Summer is almost here and that means that it’s time for kids to pull out the old classics. The bicycles, Otter Pops, kiddies’ pools, and water shooter toys are on every kid’s wish list. While all of the above is fine, water guns are the things that divide most parents’ opinions.
“Should we give our child a water gun” is the question many parents have started asking. Some feel like children does not really mean it when they shoot someone while other parents feel like they are encouraging their child for violence. So, let’s take a look at the matter, shall we?
Is a Water Gun Safe?
Gun violence has become a major issue among the youth and thousands of children and teens die every year. So, should parents look at water guns as just a harmless little toy or a seed for violence in the mind of children?
They Pull the Trigger on a Stick too
Children pull the trigger on a water gun to squirt water on their playmates. The playmate pretends to fall and drop dead there and then! However, children do not really wish for someone to die and they even pull the trigger on anything long, such as a stick. So, is avoiding a water gun really necessary?
It’s Just Good Clean Fun
The game is just plain and simple fun when seen from a child’s perspective. It gives them a feeling of power and excitement, but whether they associate that feeling with killing someone is up for debate.
Many adults take a dim view of water gun playtime as they worry it could lead to a real act of violence later on in life. So, they try to forbid their children from playing with anything that resembles a weapon.
However, child psychologists and guidance counselors usually tend to dismiss such fears as unnecessary. A child’s enthusiasm with water shooter toys isn’t harmful as long as they are not real arms.
Processing Thoughts and Emotions
Children tend to process their daily experiences and emotions during playtime. Moreover, most children will end up playing shoot-them games.
Many psychologists are aware of an adult’s disapproval of shooting games. However, psychologists say, “Unlike adults, children are not fully able to comprehend the consequences of hypothetically shooting another.” In other words, they do not really want someone else to die.
Gunplay Serves Multiple Purposes
There might be cases when a child has had a traumatic experience. In such a case, he/she is only trying to process the experience. It can also be as simple as the child’s cousin is a member of a gun club or his aunt is a police officer, and he is only modeling after his relatives.
Most children are great at make-believe. Hence, they often tend to fantasize about things they are not or don’t have in real life. As a result, they tend to role play to assimilate it.
Having said all this, some forms of gunplay should not be encouraged. If a child picks up a toy gun or anything that resembles a weapon as an act of vengeance or hatred, then parents must find out where that rage is coming from.
So, if your child is squirting water at others in fun and joy, let your kid play.