boys toys

 Over the past few weeks and months Theo has shown a greater interest in I'd say typical boy toys and activities. Since he was born we've never really pushed any gender specific toys on him, and have just provided what he seems to show an interest in. Notably that was and is trains, and whilst that may seem like a typical boy thing to be interested in, I remember playing with trains and cars when I was young. He's also got a toy till, kitchen, pushchair and dolls house for the more stereotype 'girls' toys (not that it really matters at all!)

But recently he's started to get really into guns, swords and knifes. I don't think he has a grasp on the real concept of killing or dying, even if he did proclaim rather loudly on our flight to Barcelona, that when we fly over the water we all might die...

We don't let him watch aggressive cartoons, when he watched a few Spiderman episodes I found them too violent so that was stopped fairly sharpish and even though we bought him an action man from a car boot sale we tried to make him as passive as possible! Theo likes us to talk to him through Action Man, and listens to everything he says so its a good way to try and encourage good behaviour (such as helping action man pick up some litter and put it in the bin) and so far he hasn't really started to let action man live up to his name.

So I was sort of baffled as to where all the gun loving came from?! Whilst on holiday in the parks he would point his finger at other children and say 'bang bang' and always wants to play with gun shaped objects. Now from my standpoint I do not like guns or violence at all, and I won't be buying him any guns but it's not something I can really stop being imagined. I know that when I was little my friends older brothers always played 'army', running around the garden with imaginary machine guns (I still haven't met a girl who can make a convincing machine gun noise!) and when speaking to Rob about it he used to do the same, and they've all turned out to be normal, gentle people.

So my question is, is it just something that boys (and maybe girls?) are interested in, no matter what you try and do to stop it? Will Theo still run around with his friends when he's older playing army and carrying imaginary weapons, regardless of whether I buy him a toy gun or not? Does it only get worse as they get older, and the gender specific toys are aimed at him are around guns? I asked Rob if he remembers his parents ever telling him about the morals of shooting other people, what killing people means or what guns can really do, and he said no he doesn't specifically remember. Whether it happened when he was younger and he just grew up subconsciously knowing what it all meant or just that his parents trusted that he'd know it was just a game.

Because that's the thing, if I forbid him from playing and acting out his imagination would it just put more intrigue on real guns as objects, like a forbidden fruit. Is it important to let your children just be free to play what they want? I mean I can remember creating and acting out all sorts of games when I was little, I even married my cousin and walked down the aisle with a baby in my arms and I'm pretty sure that hasn't influenced my adult decision making.

Is there too much pressure to censor our children's free play and imaginations?