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Old October 17, 2011, 01:32 PM   #1
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Is it better to get someone else to train your kids?

A marksmanship trainer in the Army told me that it was better to have someone else train your relatives.

Other people are more patient, more objective and generally can do a better job of training.

At least that's what he said.

My daughter is almost 13 and I'm losing my patience with her, it just seems like I've told her a hundred times to not put her finger on the trigger until she's ready to fire. We're just using a bolt-action pellet pistol for now and we've also talked about keeping the safety on until we're ready to fire and putting the safety back on after we fire.

Maybe I'm not cut out to teach her firearms safety and basic marksmanship.
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Old October 17, 2011, 01:48 PM   #2
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When I was around that age I had a step sister who had a similar issue, including lots of aiming the gun at my father and I. I think part of the issue can be that they are forgetting the steps, or the rules, because of anticipation of shooting.

I haven't taught much shooting to younger kids, but I have done it a bit. The way that has worked for me is taking the steps and ritualizing them. Having a safe place to set the pellet gun, a steady and easy to grab supply of pellets, and making them verbally repeat the steps after I say them, as they are performing them. We do a lot of the same thing in Martial arts, even while teaching them archery. Maybe that helped, I'm no pro.
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Old October 17, 2011, 02:06 PM   #3
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Good question. I think a lot of it depends on your child's attitude and personality, whether or not he/she wants to be there, your tone of voice, etc. I also have patience issues (which I see as lack of attention on the child's part), so I know of which you speak. My advice would be to keep it safe (gun pointed downrange, etc.), but try to make it as fun as possible without micromanaging every little thing he/she does. If you yell and/or lose your temper you won't have them there for long, and shooting with Dad will be something dreaded rather than enjoyed.

Even my 20 year old son has an annoying habit of opening a revolver, laying it on the bench, and loading it while it's on the bench (rather than in his hand), which annoys me to no end, but I try not to slam him too hard on it. Rather than saying "Pick it up!" sometimes it's better to say something like "You know, that would be easier if you hold the gun".

Good Luck.
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Old October 17, 2011, 03:00 PM   #4
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I think a lot depends on how your wired and how you interact with your kids on a daily basis. Teaching them to shoot is no different than teaching them anything else. How things have gone before with other things should give you a good idea.

As far as the kids, my buddy always summed it up pretty well..."Ya plant potatoes, ya get potatoes". If your kids are trouble for you, generally, a quick look in the mirror will reveal the source of the problems.

When you start makes a big difference too. I taught both our boys from a very early age (basically from the time they could hold their Chipmunks), and had no issues what so ever. They were learning sponges and eager to learn and please. Safety was ingrained right off, and never an issue, and they both already had "skills" when they fired their fist "live" rounds at 4. By the time many of their friends were even exposed, they were already "pros".

Ive seen friends wait until their kids were 8-10 years old before starting in on teaching them, and their experiences, while not necessarily bad, were somewhat different. I personally think, the longer you wait, the harder its going to be, and especially if you wait until they are already into the "knowing it all" stages. By the time they are coming into their teens, they have already been exposed to TV, movies, and video games, etc. If you havent counteracted that as it came up, things are apt to be somewhat more difficult.
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Old October 17, 2011, 03:15 PM   #5
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I think it also good to remember that what one child can learn at 8 years old might need to be 10 or 12 years old for another. Cognitive abilities do not develop at the same time in every child.

I work on shooting skills with my youngest daughter but I also have the range owner / NRA instructor work with her on the NRA qualifications she is working on. This helps her get reinforcement from someone that is not me, just in case she is not listening to me as closely. Also she gets to experience more kinds of shooting because the range owner will periodically grab one of his guns and give her a short lesson, and range time, on something different than the .22 rifle she has been working on, a little more variety helps keep it interesting. The patches and medals she gets for completing a new qualification level are also a great motivator for her.
Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old October 17, 2011, 03:16 PM   #6
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I think a lot of it depends on your child's attitude and personality,
If they want to shoot, they will follow the rules. If a kid is taking the rules lightly, being flippant, or outright ignoring you, then she may be telling you that she really isn't interested. Teaching a kid who really isn't interested in shooting to shoot firearms is (IMHO) punishment both for the child and for you. It's like making a kid play baseball who hates baseball - what good can come of that? Next time, leave the kid behind. Or, leave the other kids behind and explore other activities that he/she likes.
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Old October 17, 2011, 03:17 PM   #7
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I don't really remember being instructed. We always had BB guns. And I was given a single shot .22 when I was about 7 or 8 maybe.

