If you thought the diversification that came with Stage 200 was exciting enough, the course options in Stage 300 are thrilling. By now you will have learnt the basic causes of child abuse and be starting to examine more advanced aspects of what by all accounts seems like a very simple issue, but at the same time has so many different factors feeding into it.
Whereas PAR201 dealt with bullying where it is your child who is being bullied, PAR301 is the reverse, where the parents have to figure out how to stop their child from being a bully. Is it just a matter of discipline, or is it reflective of underlying causes that might not have been identified? PAR302 is about finding activities that distract your child from the peer pressures identified in PAR202, and hoping that the course material in PAR303 which deals with what happens if your child commits an offence (your responsibilities as a parent)are never realised in real life. PAR304 deals with the rights and responsibilities of the child. And these previous two courses are a perfect advertisement for why all students at high school should have to do legal studies – one day you, whether it is next year or in ten years time will have some major dealing with the law. PAR305 is about what happens if by an act of your child, you find yourself staring down the prospect of being a grandparent long before you thought you would.
Just like in PAR, the SOC courses are starting to get exciting, although possibly for all the wrong reasons. SOC201 dealt with cultural influences, but what about the influences that go with your mates, as SOC301 explores? When I was at primary school (Years 1-6 for non New Zealanders), my parents made sure that they met the parents of my friends, as much so they could get to know how their child/ren behaved and work out common limits, which established some mutual friendships that they found as beneficial as we did. SOC302 looks at the dangerous situations children could find themselves in, like at parties, setting curfews and what happens if something goes wrong. My father was always concerned that when my brother and I went to parties we would be exposed to alcohol, but that was always going to happen, which my mother acknowledged. She was rightfully far more concerned that there might be drugs at the parties. SOC303 looks at the societal cost of teens gone astray, but also whether child abuse had a role. SOC304, rather than looking at purely the costs of teenage parents, also looks at the opportunities.
For many, it is JUS301-307 that are really exciting. JUS301 looks at JUS304 deals with effects of alcohol and related social issues from a law enforcement perspective. JUS305 does likewise with driving issues including the sort of stuff that makes police programmes so popular on television; JUS306 deals with narcotics in similar fashion and JUS307 deals with sex. JUS308 deals with the complexities before the law for a teenage parent. Quite the smorgasbord there.
Not so keen on the popular stuff, but wanting to sink your teeth into some credible constructive work bettering our SOP framework? SOP300 is a dummy run Honours project on a reduced scale. SOP301 looks at the challenges surrounding addressing the issue of child abuse in an increasingly culturally and ethnically diverse society. SOP302 is a look at how the Parliamentary Select Committee on Social Welfare works on these issues, whilst SOP303 deals with the role of interest groups and charities such as Aviva Family Services.
If you can nail Stage 300, the ultimate test awaits in Stage 400: coming up with a plan for tackling child abuse that you will defend in front of a mock hearing with government agencies and interest groups testing testing your work. Consider it equivalent to an Honours project that might wind up as a Masters or PhD thesis. In academia there is nothing more thrilling – or terrifying – than that.