The Cutting Edge

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Toddler Using Kitchen Knife Sparks Controversy

It’s pretty rare when you come to the intersection of mommy blogs and knife blogs, but that’s where we meet today.

A woman who blogs and podcasts about parenting recently posted a video that has sparked conversation and even outrage among parents. And it’s something we’ve talked about on this very blog as well.

Take a look:

Kathleen's capable boy

Awesome!!! I love this from Kathleen:"I’ve been working on giving my 2.5 year old meaningful helper roles during our household tasks—not just to “occupy” him while I get things done, but ways he can really contribute—pairing socks, putting away the silverware, wiping the low surfaces in the kitchen with a rag, etc. Tonight he chopped all the cucumbers for the salad while I prepared the rest of dinner. Then he dressed and mixed it. I really enjoyed making dinner together tonight, and the pushed I’ve gotten around trust from this group have helped. Thank you!"

Posted by Janet Lansbury on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A woman named Kathleen lets her two-and-a-half-year-old son help around the house in a serious way. In a video posted on Facebook, you see the little guy using a knife to cut up some cucumbers en route to making a salad.

As the parent of a 3-year-old, I think this is awesome and so do many of the parents who follow the blog.

Unfortunately, not all the followers agree.

Here are a few of the comments:

Am I the only one freaking out about a 2 year old with a knife?!? Yes it’s absolutely a great idea to have them help you with meaningful jobs 😍but…a 2 year old with a knife?!? 😅😅😳 No thanks 🙃


I think it’s great to teach kids life skills starting at a young age. A 2 1/2 year old cutting cucumbers with a sharp knife? Not so much. Why not let him cook on the stove as well? Smh.

This isn’t the first time someone has sparked controversy over knives being used at younger ages. Back in 2014, Bear Grylls made some waves when he said he lets his 6-year-old son use sharp knives.

Here is an excerpt from the article I wrote about five years ago:

But he was adamant that “if you try to negate risk in children’s lives, you do them a disservice. You teach them not to be afraid of risk. You cannot negate risk. Risk is everywhere.” He also said, “My six-year-old cut himself on a knife and had blood pouring everywhere. But he’s not cut himself again. He has learnt how to handle a knife.”

Other studies have revealed that children who use knives are more self-sufficient than those who are not exposed to knives or other riskier behaviors.

The way I see it is that age really has nothing to do with whether a child should handle a knife. It all has to do with maturity and their propensity for responsibility. If you have an immature 6-year-old who fails to exhibit responsibility, they may have to wait longer to have a knife than a 4-year-old who is mature.

cooking together

That’s the approach I took in my article on 10 first knives to give to a kid.

My kid cuts things with knives that are designed specifically for children and when he asks to use a knife to cut an apple, I don’t discourage it. I have also exposed him to pocket knives (for obvious reasons).

As he gets older, I will have to determine when he should get his own pocket knife, but I believe it’s my own opinion based on my knowledge of him and his behavior.

Do you think a child can be too young to use a knife?


  1. got my first real (22) GUN WHEN I WAS SIX.

    • Tim

      January 29, 2019 at 10:08 am

      Yes, but when did you get your first knife is the real question!

      • My children each got the first knife they could carry unsupervised at 13. That said, I started teaching them how to use knives safely when they expressed an interest (each was different). Cub scouts can carry one after they get their whittling badge (6 or 7?).

  2. I see no problem at all with this. The parents and the boy need to be complimented. Those parents who are freaking out are not doing their children any favors. If this is an issue, then many of us have certainly become sheep.

  3. In watching the video, it is clear that the child has been given proper training on how to use a knife. And he is being supervised while he is using it. This is called parenting. We need more of it these days.
    If the child was handed a knife without any training and allowed to run around with it unsupervised, then it would be a whole different situation. It is a real shame that the adults who are freaking out about the video do not have the ability to recognize the difference in the two situations. Maybe the child in the video is more mature than the folks who are freaking out about seeing him learning to take care of himself with an important life skill.

  4. Sheep? Just because someone disagrees with your viewpoint does not make them sheep. Not all parents are as responsible as those of you that are posting here. And not all parents that buy their 6yo son their first knife or box cutter concern themselves with small matters like safety and responsibility.
    No some parents play well at being the upright, do rights

    Until another child is bleeding out on their floor because left to their own devices their knife collecting kid got over excited.

    I agree that this video shows a child with training. The scenarios are apples and oranges. And ill apologize for my reaction, but 4 months ago my grandson was that boy on the floor and I’m no sheep. If you provide the tool, provide the training until the responsibility is understood, or be accountable yourself.

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