Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Nerf Makes Me Shudder



I cannot be the only one...who has a young son who is a little more fond of playing with fake weapons than I can feel good about. Don't jump to conclusions and picture a five year yielding a blade while my husband and I are struggling to release ourselves from duct tape. Rather picture a five year old with a Nerf shot gun pretending to be a big game hunter or with a plastic knife in case he runs into a bear on his imaginary camping trip.  I have heard the argument that if I don't like him playing with toy weapons don't allow them in the house, but those people have not seen my boy make a weapon from his Eggo waffle, in our case there seems to be no escaping it.

I know kids and toy weapons is what many would coin a hot topic, the kind of topic I tend to avoid because every parent is entitled to their own opinion.  I especially avoid these hot topics because both sides of the coin feel extremely passionate about their views which sparks arguments rather than debates. This was made obvious from the comments in regards to an article I read on the PBS kids website about boys and guns. The author, Bethany Hardy, takes the position that boys may be genetically predisposed to be attracted to gun play and makes great suggestions for parents to monitor their children's exposure to violent television and video games, teach proper gun safety, and express the serious danger of real guns to their child. Even with the author's fairly stated position her readers where fired up enough to argue about kids, guns, God, and the Swiss (read the quick article it will make perfect sense: http://www.pbs.org/parents/raisingboys/aggression05.html

I think kids play with what they like regardless of what we as parents feel about the toy, some of the "as seen on TV" products are just ridiculous but my son still pines for them.  I agree with Bethany Hardy's article and think is our job to teach our kids appropriate behaviors, whether it is the right way to yield a toy gun or the nice way to pet their stuffed kitten. Let's use guidance as a way our children will learn to respect weapons as the dangerous items they are, animals because they are living creatures, and have empathy for the rest of us walking around on this planet. With this sentiment I guess I will be dodging toy darts and arrows with suction cups on them for the unforeseeable future, or at least until he discovers video games or girls, which ever comes first.

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