These all have a common draw for kids – they’re just for adults.
Make anything off limits and “not for you” and without fail, attention will be drawn directly to these forbidden fruits. It’s just human nature, and is an important link in the learning process.
Curiosity is the prime motivator here and it’s essential that the curiosity be managed in a useful way.
In his article “Safety and Training for the Special Needs Shooter” on USConcealedCarry.com author Ryan Vanorden explains how he handles curiosity in his own children:
“All children are naturally curious, and most don’t always realize the consequences of their actions. Cause and effect can be especially difficult for disabled children to understand.
“When it comes to curiosity, we seek to satisfy and remove the mystery surrounding our firearms. All of our children know that when we are alone in our home, they can immediately inspect and handle any of them by simply asking to do so. Before being handed the gun, they must correctly recite the NRA Eddie Eagle mantra of what to do should they find a firearm. (Stop! Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.) They have fun with this little quiz and are always rewarded for giving the right answer.”
Ryan explains in detail how he has introduced his children to firearms in the full article about teaching your kids about guns here:
The most important thing to realize about firearms and children is if they aren’t taught how to handle guns safely they’ll find out themselves.
They may learn by accident, and possibly through trial and error. Firearms are one thing that should never be learned via trial and error and as a result it’s our responsibility to take the lead and instruct kids about gun safety before they try to teach themselves.
If your child is over at a friend’s house and discovers a handgun lying on a table they will most likely want to handle it and see what this mysterious piece of power is all about.
If they’ve already been educated about the dangers of firearms and how to handle them safely, they probably won’t even touch it.
Equally important is teaching kids “why.” Don’t just tell them that guns are dangerous and can kill, but show them why. Take them out and shoot targets that give compelling proof of the power and destruction of a bullet.
Education is always more effective than ignorance and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the lives and safety of others is dependent on early and clear firearms training for our children.