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Can you influence your kids to like shooting?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Lone_Sheep_Dog, Jun 10, 2010.

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  1. Lone_Sheep_Dog

    Lone_Sheep_Dog Member

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    My father owned several guns but he rarely shot them. He didn't make a hobby out of shooting. He did teach my brothers and I to shoot. I am the only one who likes guns in the family now. My brothers don't even want any of my dad's old guns.

    Is it possible to influence your kids to get into shooting? Is it possible for you to try to influence them into shooting and they just don't get into it even if it is your main hobby? I just hope my kids will enjoy shooting like I do. It would be a shame for my guns to be sold off after I'm gone.
     
  2. Kentucky_Rifleman

    Kentucky_Rifleman Member

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    That's a good question, and I can't offer a good answer.

    I know that I loved guns as soon as I loved anything. I have pictures of myself from before I can remember well, and the happiest I look in any photo is when I'm playing with a toy gun.

    My father hunted and shot, and that's something we did together. That surely had some influence on me, but my passion for guns and shooting far outstrips anything Dad ever felt about it.

    Conversely, Dad was an avid RC airplane builder and flier. He was as passionate about the RC planes as I am about guns, but I never caught the bug. I was happy to go with him when he flew, happy to hang out with him while he worked on them, but I have no interest in them outside of his influence, and haven't been around any of that since he died a decade ago.

    KR
     
  3. Carter

    Carter Member

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    Its like any other hobby, sport, etc. It has to be fun. Safety rules are important of course, but scarring them or being the range nazi would run them away more than if you were an anti probably.

    Remember a younger kid may not find shooting at the same paper target exciting. Try using balloons as targets. Colorful and make a satisfactory noise and effect when shot. They are also easier to hit than a bullseye making them feel accomplished. I'm 21 and use this for shotguns and my gf when she shoots a .22 (not comparing my gf to a kid).

    Also, you may feel comfortable about this or not its up to you. If they have a favorite cartoon or what not with a evil villain print out a picture of that character and make that a target. For example...if they watch spiderman use Venom or Carnage. Other monsters or characters work well also. I wouldn't use any real people characters though, gets odd looks, no matter how much of a creep that person or character is.

    I'm trying to do the same thing you are but with my dad. He is a retired air force Major that saw some people blow their heads off playing around with revolvers back in the day. He's been fearful of guns ever since. Can't even stand a nerf gun pointed in his direction.
     
  4. BLACKHAWKNJ

    BLACKHAWKNJ Member

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    You can point them in the right direction, but if they don't take to it I don't think it's wise to force it. I have known a lot of people who were forced to take music lessons when they were kids and say that soured them on music.
    You can ensure they understand firearms safety, range courtesy, etc.
     
  5. degunner

    degunner Member

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    My kids boy(13) and girl (12) started with basic gun safety and had a good day at the range, next thing you know they are asking when can we go again. My daughter could care less about the weather as long as we go to the range on the weekend, we have shot in the snow, snow showers, drizzle to just short of a monsoon level of rain, had the targets freeze to the backers, and boiled ourselves in the sun. I honestly think she may love the sport more than I do and I didn't think that was possible. The boy on the otherhand looks at it like a social event where he gets to hangout with the adults and be one of the guys. Both of em are getting ready for small bore comp. trap and skeet, but they both still like EBRs and handguns. I never pushed them but I did introduce them to shooting sports, I have shown them the various sports and asked if they want to try any, last year they were happy to plink and this summer they have asked to do competiitons seriously. If they ever say they donn't want to do it well then it will be over cuz kids activities are supposed to be fun for the kids. I do not need to relive some long lost glory or stardom through my kids I want them to have fun, be safe and supervised and learn what hard work and practice can get you, with shooting sports we have all of that and something else over baseball and dance--direct competition parents vs. kids. No I do not let them win, but they are getting pretty close. One day it will probbably happen and be special because of that and I will be proud of them for out shooting dad this weekend. I almost think the smile on the face would be worth losing once just to see it, but not this weekend :)
     
  6. degunner

    degunner Member

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    I agree with Carter that reactive targets are more stimulating for young shooters and they give instant feed back that keeps the excitement level up. Spinners- move and make a plink,ping sounds. Balloons pop, Clays shatter, cans make noise and fall over.
    Depending on the target and ammo also closer targets (paper) allow better groups which help with confidences and self estee and this helps make that first trip in to a second trip.
     
