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Getting stepdaughter to shoot?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Spieler, Jul 1, 2003.

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  1. Spieler

    Spieler Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    McDonough, GA, USA
    Greetings to all! I have been lurking here for awhile and finally decided to register and contribute to the mayhem where I can. I have also come seeking some input from fellow shooters and parents.

    My 14 year old stepdaughter is afraid of guns and absolutely refuses to go to the range with me to fire even one for familiarity. I have taken her older sister out and she did enjoy the experience but I just can't seem to get the younger one to go.

    My motivation is, of course, to give the kids a sense of familiarity and reassurance since I have guns in the house and carry on a daily basis, as well as to fire their interest in shooting in general. They have not been around firearms before moving into my house so guns are all new to them.

    Any other parents out there with kids that were reluctant to take that first shot? If so, how did you get your kids to overcome their fears?

    I could just take her to the range and "make her" pull the trigger, but I want it to be an enjoyable experience for her.

    Thoughts and comments...
  2. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    Louisiana, USA
    Welcome to THR! Good post to open your account.

    How about arranging a "range day" for a group of girls her own age (possibly including her friends), using .22 pistols and rifles so that no-one is put off by recoil? I've done this a few times with groups of youth from my church (after making sure to get signed permission from their parents, of course!). The fact that their pastor is encouraging the activity, and going along to help supervise, seems to convince quite a few parents that it's OK to let their daughters do this.

    After the first time, the problem becomes one of keeping them from dragging you back so often that you don't have time to earn a living! :D
  3. synoptic

    synoptic Member

    Feb 21, 2003
    Huntsville, tx
    Only advice I can contribute is to show a gun to her disassembled, and invite her to just come watch y'all shoot with no pressure to actually fire. Each should help her become less intimidated by the weapons.
  4. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    I had a stepson-once upon a time. His dad was -well- he never taught the kid to shoot, fish...anything. His mom could shoot and her family hunted talked guns and such, anytime she or her family brought up the subject of anything firearm related his "dad" objected.

    Then I entered the picture :D

    Whoa...whats all ( guess 40K various hulls, cases of shells, 20 bags of shot...etc., gets one attention)That? Mom said "'73 kinda likes to shoot...actually honey he competes." Time, curiousity, time...he watches me take one apart to clean... Watches me reload...I don't push it...he gets curious. Then the 4 rules, he handles. Then I leave a pamphlet about a fun club tourney, food, invite family, friends and prizes. "Hey mom can I go with him this weekend" She replies" your supposed to go to your dad's, its his weekend. " I don't want to go" <telephone> "dad I want to switch weekends and go shoot guns". [sound of stroke on other end of phone I'm told-mom listening on other phone.]

    1100 in 20 ga with screw chokes and the kid wins a turkey.;) Well once we fit his pride into the truck, I wish I'd left my earplugs in, driving home. Then he attacks...err "has to share with mom". I get the rolled eyes and what did you do with my son speech...the estatic son and happy mom dealie. He talked about that constantly, Word is he "disrupted" the Sunday dinner with dad and those grandparents, the following weekend. Mom said her ex was so mad about me taking him shooting, thought her ex was gonna have a heart attack...course she then told him I had bought him a 22 rifle.:D

    Well no luck with the heart attack [we tried] ;) Through attraction, fun, and winning a dang turkey, I sure hooked a kid. Hope he still gets to shoot with the uncles and such. I did my part.

    Last I heard he was still outfishing his dad, with a Ambassador 5000 [I gave him] ...someones dad still can't use one. I 'm such a bad influence :D

    Attraction, 4 rules, make it fun...and good luck if she wins something at a fun kids day out...

    That dang turkey HAD to be cooked that night...so I smoked a turkey, THAT night.
  5. Matt1911

    Matt1911 Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    My girl was also afraid of guns,but after listening to her brother brag on "how great he was"she got interested. A "daisy red rider"goes a long way to teaching the rules,and getting "the bug" to go shooting.
    Since she has gotten her hunter safety card,hunting permit,and "stolen"both my AR and grandads ruger 22/45!!:D
  6. chetrogers

    chetrogers Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    You love guns,I love guns but i feel guns arnt for everyone if i was you i would keep encouraging her to go with you but i wouldn't make her go in any way..But i do wish i had a father figure that would of took me out shooting when i was younger..