I remember taking a hunter safe course (taught in our public school) when I was 12 or 13. We had to take that to get our hunting licence.

My Son, I taught the basics with and air soft pistol, when he was pretty young. When he plays with his nerf guns I see most times he has his finger off the trigger. When it not all I usually need to say is "where is your finger" So it seems to be sinking in.
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Old October 17, 2011, 03:25 PM   #8
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Probably a good idea.

Due to the usual parent/child relationship, it can be somewhat difficult to change the dynamic to that of instructor/student. Especially if they are teenagers

Same usually goes for wives or girlfriends. I do ok with mine by just handing her the gun and staying out of her way. If she has a jam, I talk her through clearing it, but let her do it herself. And I have only good things to say about her marksmanship - even though its pretty bad But I am aware that it will do absolutely nothing to critique everything she does "wrong" because it will make her not even want to do it anymore. She does have a bad habit of keeping her finger out of the trigger guard, but I gently remind her after I dive to the ground

Seeing as how she only shoots to make me happy, I'd say it works. But if you really want good training to take, get someone else to do it. Then use it as a bonding experience once they have learned the ropes
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Old October 17, 2011, 05:46 PM   #9
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I never had a problem with it. I trained my kids and have never had a single safety issue at home or on the range. Of course I have made the do pushups instead of spanking since they were old enough to do a correct pushup, It's amazing how quickly they get the push up form down when they realize the alternative punishment for misbehavior.

I trained my sister too and that saved her from being raped or killed a few years back. I demanded that she know how to load, clear, and clean her weapon before I would give it to her. She said, "What's the big deal, you just point and pull the trigger" The first time we went to the range I don't think she even aimed for the first mag because she assumed "the force" would guide the bullets to the target.

With my sister She was motivated by the very real possibility of needing to defend herself and her daughter. I made it clear that I wouldn't take her shooting unless she could recite the 4 safety rules by heart. Once we went shooting I told her I would only buy her lunch if she could put all 10 rounds in a paper plate at 10 yds. I then told her She could choose the restaurant if she could do it at 25 yds. I bought lunch the first time and every time after that but she didn't choose the restaurant until the 3rd or 4th trip.

I don't think a non relative could have known how to motivate her as well.

With my kids they are just well disciplined so safety wasn't an issue. They and don't mind PT too much but it is still a negative reinforcement. I make them push in the same way and for the same reasons as my soldiers. Promises of Waffle house is enough positive motivation to make my kids do almost anything else I think.
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Old October 17, 2011, 06:01 PM   #10
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I would recomend that if you can afford it, and it someone that is professional, and the key here is. Someone they will listen to, and take correction, as to not recieving it as someone nagging, or being hard on them. I say go for it. They will probably enjoy the experience.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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Old October 17, 2011, 10:13 PM   #11
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very few parents will ever be able to do what is necessary to teach safety.

In fact, most of the self indulgent prats that I see on a day to day basis should never have even taught their own kids how to walk.

The way you see kids and parents behaving on the soccer fields is a pretty good indication of which kids would wind up dumping a .45 round into their best friend's poodle.

I see all of these hair brained idiots on their motorcycles on main street every weekend night, and ask myself, if they're going 60 mph through a 20 mph zone on one wheel with no freakin helmet, what would they do if they had a gun?

Obviously, I'm not calling you a bad parent.

