Our Kids Get Lessons on Every Danger, And Yet…

Hi Readers — Here’s a comment that got me thinking.
Dear Free-Range Kids: My sons came home from school the other day with a letter informing parents that there would a Healthy Eating talk given to all groups. This comes less than a month after a talk on the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases that was given to the older kids in the school.
Now don’t get me wrong . I am not against either of these or any other similar education program. I did, however, think back to when I was at school and I could not think of a single social education talk that we were given. I have only been out of school 20 years, so we are not talking the middle ages here.
This got me thinking about the current generation of children in the majority of western countries. They have had every talk, seminar and lesson on the dangers or drunk driving, unsafe sex, unhealthy eating, Stranger Danger, Road Safety, cyber awareness, drug awareness and hundreds of other educational programs that make them by far the most informed generation ever.

Is it not ironic, therefore, that they are a generation of virtual shut ins with restrictions on everything they do, despite the fact that  are probably better equipped to face the so-called threats out there compared to many of their parents?  If we are going to educate them then we should trust them with the knowledge we have given them.  Our children are not stupid!!

P.S. Right on! AND — to the writer of this note: I have lost the original but would like to credit you. (Long story — my computer died.) Please send me your name and your blog’s URL so we can post them here!

31 Responses

  1. I just heard of your website today, and could not wait to check it out!! It’s nice to know that there are other parents out there that feel the same as my husband and I do. Today’s youth is coddled beyond belief and we will see in 20 years that they will not be functioning adults. Why don’t parents see that they are actually hindering their children?? Many of my friends laugh at me because I’m too laid back. I’m all for safety, but children learn best from experience and their mistakes. Kudos to you for starting such a website!!

  2. I think it started with the government being able to decide the age at which kids couldn’t be left alone. We as a parent gave up this right to judge how mature or trustworthy our kids are. Then we lost the right of our kids to be on the street alone, walk to school, grocery store around neighborhood… you name it. And just say the word “teenager” aloud – now days, it’s sounds like a diagnosis! They are not trusted, don’t get any responsibilities and are shielded from life. Teenagers are depressed and feel useless, because adults don’t want to make any space for them to spread up their wings. Long time ago there was no such thing as a teenager. When kids matured, they got more trust and responsibilities from adults. Teens now are suspended for many years in this created stage of perpetual childhood. So no wonder they are depressed. On top of this there is a tremendous amounts of new laws in this country that restrict normal parenting. Get the picture?

  3. Two years ago, I was watching my kids in the park on upper east side playground, when I noticed a policeman approaching 90-years old looking grandma. She was with a nurse who was helping her to stand up and to walk. Well guess what? – Policemen asked her to move away from the playground! She was breaking the law. She must have been some ugly sex offender, this grandma. Then I remembered same episode, only it was a young lady eating her lunch sitting on the bench near some other playground- again, a policeman approached her, asked to go away. It’s the new law he said. Who voted for this?
    Who voted for the law that asks a male passenger on a plane, to change a seat if a kid is flying alone next to him?
    We a!e all as a society are turned into walking sex offenders and pedophiles – like it or not!
    I don’t like it. Do you?

  4. This article reminds me of a story with my son’s
    friend. They were about 13 and 14yo at the time (only a couple yrs ago) and I was helping my younger kids with a school project with glue. Well, the friend smirks and says, “make sure they dont sniff that!” So I said, where would you hear about that? and he said, “they told us about it in school”
    All I could think was brilliant! why not just say, “now kids, dont ever refill that old bottle of vodka with water that your parents never drink (which you have “cause your mother-in-law brought it to your New Years eve party the year your oldest was born and you couldnt go out) That would be wrong!!!
    It is screwy, “cause they cant even ride their bike to school, God forbid, and they know things I shouldnt know about! FROM SCHOOL!

  5. this is what comes of an imbalance of information and experience—-it equals a lack of common sense. Period. All knowledge and no wisdom.

  6. i think a lot of it comes down to trust – i trust my kid – he knows it – he’s more likely to open up to me than my ex – dialogue is the important thing. if something goes wrong, we talk about it, i don’t yell at him – just say “when you pressed that buy button 5 times, it charged my credit card 5 times – you have to wait.” i’ve tried to instill the attitude that almost everything is fixable if we talk about it.