    Or just tell her she cant date until she shoots with ya.. :)
  7. swingset

    swingset Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    I can't tell how strong her aversion to guns are, because I don't know her, but my 6 year old wasn't at all interested in them until she helped me setup my targets one day.

    I asked her (since they were ice cubes and paintballs) if she'd like to watch me shoot them, and I did with a .22 and her with hearing protection so she'd not get alarmed by the sound (that usually is at the heart of a newbie's fear of them).

    She sat behind me and watched the targets explode and after a while she asked if she could have a try. I gave her some simple instructions, and carefully helped her on the gun and without putting too much pressure on her let her squeeze a couple rounds. She loved it.

    Then, after she had shot a few times with my help, we went over the "rules", and I showed her how the gun works, told her she was free to shoot anytime or handle the guns anytime but only in my presence and NEVER when I wasn't around, etc.

    She is not by any means a "gun nut", but she has an appreciation, a willingness and some practice under her belt. It's a start.

    My suggestion is to ask her for some help "setting up", and let her experience them gently. An air-rifle is always a great start too.

    As some said, she may never warm up to them, so be patient and understanding if she doesn't take to them.
  8. Glamdring

    Glamdring Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    Spieler: Do you know why she doesn't want to go shooting? IMO I don't think you should try to force, in any way, someone to do something they don't want to do.

    I understand your desire for her to get used to guns for safety. But you don't need to shoot guns to know gun safety.

    Fact is I think it is far safer if you learn gun safety first before you ever think about shooting.

    Do the two you do anything together that she likes to do? Anything she likes but you don't?

    I think knowing gun safety is a reasonable "house rule," but having to shoot or go to gun range isn't.

    That said you might try negotiating. Is there anything she really wants to do or wants you to do that you don't want to? If so might consider telling her that your willing to try what she wants (because it is important to her).

    And ask her to think about shooting a few rounds in exchange. Don't make her having to go shooting as a condition. Kids, and adults, will listen and respect your opinions a lot more if you respect and listen to them.

    And kids are usually more willing to try something new or different than adults. Specially if they get to decide. At that age they want to make their own decisions. And they need to, though it is hard watching people learn things the hardway.

    Heck, as an adult I still have to learn some things the hardway :D
    What is bad is sometimes I KNOW the other person is probably right, but they can't convince me so I have to try it and find out for certain :banghead:
  9. jeff4570

    jeff4570 Member

    Jun 24, 2003
    Naugatuck ,CT
    The problem here is that at age 14 you waited too long !
    However if you introduce her to a junior club official or a junior shooter you may make some headway.
    Check out this site : http://www.geocities.com/elmcitygun/junior.html

    I took my Daughter to the range since she was an infant but never pushed her into shooting untill she wanted to. By age 10 she was breaking baloons at 25 yards with a .22 , by age 14 she was beating all the guys in the junior club.
    On the "other pictures" page you will find a group of people around a 'Quad 50' , my Daughter (age 21) is in the middle.
  10. mini14jac

    mini14jac Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    It seems like reactive targets were the key for my daughters, and my step-daughter.

    I stapled some inflated party balloons to the target boards, and let my step-daughter take a few shots with a .22 pistol.
    She had hearing/eye protection, and we were pretty close, because I wanted her to get hits.
    I gave her a brief lesson on how to line up the sights, and then let her give it a try.
    She missed the first couple of shots, but when she popped the first balloon, she said "Oooooh", and I think she was kind of hooked after that.
    As mentioned above, ice cubes, cookies, anything that is biodegradable is good.
    All of my girls like handguns best. They think that even .22 rifles are too heavy.

    If your step-daughter is really scared, see if you can get her to try a BB gun first. Still use eye protection, and reactive targets, and she may enjoy it.

    I wouldn't force her.
    Maybe you can have the older sister bring home one of her targets, and brag about what a good shot she is.
    A little sibling rivalry? :D

    My step-daughter, and youngest daughter seem to enjoy shooting, but are not "gun nuts" by any means. They only go shooting with me if there are no other social alternatives.
    My 24 year old is a different matter.
    When she got her own apartment, I asked if she would let me buy her a gun and teach her how to use it.
    She surprised me by being really pleased with the idea.
    I got her a snub Taurus, and she is really quite good with it.
    If I go more than a few weeks without inviting her to the range, I get "When are we going shooting again?".
    I think she enjoys it, but she has also figured out that it is way to spend time with Dad. :D
  11. taoshooter

    taoshooter Member

    Jun 13, 2003
    How about trying some "garage IPSC" with some paper plates and a realistic looking air-pellet-type gun. No real danger and no big bang to deal with. Maybe she would see the fun in that and become interested.

