boys and weapon play: what are the ground rules for toy guns and swords?

Yesterday I published a story at Huffington Post about how I’ve surrendered my convictions in regards to keeping our home free of toy guns. (You can go read it here.)  I wrote this article over a year ago, and since that time my boys’ enthusiasm for toy guns, light sabers, and swords has only grown in intensity, much to the annoyance of their sisters.  India and Karis are routinely finding themselves the target of whatever epic battle the boys have concocted.  In fact, this video pretty much captures the essence of my home: the girls dressed in tutus, putting on a dance show, only to be interrupted by a light saber and nerf gun attack.

I’ve tried to keep some levity about the situation, but we’ve all been annoyed by their constant weapons play.  Sometimes the girls join in, but more often than not they are the innocent victims.  It’s almost daily that I hear one of the girls yelling, “Stop trying to shoot me!” at their brothers. It got so bad that last week, I outlawed weapons play, again, and confiscated all of the weapons into a storage bin in the garage.  It is likely only temporary, but I feel like we need a little break, and some time to figure out some ground rules so that they aren’t bugging their sisters (or me) with their impromptu battles.

I’m thinking I need to start off with a rule about not doing battle with someone without asking for permission first – that they can only point a weapon at someone who has answered affirmative to the question, “Would you like to play guns/swords with me?”  It seems like they need to learn boundaries and respect, and I’m thinking that asking someone to join their battle (instead of forcing) is a good place to start.  But what else?  Experienced moms of young soldiers, what other rules should I put in place?


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