Toy guns do not necessarily make kids violent; Mother reads article and gets disease diagnosed

Published 1:22 am Saturday, July 1, 2006

Dear Annie: I am the parent of two boys, “Thomas” and “Henry,” and I always have been very careful about not handing them fake weapons to play with. I believe that if they are introduced to violent toys at a young age, they will be more likely to end up using such weapons in real life when they grow up. Most of their friends’ parents understand and respect my opinion whenever my boys play at their homes. One particular family, however, doesn’t.

My children were over at “Jerry’s” house recently, and when I went to pick them up, I found them playing with violent toys. I have strongly stated to the child’s mother my theory regarding these items and asked her politely not to let my boys use such weapons. They continue to use inappropriate toys at her home, and she always says it won’t happen again, yet she doesn’t try very hard to stop it.

I don’t want to prevent Thomas and Henry from playing at Jerry’s house, but I need the toy weapons to be put away. How can I get through to this woman? — Nonviolent in the Midwest

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Dear Nonviolent: We understand why you don’t want your children playing with toy guns, but you cannot control what someone else’s children play with in their own home. You only get to determine whether your children will visit at that home.

Playing with toy guns does not necessarily make your child more violent, or more likely to use real guns. What matters is your attitude toward such play, because your children will take their cues from you. Explain to Henry and Thomas the harm real guns can do and why you don’t like them to play with such toys. (This won’t, of course, stop creative children from making guns out of paper, Legos or slices of cheese. Good luck, Mom.)

Dear Annie: I recently attended a luncheon with a group of co-workers. After lunch, we played a game called “Greed,” where everyone picks a wrapped grab-bag gift off a table. (We each brought gifts that were no more than $10.) One of my co-workers picked my gift, which was a set of spices in glass containers with its own carrying case.

The co-worker then stated repeatedly that she doesn’t cook, that she was going to kick the gift across the room, and that she definitely intended to give it away. I was hurt and humiliated, and so embarrassed that I didn’t admit it was my gift.

How do I continue to work with such a rude, inconsiderate person? — Salted and Peppered in New York

Dear N.Y.: You pretend it never happened. Your gift was lovely, and someone else would have appreciated it a great deal. The co-worker’s infantile tantrum was inexcusable and doesn’t deserve a second thought.

Dear Annie: I would like to thank “M.R.,” who wrote in about Hashimoto’s Syndrome, a form of hypothyroidism. I, too, have been suffering from hair loss, weight gain and fatigue. I’ve had my thyroid checked numerous times, but the results always came back normal. My doctors just attributed my symptoms to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and insulin resistance.

My mother read your column and urged me to get tested for Hashimoto’s. I got my results back today, and my antibody levels were nine times the acceptable amount! I don’t yet know how much my thyroid has been damaged, but I imagine it would have been a lot more if Mom hadn’t seen that letter. I honestly can’t thank the writer enough. — Greensboro, N.C.

Dear Greensboro: We’re thankful your mother saw that letter, and glad that you now have a proper diagnosis. Stay well.