17.2.09

When Parents Give Up

I'm standing near to the playground with a few other moms chatting.

"When my daughters are 14," says the mother of two beautiful little girls, "I'm getting them put on birth control right away. I don't want them coming home pregnant when they are 15 with some pot head boyfriend as the father."

"Yeah," says the 23 year old mother of four, "I just tell mine that you're mother is very fertile, if you have sex you're probably going to get pregnant, that's how the women in my family are." She continues, "I don't really have a problem with it if she has sex when she's 15, but I don't want her getting pregnant."

I shouldn't be shocked anymore by the things my neighbors say, but I am aghast. I have to ask just to make sure they aren't joking.

These women are abdicating their role as parents while their children are still in preschool. I wonder if they are even aware of what they are doing. It's echoed in the public school system, in the safe sex movement, all over our society. They are all operating under the same false assumption, kids are going to do what they are going to do and there is nothing anyone, certainly not parents, is going to be able to do to change that.

Bunk!

Those same people who say there is no way to stop kids from grossly disrespecting themselves and their bodies when they are far too immature to deal with the emotional, physical and spiritual consequences of sex produce ad campaigns like, "Just say no to drugs." Or, "Talk to your child BEFORE they start drinking."

So parents should just give up when it comes to teenage sex, but we should talk to our children about drugs and alcohol? Apparently our influence is limited to only certain spheres.

Give me a break.

What about "Talk to your child before they have sex"? and not just to tell them to use a condom. Talk to them about how the hormones released during sex create chemical bonds with the person they have sex with, designed to promote greater dependence and intimacy. Being a teenager is hard enough without that in the mix. Do they really want to feel dependence and withdrawal when they break up for the first time? And then there are babies and STD's, AND, oh yeah, the issue of SELF-RESPECT.

"I have a real problem with my 15 year old daughter having sex." I say, "I expect and hope to raise my children to have more self respect than that."

"Yeah well, "the mother of 4 interrupts, "I was really good at making everyone think that I wasn't having sex when I really was, and I was pregnant by the time I was 17. They're gonna have their fun if they want to. I just don't want them coming home pregnant."

"Well, I'm of the opinion that sex isn't just recreational," I continue, "I don't think any 15 year old should be having sex. In fact, I don't think that anyone who isn't in a position where a child wouldn't create a crisis should be having sex. I tell my kids sex makes babies, if you can't handle a baby don't have sex."

"I think sex with my husband is very recreational," the other mom chimes in, "and it's pretty good exercise too."

We all laugh and my neighborhood prude tirade is over for the time being.

But I continue to be saddened by a society that assumes the worst of parents and children, and by parents who believe it and resign from their role as parents of their teens before they have even begun. Be a parent. Yes you'll make mistakes, but the worst mistake of all is to not even try.

Don't you think?

8 comments:

  1. Gah, those poor children haven't got much to look forward to have they? Such a shame no one gave these ladies a bit more self belief or respect.

    xc

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  2. Anonymous2:05 PM

    I'm with you, although it certainly didn't pay off for the Palin family. Unfortunately, all the talking in the world isn't always going to keep all those adolescent hormones in check.
    But I do like what you said - Sex makes babies. That's good to start saying early!
    I just can't seem to give up like those other moms are.

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  3. Anon-You're right not all of them, but most, I think. I'm not advocating abstinence only sex-ed that keeps children/teens ignorant about their sexuality, my 5 year old understands the basic mechanics of baby making already. But I do think that parents can pass on to their children the belief that they are worth/deserve so much more from relationships than cheap thrills in the back seat of a car can provide in an immature relationship. And we can start when they are little to train them to make good choices based on how we parent. In the end it's up to them what they do with what we give them, but I also don't think a 15 year old is any where near mature enough to be allowed to get in the situation where they may need to make that choice in the first place.

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  4. YES.
    We've already - ALREADY - told our kids that there's a special thing that we save for the one person we're going to love for the rest of our lives. This doesn't mean that I'm not going to tell my kids how birth control and reproduction works, but I'm at least going to make an EFFORT to instill some values in them, too.

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  5. I agree with you.

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  6. I also do not believe in giving up on your teens. As the mother of a 20 year old and a 17 year old, I say good for you. The most important thing is continuing to have conversations with them about your values and then listen to them. The very best thing you can do is to make certain that they come to you with their truths. Then your counsel will be so important during their sometimes difficult teen years.

    ReplyDelete

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