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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trick knives bought by children

Feel a little like holding my head in my hands... I started this anti-knife crime blog as a memorial - but also in the hope it can persuade people not to carry knives as weapons, to help try to make knife carrying as anti-social as, say, smoking.

This weekend my 10-year-old daughter came to show me a plastic toy knife she bought at a car boot sale this weekend - for two pence. The picture of it in this post is almost identical to the one she bought.

What surprised me was how happy she was to have bought it. It had a spring loaded plastic blade that gives the impression of a blade passing into the body when, in fact, the blade passes (harmlessly) into the handle. You can pretend to stab yourself - great fun for kids, it seems.

My daughter loved this trick. She does like drama and acting so I guess it appealed to the theatrical side of her personality. Being young and innocent, she thought it was - simply - a great trick.

Me, however, being somewhat sensitised to knives used as weapons, am just wondering how to best communicate about knife-carrying to young people without being way too overbearing. Far better for any child to independently understand the dangers of carrying knives and not want to have one, seems to be a useful message to convey.

At the moment, I think I'm partly right and partly wrong. My children have also play-acted with fake confectionery cigarettes but openly discuss the dangers of dying from smoking-related cancer and how they are anti-smoking. My aim now then is to have them express similar sentiments about knives and knife-carrying. A communication challenge with some complexities - but, all being well, I'll let you know what happens.

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