24

My Hypocrisy Is Palpable

July 14, 2017 by Tim

“Do as I say, not as I drown myself in awesome stuff that you’re not old enough for.”

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We do not generally allow our 3.5-year-old to watch television containing fighting, or weapons, especially guns. He doesn’t have any toy guns, and I don’t play any violent games around him. Not from like a weird “IF HE EVEN SEES A GUN HE WILL START MURDERING ALL THE THINGS” sort of a place, but more “Shit, man. He’s only three and a half. He doesn’t need to see this yet.”

He’s aware of the existence of guns, of course; we don’t get to control what his friends watch or talk about, guns are on display in almost every toy store, and we even make occasional exceptions ourselves depending on what we feel he’s ready to see. For example, I gave him my old G1 Rodimus Prime transformer from when I was a kid. It became a favorite toy of his, so a couple of months ago we decided to sit down and watch Transformers: The Movie together so he could see Hot Rod in action, despite the fact that the characters shoot at each other. And no, I’m totally not tearing up right now thinking about the death of Optimus Prime. I have something in my eye…

That was a supervised instance, so we could talk to him about what was happening, and watch to see how he processed it. As a rule, however, he doesn’t have regular access to that sort of stuff. What little TV he watches in the mornings tends to be Curious George, Paw Patrol, Daniel Tiger… shows of that nature. Learning, or positive lesson reinforcement.

Most of his toys are cars, or trains, or Pokemon or cars, or cars. He thinks Iron Man’s palm repulsors are flashlights.

Limiting exposure to weapons is a personal parenting decision my wife and I have made up to this point, and I’m not going to argue that its right or wrong, just that it’s what felt right and comfortable to us. Well, comfortable to her. It sort of makes me feel like a dictionary’s definition of contradiction.

As an adult male of particularly geeky tastes, just about all of my favorite things involve weapons on one level or another. Star Wars. Super heroes. Lord of the Rings. Game of Thrones. Zombies. Most of the games I play. Guns. Swords. Explosions. Love ’em. Can’t get enough.

I have surrounded myself with tokens of these things that I enjoy. Physical representations of that which gets my blood pumping. Mostly in the form of my toy collection, but also books and board games and props and artwork. Some small piece of it that I can own and hold.

As you might imagine, a toy figure of War Machine literally bristling with guns is not conducive to a “guns aren’t toys” argument. For a while I was able to get away with a simply “Uhh… look over there!” approach, but those days are over.

While I feel like perhaps I might be more sensitive to guns in cartoons/games/toys than my parents were, strictly as a result of the gun culture we’re dealing with as a society in this country these days, I am nowhere near the (frankly naive) point of declaring “No guns EVAAARR!”

In fact, I can’t wait for the day I can share this stuff with my two boys. Stormtroopers. WarMachine/Hordes (Or 40k now that its less sucky). Nerf guns. Paintball.  But my philosophy is that they have their entire lives to enjoy that stuff, there will be plenty of time for that once I know they have a solid grasp on the differences between real and pretend. So for as long its within our power, let’s steer them towards constructive activities/media.

That’s worked out well enough so far, but as I mentioned above, we don’t live in a bubble. Flynn is aware that guns are a thing, but he’d never shown much interest in them. Until one day a few weeks ago, he built a gun out of blocks.

Or as he calls them, a “gum.”

It caught us a little bit off guard; I don’t think you’re ever ready to hear your sweet little baby say “Pew pew! You’re dead!” But at the same time, we have boys and boys are naturally drawn to weapons. Sooner or later he was going to experiment with this sort of play. I just wanted it to be as “later” as possible.

I still have no intention of encouraging this type of play; I’m not going to let him have a toy gun yet. But I also realize I can’t stop him from making one out of a stick, or some blocks, or his finger when he’s playing with his friends. If this sort of play has entered his “creative vocabulary”, then I’m not really going to be able to remove it. I could suppress it, but that tends to be worse. I can make sure I talk to him about the differences between real guns and pretend guns, from now until he’s thirty years old if necessary.

And, as it just so happens, I have lots of the pretend ones for reference.

 

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Andrew Beeken
4 years ago

Tim, I completely sympathise. Both of my kids are a lot older now but I went throught the same thing as you when they were younger. My eldest is 12 this year so we’re starting to let him explore a bit more in the range of films he watches, my youngest is nearly 9 so he’s “graduating” onto the Marvel movies (I dont’ think he’s ready for the DC flicks yet) as well as FPS games with Star Wars Battlefront which is an excellent introduction to that genre for younger players. It is tough still, though. I panic about them… Read more »

Scott
Scott
4 years ago

I remember my first toy gun played with it all the time with my friends. Had little caps that would make little bang sounds and smell of smoke. Dad never told me to never shoot people and as I’m 32 years old with 2 actual guns.

