Monday, November 3, 2008

Not even pretend?



I read this post recently about a mom blogger, Shamelessly Sassy, who gave out candy cigarettes for Halloween. I thought that was funny but apparently she had a parent RETURN the candy at the end of the night.

I don't approve of smoking. I think it's horrible, and I've never touched one myself. But, that doesn't mean I think candy that looks like a cigarette is bad. It's pretend. And if anything, it provokes conversation with our children about the subject of smoking.

And I think kids get the difference between real and pretend.

Her post reminded me of something I saw on Halloween.

I saw a little boy dressed up like a policeman...but without a gun.



In fact, I heard his mother commenting that he wasn't allowed to have a gun with his costume.

I was shocked.

If he'd been a ninja, would she have not let him carry sword? If he'd been a lion tamer, could he not carry a whip? A pirate? A soldier? A Jedi without a light saber? Costumes are all about the props.

What about water guns? Are those inappropriate?

My son Remy was a Star Wars Storm Trooper, and I bought him a blaster gun that made authentic noises. He loves it. He knows it's not real...but we still teach him not to point it at people unless they're playing pretend with him. We teach him real gun safety.

I also have noticed most kids, when playing with pretend weapons, are usually fighting the bad guys. They aren't trying to shoot the good guys or the women and children. Wanting to protect the good and fight the bad is normal...and a good attitude to promote.

The thing I've noticed about boys...they turn everything into weapons. And I think the key to dealing with this, in my opinion, is to teach them safety.

What do you ban from your kids? Girls or boys.


51 comments:

Debbie said...

Hi Rhea,
Pop over to my blog, I've posted just for you.
Debbie x

Twisted Fencepost said...

My sister in law once told me her son points and shoots but don't kill. I think that's teaching him wrong. Like guns don't kill. Doesn't make sense.
I mean if he ever gets hold of a real gun, points, shoots and kills. He won't understand.

Sally-Ann said...

Hmmmmm. This made me stop and think. I haven't banned toy guns, etc., but I have had to ban my big kids from playing video games in front of my 3-year-old. He would act out the fighting on the game, complete with sound effects, and would push other children down, hit them and grab hold of them around the neck.
Last year my little boy was a cowboy and we gave him a toy gun. This year he was Tigger and all he had was a loaded springy tail.

Michelle said...

Wow.. I ate candy cigarettes when I was a kid, but I have never once touched a real one to my lips.

I think the only thing I'll ban from my kids is drugs. They can even watch porn if they want.

sassy stephanie said...

Hell, my son turns his finger into a gun. Think banning plastic toy ones will stop that?

All Things BD said...

Wow, I haven't seen candy cigarettes in forever. I used to eat those as a kid, and I've never smoked a cigarette. I get why the other mom didn't want to have them around, though. Anything to keep from glamorizing or making them in any way attractive.

We're pretty lenient around here, especially with video games because The Man is the Creative Director for a company that makes them. It's been hard for me to accept that my kids are okay with adventure games that require them to blast mutant ants or monsters, but he and the kids have shown me that they really do know the difference between reality and pretend, no matter what my college training taught me.

The only thing I would say about the toy gun is, coming from Los Angeles, you really don't want your kid to get into a situation where a cop has to decide if the kid's gun is real or not. I know the possibility is remote, but that would be my only objection, especially at night.

Lula! said...

I use my thumb and forefinger as a gun on a daily basis. Just sayin'.

And girl, I want some candy cigarettes so badly now. Didn't even know they still made 'em!

p.s. I don't smoke...but you better BELIEVE I'd light up half a pack for a chance to inhale and exhale with my beloved Jason Statham. Totally worth it.

mommaof4wife2r said...

hmmmm....no bratz dolls. they r too slutty!

Living on the Spit said...

I ban sharp objects and loaded weapons they can use against me.

People kill me somethimes when they take concepts and theories over the edge. I am right there with you Rhea!!

Great post.

Marlene

Mama Dawg said...

I ban copious amounts of candy. But, that's about it. And the use of the "N" word (which believe me, is actually an issue around these parts).

carrielt said...