The problem is, you're trying to teach something that demands extreme discipline and attention, and that is not something that most kids/parents can do well together, whereas most kids can take instruction from strangers a whole lot better.
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Old October 17, 2011, 11:50 PM   #12
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That depends. First, the person needs to know proper firearm safety and shooting techniques if they are going to teach others. For this reason alone, a certified instructor may be a very good decision. Many times is is best for a certified instructor who is not family or a friend to work with a shooter.

If a student has an attitude problem, a good certified instructor is likely to be a good choice. However, the problem may be to something else. Don't take this the wrong way, but here are a few things to look at objectively.

Has your daughter been given tasks or chores over the years to help develop good cognitive skills and being responsible? How responsible is she? How are her school grades? Does she have a hard time paying attention? Does she have a hard time following instructions? Does she respect authority and other people?

Do you point out the good things she does and not just the areas she needs to improve? Have you been overly critical of her while she has been growing up? Do you ridicule her or talk about her mistakes to others - especially in front of her or where she can see or hear you talk about her behind her back where what you have said comes back to her? Do you demand perfection? Does she respect you or just fear you? How is your relationship with your daughter? How do you treat her mother?

We had a troop come to the range to work on merit badges. Range rules were covered with the kids and adults (leaders and parents), and we had certified instructors and range officers on the range to work with the kids. There was one dad there that had the type of personality where rules do not apply to him, and he is the authority on everything. He told me I needed to back away from his kid as I was making his kid nervous. I replied the range rules apply to everyone, and we need to be close enough to the kids to watch for range violations to help ensure a safe shooting environment. I continued that if the dad did not personally want me to work with his kid, I would switch with another personnel on the range. I worked with his kid, and he did fine. The kid would get nervous if his dad came around and tried to instruct. The dad realized he was not going to run the show and that instruction would be done by the range personnel. The dad was critical of others, demanded perfection and had the attitude that he was the authority on everything and could do anything better than anyone else. Not the type of personality that works well trying to teach others. I feel sorry for those that live under the same roof with this guy or others like him.
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Old October 18, 2011, 07:44 AM   #13
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very few parents will ever be able to do what is necessary to teach safety.
I sure hope they aren't relying on the government to do it for them! Perhaps the government should teach us all gun safety while they are handing out food stamp credit cards and other "free stuff".
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Old October 18, 2011, 07:56 AM   #14
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Although teachers are often teachers b/c they are good at it. Contrary to popular belief, it is a skilled labor position. The issue here (and I'm echoing the previous posters) might be that your daughter just isn't ready. Kids are all different.

Have you asked her if she's interested? "Hey hon, I keep asking you to watch your finger and when you put it on the trigger, but you don't seem to hear me. Do you really want to do learn how to do this? If you don't that's okay. Maybe we should put this away for awhile."

You can always pick it up later.
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Old October 18, 2011, 08:16 AM   #15
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for my daughters have learned to shoot, the first time was through the NRA / 4H basic rifle and Hunter safety programs with other instructors.

I was second step, with the 4H Jr. rifle program and required either of the above for participating.
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Old October 18, 2011, 04:21 PM   #16
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I will echo a small bit of my previous statement. It must be someone that they will listen to, that is professional enough to give correction, and feedback without seeming like a ticked off drill instructor. If it makes shooting not fun I doubt any kid would want to stick with it, and I would not blame them one darn bit for it either.

Note my grampa taught me to shoot. In my eyes the man was king of the world. He was retired Army, and a few years of that was as an instructor for Special Forces. Never once during his teaching any of us grandkids did he yell at, spank, or insult any of us grandkids. He knew how to get into my mind, and we thought on the same wavelength. It is no wonder that I inherited his collection of guns.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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Old October 18, 2011, 09:28 PM   #17
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Among professional trainers, the saying is:
There are three things all American men think they know how to do.
Driving and shooting are two of them!
There are two things a man should NEVER try to teach his significant other:
Driving and Shooting

You say: "OK, now squeeze the trigger."
She hears: "I never want to see your cassarole suprise again!"

