When/How Do You Teach the Kids?

When/How Do You Teach the Kids?

This is a discussion on When/How Do You Teach the Kids? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was reading another thread and one member mentioned teaching his kids to shoot/handle a weapon. It got me thinking. I have a 3, 5, ...

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Thread: When/How Do You Teach the Kids?

  1. #1
    Member Array Maverick68's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    Minneapolis, MN

    When/How Do You Teach the Kids?

    I was reading another thread and one member mentioned teaching his kids to shoot/handle a weapon. It got me thinking. I have a 3, 5, 7 year olds.

    Tell me when and how you trained your kids. Did you simply train them to shoot or did you discuss defense? At what point did they have access to the weapons unsupervised (I am thinking 18!). Lastly, did you train them on just the .22 rifle or can they shoot your .45 also?

  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array TerriLi's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    My dad started teaching me the rules of safe handling pretty much from 4 on, didnt let me handle a gun at all until I was 6, and that was highly supervised. Shot a 9mm first time, then a year later got my own .22 rifle. All shooting was highly supervised till I was 10 if I remember right, then slowly started letting me do more on my own. It wasnt till I was 12 that I remember not being really supervised, more like watched to correct technique then. I was 15 when I was pretty much let run myself unless I needed help with something. Thats how my dad did it.
    I know not what this "overkill" means.

    Honing the knives, Cleaning the longguns, Stocking up ammo.

  3. #3
    Member Array Flext's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    Duluth, MN
    All my life I remember learning about gun safety. I had a BB gun as long as I would remember and I was taught to treat that as a real gun. I remember going bird hunting with my dad and carrying a toy wooden rifle as we walked. He would watch me and make sure I was safe with even that.

    I can't remember when I got to use the .22 alone, I'm sure I was 14 or so. The main thing is that gun safety was ingrained into me by that time. I notice that I am much more careful and watchful of barrel direction than many other people I shoot with. When I bring people who have little or no experience with a guns shooting I try to get them in the same habit as me.

    The self-defense discussion is a tough one. I don't have kids, but I think that would be something to discuss when you think they are mature enough for it. I personally take self-defense very seriously and I really didn't become passionate about it until I was probably 18 or so (my first handgun was a high school grad present). I don't have a good age when it is safe to shoot the .45, but I recently took my girlfriends 12-year-old sister shooting with us and she love shooting my XD and handled it pretty well.

    It's great to see you are so concerned about teaching your children right. It's good to know some people believe that education is the best way to keep people safe.

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  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    It's hard to pick a number and say that a child is ready by a certain age. They all mature at different rates.
    For me it's a matter of knowing your child and when you feel they are ready. Too young and they won't have the attention span to really understand, and if you wait too long the natural curiosity can be a problem in some cases.
    A parent knows their child better than anyone else, you will know when the time is right.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    I started with my kids teaching them the basic safety rules starting from the start, ages 1.
    I did so first by allowing them to play with squirt guns and in doing so I'd 'teach' them by visual example always keeping my finger off the trigger and gun pointed in a safe direction, until sights are aligned and ready to 'fire'.

    As they got old enough that I could speak to them and they could understand and _comprehend_ my words & meanings I'd up the ante by showing them with their own fingers to gun how to do the above.
    Further we talk about my own guns as they see me get dressed and mount my holster and gun with spare mag and mag holster. They see and know where my handgun safe is located and also know to not only never touch my guns or any one elses guns....But they also know what to do if they see a gun, magazine, or ammunition laying around. We have discussed this multiple times and I do so by making it into a game of learning rather than a Danger Wil Robinson lecture.

    As well they have seen me disassemble and clean my guns with explanation of what parts do what (gun, magazine, ammunition) and they have seen me train both at home with dryfire as well as at the range...And they have seen me on TV shooting both in competition and as related to a local news item that had featured me shooting in a law enforcement course. As well they have seen me train at home in my backyard using my BB pistol, and me train toward and participate in past paintball tournaments. They know the same rules apply to all of my 'guns' be they fire bullets, BBs, paintballs, or water (I have two 1911 style squirt guns).
    They know without a doubt that daddy is a shooter and he is a safe practicing shooter.

    In turn they imitate me and apply what lessons thus far I have taught them by mouth and visual example.
    They spontaneously on their own will hold amongst them self as play pretend 'training' sessions. My daughter taking the part of 'instructor' and my son being the 'student'. They setup pretend targets of paper and they made themself their own individual range kits including a lid, sunglasses (eyes), and my boy borrows my spare pair of ears which as a rule when not in use are stored on the inside door knob to my bedroom closet.

    Also when taking baths at night they like to play with their squirt guns and will setup targets to shoot at self teaching and guiding each other now in following the 3 basic rules of gun safety. They do this spontaneously without my direction albeit with my encouragement and praise, which is positive reinforcement.

    My daughter is 6 and my son turned 3 this past July.

    I taught and continue to teach them these things not because I have dreams of them becoming top shooters or even shooters at all. Frankly if they choose to never shoot or hunt or handle guns as adults I would be okay with that...As long as they both had at minimum a handgun for personal protection in their home as law abiding adults.
    My focus though and primary motivation is to EDUCATE my children now as related to their future. Guns are everywhere in America. Period. Stupid and unthinking people are everywhere. Adults and children alike. Period.
    By teaching my children what I have thus far and what more i will in the future as they mentally grow and become able to comprehend the lesson plan then in doing so that is a real world insurance plan as against possibility of they being injured by a stupid person, or they injuring themself...each other...or some other person with a so called "accidental discharge" which we all know are 99.5% of the time directly related to handler ignorance and negligence.

    Below is an image of my children from a week ago as they were playing 'Shooting Class' learning and teaching...