  7. chute2thrill

    chute2thrill Member

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    some people love to shoot and some dont.. dont force the ones that dont and definatly, dont force the ones that do...
     
  8. possum

    possum Member

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    yep i agree you have to make it fun, and when they enjoy it and they do good at it, which builds thier confidence they are alot more likly to enjoy it.
     
  9. Patriotme

    Patriotme Member

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    I pay my kid for bullseyes. If I move her up to a larger caliber (.22lr to .38 Special for example) I give her a bonus. It works out ok. I work the other guns into the mix just so she doesn't forget how to operate them and I increase the amount when holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc roll around.
     
  10. Agostini

    Agostini Member

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    You can expose your kids to firearms, teach whatever you know, go shooting, have fun, but in the end they'll decide whether guns will be part of their lives.
     
  11. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    "You can lead a horse to water but you can`t make him drink." :)
     
  12. possom813

    possom813 Member

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    But you can push the horse in and he's gotta swallow some ;)

    On a more realistic note, my daughter is 7 and she's still on the pellet gun for now. She's getting better, but she's still 7 and I don't believe she's quite mature enough to handle her cricket on a regular basis.

    I've taken her to our range and she's shot the cricket a few times, but sticks to the pellet rifle for the most part. I've tried to teach her at her own pace, but still, there are things she needs to improve on.

    I say that, because sometimes people forget that shooting is supposed to be fun. But at the same time, while having fun, you have to remind the kids(and yourself sometimes) about the safety aspect. If you drone on and on about safety, then kids seem to lose interest.

    I try to teach a little and have a lot of fun. She's getting better and better with the gamo and will soon move up to the cricket and leave the gamo behind for her sister. Her biggest issue now is over-excitement and she tends to turn around with the rifle and sweep me and the rest of the folks out there. Once she breaks that habit, she's good.

    I do like the idea about paying for bullseyes, I hadn't thought of that.

    Also, the dollar sixpacks of cola at any dollar store are great for reactive targets, but you have to clean them up.

    Another thing we've been playing with are the little green army men from Walmart, she's getting pretty good at hitting those with the gamo at 50 feet.

    Rambling a little because I'm a little tired, but I think most of that made sense.

    Basically, take them with you when you're going to the range, let them watch, buy them a good pellet gun, teach them the proper techniques with the pellet rifle, make sure not to drone on one topic, keep their attention, be safe, have fun.
     
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Wow. This is a great question and one that I've thought about myself.

    My experiences almost exactly mirror Kentucky Rifleman's:
    My kids are modertely interested in shooting. The two oldest (8 and 5) have shot with me occasionally since they were both 3. I don't know if either will ever have any interest in competing or if the constant presence of shooting activities in their lives will eventually influence them to pursue something else that interests them more. Maybe because that other persuit seems more novel and more "theirs."

    Similarly, my Dad never worked on our vehicles. Understood how engines and mechanical systems work (he's an engineer after all) but didn't build up or repair any of our rides when I was a kid and always bought pretty plain jane cars/SUVs. When I became old enough to learn such things, vehicles (well, Jeeps and trucks) became one of my personal passions and that was my thing that I learned on my own and practiced on my own -- almost entirely outside of his influence.

    I wonder if he'd have been a die-hard gear head if maybe I'd have found some other hobbies as I carved out my own little niche in the world. Hard to say.
     
  14. Manco

    Manco Member

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    Well, in general people these days are "influenced"--or rather indoctrinated--by the media and social institutions from a young age to hate guns (but love them in movies, apparently :scrutiny: ), so I suppose that doing the opposite is also possible. It's a lot easier to teach kids to hate, though, through misinformation, but if they're given an honest perspective and some positive hands-on experience, then they can decide for themselves whether they're naturally inclined to enjoy shooting. It's more of an anti-negative-influence than an actual influence, but I'd never suggest indoctrinating kids to love or hate anything like anti-gunners and environmental extremists, for example, try to do (I'm all for conservation, but I'm even more for common sense and critical thinking as opposed to the latest fad to supposedly save something).

