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Should I speak up about how my kids' school is teaching them different lessons on interactions with boys and girls?

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My kids go to a school that has recently been trying to teach some age-appropriate lessons relevant to the #MeToo movement. In theory I think this is a good thing, but in practice I think they're not doing it very well, mostly because they seem to think boys and girls need very different messages.

For example, they've repeated, "A boy should never hit a girl," over and over, but I would prefer, "No one should hit anyone." And, they did a "consent" lesson where boys and girls were separated, and the message to boys was, "You should not touch someone without their consent," and the message to girls was, "You should speak up if someone touches you without your consent," when I think both lessons should be taught to both boys and girls.

Do you think I should talk to my own kids about some of the misgivings I have about these lessons, or talk to the school, or just keep my mouth shut?

-- Misgivings

 

Talk to both, please! The school's mistakes -- and I agree with your positions -- are opportunities for important conversations with your kids. As always, be sure to listen as much as you talk, if not more, but certainly get things started by saying what bothers you and asking what they think.

And make an appointment today, please, to talk to the principal. Express gratitude for the willingness to take this on before you launch into your critique.

Re: Teaching:

The school is not in error -- boys and girls do need different messages. Young boys need to rein in their aggressiveness, while young girls should be taught to find it, train it, and have it on tap for when it is needed.

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