_lil_fae - Nov. 29th, 2012 11:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
goldoyster
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)
Why are you asking? Just curious what people think in general?

I don't care if my children want to pretend fight. It's the real fighting I'm more concerned about.
mimda
Nov. 29th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC)
I'm curious as to others opinions and if I'm being unreasonable.

Foam swords are ok but the pointy stabby realistic fighting swords sorta irk me. My 2 yr old was playing with this one or something similar today -

(no subject) - goldoyster - Nov. 29th, 2012 11:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anaralia - Nov. 30th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
draiochta_faol
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:25 am (UTC)
I see no reason to not let kids play with toy guns/swords. My 4.5 yr old has been playing with them for 1.5 yrs and my almost 2 yr old is sort of playing with them b/c he sees his brother play. The most the baby does is hold up the toy sword and try to say "By the Power of Grayskull, I am He-Man". I do try and keep them away from the baby because he still learning how to not play too rough. As long as they are not hurting anyone, I am fine with it. That being said, when the cousins come over, I hide the squirt guns and sword b/c the two boy cousins get a little over zealous with toy weapons. Both boys have a hard time judging when enough is enough due to their being on the ASD spectrum, and I choose to just remove the temptation when they are over.

Kids are going to pretend they have guns and swords anyways b/c kids have fingers they can use and access to sticks when they go outside. It's inevitable once they hit school age, but it's the job of the adults to help the child to understand when play gets too rough.

If you have an issue with it, then the daycare provider needs to know that it's not okay. Is there a polite way you can let your SIL know that you would rather not have the swords around when your son is over?
jenzaar
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:37 am (UTC)
My daughter is six and I still don't think they are appropriate. I would probably be more lenient if her friend (five years old) weren't as engrossed in these things as he is -- gore in every sentence, cannot play a game that doesn't involve stabbing/shooting/severing/etc. But, I'm not! :)

That last sentence you wrote, that's the one I would use to your sitter. I wouldn't press it, but certainly bring it up. How can it hurt?
my_altered_life
Nov. 30th, 2012 12:45 am (UTC)
I've kept them away from my son as much as humanly possible because my mom and dad gave them to my brother, who was 9 years younger. And he beat the hell outta me with them when he was 2-4 years old because I wasn't allowed to take his toys, lock him out of my room, or retaliate. So when I had my own son, I was like HELL NO. I don't care if my son plays with other kids' toys at their houses because, lets face it, you can't drop your kid off with someone else and tell them they can't play with their kids' toys. Its not gonna happen. Now, at 2, I'd have a problem with it (especially if the other kids were older...I mean, what other things are they playing with that aren't appropriate for a two year old?). I would perhaps ask that if your son was going to be included in that type of play regularly that a soft sword be used, something that compromises like that. But regardless of how non-violent my son was raised, other boys tackle him, wrestle, play kick and punch, have swords, etc. and I can't lock him in a bubble. So while they're not toys for at home, they are okay when the toys will disappear after a short time.

sandokai
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
I wouldn't buy them for my kid (Except maybe a water gun or something like that when he's older).
I wouldn't want the babysitter--somewhere he was every day-- to have them either.
If he was somewhere he only goes rarely and they had them and played with them, I'd be annoyed but probably not say anything.

Though, swords seem a little less violent than guns to me.
athinker
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
I dunno, it is your first/only kid? Someone made an excellent point to me when my son was younger that I should think about whether I would have a problem with xy or z if he were my third kid. Not that it excuses everything, just one lens to look at it through. If your son were the same age and those were his older brother at 4 and 6 would you have a problem with it? If you never want guns/swords around your kid that is cool, my MIL didn't allow toy guns with her kids or the daycare she ran, even though she pointed out that it kind of failed because literally anything could be turned into a gun or sword.
acheuleanhandax
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:25 am (UTC)
I don't mind pretend swords or guns. I don't like look-alike guns for gun safety reasons. Lots of kids will just make a gun or sword out of whatever they have -- sticks, paper, other toys.

My brother and I had homemade wooden swords when we were kids. Kind of mind-blowing, but I can't remember ever being bashed over the head with one.
couchtiger
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC)
My son love guns and swords and anything like that. I am so tired of fighting it. I am convinced it is nature not nurture, because we have no guns or swords, are not involved with anything like that, and do not speak of them. For a long time I referred to things as "launchers" - as in a water launcher, a foam launcher, a nerf launcher, instead of a gun. That got us until about 4 years old and then playing with other kids ruined it. Now he is into guns, swords, bombs, explosions, attacks, good guys and bad guys, the whole nine yards. I don't know what to do about it anymore other than reinforce safety - sure, you can make a pretend gun out of that stick outside, but you can't point it at people. At this point I really think it's nature.

At 2 I would have been more worried about my kid getting hurt playing fight with older kids. YMMV.
designingdreams
Nov. 30th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
I don't inherently have a problem with toy swords or guns, but I think they need to come with talks about the difference between pretend violent play and real violence. And no matter what, a toy gun (minus a watergun) is not for aiming at other people or pretending to shoot them. Use a nerf gun to 'shoot' at a target or a tin can? Fine with me. In my family, we do NOT point guns at people, even pretend guns. When my children are old enough to understand responsible gun/sword play, I don't mind it.

Water guns are different to me, because the intent is clearly just to get the other person wet, not to injure (or even pretend to injure) anyone. If my kid ever shot a water gun and proclaimed 'you're dead!' Or anything like that, thy would be in trouble. I don't agree with that type of violent language/play. The same language goes for sword play, too. 'I got you' or 'I won' is fine, but we don't pretend to hurt/kill others.
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