Never used a gun to hurt anyone to date but sure is fun to shoot at paper targets.

Dukegonzo
Dukegonzo
4 years ago
Reply to  Scott

I’m a brit so guns aren’t really available here. I did however go to range when I visited the US so much fun!

Ministry
Ministry
4 years ago
Reply to  Dukegonzo

I’m a Brit too, and hadn’t thought of this complication US parents must face. Here, it’s easier to distinguish between guns integral to fantasy situations and guns not remotely being part of everyday society.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ‘real’ gun other in the hands of the police (and rarely the UK police) and military. And don’t particularly want to, but I don’t say that in a judgemental way. 😉

SilverShadow4
SilverShadow4
4 years ago
Reply to  Ministry

I work at a grocery store in Colorado, USA and I have a few regulars that open carry. I grew up in Louisiana with family that served in the military (not my direct parents), who have guns. My grandad served in the army in Vietnam and hunts deer and boar, he has like 20. We watched movies and played games that had guns in them. My brother and I were told early on that guns are never a thing to play with. We were taught proper gun handling and that guns are always a last resort. Our parents knew we… Read more »

BryanP
BryanP
4 years ago
Reply to  Dukegonzo

I have a safe full of them. I’ve noticed something when I spend time with people from other countries. The more restrictive the gun laws in their home country, the more interested they are in going to the range with me.

gatherer818
3 years ago
Reply to  BryanP

It’s that way with kids, too. The ones that make news for accidentally shooting themselves or someone else are almost always ones who were never taught basic gun safety, never seen a real gun before. The forbidden and especially the unseen are automatically attractive to people, especially children. The earlier you can take them out, show them a gun, have them (safely!) shoot it a few times, the sooner guns stop being a mythical amazing thing and start being just a tool, not much more exciting than a hammer.

Wumbo
Wumbo
1 year ago
Reply to  BryanP

Guns are more of an exotic thing if you hardly ever see them.

Jeremy Dinsmore
4 years ago

This doesn’t strike me as hypocritical. Some toys are guns, but guns are not toys. Real guns leave gaping holes in people. A replica DL-44 makes awesome “pew-pew” noises and lets you feel like Han Solo for a bit.
I’m not a parent, but for what little it’s worth, I think you’ve given him the best advice you can until he’s old enough to be taken to a range or something.

Three Year Old
Three Year Old
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

“Guns aren’t toys,” said Dad, surrounded by toy guns.

Pretty much like that. Younglings like myself have a more difficult time distinguishing fiction from reality, which means we’re more likely to consider Tim a hypocrite since we don’t understand the nuances between “toy guns” and “guns aren’t toys”.

Steve
Steve
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I went through this with my ex’s kids. Two boys, 9 and 5…explain to them why it’s not OK to shoot each other in the face with their relatively safe Nerf guns, while they are watching movies where it is prevalent. As an shooting sports enthusiast, it became quickly important to teach the difference between TV violence and real violence. It’s a tough thing to explain sometimes, even at those more advanced ages. Totally necessary and worth it in the long run.

Jeremy Dinsmore
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Totally legit, man. I hadn’t quite considered it that way. I don’t have kids nor do I deal with kids, so it’s hard to put myself in that kind of headspace.

DanHS
DanHS
4 years ago

This isn’t really hypocrisy, guns are a part of American culture, and part of that is being responsible and honest with children about guns. We shouldn’t leave guns to be some mystical thing from movies and games that are an incredible curiosity that they have no real understanding of. Children should know the reality of how dangerous guns are, they should know to leave a found gun be and get an adult, and they should have some familiarity with guns and gun safety so they can avoid accidents and don’t see guns with such curiosity that they are an irresistible… Read more »

Bar Gamer
Bar Gamer
4 years ago

A gun is a tool. A shovel is a tool. Just teach him to give tools all their due respect, and you should be fine digging yourself out of this.

Anonymous coward
Anonymous coward
4 years ago
Reply to  Bar Gamer

A gun is a weapon, not a tool. You can’t build stuff with a gun, just kill things.

RWJP
RWJP
4 years ago

A jackhammer or wrecking ball can’t be used to build things, but they’re both tools even though all they do is destroy.

An axe is a tool, but it can also be used to kill things.

Binary yes/no descriptions of items do not work. Arbitrary “Tools are used to build stuff” descriptions don’t work either.

A gun can be a tool, for example if a hunter uses it to hunt for food. No different to a fisherman using a fishing rod.