Yes I can see how a sweet candy stick that you eat can teach a young kid to suck on a cigarette and blow smoke. Seriously! I'm rolling my eyes. I use to play with candy cigarettes and I don't smoke. I remember using pretzel sticks as cigarettes too! Do I smoke? NOPE!

Kat said...

I had candy cigarettes as a kid. The kind that was gum...and would blow out a puff of "smoke." What was that smoke??

We ban certain TV programs. Even ones on the Disney Channel. The girls used to watch "The Proud Family" and I made them stop after seeing an episode where the teenage daughter followed the dad around because she thought he might be cheating on their mom. Yeah, like that is a conversation I want to have.

I ban bratz dolls. Saying the words "stupid" or "hate."

We've never had any violent toys - not that they've ever wanted them. But for a costume, I think I'd make an exception...

Linda said...

I didn't even know they still made candy cigarettes. I loved those when I was a kid, they were bubble gum.

My son has a knack for making a gun out of anything ... he once chewed his toast into the shape of a gun to shoot something at the breakfast table. I'm pretty sure he was protecting his mom from some horrible grape jelly monster or something.

When my kids pretend play and use pretend weapons it's usually a battle of good vs evil. I don't have a problem with this.

I don't allow them to watch certain TV show, play certain video games, have worthless toys, or use disrespectful words or behavior. I feel words and attitudes can be much more dangerous than a pretend gun.

Cristin said...

Yeah... the candy crack pipes and needles I passed out didn't go over too well either...some people just don't have a sense of humor!

;)

Erika said...

we loveddd those candies as kids. once we were out on a family reunion and my sister saw some so she gave a piece to all the kids. the mother of those kids FREAKED out and ripped them out of their mouths. Ironic we pointed out to her.... because she lets them have root "beer" And the only reason the want ti is because of the bottle... also she smokes like a chimney and is a borderline alcoholic!!!

Valarie said...

Oh the only thing I ban is really sharp objects, ya know like the kitchen knife and forks and stuff. They really hurt if you get poked with them!

Monogramchick said...

Oh my gosh, I loved candy cigs as a kid. Whenever we took a road trip my sister and I would beg my parents to get them...it was something we look forward to with our long road trips.

Thanks for playing Pay it Forward, you're it! :)

KimmyJ said...

I loved candy cigs - but have never smoked. As a mom of 4 sons - they will make anything into a gun - it is all part of the hunting/gathering genes - but I try to enforce never pointing the guns at another living object, especially another person. So they are expert marksman at shooting, trees, leaves and automobiles. :)

Ashley. Unscripted... said...

I would think it was hysterical if someone gave out candy cigs. I would think that I should probably be friends wiht that mom, because obviously she doesn't take things too seriously.

I haven't banned anything yet. I'm not a fan of guns, but Wee One is a boy, and I know boys tend to like that kind of thing. I also think that if you make anything such a strict taboo then you're just asking for trouble. KWIM?

If I ever have the daughter that my ovaries ache for, then there will be no Bratz and no Juicy-ass shorts. Not happening.

steenky bee said...

The thing I find most amazing about this post is that they actually make those candy cigarettes still. What? I used to love those. Just love them.

Steph said...

all I can say is wow, let kids be kids and as a parent know when it is time to step in a advise them as to what is ok and what isn't.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Even Dr. Dobson says "If a kid wants a gun badly enough, he'll bite his PB&J sandwich into the shape of a gun and say "bang bang"". Very true.

For us, I tell my kids (and they know the mantra well) - "everything in moderation, except drugs and cigarettes." I think it's a good lesson to learn - a little of most everything won't harm you. And you need to learn how to set limits for yourself.

And no guns? No swords? Kids can do MORE harm with a stick in the yard than a plastic gun. C'mon people.

gingela5 said...

I can't believe that. I used to eat candy cigarettes all of the time as a kid. I'm pretty sure having candy cigarettes isn't going to encourage smoking--but I don't have kids so what do I know! :)

Ritch in Love said...

