My family – like many others in Canada – has a "no toy guns policy”. I don't buy my kids plastic guns, not even water guns. I guess, like many other parents, I have the irrational fear that my kids will grow up to be violent adults if they play with guns; or maybe we just find plain disturbing seeing our little angels pretending to fire an arm. I admit it, it freaks me out.
Yesterday we were at a water park and some kids were playing with water guns. It didn't take long for my 7 year old to get acquainted with them, and before I knew it he had a water machine gun in his hands and was having the time of his life chasing the other kids. My inner over-neurotic-mom self was freaking out "he is playing with guns!" like if that isolated action would eradicate all the good things in him. The kids were having a blast and, to be honest, I don't think any of those kids would grow up to become a mass murderer. Sure, they'd probably torture their younger siblings and might break some girl’s heart, but other than that I believe those boys will grow up to become decent human beings, regardless of what they play with.
The truth is, we overthink things.
Are they watching too much tv? Should I add tofu and kale to their diet? Is that BPA-free, gluten-free, child proof? None if this existed 30 years ago and we turned out fine. Our parents did not play video games yet they played with little green soldiers all the time and they turned out fine. ADHD, GMO, SPD, WTF?
Phew! This is exhausting.
Sometimes is best just to stop worrying about everything (good luck with that), and let them be kids. Our job is not to hide all the toy guns in the world (there will always be a stick or their thumb and index fingers) or to keep our children in a bubble. Our job is to teach them about love and respect and once in a while turn the other way, just let them play with water guns on a sunny August afternoon.