I Let My Child Play with Knives III

knives-iii-b For Christmas Afi gave Cameron an awesome gift. It’s an axe. It’s a hammer. It’s wire cutters, wrench, knife blade, a couple of saws, file, screwdriver, and I can’t recall what else. Very cool, and Cameron was super excited about it. So excited that he started running around with it, pretending to cut, hack, and saw various items in the house.

I made very deft use of distraction and tucked it away, with the intent of bringing it out when we went camping.

But then I tidied a small patch of the stuff-dumping-zone in our bedroom (er, did I say ‘the’? Let’s be accurate here. My.  My stuff dumping zone. Old habits die hard), and didn’t tuck it back out of sight.

Hey, Mamma, I remember that! That’s mine! Can I play with it?

NO, my answer was. It’s for camping. And not a toy.

This of course led to many tears and promises that he wouldn’t play with it, he’d be good with it. And the next day we had a discussion about what this meant. It’s six months later. Call me foolish, but I’m giving him a chance.

Sknives-iii-ao, we went into the back yard yesterday, in the warm glow of the late afternoon sun, and he got to learn how to use this thing. We went through each of the tools/blades, discussing what they were for, and what they were NOT for. We talked about what I mean by ‘play’. We talked about using tools like this with intention, and what this means. We talked about handling the blade – never cut towards you!

With careful supervision, I let him loose on a dead branch.

Amazingly, the child still has all his fingers and toes. Especially toes – yes, I know, flip flops aren’t the safest foot gear.

And he’s so happy.




7 responses to “I Let My Child Play with Knives III

  1. Hi, Melanie
    My kids have pocket knives too (due to my husband’s insistence, against my better judgement). And, although they are stored tucked away, and they are not allowed to pull them out without permission, they do use them. We just make sure the girls are not too tired, someone’s prepared to supervise, and that the girls are in a mood to sit quietly and be purposeful (as you say) with them. I admit, I tend to reserve permission for when Daddy is here and can supervise, but that’s because I think it makes me more nervous than it should. So I let him supervise that activity in a more relaxed way than I could bring myself to.
    Good on you for being brave enough to let him try, and for letting him learn how to be careful and use his knife properly. 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m a little on the nervous side with him and knives, but have been letting him chop fruits and veggies for a while without any loss of fingertips. I just grit my teeth, and say, “Careful,” a lot!

  2. I have been wrestling with how and when to introduce pocket knifes/multitools to my tyke for quite some time now. I purchased a child-friendly pocket knife (with a dull blade) for my (then) 7 yrs old son but after extensive deliberation with my other half we decided to hold-off giving it to him. While, as parents, we obviously do not want our children to get hurt we also need to be cautious not to overprotect them and insulate from the real world. How are they supposed to learn to bike, skate, skateboard, etc without a few scrapes, bumps and bruises? I like your approach, it seems sensible and levelheaded, so this might just be the summer the pocket knife makes it’s debut. 🙂


    • I agree Mario – it’s such a balance between keeping them safe and teaching them the skills they need to know. I find that we really tend to shelter kids a lot in our society, and I don’t think we’re actually doing them big favours in this. So this summer the plan is to introduce the kids to more freedom, with the increase in responsibility that goes with it. The knife/saw/axe thing is just the start of it around here … and hopefully you won’t see blog posts of ER trips to go with all of this!

  3. Good for you for teaching him early on how to use it safely – definitely a good skill and habit to acquire and it’s never to early to learn to respect knives and how (and how not) to use them.

    • Thanks Mary! I agree. Kids are going to eventually need to learn to use sharp knives. Better to start now with learning to use them safely.

  4. I believe my husband coddles the children too much (Bug isn’t allowed to wash or put away the steak knives when she’s doing the dishes), but I feel they won’t be prepared for life if they grow up too sheltered. I say it’s great that you let Cameron play– I mean use– his tools!

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