    Also, you said you took her sister to the range and she liked shooting - does the younger girl have any 'competition' problems with her older sister? Are you sure it's the guns that are stopping her or something else that makes her say "I don't want to". The Airgun might help you find out.
    Maybe organize a "garage IPSC' day with her friends and not her sister. Something just for her. Don't know the sibling situation but it might help.
  12. rperry03

    rperry03 Member

    Jun 7, 2003
    Tidewater Virginia
    I have no idea on how to get a teenager to learn something they don't want to but should since they are around them everyday and even if they never touch one again in their life.

    I have a 10/22 just waiting till I believe my 3 yr old son is mature enough to use it.
    Before that I have an airsoft he will learn on in the next year or so.

    Good luck!
  13. Leatherneck

    Leatherneck Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    No. Virginia and Northern Neck
    Glamdring's advice above sounds about right. I'd make a statement that, in the interest of safety, I'd really appreciate her participating in a quick session of the four rules and safe handling of the weapons that will be in the house. Keep it low-key but firm so the lesson sticks. Then follow the general approach laid out by others above, and maybe your result will be a happy ending like re1973's.

    TFL Survivor
  14. Tommy Gunn

    Tommy Gunn Member

    Mar 15, 2003
    The Windy City

    When big sister and friends are having fun, the little sister may not want to be left out.
  15. blades67

    blades67 Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Mesa, Arizona, USA
    Keep taking the step-daughter that likes to go shooting. Make it fun and sooner or later the other will want to go just so she isn't missing out on all the fun.
  16. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 29, 2002
    Whatever you do, DO NOT FORCE THE ISSUE. For right now, the most I would ask of her is to learn some basic safety. Essentially learning the four rules and what to do if she finds a gun. You can do this at home, without having to go shooting. Tell her you'd feel much better if she knew a little about gun safety.
    If, after that, she gets curious then take her to the range, or get her started on an air gun.

    Hate to say it, but some people just have terrible phobias and there's nothing you can do to change that.
  17. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    What Justin said, don't force it. My parents can talk me out of doing anything like putting on a sweater when it's cold or eating my favorite food by asking me to do it :p
  18. pax

    pax Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Washington state
    I'm wondering how long you have been her stepdad -- and if she is reluctant to go shooting not because of the guns, but because there are other family issues going on. For instance, if the blended family is new enough she might be resisting doing anything that might endear you to her, or doing anything that makes her feel disloyal to her own dad.

    If that is the case, I'd suggest that you drop it entirely, and let your wife do the talking and persuading. If your wife is a shooter, she could take your stepdaughter to the range. If she is not, she could suggest a family safety day at the range, or suggest a class that she is willing to take with the girls (around here, several places offer free beginning women's classes, or beginner's classes for a nominal fee).

    Your stepdaughter learning the safety rules is completely non-negotiable if she is going to be in the same house with guns. But you don't have to be the one to introduce them to her and maybe it is better if you do not.

    There'll be other times you can spend with your stepdaughter at the range, if she enjoys it. And if she does not, at least you can be confident that she's handled the guns and knows the safety rules.

  19. CMichael

    CMichael Member

    Jan 3, 2003
    I agree with Pax. I think it's more up to your wife to encourage it.

    Do not force it.
  20. Ledbetter

    Ledbetter Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Carpinteria, California
    I agree with pax as well

    You may have a long road to the range. I have two stepsons, one was seven when I married his mother (the other was two).

    I had a long way to go to win the trust of the older one, and letting THEM take the lead was a big help in the long run. Letting them know I found things to respect in their own father also helped.

    Good luck.
  21. Spieler

    Spieler Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    McDonough, GA, USA
    Thanks for all the input, there are some really good tips here that I hadn't thought of. Mom's not really into shooting either, but we have discussed taking a family safety course just so everyone's on the same page.

    My wife and I have a two old together as well and I can hardly wait until she is old enough to start on the path to proper and safe gun hadling and the enjoyment of the shooting sports!:)

    Thanks again.
  22. Travis McGee

    Travis McGee Member

    Jan 12, 2003
    NE Florida
    Taoshooter: I think you have a great idea. Don't force her to the range, she'll fight it. Instead get a nice pellet gun and get her to learn shooting at home. She'll ask YOU to go to the range shortly!
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