My poor kids get it from both sides. Their mom (I'm the stepmom) has a "whatever" attitude when it comes to the media they are exposed to. That really bothers me. We are really careful about what the kids are exposed to in the media. When I say media, I mean movies and shows on the tellie.
I get frustrated because in our house it's okay to watch Harry Potter...but at her house it's okay to watch Ghostrider and Snakes on a Plane and Little Man(at the age of 6.) but Harry Potter is of the devil. Seriously. I just don't understand her way of thinking.
I just watch the ratings and the content. If I'm unsure of the content I watch it myself or read the book, before I give it to them to watch or read.
My kids are banned from movies with Nudity and Extreme Foul Language and Extreme Violence.
But candy cigarettes? A cop without a gun? Gimmie a break!
But like I always say: To each his/her own.

Susie said...

I ban bad TV, drugs and alcohol from my kids. You know, the basics.

Momo Fali said...

Just Spongebob, because I can't stand him.

April said...

I LOVED candy cigs as a child...."smoked" them all the time. Did that turn me into a smoker? Hell no! I always have HATED smoking for real.

When I have kids, I don't plan to ban guns etc. I WILL teach them about safety however.
I will also not let them watch rated R movies until I see them first to be sure they are appropriate for a child's viewing (which is what my parents did with me).

Angie's Spot said...

I'm really careful about what they can view t.v. & movie-wise. And I've banned most candy. They actually didn't know what candy was until a few months ago. They can have suckers and M&M's on occasion. And no soda for them. I think that's about it. When they get older, I'm going to try not to be too crazy about banning stuff.

Andrea said...

I loved the candy cigarettes also, but I'm not a smoker.

We are not big fans of Bratz or guns either. Neither have been "banned", but they have been known to "casually disappear".

I don't allow my kids to tell others to "shut up". It just bothers me.

manic mariah said...

Parents are WAY overboard. swords and guns are part of the costume. And Guns are part of life. I think teaching safety is the key!

Captain Dumbass said...

I loved those candies when I was a kid and I've NEVER touched a cigarette. Ok, there were a couple of times, but that wasn't exactly tobacco. And I never inhaled.

Katie said...

We've banned video games, for now. My kids are still young, but I'm delaying it for as long as possible. Also, realistic looking guns - although you're right. Connor turned a stick into a gun and shot all the "bad" trees in the yard.

Jen said...

Rhea, I think that you are so right. It is truly teaching your kids how to be safe and responsible. Boy will make anything into a gun or a sword, I think that it is their nature no matter if you have toy guns in the house or not.

Avery Tales said...

That is just crazy! Who has the energy to return candy at the end of Halloween night? Pure craziness!!

The only thing I ban these days are electrical outlets and sharp objects. You know all the normal stuff.

Marrdy said...

Wow, this is a tough one. I really hate cigarettes. But I did let my kids buy one pack just to try it out. Now my oldest smokes but I am 100% sure it wasn't from the candy.

I have a sister who never let toy guns in her house. When she tended my youngest he turned everything into a gun...legos, sticks, Barbie dolls.

Lynette said...

Banned? Well there are things that I did not "encourage". We do not buy clothes or wear clothes that advertises for a company. I do not believe that Tommy or Nike are paying me to sell their products. And it is more expensive to purchase those products. And we did not watch what I considered "stupid" cartoons. We were fans of Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow not something that made fun of hurt and pain. What else? Well I let my daughter have all the candy she wanted. Yeah really! She still at 21 has a large candy jar. She learned real fast that if it was eaten we would replace it (she now refills it herself). By doing that she did not bing eat candy. But had some here and there and it would last her for months and months.

the mama bird diaries said...

The only thing I really ban is too much TV. But I have girls so I don't really have to deal with the gun issue.

AndreaLeigh said...

Hmm, I get where the mom is going with giving the candy cigerettes back. I think I would have done the same. I have had a loved one die of lung cancer... I don't like tobacco in any form, candy or otherwise.

I think education is good; outright shielding and banning is not.

