Need advice from the fathers out there...

Mar 3, 2006
My almost 5 year old son is asking for a knife, mainly to pry apart his Lego's when they get stuck together, and partly to feel like a big boy. I have let him handle my small CS Voyager (only with my supervision, of course), and he obeys all the safety rules I have given him. I'm starting to think he may be ready for something like a Victorinox Classic with a small blade and scissors (again,only under adult supervision). He has promised to use it only as a tool, and to never try to take it out of the house.

If any of you fathers out there could share your experiences of giving knives to your own children, it would be a big help in making my decision.
im not a father, but my first knife was also an sak. given to me by my father when i was about 10. not because i had to wait until 10, that was just the age i became interested. he also got me my first bb gun around that time.

in general, 5 may be a little young, but if he is responsible and has good overall judgement, which it sounds like he does, then go for it.

i think the younger one learns to be responsible with guns/knives, the more responsible they will be when adults.
Everyone has opinions, my opinion is he is too young for a sharp knife, even under adult supervision.

He probably does not have the muscle/reflex or total coordination that he needs to control a razor sharp blade while doing things like prying legos apart, and one slip and it could be micro surgery for him. :eek:

It's hard enough for us adults sometimes.

You could dull a knife to a blunt blade and get by with this for a while, if he tells you it does not whittle good like my boys did at that age, then tell him he is not quite ready for a razor sharp knife.

I gave my boys a knife about that age, dulled them so much they would barely cut butter, they played for hours on end with those dull knives, still have them to this day and my boys are in their late twenties.

EdiT: I used to have to cover my face to keep them from seeing me laugh at both my boys with such determination to get them dull knives to whittle, all they would do it scratch the bark off, but they thought they were really doing something big.

Robbie Roberson ;)
I'm 46 and I did not get my first knife untill I was 11. That was 1971. I am sure all will agree that was a different time and place. I did get a watch and had to learn to tell time at 5 and that was a major thing to me as a child. When I got my first knife (a Barlow Folder) I would slip off to the woods and carve up every olive tree I would come in contact with. Today with laws regarding every aspect in our lives be they prudent or not, I held off till my Son was 15 and really understood what a knife was for. He is a Sgt. in the Army and doing a second tour in IRAQ as I type this and for Christmas I sent him a new Spyderco MiliCF BG42. Because that is what he asked for. He respects and appreciates knives and bladed tools. I guess I am saying let your Son admire your knives and your respect for them just a few more years. Then you won't need to know if it's the right time.... Hope that all came out right, I miss my kid and your Q brought back great thoughts. Thanks!!!! ~baba~
rr good points. dull the blade, i hadnt thought of that.

i imagine prying legos is not what he would really let his son do, or at least i hope.
2 girls here, 9 & 12. Knives issued at 10 yrs. The 9 yr old has a Native to keep in her room only.
Well its really all a matter of trust, i was only walking for a year before i had my first knife, so like 3, maybe even younger. may dad carried one, so i had to, too. he gave me the rules, and if i messes up, i wouldn't see that knife till i was old enough to buy my own. so there was no way i was gonna break them. and sure i had cut my self, but i still do.

