Questions for the internet: should I arm my child?

Back in January Mister's god mother, my good friend Sarah, sent him over a few box sets of the original Muppet Show from the 70s and they have been a wild success. He thinks Kermit is funny and Fozzy is silly and he can even appreciate the fancy footwork of guest Juliet Prowse. Watch these DVDs with my mom and she will tell you how she saw Juliet Prowse in Las Vegas when she was a 20-something. She'll tell you every time.

In the first episode on the first CD, after the dancing lady and before the Muppets Glee Club (they were ahead of their time!) there is a brief skit that takes place in a wild west set. Fozzy is trying to stick up the saloon but he has pickles instead of guns, which somehow manage to shoot anyway? I think? I'm not sure, really, but they reference guns and shooting several times before it all ends up ridiculous and they go on to the next skit, as the Muppets do.

Now, maybe I'm a bit uptight, or maybe it's just unnatural to see in children's programming these days but the whole thing with the guns... yeah, it bothers me.

I know I sound like an awful helicopter parent who bubble-wraps her kid before he leaves the house, but I'm general not so reactive. Do I worry he'll wander in the street if I don't hold his hand? Yes. Do I strap him to my side and cover him in armour? Not yet.

It's just that right now he seems to have no real knowledge of weapons. I know this will change and I can't do anything about that -- kids learn and explore and will figure something out if they want to. At the moment, though, he hasn't tried killing anyone as a form of play. He hasn't tried to stab or shoot or kick me or anyone else for fun. And I really like that.

Even though we have all done it, even though it has been done through the ages, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Kids do what they see and if it's on the news and in tv and film then they are going to mimic, but this is one genre (?) of play -- shooting, killing, hurting -- that I can't latch on to and be cool with and just let happen. Purposefully hurting another person for entertainment is so... adult. And while no one on The Muppet Show was going to even play at being injured by Fozzy's pickles, the whole idea behind my son picking up a twig, pointing at myself or someone else and going 'BANG BANG!' makes me uncomfortable.

So, I'm wondering if I'm alone. From conversations with other parents, I'm making too big of a deal about it; that I need to let it happen. But I can't let go of the idea that it's just not right.

Friends, what are your thoughts on arming my child?

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Liz in Dublin