DaMavster
DaMavster
4 years ago

My target pistol says you can do other things than kill with a gun.

Johnny-O
Johnny-O
4 years ago

Inanimate objects are inanimate objects. Giving them a label doesn’t make them do anything special, it just creates irrational fear among uneducated and ignorant people. If I didn’t mind marring the finish, I could build a house with my .45 just like I could bash someone’s brains in with a hammer or cut down a group of people with a chainsaw.

Urazz
Urazz
4 years ago
Reply to  Bar Gamer

Yeah, a gun is definitely not a tool. It’s only use is to kill. A shovel can be used as a weapon but it’s not designed as one and it’s primary purpose is to dig dirt.

MichaelB
MichaelB
4 years ago
Reply to  Urazz

I’m posting this as a British person who doesn’t own a gun, but shot for several years in a university gun club.

Definition of a tool – “a device or implement, especially one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function”

So a gun can definitely be classed as a tool and also a weapon. It is a dangerous tool that should be respected and used safely, but also used for many. A hunter, for example, would see a gun a crucial tool in their craft.

Moebiuslord
Moebiuslord
4 years ago
Reply to  Urazz

Y’all should really look up the definition of tool before you rebuke someone for using the word correctly.

FreeAgent2040
FreeAgent2040
4 years ago
Reply to  Moebiuslord

Thank you!

DaMavster
DaMavster
4 years ago
Reply to  Urazz

I guess I use my target pistol wrong then, so its only used for putting holes in paper targets for fun.

A cyanide capsule is designed to kill. A gun is designed to hurl metal out the end at high speeds.

Anonymous
Anonymous
4 years ago
Reply to  Urazz

Tell that to anyone that hunts for their food. Guns make foraging easier. I could trap a deer with the right conditions, but then the animal might suffer. Better to use the proper tool for the proper job.

noone
noone
4 years ago
Reply to  Urazz

Yes, a gun very much can be a tool. Especially if you consider the definition of a ‘tool’. I’ve seen blanks being fired to signal the start of races (they don’t kill anyone there). I’ve known of people who have used a gun to signal where they are so someone can help them. Just imagine if you’ve got a broken anlke and if you can’t talk, but you /can/ fire a gun to call for help. might be implausable, but it happens.(that’s also not killing anyone) I’ve known of people firing at the feet of animals to scare them off… Read more »

noone
noone
4 years ago
Reply to  noone

additionally, I’m sure you’ve seen examples of people just showing a gun, and not using it at all, to dissuade, coerce, or otherwise use the threat of usage in order to achieve a goal. This can be seen in many places (movies, books, personal experience) by law enforcement, criminals, as well as home owners and civilians.

Just because something is primarily used, or designed for, a specific task does not mean that it is the only use of the thing.

Quarter
Quarter
4 years ago
Reply to  Urazz

“It’s only use is to kill.”

When I read this, I know I’m dealing with someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I now know to not talk your opinion seriously.

Ciaran
Ciaran
4 years ago
Reply to  Bar Gamer

Last I checked, a shovel can’t accidentally go off in your hand and kill someone.

Jeremy
Jeremy
4 years ago
Reply to  Ciaran

A firearm that is properly built, maintained, and in working order will not ‘accidentally go off’. For a firearm to ‘accidentally go off’, something has to be seriously wrong with the firearm, or the holder of the gun is being grossly negligent of all generally accepted firearms handling safety rules.

Don’t believe everything the liberal media\politicians forces down your throat.

Michael Bennett
Michael Bennett
4 years ago
Reply to  Ciaran

This sort of accident is highly avoidable, a gun does not accidentally go off without a finger on the trigger, and modern guns are designed against discharge even when dropped. That being said, I agree with the sentiment, a weapon is a tool with one specific purpose. You don’t create with weapons.

Quarter
Quarter
4 years ago

That purpose being to propel a projectile over a distance.

Paper and steel are not things that can be killed.

DaMavster
DaMavster
4 years ago
Reply to  Ciaran

Guns “go off accidentally” about as often as cars “accidentally explode while sitting in the garage”. If you don’t pull the trigger, they tend to not go off.

A cyanide capsule is designed to kill. A gun is designed to hurl metal out the end at high speeds.

Tom
Tom
4 years ago
Reply to  Ciaran

Modern guns won’t go off accidentally in someone’s hand. They are now designed that even if you drop them hard, they won’t go off. You would have to pull the trigger. And guns are a tool. They are excellent for hunting and for defending ones home. Not everyone has to take a gun to go kill another person. I use one to put food on my dinner table. The cost of a bullet is much cheaper than routinely going to buy meat from the store. So in that regard, yes the gun is a tool. But just like a hammer… Read more »

Chorobowa
Chorobowa
4 years ago
Reply to  Ciaran

Neither can a gun. Respect the tool, always, and you won’t have accident with it.

