Hello! As many of you may already know, some of the sixth graders have started “dating.” While this is an important developmental step, it is important to our classroom culture to recognize that not all people are ready to enter the dating world. Others might not feel comfortable sharing their sexual orientation and who they “like”.
In fact, I have always loved how our Open Schoolers have been able to maintain true friendships regardless of gender and I am always a little saddened when the “dating” starts. I believe it is with good intentions, but the tumultuous relationships that form and break up can cause a lot of distress for participants and bystanders. It can be challenging to focus in school when there are notes, whispers, and difficult seating choices to be made.
During the year we will continue to learn and talk about how we, as individuals, can navigate the road through life. We will practice ways to disagree with civility; we will learn techniques to value ourselves both inside and outside of group dynamics; we will practice emotional deescalation.
Please consider this an excellent time to connect with your child and discuss your feelings about issues including:
What makes a good relationship
When and where affection should be displayed
Techniques on handling unwanted attention
Limits around personal cell phone use and communication (including cautionary tales around sharing public information and sexting)
The digital resources are as varied as our opinions on this issue. Here are a few that might be helpful to read before you launch into your conversations.
This New York Times article introduces the topic of early dating.
This article is about how to identify people one should avoid hanging out with and/or becoming.
The second half of this article has “rules” for cellphone use.
Please let me know if you are familiar with other resources you have found helpful in this situation.