Can I touch the gun?” “Can I play with a gun if it looks like a toy?” “What do I do if I see a gun at my friend’s house?” Well, these are just a fraction of the questions you might be dealing with when it comes to having firearms while raising kids. Gun safety is a very important topic to address, and keeping this in mind, we have come up with the best guide for you.
Is There A Need To Educate Your Kids On Gun Safety?
Kids never really hear anything about gun safety anywhere. Not even in their educational institutions. They have a sound idea about guns and sometimes even lots of interest fueled by curiosity, but little to no idea about gun control.
If you ask a random child between the ages of six and 18 about what ideas they have about gun safety, they are most likely to reply with a negative answer. Children are often clueless about gun safety. Even if they have an interest in guns or if it’s something that entices them, it is still a subject that often remains unaddressed.
The lack of interest in the topic of gun safety seen in children is due to the fear that they have. Growing up, they have always only learned to “stay away” from the guns. But this is a cycle that you must break for creating a sense of responsibility in them.
Parents and caregivers converse with their kids about other issues like drugs and sex and alcohol. Normalizing a discussion on gun control is also highly important in today’s time.
However, the strange part is that while many children hold an interest in guns and learning shooting, they never bother with knowing or learning about gun safety. As easy as it may be to say this, we have to realize that it’s just something they are not exposed to. So if your child isn’t asking about gun safety, it doesn’t mean that he/she doesn’t need to know about it.
This brings up another very important aspect highlighting the need for gun safety discussions with your kids. You may have guns at your home, which might make you feel that it is necessary to have a discussion about gun control with your kid. That is right!
You may also not have firearms in your house, which may make you feel that having a conversation on firearm safety is unnecessary. Well, you might be slightly wrong here. This conversation is still important and holds substance for you and your children.
As partners of the Project ChildSafe, it is essential for us to address this issue for developing a better understanding of the topic for your kids. We would highly urge you to take some time out and impart relevant information on the subject to your kids, so they get to know more about gun control.
How To Start Off With Gun Safety Discussions
You need to know about the following tips before you start addressing gun control.
You have to start with yourself. Realize that this is an important issue to highlight as a part of their upbringing. If you do not discuss it with your kids, well, they will eventually learn about guns somewhere else.
They could possibly learn about it through movies, TV, or even on the street. This is potentially the worst way of exposure to firearms for your kids because they are most definitely learning things that they don’t have to know.
Start off by creating a friendly bond with your child so that they feel comfortable about taking this with you. Take them into confidence as you disclose the topic. Your kids might ask questions, and they may even be silly at times, but be patient. Listen to all their queries calmly and answer each of them with full knowledge.
In case you feel that they aren’t very responsive, then avoid jumping to conclusions. Do not think that they aren’t curious or uninterested or worse; they might already know the answers.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Research on the topic of gun safety. Look for relevant guides on the internet that explain gun control on a very basic and simple level
You might also want to pen down a list of instructions that are appropriate for kids to know about. An important part here is to pen down and be well conversed with the points you have to tell your kids. Why is penning down important? Well, you need to create a serious situation, and that can only be done by maintaining eye contact with your child as you speak.
Make sure that both parents are on the same page. Share the information you have searched with your partner. Discuss your points so that you are giving out the same knowledge to your kids. While doing this, there is a high chance that you might also learn something new on the topic yourself!
COME DOWN TO YOUR KIDS’ LEVEL
You have to make sure that the conversation is friendly. It should not turn into a sermon or a lecture. They should feel comfortable with the topic. Not only that, but they should also feel ready to ask you questions that might be bothering them. You may also notice that your child may already have some knowledge regarding the topic.
REINFORCE THE TOPIC
One conversation alone won't be enough. You have to build on the topic by adding to the subject. It is very important to reinforce this topic and add details to it. You will notice that as your kids grow older, the conversation will evolve and take new turns.
A good idea to approach reinforcement of the topic is to relate it with real-life examples. This will help them in practical life too. They will know how to react in certain situations if the need may arise.
PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
This is perhaps the most important part of the guide. You cannot expect your kids to follow gun safety rules if you yourself are not implementing them. Kids learn the most by observing and looking at what they see around them.
You have to be thoughtful when you are storing and handling your guns. You have to make sure that you are ensuring proper storage measures for your gun, as this is one of the most crucial steps towards gun safety.
Buy safe boxes that can be placed in easy to access spaces while being absolutely safe. As your kids see you implement proper gun handling and safety tips, they will feel motivated to follow you as well.
This is also an important part of the reinforcement. You help them remember the significance of firearm safety through your actions. Invest in some Gun safes, vaults, lockboxes, and trigger locks for a better learning experience for your kids.