  7. Actually, I can remember lots and lots and lots of ‘talks.’
    We had many ‘talks’ on science (very inspiring) and drugs (even more inspiring!).
    What caught our collective attention as kids were the outright lies we were being told.
    I mean, we had had a little weed and hadn’t turned into sex-crazed, homicidal maniacs, we just got the munchies.
    It made us wonder about all the other things we were being told.
    So, in a way, those shows really did do us a service, but not, I’m afraid, in the way the control freaks intended.
    Those shows caused us to question authority at every step and I’ve done so to my betterment each and every subsequent day of my life.
    The resultant skepticism with which I greet *every* PSA (and fear-mongering commercial) has helped me to see through the hype and get to the truth.
    So, here’s to hoping that the current generation getting these ‘talks’ will grow up to be just as skeptical.

  8. We have the same sort of thing here- I’ll be interested to see how our son deals with it at school. Fortunately children here aren’t a fenced in as in the UK or the US: most walk or bus to school from first grade (6) and can cycle when they are older: they go activities alone a lot of the time as well. The control freaks are trying hard but Germans seem to have made a collective decision not to allow fearmongering to take over again.

  9. Don’t get me started on all the “Healthy Eating” B.S. lectures that they give at schools. My family is vegan and not only have I researched the best way to feed my children, but I have consulted with our pediatrician on my kids’ diet. They are harassed and made to feel like mommy is torturing them for not feeding them what they consider to be the proper diet. This doesn’t even go into the contradictions between what they learn as “Healthy Eating” and the food that is being served in the cafeteria. All these lectures are just a form of brainwashing.

  10. Our mealtimes have become the times where we discuss what they learned in school and then we discuss our own beliefs. e.g. Our youngest was telling us how smoking is bad for you. We counted with, “too much of anything is bad for you”. My husband smokes cigars, about 3-4 a week. We talked about the difference in smoking a few times a week vs. smoking a couple of packs a day. We discussed how our choices affect others. This led into talking about drinking. Our example of them seeing us have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner was different that drinking the whole bottle. We discussed being in control of our own bodies. We used the word moderation, over and over again.

    It is sad that the kids are getting all this info at school rather than from their parents, so we have tried to use it as a springboard to teach rather than a “we’re right and their wrong” statement.

  11. Kids know so much more than many parents about some of these issues because of these talks, and it’s true that in some cases we need to just recognize that they are able to use that information. I went to some parent internet safety talk and when I came home I started talking to my son about safety issues (most of which I’m not too worried about) and he rattled off all the “rules” to me. “Mom, I know. We hear this stuff all the time.” So funny how it makes adults feel better to give their kids talks when there’s so little we actually can (or should) control as our kids grow up.

  12. @Davonia:
    Thank you. This is what parenting is all about. Had my students had more parents like you, I would have never left teaching.
    When I put the sign “Everything in Moderation” over the door to my classroom, not one parent knew it was from the ancient Greeks themselves.
    I despaired then, as I do now, over the fact that no one seems to understand that education begins in the home and only continues in the school… if not properly started, guided, and actively pursued at home, no amount of time in the classroom will be of any lasting consequence.
    You are to be commended for demonstrating for your children that in the end, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.
    (Extra credit to those who know where *that* idea came from!)

  13. I have the same problem with bike helmets -I know it’s controversial, but really, why do people tell us what to do, as if they know?
    Why isn’t it acceptable that some parents have looked at the evidence to hand and made a decision for our children, even when that’s not the way everyone else is going?

  14. I had one friend tell me about her’s daughter’s assembly in middle school concerning bullying. The daughter told her mother, if anything it taught her and her peers how to bully.

    I remember in health class doing many posters/projects on public health and the assemblies. Not sure but either these talks are sensationalized or curriculum infantilizes the subject matter. The thing about speaking about such issues at the dinner table, it can speak of such issues in their proper context. When it is family orientated, there is no one talk rather it’s conversations happen over time.

    For instance my seven year old asked why some parents aren’t married, specifically never married, at the time I said ‘God likes to surprise people’. Which I felt was appropriate at that moment, because a good number of these couples we know do in fact get married later on. The divorce issue is beginning to creep up. When it’s merely bits here and there, you don’t have to lay it into them all at once.