    My dad owned at least three guns that I recall: an M1 carbine (like the one he carried in 'Nam), a Colt M1911 (ditto), and a Walther PPK. The only gun that he talked about much was the PPK for some reason, but he never shot them (that I'm aware of), did not keep them loaded for defense (I don't recall having ever seen any ammo in the house), and neither encouraged nor discouraged anybody to like guns and shooting. Without saying a word, he sold them all at some point in time, so I don't have any of them now. My own interest in firearms as a hobby and for defensive purposes far exceeds his, so I guess I'm naturally inclined toward liking them, although I imagine that I would have become a gun owner a lot sooner if my dad had encouraged the family to shoot and become more comfortable and familiar with firearms (particularly as kids--all I ever shot as a kid was a BB gun, learning all by myself, but it was still a form of shooting).

    All you can or should do is encourage them in order to see whether it catches on. Sometimes the shared experience of a fun family outing that involves shooting can positively influence them a bit, as we're all in large part a collection of associative (i.e. interrelated) experiences and memories.

    I think it is both possible to "brainwash" them into liking something to some varying degree (not recommended! :eek: ), as well as for them to reject encouragement or even indoctrination altogether (depends on the individual). Hopefully whatever decision they make will be based on real knowledge and personal preferences rather than somebody (e.g. parents or the media or their schoolteacher) beating some kind of dogma (which always includes a huge amount of ignorance) into their heads. :uhoh:

    I'm with you there, but individuals ultimately have to decide for themselves who they are and what they like to do. Even if shooting doesn't catch on with your kids, however, hopefully their memory of you would give your guns a special meaning to them, and of course there will probably be grandkids someday who may be interested. ;)

    My main interests are exclusively my own, as well, as nobody else in my family is into firearms or astronomy (I'm "shooting for the stars," I guess ;)). I don't believe that I would have been discouraged had elder family members had the same interests, though, because I'm not known to be "rebellious" in that way (I like what I like and don't feel a need to either be the same as or different from anybody else).
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  15. TX1911fan

    TX1911fan Member

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    Start with a .22. That's the most important thing. And if you take your kids, especially young kids, then remember that you are there for THEM. You can go by yourself or your buddies if you want to shoot every gun in your arsenal and stay there for 10 hours. If you take your kids, it is THEIR time. You focus on them. Encourage them, never criticize, never raise your voice, and, if they get bored, even if after only 30 minutes, then LEAVE! If they leave thinking what a fun time that was, they will want to go back. If they leave thinking "every time we go I have to stay and watch dad shoot his guns for another hour" they will not want to come back. Keep in mind, for a 10 year old, an hour is like a week. I used this process with my daughter, and she loves to shoot. My son got dragged along, got bored, and now doesn't like so much. If you really want kids to like shooting, you have to make some sacrifices early on. Now, my daughter will stay at the range all day long if she can.
     
  16. Chemist

    Chemist Member

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    +1 to Sav .25, but always be careful not to drown the horse!
     
  17. pockets

    pockets Member

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    You can lead a horse to water (influence) but you can't make him drink (like shooting).
    Both of my sons grew up in a house with guns of all sorts, both learned to shoot well, and one son even went hunting with me for awhile.
    Neither of them "liked" shooting enough to retain it as a hobby for themselves.
     
  18. Carter

    Carter Member

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    Don't forget Call of Duty...*sigh*


    However kids aren't generally interested in the hunting rifle, but the flashy ones. Maybe a tricked out .22 if they find it fun?