Guns are designed to send projectiles downrange, that’s all. From all the hundreds of millions of guns in the US, the bullets fired at living things are statistically insignificant compared to those used to punch holes in paper.

Wumbo
Wumbo
1 year ago
Reply to  Ciaran

The chances of a properly maintained, quality firearm along with a user who practices generally accepted gun safety rules is abyssimal. If it goes off acidentaly either you’re a huge bozo or there’s something really wrong with the gun. Think “oh noes I dropped the shovel and cut my foot off because I’m a negligent idiot…”

Michael
Michael
4 years ago

I respect the way you are trying to raise your kids. They process things quite differently now than they will in the next few years so it’s good to try to get the timing right. That said, once the first kid knows about something all the other kids will too and no amount of careful planning can stop it. He’ll tell his brother and if you ever have any other children they will be informed as often as your older kids think about it. It might be better to teach your oldest about gun safety as soon as he can… Read more »

JaylanPHNX
JaylanPHNX
4 years ago

It’s weird how we’ve pretty much acknowledged that abstinence-only sex education is a failure, but refuse to recognize that abstinence-only gun education is just as dumb. Nothing teaches a young person the difference between toy guns and the real thing like actually firing one.

DrQuak
DrQuak
4 years ago
Reply to  JaylanPHNX

The abstinence-only gun education does work in most developed countries actually. Where general gun ownership is heavily prohibited, gun related violence is low. In the US, per million people, around 100 die each year (~70 by suicide – 60% of all successful suicides; ~30 by homicide; ~2 by accident). In France that number is 30; Canada 20; Germany 10; the UK 2. For note the country that does do a “full gun education” as you would be suggesting, Switzerland, has a gun death rate of ~20 per million per year. So, in short, society has two options. Strongly prohibit guns,… Read more »

Him.
Him.
4 years ago
Reply to  DrQuak

You get the right idea… If you give everyone guns after you insure it is known how to PROPERLY use one, then there is a lower death rates then guns+no education. On the other hand, if people rarely use guns and know how to shoot but don’t actually *see* one ever outside of fiction, then gun risks are logically and theoretically speaking low. If everyone can nab a gun with ease and isn’t told “hey, you DO know how to use it properly right? If not I’ll give you a lesson” then BAM people ca’t quite say “oh, gun violence… Read more »

Nick
Nick
4 years ago
Reply to  DrQuak

I have several guns. My kids, when they are old enough to handle them will be taught proper respect for guns, just like my brother and I were when we were kids. My parents didn’t keep their guns locked up. Nothing happened to us because we were taught how to properly handle them. I will always keep my guns locked up, primarily out of concern for what my kids friends may or may not know about guns. I trust my kids will know enough to properly handle them and not play with them, but the risk of what other kids… Read more »

Destino
Destino
4 years ago

As a father of a 5 years old boy I totally sympathise with you, and I know what you are going through. As you could guess, a reader of your work probably should have at least some similarities in hobbies with you… and I faced the same dilemma when Mateus was 2 years old! Not with guns. . But whit a simulated light saber made with some piece take put from a Howells track. Suddenly there was my little kid, matching singing his “light saber” and singing: TATA TATATA TA TATA ( imperial match) . I was overwhelmed with a… Read more »

Nick
Nick
4 years ago
Reply to  Destino

I have a 3 year old boy that loves Thundercats. For his birthday he got a Thundercats sword. He doesn’t hit anyone with it because he has been taught not to. What he does do is run around and say “Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats, Ho!”. As you said, with proper guidance, we can keep them safe.

Destino
Destino
4 years ago

There’s a typo: hot wheels track…

Padraic O'Leary
Padraic O'Leary
4 years ago

This is a very touchy subject with everyone. I know how I’ve dealt with it as a 3x parent wouldn’t be the same way as everyone else has. I don’t own a gun, we don’t have them in our house, but we do have a Nerf gun that one of my kids was given as a Yule present. That being said, all of my children are scouts (girl and boys) so they know about gun safety. They’ve been taught about it through their respective troops and packs. I’ve heard my youngest, at 4yo, say to himself, when seeing a gun… Read more »

Tue
Tue
4 years ago

Tbh those aren´t real guns, but models or fictional weapons. Also kids aren´t dumb, well most kids aren´t, so they “just” need to know proper respect for the real things.

mrlee
mrlee
4 years ago
Reply to  Tue

I agree that kids aren’t dumb. The first lesson on firearms safety I got from my grandpa was that all guns should be treated with respect, pretty sure I was 4 or 5, probably got said earlier, but I can’t remember. “A gun is a gun is a gun is a gun.” Followed shortly after with “always assume any gun is loaded and can kill someone” and “you don’t point a gun at a person unless you expect to get shot at in return.” Guns are tools, they are devices to reduce the efforts to complete a task. Whether that… Read more »

mrlee
mrlee
4 years ago
Reply to  Tue

I should also say, for the life of me, I can not remember owning a single toy gun outside of a super-soaker or one made to fit the hands of a GI Joe.

