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Thread: Progress with my 2-year-old

  1. #1
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    Progress with my 2-year-old

    My Daughter is 2 years, six months.
    My approach with her on everything, not just guns, is to reduce whatever we're talking about to sound-bite format, and use Q&A to quiz her about what she's learned.

    Her first introduction was a Nerf pistol that single-shoots a golf-ball sized sphere of foam.

    I showed her how it works when she was about 20 months. She couldn't pull the trigger like me so we figured out how to two-hand it and put both index fingers on it.

    She had to be very deliberate with it and put some muscle into it. It makes a pretty good POP! when it goes off, so she naturally was a little hesitant, and naturally wanted to make sure it was shooting in the right direction.

    She eventually pointed it haphazardly, and my wife and I, without yelling, said "WHOA WHOA WHOA! No pointing at people!" She got the message pretty quickly.

    Eventually the cat walked by while she was shooting it, and we called out "WHOA" again. (We were going with what we usually say to her... at that point "cease fire" would have been meaningless.) We explained that there's no pointing at the cat, either.

    So without thinking about it, we were teaching her some of the fundamentals without using the actual fundamentals.
    Sometimes you need to stop shooting --- WHOA!
    Make sure it's pointed in a safe direction --- not at people or the cat. Also, the safe direction becomes unsafe when someone walks out in front.

    I'm going to work on trigger discipline when she's older, and also being sure of what's behind the target. We're working up to that...

    The current quiz is which guns she's allowed to play with. We started with green guns and red guns (the color of the toy guns we have). I always thought this was a stupid thing for toy manufacturers to do, but now I appreciate it.

    We also started with how she's NOT allowed to play with black guns or grey guns (what she's likely to see in the house). For a two-year-old who speaks and knows colors, that's pretty easy - two good colors and two bad colors.

    It was so effective that when we went to her brother's house a couple weeks ago, they had a yellow nerf gun... and she wouldn't play with it, because it wasn't red or green. Also, I was leafing through a magazine last night and showed her a couple mostly-furniture long arms (brown), and she said she's not allowed to play with those, either.

    My wife doesn't like me explaining to her that she'll get to use them some day: she wants success to stay success. But last night, I figured out how to work that in: the kitchen knives. She knows they're sharp, she knows they're dangerous, and she knows she's not supposed to touch them. But she also sees Momma and Poppa using them every day. So I said that guns are like that.

    Of course, there's a lot of other stuff that went into this. She's been signing since 8 months, and that's supposed to help with speaking a lot. We spend a lot of time just interacting with her, and know exactly what she's capable of.

    We made a lot of headway on the guns, but there are still things that concern me, like not getting through to her about not putting her fingers down her baby sister's throat. And if we're not getting through on that, can I be sure of the gun progress?

    In any case, I keep telling myself that Dr. Lott's statistics show that the babies-shooting-babies thing is a myth, and I keep doing what I can.
    Don't blame me, I voted for Ron Paul!

  2. #2
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    This type of training can't be stressed enough.

    Eventually, I think it would be reasonable to let her know the rules are different for real and toy guns--if you choose to.

    Here in MA, the AG is all about kid-proofing guns, so that he mandates (for instance) a 10+ pound trigger on handguns sold here. My latest handgun, a Walther PPS, comes with a special "H" connector that raises the pull weight to (I would estimate) 12 lb.

    Which my 5 1/2 year old can repeatedly pull one-handed. He can rack the slide, too. (Perhaps I have an unapproved child? )

    Training and secured access are your friends!
    Last edited by Loosedhorse; May 6th, 2009 at 03:20 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
    It was so effective that when we went to her brother's house a couple weeks ago, they had a yellow nerf gun... and she wouldn't play with it, because it wasn't red or green. Also, I was leafing through a magazine last night and showed her a couple mostly-furniture long arms (brown), and she said she's not allowed to play with those, either.
    I dawww'd.

  4. #4
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    Old post but just found it. Sounds like a great idea with the nerf guns. My daughter turns 2 next month and I've been trying to think of ways to introduce her to firearms at an early age. Might have to go nerf shopping this weekend.

    I did the signing thing too. It's been great because words she can't enunciate properly yet she'll still sign so we know what she's saying.

    (sidebar: she's already got a pink cricket .22 sitting in the gun cabinet for her when she gets old enough to safely operate it solo w/ supervision of course).

  5. #5
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    A well thought out approach, I like it and will attempt to steal it.

    We also have been doing the signing (currently 20 months) and it has been great and is especially useful when she's not feeling well.
    "Today, my friends, we each have one day less, every one of us. And joy is the only thing that slows the clock." -John D McDonald via Travis McGee

  6. #6
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    Hi This is Fregzius.
    I like to be friendly with the children and to share all the important matter with calm. I think the main thing is to keep some of the watching on them and to make them aware of good and bad.
    Thanks.
    r4 games

  7. #7
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    Huh, thread not off the page yet....

