To think a penknife isn't suitable for 10-year-old DS?

(44 Posts)
loobs2 Fri 22-Nov-13 16:00:00

Our son has included a penknife on hie xmas wish-list and whilst DH thinks it an ideal stocking-filler I can't see the point, nor am I sure it's appropriate for him. None of his friends has one, nor is he in the Scouts...nor even engaged in the kind of pursuits a penknife might come in handy for! DH says it's one of those things active young boys just like to have, and he himself had one by the age of 10...

sOODdragon Fri 22-Nov-13 16:01:07

I had one when I was primary school age. I wouldn't let mine have it unsupervised though.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 22-Nov-13 16:04:47

I think it'd be fine so long as he knows how to use it and stay safe with it.

I think he should be encouraged to do some of those things he may need a penknife for,and this may just inspire him!

Twitterqueen Fri 22-Nov-13 16:06:53

It's a boy thing. I suspect he would absolutely love it.
Scouting / activities etc are irrelevant.
He may never use it but they're just nice things to have...

I would get one for him.

ErrorError Fri 22-Nov-13 16:07:16

I got one aged about 8. Strict rules though, definitely not to be taken out of the house to other friends' houses. Except in my own garden if whittling sticks. Definitely not taken to be taken to school. Does your DS tell you why he wants one? If he's showing an interest in practical things then it might be fun to sit with him and show him all the things he can do with it. I had the most basic model so that's an idea if you're a bit nervous about it.

squoosh Fri 22-Nov-13 16:07:48

I bought one for a 6 month old, granted he probably isn't allowed to play with it just yet!

movingaway Fri 22-Nov-13 16:08:22

I had a swiss army knife at that age... liked to think of myself as a bit of a tomboy, in reality the only bit I ever used was the scissors (and a few years later the corkscrew...)

I guess it depends what you think he wants it for?

bochead Fri 22-Nov-13 16:10:39

DS is seriously into bushcraft and got a fire steel as part of his birthday. He's had compasses, binoculars and other related items for years.

A penknife is MINE and I lend it to him for specific activities iyswim. This isn't the era your partner grew up in. Aged 8 my lad was threatened in the playground with a knife. Knife culture and crime is rife now amongst even scarily young kids in some parts of the country, and gifts everywhere sadly now have to reflect this horrid contemporary climate.

If your child is found to have a knife in their possession by anyone in authority (school, youth clubs, parks, the street) the legal ramifications for a child now of age for criminal prosecution are not good. For this reason I carry the penknife to and from activities, (and keep a leaflet about said activity in my handbag).

You need to protect your child by saying now and drag your partner kicking and screaming into 2013 from his boyhood comic stories. Kids aren't even supposed to read about the famous five nowadays, much less act it out lol! wink.However this is far more serious than just the usual PC nonsense, in London approx 250 kids/teens dies every year now from knife crime.

NoComet Fri 22-Nov-13 16:13:53

certainly not a boy thing, DD1 had one at that sort of age.

haggisaggis Fri 22-Nov-13 16:14:23

I got ds one for his 10th birthday - strict instructions not to take it outside our house. He liked looking at all the tools and fiddling about with it - but hasn't bothered much with it after that. I think it's fine. He also has afire steel and a kind of saw made from some wire. These are all good, 10 year old presents, I think.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 22-Nov-13 16:14:50

I agree with bochead to a degree.

He shouldn't be allowed to just randomly carry it about with him.

However I think knife crime shouldn'tstop innocent kids learning skills and enjoying the outdoors in a perfectly natural way.

Perhaps a book on bushcraft too,to further emphasise what the penknife is for.

17leftfeet Fri 22-Nov-13 16:15:09

It's illegal for a child to purchase a knife

It's illegal for a reason

My 9 year old DD got one for her birthday. There are some which are designed for children of that age - very small blade, rounded end to knife. We obivously only give it to her when she is under supervision, otherwise it is away in the camping gear, but she loves it and used it loads over the summer.

That all said, I think you should have a clear idea why you would want him to have a pen knife. We go camping in really basic campsites - the wilder the better, and therefore we both teach her to use a knife as part of camp craft. I wouldn't buy a penknife for a child just to 'have'. Carrying a penknife without good reason could be (and would be by the police) seen as carrying a weapon, and there is no way I would support that. Therefore if your DH is deadset on this as a gift, then he needs to really think hard as to whether he will also undertake to teach DS the use of a penknife as a tool - not a weapon.