  15. Teacher here.

    I teach cyber safety every day things like
    1. Make sure what you put in your web locker is school appropriate.

    2. Game sites must be approved by me because they are a common source of mal-ware.

    3. You are under 13 so you can’t do somethings by law – unless your parent signs off on them and I’m am not your parent.

    4. You are under 13 and your parents agreed to let you post to our blog provided we used pen names so use your pen name. (We don’t have many post yet because this is my 1st time doing it in a regular classroom)

    5. Remember I have a zero tolerance of bullies and you will wish the pyramids had crashed landed on your heads if you bully in person or via computer. (Note this is specific intentional bad behavior not bringing a butter knife to school)

  16. Oh I just remembered the other thing. At the parent meeting when I spoke about the blogs, I had a parent concerned about cyber stalkers. Before I could address it a 2nd parent said – you know there hasn’t been a reported case of cyber stalking of a child where one of 2 factors did not come into play. Either the person knew the cyber stalker in real life and this was a continuation of harassment that was happening in person. The other factor is when teens deliberately go to the “red light district” and engage in risky behavior.

    The 1st parent asked about the PSA that says 1 in 5 kids are sexually approached on line. 2 more parents chimed in that that statistic included Viagra ads. 1st parent said That is a stupid ad then.

    All 31 parents agreed to let their kids post. We are restricted on pictures by law because we have 3 foster kids in the two groups of kids.

  17. Oh my, a school talk on “healthy eating.” Makes me wonder (a) which administrator’s personal agenda shaped the talk or (b, and even worse) which corporate “partner” was doing the shaping. (Here in Houston we have bidding wars between Coke and Pepsi for exclusive rights to the school vending machines; since I grew up in a small town where a dentist ran (and won!) for the school board on the sole-issue platform of banning chocolate milk from the cafeteria, I think soda machines in schools are beyond weird. So this is either the nice lady from HormelKraftMonsanto explaining that factory-farm critters fed on GMO grain are good for you, or you have a loony-tunes assistant principal with a “Meat is Murder” personal agenda. (Sorry, Andrea, but I’m with Anthony Bourdain – vegans are culinary Luddites. My PETA means People Eating Tasty Animals, as long as they were raised humanely on a family farm.)

    Mainly I responded because I had been waiting for a food topic, since one of the won’t go-away topics here in Houston are taco trucks, which according to many are ptomaine pits that should be banned – especially since they are staffed by Mexicans, who are all illegal terrorist criminal aliens who want to make our kids sing the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish or Muslim or something (think I’m kidding? Read the readers’ comments after any article in the Houston Chronicle about anyone with a Hispanic surname – Mexiphobia is an epidemic here.) And then you have a lot of folks like me that have been eating there for years and have never gotten sick, had anything less than a great meal, or paid more than 5 bucks. Anyway, a while back I heard an Anglo mom say that anyone who let their kid eat at a taco truck was guilty of child endangerment, and that’s why she took her kids to McDonald’s several times a week – because it was sanitary.

    Dos mas tacos, Maria, por favor!

  18. And hence the problem. Davonia believes that a vegan diet is optimal. I believe a carnivorous diet is optimal. Which one of these opposing beliefs should the schools teach as “correct”? The correct answer, of course, is NEITHER.

    You want a plan — of any kind — that will make 300 million people happy? Get ready to craft 300 million individual plans.

    Or just get out of the way.

  19. Maybe schools should move away from the talk/assembly structure, since it’s impossible to have an agenda can be supported by all parents and students. Why not just study human digestion and nutrition instead in a more objective manner?

  20. Reading comprehension 101, ‘damaged justice’!
    That would be Andrea, NOT Davonia, who is the vegan.
    Davonia was for moderation, not vegetation.
    And just for your info, as a teacher, I DID craft over 300 IEPs (Individual Education Plans) a week, and that was just in ONE mathematics class.
    Or is that too difficult for you to look up while you tell others to ‘get out of the way”?

  21. The schools are so hypocritical with their lectures on healthy eating vs the crap they serve in their lousy cafeterias! They are the worst offenders in the unhealthy food dept.