Him.
Him.
4 years ago
Reply to  mrlee

When my father got toy gi joe plastic figurines, he would melt down the guns and shape them into fishing rods and imagine them all on a fishing trip and such.
Or something like that.
-True Story

Mitchell Jordan
Mitchell Jordan
4 years ago

Tim, As a child of a gun-friendly household, and a parent myself, I would like to offer a small recommendation. I applaud your choices regarding guns, and encourage you to continue your own methods. I would, however, invite you to look over the NRA youth education video. For all the batshit crazy stunts the NRA have pulled off, the old Eddie Eagle videos were EFFECTIVE. ‘Stop, don’t touch, leave the area, tell an adult’. I also have plenty of toy guns on the house, and my daughter (4), has already decided that Nerf is to be used only with Daddy,… Read more »

Rose
Rose
4 years ago

There is a program that teaches children gun safety. Its called Eddie Eagle and the wing team. It is sponsored by the NRA but it dosnt promote firearms its goal it to teach children what to do of they see a gun.

Gonfrask
Gonfrask
4 years ago

Ey, Is that a Legion Sicarian?

James Kite
4 years ago

If real guns are a factor in your life, ignoring them is wrong, best to teach firearm safety from a young age just as you would about spiders, snakes, fire/stoves and knives and road safety.

If real guns are not a factor, then you have more leeway in your choices.

Good luck.

Quarter
Quarter
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I believe that’s a smart decision. My only caution is simply to not wait too long.

I’m not saying right now, of course. But the earlier they can receive, understand, and apply the “don’t touch, leave, tell an adult” talk, the better.

RblDiver
RblDiver
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I applaud your initiative and desire to do the right thing. If you nor your wife are particularly interested in guns, I might suggest finding a friend who you trust or perhaps a local firearms instructor to introduce your son to actual firearms and teach the proper respect for them. It’s one thing to learn about it in the abstract, but another to see the real thing. I remember watching a video where kids were taken to a room (while their parents watched via CCTV) which had an actual (unloaded) gun “hidden.” They found it within I think 2 minutes.… Read more »

Old Windways
Old Windways
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

“Nor any of the households we currently frequent on a regular basis.” I would caveat this with “you don’t really know for sure”. Most surveys put the estimate at around 40% of US households having a firearm in them. This will, of course, vary from state-to-state and urban-to-rural among other factors. If you live in a community where firearms use and the associated hobbies are somewhat stigmatized, you may have friends who are “closet gun owners” and you have no idea about it. Some prophylactic education for your sons may be worth the effort to counter act the risk of… Read more »

DanHS
DanHS
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

That’s always a good idea, some parents may be caught off guard or even offended, but better safe than sorry. This age should be old enough for the “stop, don’t touch, leave and tell an adult” lessons on what to do if he finds a gun. Familiarity is always the surest way to avoid accidents, so like some others commented, when you feel the time is right, taking your children to a friend or someone you trust to teach them about guns will really help to make them less of a curiosity and better impress the reality of firearms vs… Read more »

aod43254
aod43254
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I don’t know about others but personally I find that question to be invasive and if/when I have children if another parent asks that question then I’m not comfortable discussing that. This is because I was raised as it’s no-one else’s business but my own, so I have carried that opinion on as I’ve grown up and if anyone has an issue they are welcome to leave or have the kids at their house. But then I’m not a parent and don’t really like children.

dave morris
dave morris
4 years ago
Reply to  aod43254

I feel the same as aod, and I AM a parent. That said; I think it is critically important to educate children on gun safety as early as possible. If possible, even have them fire one; it will give them a certain impression and understand about the difference between a play gun and the real thing, and will take much of the mystery out of them. Someone else posted to 4 rules of gun safety; those are great, and once the kid can grok them, definitely good for them to know ASAP. However, even before that, any child, whether from… Read more »

Nick
Nick
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I know some gun owners that would say that they don’t have any guns in the household as they were taught that it is a secret that you don’t tell anyone until you fully trust them. I applaud your approach. I recommend that you start talking to him about gun safety around 4-5 years old. I started with my daughter earlier, but it didn’t really sink in until she was 5.

