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Posts Tagged ‘pretend play’

The object of my son’s desire was tall, thin, sleek, robed in black and nothing if not dangerous. “It’s so sexy,” he said.

This was no 9th grade femme fatale he was describing. It was his new airsoft gun. A sniper.

As I watched my 14-year-old son gazing at his beloved, I flashed back to the day when he was three and pretending to be an armed robber. Like any well-intentioned, politically-correct and completely naive young mother, I said, “no, sweetie, we don’t play with guns. Guns hurt people.” My son stopped, looked at me with withering condescension and said “Mommy, it’s pretend.”

He had a point, and one that was hard to argue with. I decided to give his imagination free reign. My hunch was confirmed by a book I reviewed that argued that playing cops and robbers, and even violent video games, allows children to safely explore frightening emotions. I would not put a damper on my son’s pretend play just because I didn’t like the content. Besides, I’d heard enough about boys working around bans on toy weapons to think it was a losing battle; my favorite was the one about a toddler in a Jewish pre-school who was so determined to arm himself that he chewed his matzoh into the shape of a pistol.

Having surrendered in the weapon war, I then had the pleasure of watching my boys move from pretend guns to light sabers, pirate swords, water pistols, nerf guns, archery and riflery at camp, and paintball, a progression culminating in my first born using his bar mitzvah money (!) to buy an airsoft gun and a bucket of ammunition. (more…)

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