I Want to Teach My Child Firearm Safety. When and How Should I Do So?

Photo Credit: USA Carry

While I don’t have children of my own, I do have several nieces and nephews that range in a variety of ages – from 1 year to 25 years – and have co-taught in youth martial arts classes in the past. In this post, I’m going to provide tips that’ll assist you with teaching your child firearm safety.

I’m going to list some common characteristics of each age group along with some teaching strategies.

Ages 3-5
  • Characteristics
    • Egocentric
    • Natural curiosity
    • Active imagination
    • Needs security
    • Easily distracted and frustrated
  • Teaching Strategies
    • Use small blocks of instruction
    • Simple images and stories
    • Stimulate senses
    • Allow play and manipulation of objects
    • Provide physical safety and emotional security
Ages 6-8
  • Characteristics
    • More realistic thinking
    • Understand cause and effect
    • Concrete information
    • Literal
    • Developing learning styles
  • Training Strategies
    • Allow time for questions
    • Encourage active participation
    • Provide group activities
    • Use a variety of media and visual aids
Ages 9-11
  • Characteristics
    • Inductive reasoning
    • Strong memorization skills
    • Can build on past learning
    • Know what’s “difficult” or “easy” for them
  • Teaching Strategies
    • Use analogies
    • Incorporate a wide variety of activities for different learning styles
    • Encourage independence
    • Use small group learning
Ages 12-15
  • Characteristics
    • Abstract, hypothetical thinking
    • Deductive and inductive reasoning
    • Personal preoccupation
    • Extrinsic motivation
    • Motivated by social acceptance (peer group)
  • Teaching Strategies
    • Focus on details
    • Incorporate problem-solving activities
    • Make information meaningful to life
    • Incorporate technology
Ages 16-18
  • Characteristics
    • More autonomous
    • Self-directed
    • Intrinsic motivation
    • Analyze critically
  • Teaching Strategies
    • Allow your child to set their own pace
    • Draw meaningful experiences
    • Relate topics to them and their lives
    • Focus on application (the “why”)
    • Use problem-centered focus

Please note: if another 12 year old child is capable of handling a firearm safely and responsibly, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your 12 year old child is mentally and emotionally ready to handle a firearm as every child is different. However, regardless of where your child is at, it’s important to instill the universal safety rules early on: 1) every gun is real, 2) every gun is loaded, 3) no, don’t touch and 4) tell an adult (NRA’s Eddie Eagle). Growing up, we weren’t allowed to handle my grandfather’s rifles without a responsible adult in the room with us (no ammunition was present). As the parent, it’s your responsibility to set the ground rules and instill those safety rules early on because curiosity can lead to tragic accidents.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or if you’d like to sign your child up for our FREE youth firearm safety course.

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