Launch of Teen Tips
The Head's Study
“ There is no ‘right’ way to bring up our children, but knowing we are following advice from experts, many of whom help debunk myths around what we hear about children, is empowering.”
I must admit to feeling rather bewildered this week as I completed training on talking to students about consent and peer on peer abuse. Recommendations following Ofsted’s Sexual Abuse Review in June are now in place in all schools and subject to inspection to understand how well they are being implemented. This is a challenging enough issue as it is, but my bewilderment comes from advice to ensure we use the correct language when talking to students so we do not alienate them or exacerbate the already existing generation gap.
However experienced a parent we are, navigating supporting and encouraging our children as they grow up is fraught with difficulty. For all our discussions and modelling at home we are intensely aware of the extent of knowledge at our children’s fingertips. This is both exhilarating and frightening: quintillions (a new concept for me) of data created daily; billions of emails sent in the same space of time; equally copious quantities of Instagram postings – apart from earlier this week when everything went deliciously quiet for an afternoon.
We cannot hope to stop all the ‘noise’ to which our children are continually subjected. We know the advice is to engage with them so that we understand what platforms they are spending their time on and what they are learning from this. However, this still leaves a huge generational gap as we try to find the best way to talk to and parent our children.
I discovered ‘Teen Tips’ during lockdown and would tune into the parenting audios on some of my quieter dog walks, always returning home having learnt something new. The practical and age-appropriate information was reassuring. There is no ‘right’ way to bring up our children, but knowing we are following advice from experts, many of whom help debunk myths around what we hear about children, is empowering.
I hope you will feel the same way once you have had time to discover all that Teen Tips offers. Parenting will still be the most challenging and rewarding experience many of us will ever face but I hope that this new bank of resources can support us all – staff, parents, students – as we continue to put your daughters at the heart of all that we do.
And as for getting things ‘wrong’ when talking at home. I shall pigeon-hole that with the fond teasings I remember whenever my parents spoke of the ‘wireless’ or ‘frocks’. With students, I shall defer to them and listen. It is their voice I want to hear.