My Son Loves Playing With Toy Guns – Here’s Why I’m Finally Letting Go

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 7 months ago

Sarah Bregel:

My 3-year-son Tener is sitting at the dining room table, coloring next to his big sister. “What are you drawing, Ten?” I ask, while staring into my screen. “A gun,” he replies, not looking up. “Oh, that’s nice,” I say, relatively unfazed by his creative choice.

His sister smirks at me. She remembers how not long ago, I would’ve maybe tried to redirect either one of them if they’d been talking, playing, or even drawing guns.

But in truth, the question of whether or not to allow my kids to play “guns” is not something I had to think much about until the past couple of years. When kids on the playground would play guns, my daughter would find something else to do. It just wasn’t of interest. But almost as soon as my son could speak, “gun” was on the tip of his tongue. He wanted to play with the other kids who were playing guns. He’d lose his mind if someone had a toy gun to play with because he wanted it for himself.

He has a few weapons at home — a wooden sword from the Renaissance Festival, a lightsaber he got for Christmas, and tons of superhero costumes — the same as his big sister. But intentionally, I had never bought any toy guns or allowed them in our home when he asked. To me, it felt wrong and dangerous to turn gun violence — a very real and serious issue, especially in America — into a game. I fiercely believe that we need common-sense gun control laws in our country. Nearly every time we flip on the news, there’s another mass shooting. How could I, in good conscience, allow that kind of play?

Regardless of the fact that we kept guns out of our home, and my son didn’t play violent video games or watch frightening stuff on TV, his interest still budded on its own. If he went to a friend’s house, he’d go straight for their Nerf guns and hold on tight until I picked him up. He’d shoot me dead with his pointer finger while I sat on the couch and then laugh at a job well done. For the record, he’d also shoot “fire” at me, burning me to the ground, or defeat me in just about any way he enjoyed. But shooting remained of high interest, too.

started to look into the issue with a more open mind. I picked up Gerard Jones’s book, Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence. In it, he talks specifically about this kind of play and even suggests that it actually benefits kids.

According to the book, studies showed that in British preschools when kids were allowed to play with toy guns, their games became more aggressive in the short-term, but that they were actually more relaxed later in the day. So playing fantastical games didn’t impact kids negatively or make them more aggressive. You could even say that they got their aggression out by having the freedom to play how they chose.

Some studies have suggested that watching violent shows or playing violent video games encourages violent behavior (not just play), but high amounts of screen time no matter the content, has been shown to have the same result. And it’s no surprise that context matters, too. If kids have a violent home life, their violent tendencies go up. But if they have safe surroundings and are simply playing these kinds of games, they remain just that — games.

Sarah is a feminist and that probably has a lot to do with how she’s interpreting the response of her son and what she chooses to do about it.  Her world and life view affects her actions and perspectives, as it does with us all.

But try as she might, she cannot construct a value system that can make any sense of this.  The term aggression is there, but what causes it remains unexplained.  Why poor parenting can have a negative effect on children is just taken as an axiom.  She just decides to let it happen, and it appears to me that she has found justification for all of this as opposed to being unable to stop it and also unable to find justification.  If it’s going to happen regardless of what I do, then I may as well justify it, she apparently thinks.

So let me help a little, Sarah.  Getting aggression “out of his system” isn’t why he needs to behave like a boy instead of a girl.  Evil exists in the world.  We aren’t a tabula rasa, or a blank tablet, and we do have predilections and propensities, regardless of what the nineteenth and twentieth century idiot philosophers told you.

You want to teach your children well.  We don’t learn to drive in driver’s education.  Boys learn to drive by watching their fathers, and girls by watching their mothers.  Our children generally take on our own value system, at least initially, but there are still God-given tendencies in boys and girls that will always be different.

You will want to turn your boy’s predilections towards good.  He wants to learn to protect and provide because that’s the way he is wired, no matter what your feminist friends and professors have taught you.  He can use his predilections for evil, but you want him to learn the good.

Protecting his family is good.  Defending his community is good.  Opposing tyranny is good.  All of these things are necessary by someone, because many people will not turn their children to the good, and regardless, some children will not accept their teaching because we all have volition.

You don’t want your little boy to grow up to be a man who cowers in a corner when hard times hit and a loved one or neighbor is under threat.  If he does this, he will hate himself later in life and feel worthless, and even worse, an impediment to the good.  You don’t want your little boy to grow up to hate himself, do you?

You want better than that for your little boy.  You want him to grow up to be a man, not a unisex, genderless robot.  A man is what God designed him to be, and it’s your job to assist in that calling.  So your husband, if you have one, has a job to do with him.  Tell your husband to get busy hunting, fishing, shooting, camping, hiking, biking, and doing all of the things a man should do with his boy.  It’s what God wants.

If you have no husband, then you’re going to have to pull double-duty.  But your son is worth it, yes?


  1. On January 29, 2018 at 8:25 am, Frank Clarke said:

    If it just saves one child…

  2. On January 29, 2018 at 10:24 am, Fred said:

    “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

    That’s the way HE should go, not the way YOU want him to go. Otherwise you will have a confused child in a man’s body who is of no use to himself, a woman, or society. Boys don’t outgrow what they play as children, they build upon what they learn and incorporate it into their being. Boys play at war because bad men with guns are coming. They are coming! Men have purpose that they can’t fulfill if their women are dragged off, raped out, and murdered.

  3. On January 29, 2018 at 12:16 pm, moe mensale said:

    Money quote:

    “Our children generally take on our own value system, at least initially, but there are still God-given tendencies in boys and girls that will always be different.”

    Excellent analysis, Herschel. Sarah and the rest of her feminist, sjw friends need to stop finding and making excuses for why their ways aren’t working. All they’ve managed to accomplish is screw up a few generations of children. Thankfully, a lot of those children are showing signs of being smarter than their screwed up parents.

  4. On January 29, 2018 at 4:44 pm, DurnedYankee said:

    “a wooden sword from the Renaissance Festival, a lightsaber he got for Christmas”

    Ah, good weapons versus BAAAAAAAD weapons.

    … because close-in combat where he uses edged weapons to disembowel his enemies, gets blood spattered, hears the screams and smells the stench as he watches their guts spill out is really much much more civilized than using firearms.
    Cuz swords is good, gunz is evil.
    Sarah honey, swords are just north of clubs, rocks and bare hands.

    If she wants to have clueless sjw fantasies about the levels of violence in using a weapon she might as well be accurate.

    But your last 4 paragraphs sir, yes, ALL of that.

  5. On January 30, 2018 at 12:45 pm, June J said:

    Her bio does say she is married. It’s obvious from her writing that she wears the pants in the family.

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You are currently reading "My Son Loves Playing With Toy Guns – Here’s Why I’m Finally Letting Go", entry #18534 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published January 28th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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