One thing that has always puzzled me is societies pre conceived ideas, and boys seem to have a tough time.
So many people frown on them if they want to dress in pink and grow their hair long, - you'll make them gay! But if they pick up a toy gun then your a terrible parent destined to have a yob on your hands come the teenage years. However more and more people are happy to accept their boys feminine side, infact these seem to be increasingly encouraged, but more and more the boyish behaviours are shunned for fear of violence.
But is it really 'wrong' for children to play with guns? does it breed violence and threatening behaviour in the next generation? or are they simply exploring in a childish way, the way the world works? Learning their boundaries and indeed the role that weapons play in society.
I know there is always a lot of debate about nature or nurture as far as violence and interest in guns is formed, are we as parents able to nurture our children into kind caring souls who hate anything remotely violent? Or no matter how shielded from weapons and fighting your children are, will there be an inbuilt interest in these things which will rear its head eventually, will shielding our boys from the natural interest make them obsessed with the 'banned' item all the more? Will not being given the time to explore and learn the boundaries and their strength hinder them in the future?
Maybe allowing our young boys to play guns, in their childish role play make them grow up with a love of guns, or perhaps it teach them the respect needed for them?
My boys love to run around with their plastic guns and role play goodies and badies, army men, star wars troopers or whatever other villain happens to come into their imagination, they fight and scrap and jump from their beds or from behind trees with squeals and yells, yes they play rough and occasionally someone ends up crying. Without 'guns' sticks, poles even their fingers become their weapons.
The play fights have not made them thuggish or violent, they are also sensitive and calm and nurture their femine sides picking flowers and playing beauty parlour with their sister.
So to me having the rough and ready toys available on hand hasn't made my boys more violent anymore than allowing them to role play with dolls has made them gay.
I think we should just let our children explore all aspects of the world, but whilst they do so, we should teach them the morals and respect they need, and be able to have the confidence in the way we are parenting without the worry that someone will be peering over your shoulder all too quick to say 'you shouldn't do that...'