AndreaLeigh said...

Hmm, I get where the mom is going with giving the candy cigerettes back. I think I would have done the same. I have had a loved one die of lung cancer... I don't like tobacco in any form, candy or otherwise.

I think education is good; outright shielding and banning is not.

Karen said...

You make many valid points here. I do ban kids from a set of toys. I know many think I am crazy. My ban is on the Bratz Dolls. I do this because I have very cute little girls in my opinion and well........they would want to dress like the Bratz Dolls if we had them. This I am sure of. I just don't see the point of my little girls dressing like Ho's if you know what I'm sayin'. I figure if they aren't here, then it is one less fight I have to have.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I'm in the "ate candy cigarettes, never even tried smoking" club. Hey, maybe they work as a preventive?
I probably wouldn't buy candy smokes for my kids, because the whole idea of smoking turns my stomach now, but if they got them for Halloween I wouldn't ban them.
I don't ban much entirely for my kids. I talk to my kids. That works better for me.

goodfather said...

We pretty much just ban Barney the Dinosaur. He's not allowed anywhere near our children. Ever.

Lynette said...

I ban them from me. I do not allow them around me! HAHAHAHAHAHAH Just kidding!

I am not one of those parents who have ever banned my kids from guns & things like that, you said it all, they will turn anything into it anyway.

Oh wait, I did ban my oldest son, when he was around 4, from watching wrestling. Mainly because I hated it, but also because he got soo rough & overlyexcited about it, but mainly because I hated it, LOL

Don't get me started on what is wrong with the world today, but this falls into one of the catagories!

Elaine A. said...

I think the only thing we should limit is the sugar 'cause dang I don't want to have to pay those dentist bills, you know?

Seriously, a policeman needs a gun. Even I agree with that...

CrystalChick said...

I don't really ban much of anything here. Well, since we quit smoking many years ago we don't allow anyone to smoke in the house, even for parties.

I wouldn't sign or pay for my daughter to get tats when she asked but after she turned 18 she did her own thing. That's fine.
My son plays some harsh video games at times but he knows what's good/bad in real life.
I think we're pretty lenient with most stuff though.
If I go on any diets in the future I might have to ban chocolate .....
NAH, nevermind.

Indy said...

My kids have guns and weapons. I don't think I am very strict. But, I think kiddo cigs are just not a good choice for a mom to hand out. Could have picked something a little better.

Indy said...

My kids have guns and weapons. I don't think I am very strict. But, I think kiddo cigs are just not a good choice for a mom to hand out. Could have picked something a little better.

Christy said...

I wouldn't have wanted to make the mom feel bad by bringing them back, I think I would've just thrown them out. I know it's candy, but I just think it's bad judgement to make a product geared toward children in the form of something so unhealthy. I think you can and should have conversations about it, but a product doesn't have to be the impetus for that discussion.

As far as the weapons go, I have girls and they haven't had any interest in such things. I know however, that I wouldn't allow toy weapons if they were interested (maybe for a costume I would.) Even if the kids are using the "weapon" to 'get the bad guys' I wouldn't want my kids to get the message that violence is the way to resolve a conflict. And even if my kids might make a "weapon" out of their hands, another toy, or food, that doesn't mean that I should head that off at the pass by supplying them with one.

Swirl Girl said...

I don't ban guns, but with girls - they just arent' wired that way. I am not crazy about tatoos of anykind - but temporary use of anything for the purposes of costuming is okay by me.

I do draw the line at dirty needles and broken glass meth pipes though.

Live.Love.Eat said...

I don't want to teach my child to live through rose colored glasses and I want him to be able to play with a play gun and understand the differences in it. In fact, playing with a pretend gun opens up discussions just for that. But hey, that's just me.

As far as candy cigs, to me there are so many better candy choices out there but hey.....

My son already tells my Mom she can die from her cigs. Hah. I look at it like she is his example of what NOT to do.

* TONYA * said...

I don't think there's anything we ban around here. We are pretty lenient, but we are also big on explaining things so that children understand what is happening and why.