    Note: This squirt gun has no trigger guard but still my kids know not to touch the trigger, unless they desire reactive action to occur. My boy even has gone so far as to make himself a holster out of cut up paper for play. As well at times on his own when he's getting himself ready to go out and puts his shoes and jacket on he'll go to his range kit to get his squirt gun and then 'holster' it in the side of his pants.
    I sometimes feel bad about seeing that in particular but overall I'm okay with it as it's better that he know better than know nothing at all.

    ...Take careful note of not just my sons clothing but that of how he's handling his quirt gun.
    I did not at all prompt either of them on this. I'd been outside mowing the grass and came in to get a drink when I saw them playing and noted their methods. I grabbed my cell phone and took this picture spontaneously.
    When either of my kids pickup a toy gun they now both on their own and immediately _default_ to the three rules of firearm safety.

    * Finger off the trigger _and_ indexed along side the frame of the gun.
    * Gun pointed in a safe direction away from them self and other living beings, human or animal.
    * Make aimed fire only (!) at proper targets using either 1) the sights if available or 2) point shooting using the body of the gun and/or their index finger as a reference marker in lieu of working sights.

    - Janq

    P.S. - To show them how not following these rules can result in persons being harmed if not hurt, I pretend with them at times during their baths to 'forget' the rules and wind up shooting one or the other in the eyes or even myself in same. It's uncomfortable but otherwise medically harmless to do so.
    They do not like being squirted in the eyes. Nobody does. So now by that 'play' they have been taught and learned why it is that the three rules are necessary and important to be followed.
    It's all fun and games, until some body starts to cry.
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    Teach them what they can appropriately handle. I have 12, 10, 7, and 4 year old kids. My 12 year old has her own .22 rifle. My 10 year old can shoot anything up to my .223, no kidding. The 7 year old has shot .22 lr and knows firearms safety well. My 4 year old can handle a firearm safely and knows that they are dangerous and that we treat them with respect.

    I think it is all about being age appropriate and teaching kids proper respect, courtesy, and caution.
    "...whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
    Christianity and Self Defense from a Biblical Perspective

  9. #8
    Distinguished Member Array PastorPack's Avatar
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    I started when my kids were about 3.

    Check out the NRA Eddie Eagle program. My kids know it by heart and practice it.

    I started my kids on a BB gun (they love it), but they are allowed to handle/shoot any of my guns with proper hands-on supervision by me.

    I think you will know when they are ready to be unsupervised--it can depend on the inidividual child's reponsibility.
    God is love (1 John 4:8)

  10. #9
    Member Array joshe's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Philadelphia, PA
    My dad started me off with a daisy red rider win I was 6 and it was always supervised then. I got my first .22 rifle when I was 8 then moved up to 30 30 in a few years and a sks. then a browning A bolt 30'06 with a boss break. When I was 15 I joined a 4H rifle club. I highly recommend this. It's a great way for kids to get involved in a social shoot group. and if they like it they have the opportunity to compete in state and national matches. precision rifle shooting is a great skill, it teaches a great deal of responsibility, motivation, concentration and mental focus. For me it was great our team was able to compete in state USA shooting events and was invited to the US junior Olympics Sadly I had to sale my Anschutz 1903 and air rifle to pay for college because I didn't want to go to any of the schools that were offering rifle scholarships. but if your kids stick with it they could help pay for college.

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Stetson's Avatar
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    I started hunting varmints on the farm I grew up on when I was 7 years old. I used a Mossberg model b.I still have it some forty-six years later.When I growing up in the 60's and 70's there were less rules and people.It was a better time in many ways for the individual who owned a little land like we did
    70 aces could do this.I wish, I had bought the old place when my father got
    married.The area had grown up so much since the first ride up the dirt rode with an old wooden bridge that could take just one car at a time.Now there
    are two hundred houses on the road. Sorry I got a bit of subject but I always
    like to share where I use to shoot my 22 as a kid.

  12. #11
    Senior Moderator
    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    Before my two boys (now in their 30's) were in school, they were exposed to my weapons, got to hold them, and went out to the woods to see them operate.
    I let them actually shoot a .22 by age 8-9.
    They never touched my guns...ever...without my permission.
    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

    Certified Glock Armorer
    NRA Life Member

  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    A few additional thoughts:
    Start with the safe handling instructions, the 4 rules we all know when they start showing curiosity and are old enough to understand those rules.
    As they get older and show more undertanding and responsibility take them to the range and let them see you handle a firearm properly. Let them get used to the sounds and let them see you fire it.
    When they get older still and if they show an interest, start them with a small caliber rifle, or even a handgun is the range allows it.
    I started shooting and handling firearms at age 12, and my daughter started at the same age.
    It's hard to put a number on when to start, each child matures at a different rate. You how your child better than anyone else, use your own discretion, but always start with teaching safety, and guage their interest and abilities, you will know when they are ready.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

  14. #13
    Member Array russ1986's Avatar
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    This is one thing i have learned in my very young life. Age does not have any bearing on anything. i am 23 years old but if you don't know me you would mite think i am 30 by the way I act. You will know when your kids are ready to start to learn gun safety.
    the way to be safe is never to be secure.
    Benjamin franklin

  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array PastorPack's Avatar
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    It's like teaching your kids about reponsible sexual behavior, teach 'em early, teach 'em often.
    God is love (1 John 4:8)

  16. #15
    PM is offline
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    There was an instruction to the Jews that was meant to be about their life, their faith and their God; yet I think it applys to life in general. The ideas is teach your child when you are walking, working, resting, eating, going to bed, getting up out of bed and well just about any time day or night. The child rearing folks call this "teachable moments". Good I dea me thinks.

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