How do you tell your kids you are carrying?

larimer_familyTalking with your family and friends about concealed carry can be a delicate topic for some and it has been brought to my attention a couple of times in the past few days.

The first was in a tweet from the US Concealed Carry Association alerting everyone to a new post…

I got my LTCF about a month ago. I have been trying to figure out how to explain why I am carrying a gun. They are 10 and 9. Also do you tell them its a secret and not to tell anyone?

Note LTCF = License to Carry Firearms

When I started carrying my wife was still very anti-gun and seeing it was uncomfortable for her. This struck me as odd because she trusts me enough to marry and have 2 children with me and she was fine knowing it was there, but seeing it was uncomfortable.

My kids were a different thing altogether…

They weren’t afraid of the gun, but the fact that I was carrying highlighted a risk for them, that they had previously been unaware of.

One of our conversations went like this…

Kid #1: Dad. Why do you carry that? [pointing at the gun]
Dad: To protect you, your sister, your mother and I from bad people.
Kid #1: Why do you need it?
Dad: Well, because sometimes bad people have guns and sometimes there is more than 1 person.
Kid #1: Bad people have guns?
Dad: Yep and that is why good people need guns too.
Kid #1: Oh.

<<Fast Forward to bed time>>

Kid #2 [crying]: DADDY!!!!!!
Dad: What’s the matter?
Kid #2: I don’t want bad people with guns to come get me.
Dad: They won’t. Did they come yesterday?
Kid #2: No.
Dad: Did they come last week?
Kid #2: No.
Dad: Did they come last year?
Kid #2: No.
Dad: But if they do, I’m here and I’ll protect you. [kisses her on the head]
Dad: Now go to bed.

For my wife, she needed time to be socialized to the gun and talking with me and friends normalized it.

For my children, there was no fear but it highlighted the risk of an armed attacker.

In both cases talking about it helped them work through their fears. And it wasn’t a single conversation, but a series of conversations over time.

Additionally these conversations need to occur, so your kids understand why you don’t want them randomly hugging you around the waist in public or why you want to carry them in weak arm or why you want to face the door at the restaurant.

As for it being a secret…

There are times and places that your kids should know to not mention it. Public school for instance.

I am in a slightly different place now in that EVERYONE knows I carry and if they mention it at school (Private School) or at a neighbor’s house, it is just a matter of fact and no one thinks twice.

Both kids know that I will talk to them about guns, gun safety, why I carry, what guns I like or don’t like, whatever… whenever they want. They also know that it isn’t a secret, but that there is a time and a place to discuss it.

The only way you get there is by talking with your children, spouse, family members, friends and/or neighbors.

More than likely it is a bigger deal to you, than it is to them.

Comments

    • says

      That is one of the topics you talk about with your kids and the earlier you start the better.

      My kids like to share information they think is interesting or that they shouldn’t know.

      In my house, CCW is common and openly discussed so they aren’t that interested. To go a step further, I have spoken with them about the places they shouldn’t talk about it and WHY!

      Saying “Don’t talk about it!” isn’t enough. It just add intrigue.

      Talking with them about why you carry and why some people are scared by that has been more than enough for my kids.

  1. Shelley says

    Just curious, but would you tell them if you carried in such a way that they didn’t know? Meaning, if they couldn’t ever see that you had it, or if your wife carried – but in her purse – would you tell your kids then? I ask because I’m struggling with the “don’t tell anyone” thing. It’s been my experience that when you tell a kid not to do that kind of thing – they want to…

    • says

      I carry AIWB and they don’t see it now, but yes I would still tell them.

      If you ever need to use it, it is important that they know what they should do to minimize the chance they freeze or try to cling to you.

      It is also teaching them that there is danger in the world and they have an option besides being a victim.

      You can’t have either discussion without letting them know about the gun.

      • Shelley says

        They’re very aware of the danger in the world. In January I was on a page called “Citizens again Gun Violence” having a debate about gun ownership. A woman on the page said she wished a madman with a gun would shoot and kill my children or any future children I may have.

        That experience is why I now carry. I had my CCP already, but I never actively carried. My kids know I can, and they know I do – sometimes – they just don’t know it’s always with me.

        Thanks for the reply. Definitely a talk I need to have with my husband.

      • Shelley says

        So, as it turns out – they make handbag holsters that remove the issue of not being able to quickly access a gun… Now I just gotta buy one. :)

    • JMD says

      I find it hard to believe that your kids will never find out that you carry. They are inquisitive by nature and have plenty of free time to snoop around. It’s only a matter of time before they spot the bulge on your waistline or feel it while giving you a hug. It’s better to have that conversation before they find it on their own.

      I also worry about the “don’t tell anyone” problem. I used to teach a Sunday school class for 6-7 year olds at my church and I was always amused at the personal family information they would freely share in class. I think that part of the solution is to impress upon them the serious ramifications of telling the wrong person that you carry a gun.

      The other part is to transform the gun from an exciting and mysterious instrument of death to a boring old tool. Nobody brags to their friends that their dad has a collection of screwdrivers in the basement or their mom carries a pair of scissors in her purse. If the gun is no different than these other common household tools in the mind of a child, they are unlikely to bring it up where they shouldn’t.

      • Shelley says

        I carry in a secret pocket in my purse. They’d never find if it they didn’t know it was there. That’s how they’d not find out, but like I said, sometimes they know I have it and sometimes they don’t. They don’t know, however, ‘where’ I carry it when I carry it. :)

        • says

          Shelley I am very glad that you made that step to carry, but I have to ask… If the gun is in such deep concealment that your kids can’t find it. How can you access it when you need it?

          • Shelley says

            That’s a good question. A question I’ve asked myself, but the thing is, I have no other option at the moment. Until I’m able to find an alternative, that works in my situation, It’s either there or not at all.

  2. some dude says

    my two year old knew I carried before i had ever shown it to her. Somewhere or another she saw a picture of a animated gun of some sort, and I told her that is a gun. One day I was getting dressed and she said “daddy, need gun!”. After that I decided it was time to start teaching basic gun safety, gun terminology and making it less mysterious. She now can handle a toy cap gun pretty safely; and has decent muzzle dicipline for a two and a half year old.

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