Inside Out 268: Play Fighting & Gun Violence

01.30.13 | Martha Manikas-Foster

In light of our national conversation about gun violence—and gun control--we’re bringing the subject home with the question, “Does allowing your children to play with toy guns encourage them toward violence when they grow up?”

Many of us have wondered about this, and have discouraged our children from playing with toy weapons. We don’t want the habit of reaching for a plastic gun, in play, ever to make it easier to reach for the real thing, in conflict.

Keeping toy guns away from our children might not, however, be in their best interest. This is according to our Inside Out guest Rachel Marie Stone in her recent blog on She’s titled her post “Let Boys be Boys: Play-Fighting May Actually Be Good for Kids.”

Rachel’s a book author and blogger who has joined us previously on Inside Out for a conversation about the “New Domesticity.” She and her family have since moved to the country of Malawi, in Africa, as Presbyterian missionaries.

“Whether a family thinks it’s okay to allow toy guns in the house, I think depends on a huge number of factors like where you live, what your background is like, what the culture is like around you,” Stone says. “But what the research seems to suggest is that ‘rough and tumble’ play is an essential part of our development. When we say no to it in our children, we do them a disservice.”

Join us for a conversation about what research indicates about play and violence, yes, but also for a description of the ingenious way her son fashioned a play gun out of a dried seaweed snack.

Click on the listen button above to hear the ten-minute recording of our conversation. Then let us know what you think by typing a comment or two below.

Click here to read Rachel Marie Stone’s blog post: “Let Boys be Boys: Play-Fighting May Actually Be Good for Kids.”


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 01.30.13 Tom commented

The correct website for the blog of Rachel Marie Stone is

on 02.05.13 Family Life commented

Thank you for pointing that out. The correction has been made.




Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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