Sunday, October 24, 2010

How young is too young?

My cousin has a four year old little boy that is spoiled beyond words. He is an only child and my uncle and aunt’s only grandchild. This four year old has two bedrooms. One for his toys and one for him to sleep in. Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve got the money to spoil your child, then go right ahead. I was spoiled myself. Okay, I still am, but that’s beside the point.

Anyways, a couple of months ago, my cousin bought his four year old son a BB gun and a hunting bow for children. I get that hunting can be a bonding experience for father and son, but how young is too young to be handling weapons?


Sure the BB gun wouldn’t kill anyone, but should a four year old have one? I don’t have any children, so I guess I really don’t know, but in my mind, a four year old isn’t capable of knowing the safety hazards of shooting a gun or a bow for that matter.

I’m positive the gun and bow are locked up safely, but what if the child stumbles upon a larger gun someday? Like at someone else's house? Or if his father is getting ready to go hunting and has rested the gun against something? What if he picks the gun up and shoots it because he knows how to use it?

I don’t like the whole concept of hunting either. Unless you are starving, of course, but even then I don’t think I could kill an animal. That’s not to say that hunters are wrong for doing it, because frankly, I don’t want to be overrun by deer either, but I just don’t like knowing that animals are being shot. So maybe I’m angry that he is already teaching his four year old how to kill animals?

But I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t think children should be taught how to use guns if they aren’t capable of sitting through a gun safety course and taking an exam to show their understanding.

What are you opinions on this? There is no right or wrong answer here, I just want to know if I’m alone in my thinking.

13 comments:

FreeFlying said...

I totally think it depends on the kid. Some kids are really smart and aware and I can't help but want them to learn everything they put their little minds to. But others are out of control and should probably be nowhere near a gun. Or a bat. Or anything that can be used to harm others or irritate me. But I'm definitely not a mom, so it's kind of like me offering my opinion on space travel.

http://operatingonrandom.blogspot.com

Canadianbloggergirl said...

Totally agree with you. Four years old, the way society is today, there is no way I'd allow my four year old to have weapons like that no matter what the use.

CBG
canadianbloggergirl.blogspot.com

hed. said...

I think four is too young. At that age its too hard to distinguish between pretend play and reality, you know? Maybe around age ten you could have a sit down and talk about guns, and then (if the child seems to have an understanding) have the child shoot in a controlled situation-like a firing range or with blanks or whatever. That's just my two cents :) Hed hed down under

Aimee said...

I actually am more against how spoiled this child is. One room for toys and one for sleeping? I just fear EXTREMELY spoiled kids bc often times they are rude and dont have manners and think that everyone is suppose to wait on them all the time. I am not sure if that is the way he is being raised but I just fear extreme spoiling. I do want to spoil my children one dya but I know I will teach them the meaning of hard work too and I hope your cousinis doing that too.

With that all being said, I think it is a bit too young. I feel that guns (of any nature) should not be introduced to kids until they can understand cause and effect and consequences. I dont think they would be able to sit the little 4 yeasr old down and explain gun safety and when he can and cannot use the gun or even really explain what a gun is.

Brittany said...

My sons father is an avid hunter and marksman. I can barely lift a gun! (ha..kidding.. kind of) but having my son around hunting doesnt scare me! For his third birthday he got a faux (nerf like) cros bow and shotgun! He also got two life size targets.

This year he was brought along to look for "BIG BUCKS" and had a blast.

BUT when it came down to the shooting, I REFUSED to have my son watch an animal be shot! There will be plenty of time when he is older! It is not that I am against it. In fact I think, in our rural area, it HAS to be done! I reap the benefits of a freezer full of meat, and my son gets a chance to bond with his dad.. BUT three years old is far too young to see an animal die! He just cant grasp the concept and I think it would be scarring for him to see it!

Great topic! There are too very valid sides to this arguement!

Jess said...

Four years old is ENTIRELY too young to be handling weapons, I don't care how "advanced" the child is.

Mynx said...

Hate children being given weapons of any sort. My boys didnt have toy guns and I asked people not to give them to them. I resisted even buying the "Action Man" toys. I even reasoned that if they wanted to pick up a stick and go "Bang Bang" at least there was imaginative play going on. Now they are teenagers they have video games (sometimes violent) and the eldest does archery as a sport. In my opinion a four year old doesnt understand the difference between reality and make believe and there is a real danger someone can get hurt. Why cant he just play with Lego and toy cars? Plenty of time for adult toys when he is old enough to know that weapons are a tool to cause injury and death

Bouncin' Barb said...

I'm in agreement with all. Four years old is way too young. Yes a BB gun is fairly harmless but a BB in the eye can definitely wreak havoc. There are plenty of other toys out there to keep a 4 year old busy. I just can't justify it any other way. At 4 they are still learning coordination skills too. So for all safety sake, no gun!

Tress said...

Thanks everyone for the opinions. I think everyone made really valid points!!

Calandreya said...

I raised a son who was exceptionally bright and mature for his age - until he was around his peers and not being continually supervised. He would go along with things he KNEW were wrong if they were someone else's idea. Peers change everything. I think four is too young for any child to have a working weapon.

steph c said...

I personally agree that four is much to young to introduce any kind of gun.

I do have to say that my general thoughts towards guns has changed a bit since being with my fiance.. he grew up in a rural area where he and his friends would go out and hunt, practice skeet shooting, etc.. a concept that is SO foreign to me. When we have kids, there will be guns in the house, and we are already discussing/debating how we are going to keep them locked up and out of said kids hands. With all the stories of little kids getting their hands on something and accidentally harming or kililng someone.. well, it's scary. To each his own, but really, four is much too young. I agree with Hed, that mayyyybe ten would be more appropriate, if you must.

amchornetgirl said...

I agree. I live in a rural area where hunting is big and a lot of kids go hunting with their dads, but I think 4 is too young to understand what's really going on (granted, I do not have kids). I have nothing against hunting, provided that the hunters use the meat. I dislike trophy hunting, and I hate hearing about hunters baiting and then just waiting around for the unsuspecting animal to come along for its free meal. Seems very unsportsman-like. I enjoy target shooting, but I have no desire to shoot at a living animal.

Danger Boy said...

As many have said, I think it totally depends on the kid. I've seen very young kids I wouldn't trust with a pointy stick, much less a gun. I've seen very young kids that could explain sight picture and can explain the difference between toy gun, airsoft gun, bb gun, water gun, and lecture you about never picking up a real gun without clearing the chamber and making sure it's safe.
Each child is different, each parent different, and overall I personally believe that teaching a child basic gun safety prevents accidental shooting deaths. (Had a friend shot by an "unloaded" .22 when I was in school...if they'd only known basic safety, they might not have pointed the guns at each other.)