By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Tammy Worth, like many parents of boys, believes that young children who play with guns might engage in violent crime.
Psychologist Michael Thompson can relieve them! His research has shown that there is no scientific evidence that suggests that men who used play guns in childhood commit real-life aggression.
“Parent Matters”, a column in the February issue of WebMD, explains that by age 2 or 3 gender preferences emerge. Girls play family games with dolls. Boys are more aggressive in play—fighting monsters; both sexes act out aspirations and fears. Opinions have been debated for years, if it’s “wired in” or social learning. Thompson says that we can’t tell.
He explains that “through such imaginary games, children learn to control impulses, delay gratification and view things from another’s perspective.” Boys feel powerful and heroic with guns – winning and losing, seeing who gets to be the good guy.
Learning all this, Tammy Worth no longer deprives her boys of guns.