Does your child need to know you own a gun? Not necessarily. Especially if we are talking about young kids who don’t have a realistic idea of what a gun does and can’t yet grasp the full concept of death. Should a gun never be mentioned in your home? No. As excruciating as it is for every parent to think of their children being exposed to danger, it is up to adults to consider that a child will not stay in the protected area of your home all the time, and should, therefore, be introduced to gun safety at an early age.
How early should we start the gun safety conversation with our children then? This is a question that bothers many mothers who would rather have their children out of harm’s way whenever possible and who believe that talking to their kids about guns might strip them of their innocence too early on. It is, however, a question of your child’s safety and as such should be tackled as early on as possible. The right age for the conversation is really strictly individual, but we offer some helpful guidelines to avoid instilling confusion, frustration or fear in your child.
First of all, it is crucial for both parents to be on the same page about gun safety instruction. Stable family dynamics are essential in building a safe environment even in the presence of firearms, but you should both openly discuss any reservations or opinions you might harbour before deciding to talk to children about gun safety. It is extremely confusing for a child to see a parent cleaning out a gun at the kitchen table, for example, and be immediately forbidden from participating in what he or she sees as a fun game. If possible, try to keep any guns away from the eyes of children before you have had a serious talk with them. The best approach would be to find a highly reliable gun safe to effectively store your gun and completely limit a child’s access to it. Think about exploring some of the best biometric gun safe information on the Internet for the latest technological advances in gun safety.
According to psychologists and social care specialists, you should start educating your children about gun safety as early as their toddler years. While you won’t be able to hold a meaningful conversation and reason with your children, you can use specially developed video programs that will get the point across. It is essential that a young child knows how to behave in the presence of a gun: not to touch, hold or be around it and to immediately find an adult and alarm him/her.
The older they get, the more children are exposed to images of violence and the accompanying weapons through media and computers. It is a good idea to talk to your 7 or 8-year-old about the real facts behind gun safety and trust that they will be able to grasp the concepts. In any case, it’s never too early or too late to start the gun safety conversation with your child.