January 11, 2018 at 9:42 am #73205
I received a letter from my son’s school yesterday. They are starting to read a novel that deals with mature themes (i.e. sexual assault). The letter says that the teacher feels the students are mature enough to handle the book (6th graders) in the safety of a classroom setting, the book will be discussed openly in the classroom setting after each reading, and won’t be coming home. Teacher says by reading the book the students “will be better equipped to handle the themes if they see it occurring in real life”. We can “opt out” of our child reading the book. The alternative is for our child to be sent to the office to read their own book while the class is reading this book and having their classroom discussion. Here’s the kicker, I’m talking to my son about this – note came home yesterday (dated for yesterday) – they already read the first chapter YESTERDAY in class. It’s like it dawned on the teacher at the last second OH some parents might have an issue with their 11 year olds reading this book.
My child is 11 (almost 12). Due to his ADHD and other disabilities he has a maturity level of around 8. After researching the book, reading excerpts and the cliff notes – I said no to the book. Knowing his level of comprehension and the level of this book + the fact that all discussion would be in the classroom, I just didn’t feel comfortable. I let my son know before he went to school today that I would be letting his teacher know that he would be participating in the alternative assignment.
But am I being too overprotective? I hate the idea that he’ll likely be the only one in that class told to leave the class and sit in the office. Another very visual example of how he is “different”. But there have been so many examples this school year that lead me to believe that he will not understand this subject matter and it will cause more anxiety and being made fun of than understanding and knowledge. UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!
January 11, 2018 at 9:55 am #73213
My philosophy is “knowledge is power”. The more our kids know the better choices they can make. I have been teaching my kids since they were small all about sexual health. Of course age appropriate stuff. It’s unfortunate that we live in a day and society that we need to empower our children with what goes on in our world and how to protect themselves.
Your son will take out what he can or what he wants from this book if you allow him to remain in class while the book is read. I feel as though he should be there for two reasons. One being he will learn some valuable information and two he would be singled out and possibly teased from this.
He will come home with lots of questions I’m sure, but it’s all for the good.
January 11, 2018 at 10:19 am #73220
Kilo – I totally get that. And I agree about the health and the protection part. But this book is fiction that deals with mature themes. I wouldn’t allow him to watch a mature theme on the TV, so why would I let him read about one?
I guess, my thought is, if I won’t let him watch a R rated movie, why would I let read a R rated book?
January 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm #73305
In my opinion, the school shouldn’t be offering this program, and doesn’t have the right to decide when children are ready for this type of content. I didn’t view that kind of material when I was in grade school, or in high school, I but learned What I need to know, when I needed to know,from my parents. Parents are in the best position to know when a child should or should not be introduced to a subject. I would complain to the school about being put in the position you are, sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I suspect there are many other parents that would be on your side of this issue. By the way, I need lean towards showing our daughter more rather than less, but that is my decision. Not the schools.
January 12, 2018 at 2:34 pm #73497
Well, my question to you is: Are you just looking for reassurance about your decisions? How open are you to changing your mind? How much of this decision is actually based in your son having ADHD? & How much of your decision was motivated by possible feelings of betrayal that the school didn’t ask for your consent prior to the first reading session?
Because I’m hearing two main things. That you don’t want your son to feel ashamed that he’s “different” by being excluded from this reading material & That he’s not capable of understanding this material because he’s “different” a.k.a has ADHD.
Instead of making this decision for your son, why not ask him what he’d like to do? Include him in the decision!
I know you’re trying to protect him but sometimes, and frankly, all too often, protective behaviour/intentions result in taking agency away from others.
And at the end of the day, isn’t empowerment & agency the core values we all hold dear? Especially for those who are “different” from society?
Speaking from personal experience, I’m worried your selling your son short and instilling the idea into his mind that he isn’t as capable as everyone else.
Perhaps give him a chance to prove you (and the rest of society) wrong?
January 12, 2018 at 2:39 pm #73501
My son if 5 and was just diagnosed with ADHD along with some other things, so trying to put myself in your shoes regarding my own child is an interesting concept.. Not exactly sure what my own decision would be in a few years.
However, when i was 11 years old a group of my friends were sexually assaulted over a weekend for a birthday sleepover;i had not gone bu my best friends and girls i cared about were deeply effected.It was a long process,full of court,ptsd,and years of healing.My point being that the mature content i had questions and concerns about did not come from a book, but my own life and the people I loved. Knowledge is power and i also agree that your son will take what he wanta from the book his class is engaging in together. Sexual health is one thing always, but protection and healthy conversations about about boundaries as well as how we conduct ourselves and treat others is also an important conversation.
My ex husband dx with ADHD at a young age, sufferes from alcoholism, addiction, and anger which resulted in him doing 6 years in prison. My goal with my son/children is to have age appropriate conversations about life. The world. They dont need to know specifics about everyone we know, but mature content sadly is a part of our daily/worldly lives and can effect us all. Its ok to be protective of your son but aware and honest too. Good luck mama!
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