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Every time a mass shooting happens, we find it difficult to explain to our children how and why this violence is happening. With the increasing acts of mass shootings in schools and public places, it is essential discussing gun violence with your kids based on age groups. Not only it helps to develop their awareness, but also it prepares them for such devastating events.

Elementary Schoolers

Talking to your kids about firearms should begin at an early age

Little boys, like us when we were their age, like to pretend that they’re holding a firearm and shooting with it. Often we subconsciously buy them guns from their favorite video game or their favorite cartoon/movie. Little children find themselves passionate playing pretend shooting gun games after watching on the television. Parents should refrain their children from watching such games. They should also talk to their kids if they ever come across a gun in the games, movies, etc. so that their brains can comprehend the hazards of firearms.  

Numerous studies indicate that even children as old as 12 can find it very difficult to ascertain between a real gun and a fake one. We have heard of numerous events when tragic events have occurred that involved children. On multiple occasions, the kids couldn’t resist touching a gun, even after being warned by their parents.

Safe playdates and sleepovers – the gun talk

Communication plays a significant role when arranging playdates or sleepovers. If you know that your child is visiting a friend’s house, you may want to ask the adults in the house whether they have firearms in the home or not. Though you may feel that this might sound rude and disrespectful, this essential step plays a significant role in your child’s safety and wellbeing. You’ll actually be surprised to find out that some adults will highly appreciate your concerns. Also, they will feel safe having their children hanging out at your house.

Eliminate gun curiosity and develop safety rules on how they can keep themselves safe

Children are often curious, and it may tempt them to grab a gun if they see one. This problem should be approached in a little counterintuitive manner. Eliminating this sort of curiosity is resolved by actually educating your child about guns more and more. You can do this by showing pictures of a wide variety of arms so that the child doesn’t mistake a real gun for a play gun. Educate the child to empty the premises immediately and run to the nearest adult where a firearm is in view. This might even turn out to be among the best parenting advice and tips that you can give to a kid. You can also take this further by quizzing the child with questions about safety rules.

Middle Schoolers

Keep the dialogue open and have a strong stance against guns

At this age, your child will likely be aware of a few gun violence incidents that took place around the country and in schools. This comes as no surprise since the development of technology and social media has allowed even the youngest of children to hear about these terrible acts of mass violence. They may also get to hear about it from the news on your TV.

Instead of letting the TV or social media do the talking, try keeping the dialogue open about how dangerous firearms can be and how you can avoid them. You may have a strong stance against guns in your households, but that doesn’t mean that the parents of your child’s friend share your point of view, which leads us back to doing the hard work yourself.

Giving your kids x-plan and educating them of alternate dialogues

Your child’s friend may have a few guns at his/her house that they want to show off to your child. Saying no isn’t just hard for teens, it’s hard for adults as well, and it can cause a lot of friendships to go sideways. In this specific scenario, your child can say something along the lines of, “This is boring, let’s go outside to play soccer.”

Educate them of fatal consequences of using a weapon

Don’t tell your child that he/she can’t handle a gun safely. As that may fire a flame of rebellion in their minds so that they can show you that they can do the opposite. Your approach should be a little more subtle. Tell them that even though they may know how to handle a gun, picking one up can have fatal consequences. Proceed by telling them about what these consequences may be.

Touching back on the whole mystery aspect that surrounds firearms and how to eliminate it. You can allow your child to own a BB gun if you don’t have a stance against guns. That’s not it, you’ll have to be supervising your child while using the weapon at all times. Your child should be aware of the dire consequences if the contrary ever happens.

High Schoolers

Safe gun storage at home

Children in their adolescence phase tend to be pretty impulsive by nature. It means that even if your child understands how to hold and handle a gun safely, sudden acts of recklessness can be the cause of an injury. It’s imperative to keep the gun locked at all times even if you think that your child would never get close to it.

Be vigilant of your child’s school friends and keep dialogues open

Teenagers can be terrible listeners, and so sparking up a conversation about gun violence can be among the most demanding parenting challenges that you can go through. Regardless, try to find ways to initiate a dialogue about gun issues. Further, ask your child if any of his/her school friends have ever brought a gun along to school.

Educate them to be a good samaritan – ‘see something, say something’

Let your child know that he/she can save plenty of lives by reporting these things to a teacher or an adult in general. You should also try reaching out to the parents of any child who is suspected of carrying firearms to school and investigate. Parents should talk to their kids about any concerns. They should be vigilant of their kid’s mental health and aid him/her in developing a plan to follow if their concerns ever come true.

Final Words

Regardless of age, gun violence isn’t really the most pleasant topic to talk about with your child. However, it’s of the utmost importance to clear the air around this topic and let your child know that you’ll always be there to protect them and that there’s always a safety plan to follow.