I would go back to DH and ask him what he means by handy - and how is he going to teach DS this 'craft'. (BTW there are some great camp craft books available too - buy both together if you do decide to get a penknife)

MaddAddam Fri 22-Nov-13 16:16:02

My dds have all had penknives from about 8. Plus various sharp woodworking knives (they're also into bushcraft and whittling) from that sort of age. My 9yo is pretty sensible with knives, I don't see any problem as long as they don't take them to inappropriate places or use them carelessly - which my dds don't.

harticus Fri 22-Nov-13 16:17:42

I had a penknife at his age and I am not a boy.
And I didn't butcher myself or anyone else with it.
It all depends on the child.

BackforGood Fri 22-Nov-13 16:23:54

Mine have all had them from 11 (once they are in Scouts, and use them on camps). They love the fact they each have their own and are very proud of them, but they have been taught appropriate 'rules'.

I really hate to be too judgemental, but I think a great deal depends on where you live, who his friends are and what he does in his spare time. Whilst I'm sure there may be reasons for someone in inner city London who hangs out in shopping centres/cinemas in his spare time to have a penknife, I can't think of many. If your son does cubs/scouts, or enjoys camping, etc. then there may be more valid reasons.

Having potentially dangerous items can teach children that they are not toys and should be treated with respect as they can cause injury.

DD's school starts bushcraft lessons when they are 7, and the children use pen knives from about that age.

I certainly wouldn't let a child carry it around routinely though.

Incidentally, it's illegal to carry a can of hairspray, if it is your intention to use it as a weapon. Having said that, the carrying of a knife is one crime where there is a presumption of guilt rather than the usual presumption of innocence, and it is up to the carrier to demonstrate that they have legitimate reasons to carry a knife, rather than for the prosecution to demonstrate guilt. At least that is how I have always understood it, quite a few members of my religion use knives as ritual tools, so there was quite a lot of publicity when the law came into being, about how and when to carry knives in public places.

squoosh Fri 22-Nov-13 16:32:15

Oh are you a Sikh worldgonecrazy? I remember the man who was prevented from entering Lords with his ceremonial dagger.

Supervised whittling /bark stripping is fine at this age, but I always kept the knife when not in use.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 22-Nov-13 16:37:36

I would LOVE my DD's school to do bushcraft classes world.

I suggested getting involved in the whole forest school thing to the headmaster but got no response.

I think he was too busy doing the school website and twitter thingie to listen sad.

starfishmummy Fri 22-Nov-13 16:39:37

I had one before that age too - but different times; we could carry them round without anyone thinking we were going to stab people!

In fact one of the teachers at my junior school had penknives and a whetstone for sharpening them in the classroom for sharpening our pencils.

FredFredGeorge Fri 22-Nov-13 16:41:21

It's entirely appropriate gift.

It's inappropriate to let him take to school / out playing etc.

WooWooOwl Fri 22-Nov-13 18:31:08

My ds had one at age 9, but he does a lot of camping first with cubs and now scouts, and they were taught about knife safety, which is constantly reinforced.

I wouldn't have wanted him to have it if he wasn't also going to be taught about when it is and isn't appropriate to use it, and how to use it safely.

loobs2 Fri 22-Nov-13 18:45:49

Hmm. DH has already said DS wouldn't be allowed to take it out with him (would never ever let him near school with it!) but that he could take it on, say, a country walk with us when he might find sticks to whittle or somesuch, and on camping trips... I don't necessarily have a problem with that except that the country walks are occasional, the camping trip a once-a-year event! So when would DS actually make use of it? Hardly ever! As DH has also pointed out, DS is a sensible boy and mature for his age so could be trusted with it I think, but I'm still not sure. DH has made it clear I'm going to be very unpopular if I dig my heels in over this...

loobs2 Fri 22-Nov-13 18:49:39

Only fair to add that DH does know quite a bit about appropriate use of penknifes and safety etc. and I know he would give DS good guidance...

<looks down> Nope, not a boy and I had one.

They have to learn to be responsible at some point and I learnt a few painful lessons about not cutting corners and being responsible form my knife.

Velvetbee Fri 22-Nov-13 18:57:34

Mine are allowed a penknife for their 10th birthdays, it's a right of passage. We teach them to use it properly though.

bochead Fri 22-Nov-13 19:34:37

I'm sure the Mum of the lad who threatened mine in the school playground felt the same. She's a lovely lady tbf. That was a "rite of passage" gift too.

Kids aren't allowed to purchase knives themselves so where else are Primary kids getting them from if not their parents?

Times have changed, and not for the better. No-one's too middle class to be a victim : ( Knife crime is a major issue facing our young in Britain today and we all have a part to play in combating it.