(I have been teaching firearms since 1973. I have found this to be absolutly true. Since I do not train children, I cannot speak to that specific issue.)
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Old October 19, 2011, 01:02 PM   #18
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Count, the problem is that you have already taught her that she can ignore you a hundred times, and you will still hand her a gun. It's time to change that. That goes for driving too in a couple of years.

A paid instructor worth his fee will cancel her instruction the first time she ignores him.

You know how to shoot and are capable of teaching her. It sounds like she doesn't really want to learn. That's okay; let her do something else.

Best of luck!
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Old October 19, 2011, 01:26 PM   #19
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When my wife wanted to start shooting with me, we both took a firearms safety class together, just so that we would be on the same page.

When I took scuba diving, the instructor separated husbands and wives so they would not bicker. It worked well.

Trained instructors will no doubt be more patient with your own children than you will. I would suggest you attend, but not instruct your own kids as part of class. Just be a patient observer.

The nice thing is that if there is ever a problem, then you can call on the rules noted by the instructor. That way, they aren't violating your rules and you aren't the bad guy, just the enforcer. Of course, you have to abide by all the same rules as well.
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Old October 19, 2011, 01:29 PM   #20
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Maybe guns are just not her thing or maybe now anyhow. We started my daughter out when she was about 4 yrs old. with a bb gun. Let them have a blast, go outside by themselves and shoot cans, birds whatever. Have a competition between you, mom other kids with bean cans. Just let them have fun and id they get more interested they'll come around. Shoot, if it wasnt so much fun I wouldnt even be doing it!
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Old October 19, 2011, 02:14 PM   #21
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I think the biggest problem is waiting until they are older to start teaching them. You dont need an "instructor" to teach them not to play with matches, touch the stove, run in traffic, or do any of the other daily dangerous things they may encounter in their lives, whats any different with guns?

If you start while they are still in the stage that "you" are the teacher/programmer, and there are no other outside influences, then you generally get better results. Once they get older, and have had other influences, and may now have other distractions, it becomes a little more of a challenge.

If they already have all the basics down before school starts, then youre already way ahead of things. If they never want to touch a gun again (unlikely though at that point), who cares, they are already trained in them to at least be safe and know what they are, how they operate, and what to expect from them.

Its sort of like drown proofing your kids. Our kids didnt now how to actually "swim'' (according to the "experts") until they were 6 or so, but they were in the water basically from birth, and could be thrown in with little worry of them drowning, simply because they knew how to come up for air and not panic. Try teaching that to a kid whos never been in the water at age 10. Its a lot more difficult.
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Old October 19, 2011, 06:11 PM   #22
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I taught my 3 kids and it seemed to go well enough. I'm still teaching my older son and guiding him into comfortable concealed carry. He's definitely seeing a different side of me-the old man who's seen the elephant.
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Old October 20, 2011, 07:04 AM   #23
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She does want to shoot. On her own, she wrote out the 4 rules of hand gun saftey and she also drew different kind of sight pictures and almost got it right. She seemed to mix up bad sight pictures with unsafe gun handling. I guess that's not too far off, if someone can't hit the target they do create unsafe conditions. But she did that on her own and she did tell me that she wants to learn to fire.

Still, I looked into some jr shooter programs. The club close to use has a $400 one-time fee plus a $175.00 membership fee. Kind of steep so I've been looking for other options.

For some reason, the trigger on my Sheridan Blue-Streak has turned into a really stiff 2 stage trigger. It was great to learn on when I was a kid, but the trigger on it now needs work for some reason.
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Old October 20, 2011, 01:02 PM   #24
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I can see where getting someone else to teach you is good idea. My father is a brilliant man and a professor at Johns Hopkins but all of us kids had private tutors growing up. My father was fully capable of doing it himself and even worked as a private tutor but with us it just didn't work.
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Old October 20, 2011, 01:21 PM   #25
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Basic training or more advanced?

Basic safety training is not that hard, more advanced training you might want someone else to do.
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