Jim Bob
Jim Bob
4 years ago

I get it. I have real guns in the home and I’m having issues with how or if we’re going to handle “these are real and require an adult at all times but these are ok even though they may look close to the real thing.” I’ve actually started boxing up all my replica weapons that don’t look completely outlandish so when the time comes it will be an easier conversation.

Destino
Destino
4 years ago

Err , my post was deleted? Can you tell me why?

Destino
Destino
4 years ago

Never mind, there it is, I don’t know , something to do on more pudding over my smart phone maybe.

PTMaskell
PTMaskell
4 years ago

Tim, let’s be honest, some of those collectibles in the background are really, really bad ass and rare. Are you sure you own all of them? Are you bullshiting us?

Brian
Brian
4 years ago

Tim, as others have said, or even intimated, your best bet, is to get ahold of a friend who has guns, and have him take you and your son to a range. Show him how they feel, what they can do, and how to be safe. It can be difficult for a child to differentiate between real and fake, if they’ve never come in contact with real. Once they know what real is, they’ll then understand: “If you find one, don’t touch it, tell an adult. If when you find it though, and another kid might pick it up and… Read more »

Quarter
Quarter
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Oh, that would be a disaster. I’ve heard of parents teaching their kids at 12, 8, and even 5. I have no kids, so I can’t begin to know what it’s like. I believe that parents with a good head on their shoulders will know when the time is right. Seems like that’s you, so I wish you the best of luck.

Also, introduce them to Legends of Dragoon at some point. I feel like that game is just highly underrated.

RblDiver
RblDiver
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

Not necessarily to a gun range yet (though kids CAN learn at a very early age; I think I was shooting by like 5 with my dad’s 22 when we went camping), but at least to someone with actual firearms so he can learn the look and feel under controlled circumstances (feel so he loses the “allure of the unknown” sort of thing).

Jesse
Jesse
4 years ago
Reply to  Tim

I don’t know what it is, but boys are naturally drawn to things like dead animals in the street and guns. The few times I’ve brought my gun into a store to do some shopping after work, don’t like to leave it in my car, I’ve had boys who have tried to touch it as they walk by or they just stare at it. It always freaks me out and I’m not the parent. So the sooner you can get him to the “meh” stage about guns the better for your sanity in my opinion.

Xiver
Xiver
4 years ago

Studies show that children who are taught gun safety and exposed to guns with supervision are much less likely to be involved in a gun accident when unexpectedly exposed to guns. When I was about eight years old my father took me out in the country to explain pistols to me. He also brought some cans and a watermelon. When we arrived he grabbed the cans and two pistols and made me carry the watermelon. He set them up on the ground a few feet apart and walked us back about 20 yards. He stared by explaining how pistols work,… Read more »

Michael Bennett
Michael Bennett
4 years ago

While I’m not as strict with my children about weapons, I applaud you for your efforts. The day every stick becomes a sword, and somehow completely unrelated kitchen utensils become guns is a little jarring, but at least it also shows creativity. I think with boys it’s inevitable, as ingrained in male DNA as spitting and cooties. Good luck Tim!

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
4 years ago

I am seriously impressed with this strip. It has an initial laugh factor, but because it treats its deadly serious subject matter with respect and is an honest moment between father and son, it quickly becomes far more thought-provoking. I’ve been a foster parent for a number of years, and my wife and I have been temporary mom and dad to a number of troubled kids. At least one of them was an actual witness to gun violence within his family at a very young age, and it shapes them. I’ve worked with a number of bad parents who just… Read more »

Mysto
Mysto
4 years ago

The key here, is education. Knowledge, not ignorance. I believe a majority of “accidents” are caused by inattention and ignorance. A gun, or any weapon for that matter, is an inanimate object. It can’t simply “go off” unless a person is involved somehow. If that person is inattentive, ignorant, or careless, then that is when “accidents” happen. I applaud you for educating your child. That is the surest way to avoid bad things happening in the future. Too many parents think that simply avoiding the issue will be sufficient; it is not. Children should be taught to understand the difference… Read more »

padagi
padagi
4 years ago

Our sons are almost the same age, my son Lucas was born in November 2013. We have used a similar approach, but it is hard at this age to explain correctly. 3 year olds know the words “shoot” and “hurt” and even “death”, but don’t truly grasp the concept of what those things REALLY mean. It’s imperative that you do reinforce gun safety when it comes up, but even more important to make sure he could never come across a real gun until he’s older and can fully understand what a gun is and does. As long as you and… Read more »

Shrek
Shrek
4 years ago

Knowledge is less dangerous that ignorance

Shrek
Shrek
4 years ago
Reply to  Shrek

*than

lol

Jesse
Jesse
4 years ago

As a gun owner it scares me how guns are portrayed in the popular media. Bad guys are bad because they use guns. But, if the hero picks up a gun it magically solves all his problems. Your boss a bully? You have a gun, he’ll be so afraid of you he won’t bully you anymore. Cheating girlfriend? You have a gun. Women love men with a gun. She’ll either stop cheating on you or you’ll get a hotter girlfriend.

