Like all boys, my son likes to play with fake guns. He wants to get in nerf gunfights with his dad, he wants to shoot monsters and recently he wanted to “get rid of his friend.”
On this morning, AJ has snuck one of his small nerf guns in his jacket to school. When he arrived he told the teacher that he snuck a gun to school and when she asked why on earth he would do that he replied, “to get rid of Charlie.” Oh. My. God.
The principal called my husband and let him know the situation and that while this isn’t a big deal at pre-school, this type of talk in kindergarten would have you suspended. But I was absolutely mortified. Embarrassed. To make it worse, the boy, Charlie, was supposed to have AJ over for a play date the same afternoon! Charlie’s mom texted my husband and said it wasn’t a big deal and she hoped that AJ could still come over. My husband let him go but when he returned home, he had to throw away all of his toy guns. He lost his ipad privileges and had sit down conversations with us.
When I asked AJ why he said he wanted to get rid of Charlie he told me that Charlie didn’t want to come to a play date at our house, he only wanted AJ to come to his house and that made him sad. We explained several times that when a person dies they are gone forever. Does he get it – maybe? He is 4. We’ll see.
The next day I dropped AJ off at school and I asked to speak with the teacher. I apologized profusely but I asked if this is common with other children and she assured me that it was. She said all the boys turn everything into guns and they are constantly shooting each other. She said she probably says “no guns at school” fifteen times per day. But I couldn’t help it, I started crying.
She said, “oh no, why are you crying?” I started rambling on about being a working mom, who travels and has other commitments and probably doesn’t get to spend as much time with them as they need, so on and so on. She comforted me and told me it was not my fault. “Does AJ need therapy?” I asked her, she told me no that his comments were common. But it is still scary.
It’s hard to remember that children don’t know the meanings of things. As adults we take for granted that we know the meaning of every word and that with children they are learning hundreds of things a day they simply didn’t know before.
I hope I’m not alone and I hope I’m not raising a serial killer. I’m just going to keep reinforcing appropriate behavior and hopefully I will have a strong, honest and loving boy on my hands.