Saturday, February 16, 2008

Of guns and bloodshed!

"It is dead.. I think the wolf came and killed it" she said.. The little 3 yr old girl stood looking at a dead bird in our apartment's tennis court. She was speaking in a matter-of-fact tone to her 5 year old friend. I don't know what her mother felt, but dread clutched my heart. 2 yr old Nantu stood beside me and I hoped he wouldn't ask me to explain killing or dying...Since then I have tried to subtly introduce the subject to him, so that it doesn't come as a shock to him. He thinks that anyone who is no longer alive is with GOD ("Umachi kitta iruka" he says). However I know he has no full grasp of the concept, well he is 3 after all! However this morning reminded me that he is at an impressionable age after all. Nantu and I were having one of our world famous arguments when he said "I will shoot you.. pss pss pss" (the only gun he knows is a water gun, so apparently he thinks shooting means splaying one with water?). However my heart stopped when I heard the word shoot. Needless to say, I overreacted.. I gave him a time-out and proceeded to lecture him about guns and shooting!
Too Much Information for a 3 year old? I am not so sure anymore... I am very careful with the books Nantu reads or the cartoons he watches. I don't even allow him to watch Spider man or Tom and Jerry .. (another case of my over reacting I suppose), so where does this come from ? School? This doubt began forming in my head when one day he pounced on the black spider man on his comforter and screamt "You evil spider man I will catch you and throw you in jail", but guns?Every time I see the news about shootings in colleges and schools across the country (Now its Illinois...), I dread to send Nantu to school the next day. How am I supposed to deal with his talking about guns? When he was a year old he had a gun toy, that has since been disposed. However he does have water guns , bubble guns and disc shot guns. Guns seem to be everywhere! How am I supposed to deprive him of these toys? I am a mother at total loss how to keep the awareness in and at the same time keep the violence out. What's a mother to do?
[Edited to add: Dame's diary sent this link to a family education website. This was very informative ... thanks DD]

18 comments:

Rambler said...

I guess guns and cars are two mostly loved play things for a male kid.. I know its violence but still its too tempting :)

Vishnupriya Janardhanan said...

dont worry too much dearie. . .he is just a kid and we all loved water guns as a kid dint we :) .

dame's diary said...

Preethi,

Check out
http://life.familyeducation.com/safety/school/34435.html

All the best :)

Nisha said...

I react like how you do. I am not comfortable and when a couple of weeks ago, the brat wanted a gun to play with, because his friend had one at home, I was about to freak out. Instead I told him, we don't play with guns and thats the rule of the house. He generally doesn't argue if I say, it is the rule, and we'll have to abide by it. Suddenly I feel there is a spate of student killings on news. It is all so scary. I wonder what I'd say when he's grown up and wants one !

Preethi said...

Rambler - they are but the violence with guns lately is so high.. that it is scary!
Vish - we did we did... but our times were so different!
Dame's diary - thanks so much. I will link this in my blog.
Nisha - Brat is so good :) the argument continues over here!!

keith hillman said...

I had toys guns when I was a boy, my son did and now his son would like to. Although he's not allowed one he finds ways to improvise - sticks and things. Like it or not it comes naturally.

Thankfully gun crime is still rare in the UK. Our police are unarmed, and simply possesing a gun is an imprisonable crime. Long may it remain so.

Swati said...

Did you have a gun toy ..I did ..but I did not grow up to be a crimnal. We have to find a balance. Too much restrictions will result in a rebel

Preethi said...

Keith - The police unarmed? now thats scary.. its the same in India too.. I however am not sure about the wisdom of that!
Swati - I agree.. I have thought about that too.. we all did play with guns.. but the world has changed.. these days gun crimes are rampant at every corner in the United States.. and living here for now, I worry!!

Neera said...

Hey I have just started (well abt 60 pages) of this book titled 'We need to talk about Kevin'. Want to read it as well, reading together might just help me pick up a little pace. Its letters from a wife to her husband whose son was responsible for a Columbia high school shootouts. It really is hard to put down, just that 2 young kids don't leave me with much time. And though I have read very little but enough to tell me that kids who do this have way too different family backgrounds/parents than us. I do feel anxiety, nevertheless, in making up my mind as to where to draw the line.

choxbox said...

should a parent let her child play with toy guns? perhaps the dilemma can be extended into a larger arena - govts allowing its citizens free access to guns vs. not!

but cant help smiling at the 'pss pss' after 'shoot'.

rayshma said...

but i don't think playing with guns will turn him into a criminal. he's an intelligent boy... and u're a good parent... he'll grow up into a balanced individual. who knows the difference in playing and reality... and the consequences... :)
dunno... maybe i lack perspective of this... i may think differently when i have a kid....

Preethi said...

Neera - Will check in the library if I find the book.. that must be an interesting read. After the Illinois shooting the father of the guy responsible was on news.. "Leave us alone" he said! And I kept thinking what he must be going through!
Choxbox - You do make a good point. that is the bigger issue really!! As for the pss pss.. oh yeah I am tempted to laugh too :P
Rayshma - That is a very valid point... we are rational parents, and hopefully we bring up our children to understand this. After all we played with guns as kids didn't we? And we don't shoot people now!! I know this in my mind.. but in my heart gun has become a swear word really... its just an emotional reaction to all the crimes across the country!!!

Preethi said...

As Neera has mentioned here...... i think exposure to guns coupled with feelings of insecurities and bad parenting might lead to raising dangerous kids but with a doting mom like you :) there is nothing to worry. Get a water gun and play with your kid. As he grows up you cud tell about the the other guns. It is better if you tell him rather than him hearing it from somebody else.

DotMom said...

don't worry too much. It's not about guns but what they do... I think it boild down to reaching kids responsibility. We grew up with guntalk too.. and gun toys.. but dod not becomes crazies who went shooting.

Orchid said...

i understand the paranoia..given the recent spate of school shootings and all but relax......let him be a kid!

Mystic Margarita said...

I understand your concern taking recent events into consideration. This issue bothers me, too - but kids will be kids, right?

Sumana said...

Hey preethi, very sensitive subject that you got out. We were just discussing the same topic in our household too the other day. We are going back to India for good and later my kids being citizens here might or might not come for education here. I was just wondering how a parent is supposed to react when all you can hear from best universities is shooting. Yup i can definitely understand your concern. I heard this happening in a couple of indian schools too.

Lavs said...

My parents refused to buy gun toys for my brother. They even resisted buying him video games which involves shooting down of aliens. Till date, I do not play flash games which requires me to shoot down people. But if kids get influenced by their friends, then a straight talk with them helps [or I hope it helps].