We need to stop treating guns as special or magical things.

Hunter
Hunter
4 years ago

Looking over the comments I notice that Tim has caused a minor disturbance in the internet. Mostly it seems to be friendly advice and related stories that are interesting. But then I notice people trying to tell Tim how to parent his child or turning this into a gun rights discussion.

Tim, he’s your son, keep on doing what your doing. And thanks for the hilarious comic.

Jesse
Jesse
4 years ago
Reply to  Hunter

Well, you know what they say. If you want to get free advice about how to raise your kid just mention that you have a kid. And you’ll get gun rights discussion any time someone mentions the word.

Though I do have to admit that it was the tamest one I’ve seen in a while. The only thing they got heated about was the definition of a tool. There weren’t even any jokes about how someone’s picture is located next to the word “tool” in the dictionary.

IASeldon
IASeldon
4 years ago

You want to teach him how to respect weapons for the lethal instruments that they are? Then don’t hide him from reality. Seriously, burying your head in the sand and hoping that “He’ll never know how dangerous these things are!” is a really, reaaaaallllly bad way to teach him to respect the danger these things represent. Tim: show him a weapon. Tell him it’s dangerous. HAMMER THAT IN. REPEATEDLY. Once isn’t enough, twice isn’t enough, three times isn’t enough. Do it every opportunity you can. If you never bring the issue up, he’ll never know until it’s too late to… Read more »

Ryan
Ryan
4 years ago

I LOVE this!!! THIS is the correct attitude to have!! Yeah, America has a gun culture, yeah our media is saturated with it, yes they can be destructive. But the correct way to deal with it isn’t to run screaming that the world is coming to an end if our kid makes a gun out of lego’s, and stuffing paper bags over our kids heads to protect them! He’s a KID, kids emulate what they see! Doesn’t mean they’re gonna end up being a murderer. And the proper way to deal with it is to lessen exposure to it and… Read more »

Destino
Destino
4 years ago

Plus, this is the best art you have done, man! The expression on your kid’s face is impressive. You should be proud!

TimBlack
TimBlack
4 years ago

Good going Tim! I’m a foster parent to a 12, 8 and a 5 year old. They are all boy’s.Imagine my suprise when 3 years ago I became their fosterparent. The middle one was playing GTA 4. Now I don’t have anything against GTA, cause I have completed GTA 3 and Vice City but a 5 year old playing GTA!? It was a now go for me. First I didn’t have a say in that, but I noticed whenever he played it he actually became more violent towards his brothers. I understand there is violence between brothers but that was… Read more »

The Legacy
The Legacy
4 years ago

This is an interesting comic and subject, and I do agree with your views. However, I also believe that, sometimes, earlier exposure in a safe way may not be a bad idea. I have a friend with a daughter who, at a quite young age (not as young as yours, though), she got to see her father’s airsoft guns. For those unfamiliar with airsoft, airsoft guns appear practically identically to real guns, particularly those of the gas blowback variety, and even function similarly to them. The end result is that she’s basically a spitting image of her father’s interests. However…… Read more »

The Legacy
The Legacy
4 years ago
Reply to  The Legacy

On an unrelated note, I love the two Baneblades on the shelf on the comic. 🙂 Do you have two Baneblades? Or what are they?

dave morris
dave morris
4 years ago
Reply to  The Legacy

For most of the US the chances of being involved in a gun crime are pretty much the same as in Canada. The big differences come in the more gang-infested ares within bigger cities.

I suspect that Tim probably does not live in one of those areas (even if he lives in a bigger city). In suburban (and rural) US, gun crime just isn’t that common of an occurrence; like I said, similar to suburban and rural Canada.

sunman42
sunman42
4 years ago

Don’t know if you’ve read any of Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander series of books, but one of my favorite lines from it occurs when one of the two protagonists is the father of small boy, and “Jack had never been a hypocrite until he became a father, and even now it did not come easy.” [Patrick O’Brian, The Ionian Mission]

Welcome to the experience of every father, and probably every parent.

