This week is Red Ribbon week at my daughter’s school, where they educate the kids on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. She is in kindergarten. It had not yet occurred to me to talk about this at home, as she is 5 YEARS OLD–but she came home yesterday with some interesting things to say.
She was given a red bracelet with the red ribbon logo on it. She told me she was not to take this bracelet off or people would try to give her drugs. She also said she had to wear this bracelet while she was sleeping, or the tooth fairy might try to give her drugs as well. Hmm, when did the tooth fairy turn into a drug pusher? Things sure have changed since I was a kid.
Some parents in the class were upset that the school was teaching the kids about drugs at such a young age, and before they themselves had a chance to broach the subject. But I was used to it. When my daughter was in full-time daycare, the school did many things with her first before I did them at home; things like weaning from the pacifier, sleeping on a cot, and toilet training. I saw the teachers as experts–after all, they have training in this; I am just an amateur.
Eventually I came to rely on this as part of my parenting strategy. Leave some things to the experts, and then follow their lead.
This was no different. The fact that she brought up the topic made it easier to have the conversation with her, on her level. We talked about how not all drugs are bad, as some are medications. Only your parents and doctors can give you medications. We also started the conversation about “stranger danger” and reinforced that she should not take anything from people she does not know. She told us that beer and wine were drugs and we should not have them. We clarified that it was OK for grownups to have sometimes– as we were drinking a beer.
As a parent, I know that I am going to have to have difficult conversations with my children, and many times I am going to be the one to have to bring them up. The world is a scary place (tooth fairies and all) and there are many difficult conversations to be had. That being said, I am glad to have these teachers on my parenting team. As a parent there is so much that I feel responsible for, and it’s always nice to have some professionals on my side.