Friday, March 09, 2012

How mature is a 12 year old?

We were given a form (presumably by the council) to allow Anna to attend a concert in town with her nursery last week. I find it quite interesting that they have decided that twelve year olds are mature enough to decide whether or not they can accept medical treatment and allow anaesthetics to be performed on them. I was vaguely aware of it already as Marcel (14) had recently been sent home from high school with a consent form for some booster vaccinations that it turned out he, not I had to sign.

What I find interesting about it is not the empowerment per se of the child, but the contradiction in other parts of their system. For instance, last week Charlotte went to Castle Toward residential school for a week's stay with the rest of the p7s at her school. She is 12. But as they gathered to leave the teachers in charge asked every child in the room (approx 100 kids) to hand in all medication they might want to take with them (down to and including paracetamol for a headache or sudocrem for a rash!) complete with a consent form from their guardian to say they could have it given to them. They would then look after all hundred bottles of the same medication (mad or what?!) And if your child happened to forget to hand one in and turned up in tears with a raging headache during the week, would not be given paracetamol as they hadn't been authorised by their parent to take it!

Why is it the council seems to be indicating on the one hand that kids are mature enough to take life or death decisions, while at the same time saying they are not old enough to have a tube of cream and two paracetamol in their backpack for emergencies? This is just nonsensical!

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