How to Talk to Your Children About Guns
Gun violence remains as much of a problem as it is a topic of debate. Regardless of partisan lines and legal beliefs, one thing is for sure: it’s important that parents take the time to talk to their kids about guns. Thousands of children are unintentionally injured or even killed every year by guns, and having honest conversations with your children about them could help to change that. It’s your job to teach your kids how to stay safe.
You might have multiple guns in your home, so you want to make sure your kids are as safe as possible around them. Or, it’s possible that you’ve never touched a gun yourself, but you want to make sure your kids are prepared if they come into contact with one. Whether you’re on one of the extreme ends or somewhere in the middle, talking to your kids about gun safety is one of the best ways to ensure they stay safe, whether it’s in a life or death situation or just in their everyday lives. Here are three ways to discuss gun safety with your children.
Make Sure Your Children Know How Dangerous Guns Can Be
Over time, adults tend to gain a pretty clear understanding about how dangerous a gun can be. But children–especially younger children–likely have not had the practical experience or education yet to really understand the magnitude of firearms.
Especially if your child likes to watch action movies, play with plastic guns, or watch police shows, he or she may not fully understand that guns are very dangerous. In movies, the masses of bad guys that are shot down are just cannon fodder, and the movies are just a couple hours of fun. It’s important to emphasize to your child the very real difference between guns in movies and guns in real life.
Of course, as children get older, they will slowly become more aware of the important differences between fiction and reality. However, it’s still a very good idea to reinforce that distinction as early as possible.
Always Stay Safe, Even in Controlled Environments
Many people, especially those living in rural areas, have guns in their home for protection, hunting, or sport. If you plan to introduce your children to guns for such purposes, make sure you also introduce them to gun safety rules, and teach them how important it is to keep to those rules very strictly. For example, always teach your child to leave unknown guns alone and report them to a trusted adult.
If you do plan to hunt or be involved in shooting sports, emphasize gun safety rules for dealing with both loaded and unloaded guns. (A common tenet is to treat every gun as though it is loaded, whether it actually is or not.) Always keep a firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction, and never put your finger on the trigger or turn off the gun’s safety until you’re ready to shoot. By keeping to these rules as strictly as possible, no matter what, you can teach your child that gun safety is mandatory, not optional.
Use Other Tools at Your Disposal to Teach
You don’t need to have a gun on hand, or even need to condone one’s use, to educate your child about guns and how to safely deal with them. When you feel your child is ready to know more, just go online. There are a number of websites and videos devoted to gun safety. And you can find examples of what can happen when guns are used irresponsibly or illegally by using a public records site like PeopleFinders. Such a site allows you access to all kinds of criminal records, including court records, arrest info and other issues related to improper gun use.
If you don’t feel super-qualified or comfortable with the topic, you can always engage a trusted friend or relative with firearms experience to talk with your child. (Or both of you together, if you still have some questions about guns yourself.)
The buying and selling of guns may be a political issue, but gun safety definitely is not. Everyone on all sides of the argument can agree that teaching kids how to be safe around guns is extremely important, especially with how many people do own guns. Just make sure you have those conversations, no matter what tools you use to do it.
For more information about guns and other ways to keep you and your children safe, be sure to check out all the safety-related posts on the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo Credit: 1jaimages – stock.adobe.comTags: Children, Legal Issues, Safety Tips
Categorized in: Safety