Friday, March 14, 2008

RM column February 22 - Work Experience

RM column February 22 - Work Experience

THIS week the Young Wan has been doing work experience as part of Transition Year and is doing it with the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA).

Part of me cringes at the thought and part of me thinks it is brilliant. It is not as if there are things that she will learn that I wouldn’t want her to I have always tried to be honest and open with her.

My cringeness is more to do with the fact that she is 16 and I do not want to admit that she is a young woman, she is still my baby but growing up fast.

Her work experience is also testament to how far we have come that her Catholic convent school allowed her to do her work experience there. And she is not the only one a pal of hers a fella is also doing it.

The things they are learning could well put them off sex and bodies for life.

The Young Wan saw the equipment needed for a smear test the other day and came home horrified saying when she grew up she would never have a smear test. I told her that all women must have smear tests but remember don’t cough or you’ll break yourself! After laughing at her even more horrified face I told her the truth that smears are not nice but necessary and they don’t hurt but are uncomfortable more because of the nature of it than how it feels.

Then they had to update the IFPA’s Bebo page and a pamphlet about periods, the fella cringed and repulsed from start to finish but fair play to him and the Young Wan who both seem to be taking this all very maturely while doing their best.

Our conversations in the house this week have been colourful to say the least, lots of talks about STIs (sexually transmitted infections), pregnancy, health check-ups and contraception.

I can imagine some readers may be aghast that I would allow her to go to do work experience in the IFPA but I have always felt that openness and honesty is whenever possible the best way to teach your children.

She was about seven or eight years old when she asked me ‘I know the sperm fertilises the egg but how does the sperm get there in the first place’. So while on one hand I may up to that stage not felt her old enough for the birds and bees talk when your child asks such a direct question it requires a direct answer.

One of the best things about telling her at that age was that she wasn’t embarrassed to talk about it with me, she was horrified at what I told her but she was full of questions.

A few years on would be a completely different story altogether, the last thing kids in their early teens want to hear is their parents talking about genitals and nookie. By then anyway it is too late, they have heard all sorts of things from their pals. I wanted the Young Wan to have the real facts and not nonsense spread by her peers.

The Young Wan has one more week to do with the IFPA and she has really enjoyed it so thanks to them for allowing her to come on board for the two weeks and to her school for being forward thinking and to my baby for being such a grown-up.


Emma in Canada said...

I think it's fantastic that the Young Wan is working there, and that you were for it. And I am slightly amazed that the school allowed it!

Granny said...

Good girl yourself and well done Young Wan. The others are probably in beauty salons. Our k8 did her time in RTE.

jothemama said...

I'm amazed at teh school too - though I find it hard to really imagine anyone being shoced by family planning these days :)

I had a beautiful book by Susan Dickingson called The Mirror Within - so positive and affirming as well as educational. Check it out on Amazon, it's for adults more than teens - my mother gave it to me instead of the grown up birds and bees talk, really.

jothemama said...

redmum, anyone! - I could spend my life reading different things on blogger help and getting nowhere - is there an easy answer to how to install the meebo box in my sidebar!?

Red Mum said...

Jothemama drop me an email and I can send you the code. If you add a page element (txt and html one) in the dashboard and put the code in, you'll get a meebo box. Then you just place it where you want on the sidebar. Hopefully that is clear-ish ;)