Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Health Class

Yesterday we got a notice in CJ's school stuff that she will be having a "Human Growth and Development" class next week. This will cover the following:
* Male and Female reproductive anatomy and development
* Hygiene issues and concerns
* Menstruation
* Emotional, Social, and Cognitive changes
* How to live a healthy lifestyle

Sounds good to me!

But along with this, there is a date for parents to meet to discuss/learn more about this class and at the bottom is a section where a parent can sign and date "I DO NOT WISH MY CHILD TO PARTICIPATE IN THE HUMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT UNIT.

And by golly, I bet there will be quite a few parents who will sign this. CJ is in the fifth grade. Her boobs have sprouted, just as many of her girlfriends have. And for me, I actually started my period the summer before my sixth grade year and as I recall, had several hours of movies and lessons on puberty. I knew enough about my period that I wanted it to come already.

But things are different now. We have parents who think they know all and will present their know-it-all information when they think it's the right time. Because, dammit, if you say anything about puberty...then the kids will have SEX!! Or will start thinking about it!! And we don't want them to start thinking about it, so don't say it and it won't happen.

A story somewhat related to this...I was volunteering to coach Girls on the Run (GOTR) a couple of years ago. One of the modules we covered was peer pressure and drugs. This went very well and I noted how much these girls already knew about drugs.

When CJ was in GOTR, the day she learned this particular module was great: she jumped into the car and started talking to me about what she learned about smoking, drugs, and alcohol. We had a very good chat about it and I found it enlightening that this module was able to bring a conversation about this, spurred by CJ instead of me (which usually produces no two-way conversations and a blank stare).

The second season of me coaching GOTR, we covered the same module. Again, these girls (aged 8-11 years of age) knew quite a bit about drugs. Nothing unusual. However, that evening and the next few days, there was an influx of e-mails about how upset the parents were that this was covered without their knowledge.

One mother said 'i know that you are trying to do the right thing; i understand that; i am just sad that my daughter's vocabulary now includes the word "marijuana."'

Another parent said that to please let her know if we plan to discuss sex (we weren't) because she would make sure she would NOT let her daughter attend that day.

First, parents receive the curriculum for the season of what modules will be covered.

Second, their kids ALREADY KNOW about drugs!!

Third, why the fuck wouldn't you want to talk to your children about drugs? Or sex? Or any of that stuff that presents itself to girls, VULNERABLE GIRLS, at ages 8-11?

Exasperating, to say the least. Parents like these are plain stupid and naive. IMO, we need to surround our children with supportive groups -- not just parents -- to teach them anything and everything from so many different perspectives. This, IMO, produces communication back to a parent -- if they aren't stupid and naive -- in which said parent can then proceed to speak about what they believe to be "the way"...whatever that may be.

So needless to say, CJ WILL BE going to the class. CJ has free range to ask us ANYTHING without negative recourse, as well as her school, teachers, coaches, etc. And my hope is that we, along with our community, can teach her to make the right decisions.

3 comments:

  1. James Lamm, Jr.07 January, 2009 08:58

    You're an awesome parent. I want to puke when I think about the pansy parents who will opt out of that class for their kids. Most likely, it will be their kids who wind up on drugs or pregnant at 15.

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  2. We went to this "parent information meeting" for our daughter in her middle school years. We'd always been very open about this with our daughter, much to my wife's credit, so it didn't bother us. But I think the reason it didn't bother us was because we had already talked to our daughter about it. Other parents, IMO, are bothered by it (read: freaked out)because it's forcing them to talk to their kids about issues that THEY are not prepared to talk to them about...and the last thing they want is someone to force them to talk to their kids.

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  3. SparBlogger: I am with you. We have tried to make sure there is an open connection...i don't know if it works but I make sure our daughters know that they will not ever get in trouble for asking us anything.

    I don't know what's happened in the many years since I was a kid and there wasn't this PC way of dealing with people. My parents had NO IDEA I was getting any kind of health and/or sex education and quite honestly, they wouldn't have cared.

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