Parents automatically think 2 steps ahead of children. To predict if they will fall or get hurt by doing this and that. Its only natural for parents to protect their children from the “bad elements” of life. But dressing up as a knight or pirate with wooden sword in hand advocate violence?
As an adult we know what a weapon means and what it can do. As a parent we do not want to pass on the implications to our children. But what is the perspective of a 6 year old or even 4 year old? What meaning to they take on when they play swords? They just think it is fun to dress up. They use sticks as if to play games with swords or thing that goes “pew-pew”. Why not use a wooden sword instead of a dirty stick found on the ground? Children have amazing imagination and we often enhance it with role play items. For example children the toy kitchen? Do we say:
“don’t touch the oven or hob its really hot?”
In my opinion children do not think further than their current play. When they play a game of swords they are having fun of the moment. Only when they are about 7 or 8 do they actually know the consequences of their actions. Lets take some examples of where young children take on new activities quicker than adults. One of them is horse riding. An adult looks at the horse and calculates all the scenarios and then decides whether to ride or not ride the horse. A child will see it as fun and hop right on (that is if the child is not scared of animals). Even swimming can be used as a good example. Its easier to teach a child to swim than an adult. An adult thinks of all the possible scenarios. A child just goes for the experience. All these situations shows the different perspective between a childs innocence and an adults awareness.
I believe that a child should have their first experience in the home or within the family environment. If a toy sword is in your house, you can explain how to use it. how games with swords can be safe and that it can hurt someone. Explain how to play games of swords responsibly. By having the wooden sword in the house you can prepare your child for experiences with similar toy weapons in their friends houses or other similar places. If your child does not know, how will they know what is good and what is bad?
In my opinion if your child is interested in this type of role play, it would be healthy to have wooden sword in the house so that he/she learns about it and will understand how to use it when you are not around.