I got one for my 7th birthday. Never hurt myself or anyone else with it except when I caught a bit of skin while folding it the first time. I did manage to chop the end of my finger off while chopping veg aged 16 tho.

Mirage Fri 22-Nov-13 19:42:43

I always had pen knives as a small child and still have one now. DD1 [10] has asked for one for Christmas and we will be buying her one.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 22-Nov-13 19:44:57

I can understand how horrible it is to have a personal experience of knife crime.That must have been awful for you and your DS bochead.

But I think that kids should still be able to learn bushcraft skills and have fun in the great outdoors.And learn to use knives responsibly and learn the damage that they do.

We cannot remove knives completely - people intent on causing harm will always be able to get hold of them.

bochead Fri 22-Nov-13 20:37:32

DS wasn't the child taken to hospital in that encounter wink. The awful bit was the guilt he felt afterwards as I'd always taught him fighting is very wrong (bedwetting, nightmares etc). The school nurse was fantastic with him.

However as a result of that incident (cos honestly the other child was NOT the stereotypical monster child from a "problem" family etc) I stand by what I said at the top of the thread. The world isn't this perfect place we'd all love it to be for our kids sometimes, yet we owe it to them not to contribute to the problem.

Not to do our part is to be incredibly irresponsible - let parents retain official ownership of things the LAW regards as offensive weapons.

At 10 a child is considered to have criminal responsibility & carrying one means you are assumed guilty not innocent, an unusual position. Another poster mentioned the strangeness of the laws of offensive weapons further up thread. Why risk putting your kid in that position in the first place?

Didn't stop him spending the summer at bushcraft classes having the time of his life either. However I retain full OWNERSHIP of the penknife. If asked I'd rather he told a police man, or any other potentially disapproving authority figure "that's my Mum's knife". I as this automatically states my supervision iysim. It's too late once your kid has this sort of conviction to wish you'd handled things differently.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 22-Nov-13 21:10:21

That sounds really good bochead smile

I'm glad he still does his bushcraft!

jamdonut Fri 22-Nov-13 21:16:32

I had one which stayed on my Guide camp dress belt, so aged 10ish. Whiled many an hour away whittling notches into sticks!!

jamdonut Fri 22-Nov-13 21:19:54

Personally, I'm more alarmed by the BB guns children get given as presents. A child brought one into school a short while back, and couldn't understand why we insisted we looked after it, and that Mum come and pick it up from the school ofice. Actually, I don't think she ever did in the end!

sOODdragon Fri 22-Nov-13 21:50:09

DS wasn't the child taken to hospital in that encounter.

confused your DS caused another boy to be sent to hospital?

SomethingkindaOod Fri 22-Nov-13 22:01:20

DS got a penknife at age 9, it stays in his toolbox along with the hand drill and usual tools in the shed and he never leaves the garden with it in his possession unless he's going den building in his friends (massive tree filled) garden. Even though it's only on the next street one of us will walk him round, only because of the risk of him getting stopped while carrying a box of tools, a police officer may not believe that a teenager is actually going doing a spot of DIY...
He's getting quite handy with a penknife, his grandad is teaching him whittling grin

YouAreMyRain Fri 22-Nov-13 22:37:25


I had one as a kid, loved whittling sticks etc.

IloveJudgeJudy Sat 23-Nov-13 15:58:11

Yes. It's definitely appropriate. He will love it, treasure it, look after it and learn how to use it. All our DC have had penknives as presents in the past and they have really looked after them.

VerySmallSqueak Sat 23-Nov-13 16:16:26

I really do,when I think about it,believe that to learn to use a knife is to learn the damage they can inflict.And to learn that they are tools,not weapons.

valiumredhead Sat 23-Nov-13 21:27:43

Ds spends hours whittling sticks in the garden. He loves his.

valiumredhead Sat 23-Nov-13 21:28:58

Ds learned knife safety early on though, he learned his to chop veg from about 3 and went to cooking classes where they are shown how to be safe.

ManifestoMT Sun 24-Nov-13 03:36:32

Hi I just wanted to correct a post further up that there are

"London approx 250 kids/teens dies every year now from knife crime."

There are about 50. The total of people murdered in the uk is 650 and that's all murders.

Knife crime is huge though I am not negating that but did not want to give the impression that uk is over run.
Half the uk knife crime is reported in London so it a London thing more than a uk wide problem. ( at the moment)

madwomanintheatt1c Sun 24-Nov-13 04:13:26

Ds is getting one. He's 11. It will be for scouts though, where he needs to earn his knife permit before he is allowed to take it to camp.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now