so i say if you think he can handle it, with out being stupid. and you arnt too worried about him hurting him self, give it try. and if you don't like the idea, you can always take it away.
I'm not a father, but five sure seems an awfully young age to give a child a knife. Perhaps it depends on the maturity level of the child.
I would say that the SAK Classic is one of the more dangerous knives for small hands. the blades don't lock (scars to prove it), the handels are soo small to hold on to as well. My vote is get a 1.75 - 2.25 inch lockback for him in a couple years. For now give him a nailfile (sharpened?) to pry LEGOS with.
There is an amazing amount of maturing that goes on between five and six, between 1st and 2nd grade.
My kids are 6 (girl) & 8(boy). they use my knives only when I can watch them. watching them with a knife is the only way I Know of to tell when they are ready for one of their own.( they are not) Even a dull knife will cut them (unless it is VERY dull) as their skin will cut easier then almost any thing else they will try to cut. Also remember sooner or later they will be cut. It's all part of growing up. Sooner or later they will cut something they are not shouldn't that's part of growing up to. Good luck.
My son is 9. He got his first 22 rifle at age 7. He has been taught gun safety since he was old enough to understand. The rifle still stays in my gun safe.
He got his first knife when he was 6, and now has the great start on a collection of Case knives. He was also taught knife safety and care and is responsible with them, however I would not let him have one to carry around outside yet. Not so much that I don't trust him, but you never know whats going to happen with other kids around.. Start em young and teach them correctly so they to can enjoy these things during their life, there are so many kids that don't have anyone to teach them. Usually the parents forbid guns and knives and teach kids that they are unsafe and no one needs to have them. :(
I got my first knife at 8. My son got his first knife when he was 12 and my daughter got her first knife when she was 14. They would have received knives earlier if they had been interested.

That being said, IMO, 5 is too young for a knife. I don't believe there is sufficient maturity in that age group. Because you must think not only of the maturity of your son, but of the maturity of his friends as well. Children get egged on by their friends to do things that normally they would not do. This is especially true of boys. It would be much easier on your son not to have to withstand that peer pressure.

If he wants a tool to pull apart legos, you could have a suitable tool in the kitchen that you or your wife could have him use in your presence (your or hers). That gives him a tool and responsibility and it removes any peer pressure issues.
I'm a father that has a five year old daughter. I *definitely* would not give my daughter a knive, dull or not. Even if it was a sheepsfoot blade and it couldn't cut butter. Wait till your son is older. I hate to hear about a kid being stuck with a knife because he was prying some Lego blocks apart or tried to sharpen it because it was too dull in the first place. Kids like to *show and tell* and if he brought it to school, he may be reprimanded or worst.
My son is only a few months old, but I'll tell you what my father did (best dad in the world by the way).

I was given my first knife (a SAK) when I was seven. My dad first took me shooting before I could even remember. He taught me how to respect knives and guns as tools that served a purpose but could also be used to cause great harm. Never once did he tell me that knives or guns were bad or dangerous. Only the person that uses them can be.

My dad first made sure I was responsible and educated enough first.

My little brother didn't get his own knife until he bought his own as an adult. Dad just knew that little brother was not ready. He is in his thirties now and is still not ready (he cut himself real badly a couple of years ago doing something foolish).

Even when I was allowed to carry a pocketknife my dad watched me like a hawk until I proved to be responsible. He trusted me, and I knew that was the only reason I was given a knife. I was a very mature seven year old (I wish I was that mature now;) ). Personally I would never let a 5 year old have a knife that he could do with as he pleases.

I have already bought my son a few special knives that he will get when I feel he is mature enough for me to trust him. The little pocket knife was something that I earned and was a big milestone in me growing up.

You can always share your knives with him and tell him that when he gets older and responsible you will give them to him. It will give him something to strive for.
New-ish father here. No boy is too young to own a pocket knife of his own, but using/sharpening/carrying? I'm aiming for 8-10 years old as appropriate. Every kid's different, but five seems too young. I can't recall myself that long ago, but my guess is that five-year-olds lack the strength, coordination, or judgement necessary for using a knife, even with close supervision.

Best Wishes,
How 'bout a small pry bar? 5 is a bit young for a blade IMO, but not too young for tools. A small prybar such as the Vaughn or Stanley mini pry bars are very useful tools in their own right, and may be perfect for those stuck Legos. Wait a few more years for the blade with a cutting edge.

My son got his own knife at 8. My daughter at 10. Both were pretty good with simple cutting tools such as scissors and wood saw before the knife came along. They're both pretty responsible, and know the rules of using sharp objects. My son has cut his finger once, but took care of it himself without incident. I think he may have been scared if he'd made a big fuss over the incident and chose to inform me after it was bandaged.