23 May 2014

boys toys

 Over the past few weeks and months Theo has shown a greater interest in I'd say typical boy toys and activities. Since he was born we've never really pushed any gender specific toys on him, and have just provided what he seems to show an interest in. Notably that was and is trains, and whilst that may seem like a typical boy thing to be interested in, I remember playing with trains and cars when I was young. He's also got a toy till, kitchen, pushchair and dolls house for the more stereotype 'girls' toys (not that it really matters at all!)

But recently he's started to get really into guns, swords and knifes. I don't think he has a grasp on the real concept of killing or dying, even if he did proclaim rather loudly on our flight to Barcelona, that when we fly over the water we all might die...

We don't let him watch aggressive cartoons, when he watched a few Spiderman episodes I found them too violent so that was stopped fairly sharpish and even though we bought him an action man from a car boot sale we tried to make him as passive as possible! Theo likes us to talk to him through Action Man, and listens to everything he says so its a good way to try and encourage good behaviour (such as helping action man pick up some litter and put it in the bin) and so far he hasn't really started to let action man live up to his name.

So I was sort of baffled as to where all the gun loving came from?! Whilst on holiday in the parks he would point his finger at other children and say 'bang bang' and always wants to play with gun shaped objects. Now from my standpoint I do not like guns or violence at all, and I won't be buying him any guns but it's not something I can really stop being imagined. I know that when I was little my friends older brothers always played 'army', running around the garden with imaginary machine guns (I still haven't met a girl who can make a convincing machine gun noise!) and when speaking to Rob about it he used to do the same, and they've all turned out to be normal, gentle people.

So my question is, is it just something that boys (and maybe girls?) are interested in, no matter what you try and do to stop it? Will Theo still run around with his friends when he's older playing army and carrying imaginary weapons, regardless of whether I buy him a toy gun or not? Does it only get worse as they get older, and the gender specific toys are aimed at him are around guns? I asked Rob if he remembers his parents ever telling him about the morals of shooting other people, what killing people means or what guns can really do, and he said no he doesn't specifically remember. Whether it happened when he was younger and he just grew up subconsciously knowing what it all meant or just that his parents trusted that he'd know it was just a game.

Because that's the thing, if I forbid him from playing and acting out his imagination would it just put more intrigue on real guns as objects, like a forbidden fruit. Is it important to let your children just be free to play what they want? I mean I can remember creating and acting out all sorts of games when I was little, I even married my cousin and walked down the aisle with a baby in my arms and I'm pretty sure that hasn't influenced my adult decision making.

Is there too much pressure to censor our children's free play and imaginations? 


  1. I think it is something that happens no matter what. I remember my colleague once telling me about her son and how they banned any toy guns from the house as she didn't like them and then one day he ran out holding a certain piece of his anatomy and shouting, "bang, bang"!!! I'm not sure there's anything you can do........! :)

  2. I think it's perfectly normal... I remember being little, and playing guns with the boy who lived up my street... I hate guns now so it certainly didn't encourage me :p

  3. i used to love playing with trains and cars too :) i agree it does just seem to be a natural thing with some kids, even if they have no context. i have no idea where it comes from so it must be some sort of primal inbuilt thing to some people?

  4. I think it happens no matter what you do! I've never given any of mine toy guns to play with, because I never wanted to actively encourage that sort of play, but once he hit pre-school / reception, he used to play fighting games, and sticks on the ground turned into guns. It's not a big deal, Dexter has grown out of that style of game now and certainly knows that guns aren't good things to aspire to owning / using as an adult - but I never told him he wasn't allowed to play certain games.

  5. I think it is fine as long as guns aren't bought for the child. I often see children in the town centre with big plastic guns pretending to shoot people and i don't think that is right. x

  6. I have a similar thing going on in our house with the guns, something I find very unsettling as growing up in South Africa it's something that brings back bad memories. I found out my partners parents have for the past few months encouraging him to play "booshing guns" and even letting him play with a very realistic (empty) bee bee gun - even knowing my background and feelings about it!!! Rant over but I think it's a boy thing, I do find though that it increases aggressive behaviour in my little man so we tend to try and turn the role play into something more gentle when this side comes out

    Laura x

  7. I'm pretty easygoing about this stuff. I wouldn't encourage gun play, much like I'm not inclined to encourage "beauty play" with my older daughter but I'm happy to just let kids do what they're going to do and maybe ask them questions about it if there seems a need to discuss it at some point.

  8. I'm still giggling about Nichola's comment!! I don't really have any advise but I think like the other's have said it's totally normal. It's funny about what they are into isn't it, Wilf has never been into trains but LOVES cars, poor thing has only ridden in one a handful of times and finds riding on the train most days really boring! x


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