Hamstermer
Hamstermer
4 years ago

Bravo. Truly bravo. Despite the small levels of conflict in this comic’s comment section, I feel like the comments are overall GOOD, accepting the fact that this is a serious problem and then stating their opinion, as opposed to simply saying “YOU ARE ALL WRONG SCREW YOU”. *coughFarCrycomicCOUGH*. The point is, people do have hearts. Except for Nobodies. 😉 …People care about what they percieve as actual issues and will freely give advice or suggestions, unwanted or otherwise, and EMPATHIZE with you and each other. So thank you. Thanks for helping us all see that there isn’t “A Soldier inside… Read more »

SGT Lewis
SGT Lewis
4 years ago

You make a very good point about waiting until your child can distinguish reality from fiction before letting him use real weapons. If you have a firearm in the home, it could be a good thing to let him satisfy his curiosity about it and set up a demonstration about its destructive power. When you feel he is ready, then let him fire it.

DocEon
DocEon
4 years ago

We’re going through the exact same thing with our 4-year-old daughter. It’s not quite as big a deal as it would be with a boy (as far as I can tell). She has a basic idea of what they are, though, and she does ask a lot of questions if she’s watching me paint Space Marines. We’re big on education and safety, though. My wife literally had this conversation with her the other day: Wife: What would you do if you were playing at a friend’s house and you found a real gun? Kid: I’d run and tell a grownup.… Read more »

Rodan
Rodan
4 years ago

We’re in the same place with our kids, 5and 2.5. We’ve in the same mental space, but well, it’s hard to keep that stuff out. Add to that, the fact that every house he spends much time in has at least one gun (though they are all put away safely), and there’s a lot that of conversations that still need to happen, but I have no idea where to start. Fortunately, we have plenty of friends / family who have been through this before, and there’s a shooting range near us that has gun safety classes for kids of all… Read more »

Dustin F
4 years ago

Awesome man, I had a friend (he’s a Marine vet) that taught his son proper gun safety measures when he saw he was starting to play cops and robbers with the neighbor kids. What he meant by that was even when playing he had to follow the same rules he would if he was an officer for real. Always thought it was kind of an interesting way to get his boy to understand the guns aren’t toys discussion. Love it when you do one shots of you and your family. Keep up the awesome work Tim 🙂

DanVzare
4 years ago

All these people with their advice on raising children, and limiting access to films and such. If on the other hand you don’t limit their access to films and games and such (within reason of course), and assuming your children aren’t total idiots, they should be able to figure that stuff out quite quickly on their own. There’s a reason why old fairy tales were so violent. They quickly taught things. It worked for me. I’m probably the most passive person you’ll ever meet. Despite having the most depraved violent tendencies on games. Quite simply, I recognise the difference between… Read more »

Mitoni
Mitoni
4 years ago

Wow Tim, Is he really that age already? Mine start Kindergarten next week. We had that talk a while back just because i have a 9mm in my nightstand, and although it is locked (the gun, not the nightstand), he knows that the drawer is off limits, and i explained why.

RP
RP
4 years ago

Oh. I guess your children will not play new Splatoon 2? Cause I liked demo splatfest. I will be on lookout for the game.

Salty Bear
Salty Bear
4 years ago

When my daughter was three, I got her a rubber band rifle for Christmas. We treat it like a real weapon, and use it to teach her the Four Rules of guns safety (already mentioned twice in this thread).

Johnny-O
Johnny-O
4 years ago

There’s something about weapons that is deeply ingrained in our DNA. We have always limited our son on “screen time” and was very careful what we let him watch. When we sent him to day care (as an only-kid he needed the interaction to learn how to socialize with other kids rather than adults) we sent him to a small at-home daycare that held the same values. Walk in to pick him up and I’m watching parents stare at the group of kids who had all built guns made from Legos and no one had any idea how they even… Read more »

Urzole_Narx
Urzole_Narx
4 years ago

You are good parent. Nothing else to say, I’m not a parent yet ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Left
Left
2 years ago

My kids have their own guns, I have enough. I can leave them laying on the table (unloaded and safe of course, guns are only an expensive paperweight without ammo) and they don’t get messed with. I think the big thing is teaching gun safety. My kids are always responsible because they know what they can do. It is a great learning experience to shoot “active” targets (watermelon, clay, water bottles) because they can really see what a bullet does. Teaching them how to be responsible is a stressful endeavor when they can literally take a life on accident (even… Read more »

MasterofBalance
MasterofBalance
5 months ago

Hey Kids! Can you say “mixed messages”?

Intrepyd45
Intrepyd45
3 months ago

Ethan was 10,000% your author-insertion-fantasy persona of your wackiness.
*tips hat*