  22. I am sick of my kids being brainwashed, also. My 6yo pointed out recently that “drinking is bad for you.” I have a cocktail maybe 5 nights out of 7; one. ONE. I am at the point where I snarl, “If that’s what your teacher thinks, then she should come babysit you 4!” Not nice, but true : )

  23. Otto: Now that I’ve blown up the size of the font, the colon makes it more apparent that the line ABOVE each message is the name of the poster, rather than the one below it. But thanks for a pointless snipe aside at my increasingly poor eyesight as I grow older. If you’d like to make any more cracks about my not being any wiser, feel free to do that as well.

    And as far as your own reading comprehension: Crafting three hundred individualized plans is indeed an impressive achievement. But the only way to have three hundred million is to get out of the way.

  24. Is the math really that hard, ‘Damagedjustice’?
    Each teacher, in each classroom, does the same, and all the kids are covered.
    See how simple that is?
    No one teacher is being asked to solve all the worlds problems. Nor is any one teacher being asked to teach 300 million children. We all do our part.
    How, exactly, will our parts be done if we all “get out of the way”?
    Your comment isn’t all that clear but it does smack of some of the Libertarian rhetoric I’ve had the dubious privilege of being exposed to. If not, I apologize in advance.
    So, enlighten this probably equally old (I have to expand my font several times over as well) poster and tell me how “300 million” children will be better taught if the teachers “get out of the way”.

  25. I went to school from 1974 through 1986. We had worryingly large lectures about all sorts of things from time to time, but the only one that really drove us bonkers were the dratted Drug Czar arranged ones, which told us– and our parents– that every single one of us were exposed to illegal drugs every day and that we were lying when we said we weren’t. The War on Drugs was a War on Kids in those days…

  26. I’m sorry, does no one remember the original Reefer Madness? How about air raid drills and commie fear? This is hardly the first time public education has been used to instil a specific belief in young children.

  27. You can’t imagine how three hundred million people could possibly be educated without the gun of the state, because it’s outside of your mental box. The same box that causes you to use phrases like “libertarian rhetoric”. How will your part be done? By you doing it.

  28. Ah, the “gun” of “the *state*”…
    I don’t ever recall any “gun” being held to my head or the heads of my parents for my schooling. Nor, for that matter, was any “gun” held to any of my children’s heads or mine for their schooling.
    As for the sobriquet of “the *state*”, why yes, I live in, and was educated in the “state” of Nebraska, as were my children. I paid taxes, as did my parents, I received a quality education that allowed me to go on to college, and so did my children.
    Nonetheless, it is obvious you have an ideological axe to grind about that “gun” of “the state”.
    Too bad, so sad.
    However, if it floats your boat, you keep right on believing that big guy, and leave the tough stuff to the rest of us.
    This is not the site for political ideological debates about “the gummit” and its “guns”.

  29. someone mentioned the lies they tell kids about things, like how weed will turn you into a homicidal junkie. Reminded me of a talk we got by a cop for drug awareness, lol. The cop said acid/extacy/pcp whatever made a guy kill two people and have sex with their corpses while high….yeah, everyone was like “Ahh, what?” while a couple of us who were actually paying attention caught on to his bullsh*t and burst out laughing. Seriously, nice try but don’t say one minute that drugs will impair your motor skills and the next expect us to believe someone can kill two people, strip them, hold a boner, and rape them while so stoned they can’t think straight. They also showed the pic of the burned girl who got disfigured after their car got hit by a drunk driver, but the cop changed the story at least twice as people asked questions to fit the point he was trying to get across, which he dind’t really get to. This guy didn’t know what he was talking about. Same thing happened with the sexual harrassment talk, bullying talk, and supposed ex-gang members. LOL, kind of insulting, we weren’t that stupid.

  30. Renee, on October 17th, 2009 at 1:04 am Said:
    Maybe schools should move away from the talk/assembly structure, since it’s impossible to have an agenda can be supported by all parents and students. Why not just study human digestion and nutrition instead in a more objective manner?””””

    I dunno what is being taught now, but teaching nutrician includes alternatives to mean and dairy. so meat eaters and vegans get the same info .

  31. OMG, lets stop making rhem afraid to grow up then get PO’ed when they don’t want to leave home. We are raising individuals here with brains, that we totally forget about. Okay, lets curb the sex, drugs and rock and roll, but from a generation of free everything to a generation of say NO to everything, ah, what a change!

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