Boys and Guns: How do you feel about kids playing with toy guns?

Do you allow your kids to play with toys guns? In the wake of the Tucson violence, many parents are having a conversation with their kids about guns.  Where does a non-violent society start? Is taking away our kids toy guns, swords and laser beams an overreaction? I don't like to hear the boys running around trying to shoot each other, even if it is just play, so we just keep guns of all kind out of our house. The boys don't care because there are so many other fun toys to keep them engaged. Every parent has to do what is right for their home and child. This is not an opportunity to judge but an opportunity to provide constructive comments and thoughts. Below is an excerpt from an article by Bethany Hardy on Boys and Guns, What's a Parent to Do.


"Here are six things parents can do to ensure that a child’s interest in toy guns doesn’t get out of hand:
  1. Talk with your kids.
    Instead of talking at your son about guns (“Guns are dangerous!” “Don’t do that!”) talk with him. His understanding of guns is probably less sophisticated than you think.
  2. Limit your child’s exposure to violence on TV or in video games.
    “I think exposure to violence on TV or video games should be a greater concern to parents than gun play,” says Weiner. “Repeated exposure has been demonstrated in studies to desensitize kids to violence. It is important to limit this exposure, especially in younger kids.”
  3. Monitor, don’t necessarily prohibit, your child’s gun play.
    As long as playing with toy guns doesn’t dominate a child’s time, it’s okay to let him explore it, says Weiner—provided a parent or trusted adult is watching.
  4. If you’re going to buy a toy gun, make sure it really looks like a toy.
    I try to limit the toy guns we have in our house to those that look nothing like real guns—the more colorful, the better.
  5. Encourage “target practice.”
    Achieving the simple goal of hitting a target with a foam-ball gun can be extremely satisfying for an active little boy, and it helps develop hand-eye coordination to boot.
  6. Teach proper gun safety.
    This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth pointing out: if you choose to have real guns in your home, it’s imperative to help your children understand and respect their power."

Here is the complete article.  http://www.pbs.org/parents/raisingboys/aggression05.html

Please add your comments and suggestions for parents.