“(B)y shielding children from every possible risk, we may lead them to react with exaggerated fear to situations that aren’t risky at all and isolate them from the adult skills that they will one day have to master”. (From WSJ: “Should we let toddlers play with saws and knives“)
You don’t need to convince us of the virtue of letting your kids use knives. Personally I have been letting my children use my band-saw (under extremely close, hands-on supervision) since they were 4. They have also used all manner of hand-tools since that age as well. But it is always worth noting when a “pro-tool” piece involving young children breaks into the mainstream media.
The article linked above summarizes an anthropological piece in the journal Child Development, where researchers examined tool use among toddlers in non-western societies. Kids begin edged tool use as early as 3 in many cultures, emulating parents and learning important physical and mental skills.
We are the “WEIRD” ones – Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic, who thwart our kids development by not letting kids take risks. Unfortunately, should an accident occur, too often the parents are punished by overzealous authorities – leading to “defensive” parenting. If we don’t allow our kids to take risks, they do not learn to deal with failure.
In the case of knives: if a child gets accidentally cut (hopefully mildly), it reinforces the need to respect the tool and pay attention. By barring kids from tool use, we instead either teach them to fear said object, or give it a “forbidden-fruit” quality. Either way it leads to far worse consequences down the road.
(h/t KnifeRights via Facebook)
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