    You could even get them airsoft guns to shoot at the house? I grew up with those (parents anti anything that could be remotely destructive...) and had a lot of fun with them. Got me interested in the real life versions. Taught me how to use such rifle to a good degree as well. Also, if you have the backyard or basement for it you could set up a tactical range for the airsoft guns. They would love that. As they progress in age and maturity you could move that on to the real range (if it is permitted).
    Paintball would be another route, but more expensive and messy. Plus not as firearm like as airsoft. Airsoft guns can range from $12 walmart specials or $1200 or more fully auto m60's. Your choice.

    Just don't over kill the safety thing. Teach them of course, but if you scare them s***less they wont like it. Nor will they respect it if you're super anal about it. But don't let them do anything dangerous. Its a tricky business.

    Here's another idea. Get bowling pins and play bowling with 22's. You can get the cheap plastic ones or real ones, up to you. Saw it on youtube. Looked really fun.


    Good luck
     
  19. DammitBoy

    DammitBoy Member

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    My Dad taught us gun safety and basic marksmenship. Out of five sons I'm the only one involved with owning and shooting firearms. He loved to golf, I hate golf.

    My daughter loves to go shooting and my son isn't interested in the least.
     
  20. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Absolutely.

    Keep your nicer guns in a locked glass cabinet. Wear a holstered handgun around the house. Make sure they see guns, and that they are YOURS.

    Do NOT let your kids touch the guns. Do not let them play with toy guns. Ground them for two weeks if they come with 5 feet of a firearm of any kind. Let them read books about guns, though, and watch movies involving firearms. Just never let them touch one.

    By the time they're 15, the only thing in the world that they'll want to do is get their hands on a gun and go shooting!:D
     
  21. Carter

    Carter Member

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    ArmedBear,

    you are an evil evil man. But that would definitely work. You gonna write a book on how to raise kids using that method?

    I was being serious about it working, not sarcastic.
     
  22. nyrifleman

    nyrifleman Member

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    ArmedBear, If I were your kid, I'd hate you with a bitter passion!

    On a serious note, I think it's important not to force anything on your kids. Wait for them to ask you if they can go shooting with you (if they're old enough of course... if not, tell them what age you feel is right and make it a big event on their birthday). Meanwhile, go to the range regularly without them. I'm lucky in that my fiancee shares my passion about shooting, so it'll be an activity both their parents exclude them from.

    I never needed telling. I was playing with toy guns (or sticks that were supposed to be guns) as far back as I can remember (even though it wasn't so popular with our liberal neighbors... my parents go on the warpath if anyone tries to take away something their kid sees as fun). There was no question about whether or not I'd like to learn the real thing. My dad took me shooting when I was 8.
     
  23. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Start them early and before they play video games. Make it fun and take them shooting whenever you can. The key is to influence them early and often. They may or may not get into it but either way they'll make an informed decision, rather than getting their education from video games and the evening news.
     
  24. rondog

    rondog Member

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    I got my grandson started in shooting, and now he bugs me all the time about going to the range. He loves it, is very safe about it, and is a pretty good shot. Little hog shoots up all my ammo though.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  25. WhippingBoy

    WhippingBoy Member

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    Oddly enough, ArmedBear's method is precisely what my parents did to me. Well, almost. They didn't own any guns, nor were any around the house. The rest is on target: I wasn't allowed toy guns, not even squirt guns really. Anything that looked like a gun was promptly confiscated. So, my toy guns were kept secreted away.

    Now movies; hardly any restrictions were in place there. All manner of shoot-em-ups were ok, just don't pretend to do that yourself. Crazy, eh?

    Well, now 30 years later I have my own range dug into the front yard and own a modest collection of pistols, rifles, and a shotgun. That's only 5 guns, but I just love shooting them! I load my own ammo and carry a 1911 IWB everywhere I go. I just can't get enough of practical hand-gun shooting. I even compete in IDPA every once in a while.

    Surely, familiarity breeds contempt, and absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    Now my three kids (3,6,8 yrs) see dad and his guns, but it's so commonplace they couldn't care one bit about them. The oldest one could do 4h shooting, but who would want that? Guns are boring . . .she says. Sheesh!

    Here's the last irony to my story: my mother, who instituted the gun ban at home, now has a CCW permit and is shopping for a pistol! Reality caught up, I'd say.
     
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