Guest blogger Meanest Mom: My 5-year-old son went to a birthday party last weekend and gave the guest of honor a large Supersoaker water gun. The birthday boy was thrilled; the boy's mother, not so much.
I was embarrassed and horrified when the mother openly criticized me for giving her son a toy gun. Truth be told, I didn't think twice when my son picked the toy out at the store. In the sweltering heat of summer, the water gun looked like lots of fun.
The anti-toy gun sentiment that pervades our society is a phenomenon unique to our generation of parents. When most of us were growing up in the '70s and '80s, the demand for toy guns often exceeded stores' supply. Remember trying to find a Star Trek
phaser around the holidays? Good luck!
Toy guns have become taboo in our culture, so much so that some toy stores refuse to sell them and many parents ban their children from playing with them. Like many moms, I started out with a "no-gun" policy in my house. I abandoned it, however, when my sons started turning household objects--spatulas, coat hangers, and bottles of Windex--into imaginary cowboy pistols. My point is that most boys develop a deep fascination with weapons at some point in their childhood. The desire to play with toy guns, knives, swords and the ever popular nunchucks doesn't mean that your son is a murderer in the making, but rather, signals that he is, well, a boy.
Most of us spent our childhoods surrounded by--if not also playing with--plastic revolvers and rifles, yet we didn't grow up eager to arm ourselves with real ones. What makes us think that it will be any different with our kids?