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18 Mar 2003

Hostel mom makes ugly out of innocent
Hi, My son's hostel (Junior primary and Grade 8 ) has been told no more sitting next to girls or touching them. Apparently one of the older children (Grade 8) was putting his arm around a girls shoulders while they were talking and they were lying on each others laps with their heads while watching TV in the evening. I feel it is innocent and now been turned into something bad and also something that is dealt with privately. When I confronted the hostel mother (24 yrs old) she said that she had repeatedly told these two to stop. I feel that the children concerned should rather have been taught respect for themselves and for each other. How should one handle a situation like this in a co-ed hostel?
Answer 363 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Eckles,
I agree. 24 ( and thus probably someone who has never had children of that age of her own ) is rather young for a hostel mother to be so confident of her own untrained opinions about such things. Firstly, if there was a problem ( and it hardly sounds much of a problem ) between two children, it should have been dealt with privately, and was no grounds for setting silly rules for all the children, including those to whom the caution was entirely irrelevant.
She will be conveying the wrong message. There;s nothing wrong with boys and girls sitting next to each other, even with shoulders touching --- so long as it is being done with proper respect for each other's privacy. THAT is the issue she needed to discuss with the children, perhaps, rather than behaving as if simply sitting together is automatically a sinful act.
However, doing something about this isn't easy. She is presumably given authority, within reasonable boundaries, to run the hostel as she sees fit ; and a headmaster or whoever, may not see it as an important enough issue to intervene. Maybe it's best to use this opportunity for you to have a discussion with your son about the issues involved, including matters of mutual respect, to that he, at least, can draw the right and wholesome conclusions from the matter.
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