    She's 3 and a half now.
    Last summer we found out the hard way that she really didn't like fireworks displays. Turns out not a whole lot of really young kids like them.

    So I figured I struck gold when I found that out.
    The next time the topic of guns came up I explained to her that guns are like fireworks. I wasn't crazy about associating something I really like with something she didn't like, but I don't lie to her either. The truth is guns are a LOT like fireworks: they're fun to watch, even more fun to use, and incredibly dangerous if you're screwing around.

    So I figured if the truth keeps her from playing with the guns, I'd go for it.

    She's warmed up to fireworks now. We've also shot airsoft pistols. She was more interested in seeing the pellet than anything, so I had her shoot one into some soft ground. Of course, taking time to reinforce the rules. I was concerned that wanting to see the pellet might make her try to catch it with her hand, but it never happened.

    The rules at this point are:
    -It's always loaded
    -Don't point it unless you're going to shoot something (muzzle discipline)
    -Don't touch the trigger until you're ready

    At this point I have only two regrets:
    First, that I don't have an outdoor range where I can take her out with a 22 alone (only indoor ranges, which are pretty frightening even for adults).

    Second, that she'll periodically do something like bump into my waist while we're in the grocery store, and loudly announce "POPPA I'M SAHWY I ACCIDENTLY TOUCHED YOH BWACK GUN".

    Maybe I should just OC.
    Don't blame me, I voted for Ron Paul!

  8. #8
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    Had to teach my 6 year old not to out me, too.

  9. #9
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    Great thread. I was just out yesterday with my 9 year old nephew and uncle Avid got him a new 10/22. I think it was the first time I've ever seen that kid calm and attentive. Great day and soon a new hunter among us.
    Albert A Rasch
    Avid
    Last edited by Avid; August 26th, 2010 at 11:12 AM.

  10. #10
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    Hi Beatnik,

    Since the world can't be made safe, you are making your child safe. The work is hard, but the rewards are beyond price.

  11. #11
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    Ny daughter is 2 1/2 now, and I bought her a Savage slide-action .22 a couple of months ago. She knows that it's her gun, and that she is not to touch it unless I or her mommy is holding her. Several times per day, she'll ask to see it, so we'll pick her up, make a bit of a show of checking the action, and let her get her fill.

    We keep it leaned where she can get to it, beside the bed, next to a safed Mini-14 (no bolt). She's never touched either of them without asking - though of course, that's not exactly something to trust with a two-year-old.

    In the end, it's all about consistency, and that's all we're trying to accomplish. If and when she touches one of them without us, we'll punish her and she'll remember next time.

    She's a good little one, though, and I think that comes from us expecting her to be good. At this age, they don't know what to do, expect live up to their parents' expectations.

  12. #12
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    To each their own, of course, yet I would NEVER think that my 2 or 4 or 6 or even 8 year old "knew" not to touch. Certainly not so much that I'd leave one laying around where she could touch it if I'm not around.

    Hey, that's just me, though. Best of luck with that.

  13. #13
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    This anecdote seems appropriate. A friend of mine has a daughter that was also (safely) brought up around firearms. She was at the range with Daddy, who was showing a fellow shooter at the range his cowboy style six shooter. The fellow was looking for the catch to open the cylinder when the daughter piped up. "It's a single action, you have to load it through the gate."

    Proud Papa beamed "That's my girl."


    Yes, yes, there are some single actions where the cylinder does swing out... Not the point.
    "It's a good day when you can chamber a round in your Mosin-Nagant without aid of a 2x4."

  14. #14
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    I have a similar approach. The primary difference is that I have taught my children that they can hold, handle and examine ANY gun at ANY time. All they have to do is ask. Since they are all either on my person or in the safe it is not a problem. They do ask and when they do, I drop EVERYTHING no matter how important and sit with them, show them and guide them as they explore. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep your word in this aspect and ALWAYS be willing to drop ANYTHING at a moments notice to give them the guidance needed. This method IMO has eliminated the mystery as well as reassuring them that they are more than welcome participants in my hobby and after about a year to a year and a half, they pretty much accepted them as a part of life and really show no interest other than in the guns they personally own. Even their own guns aren't very interesting except at cleaning time or occasionally when they discover me in the safe and want to hold theirs.
    Actively seeking a used, cosmetically flawed .357 lever rifle. PM me with offers.
    The New England Journal of Medicine is filled with expert advice about guns; just like Guns & Ammo has some excellent treatises on heart surgery.
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