Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Birds and the Bees With Our Minnie-Me's

Lately, I have been captivated by the show called Teen Mom that airs on MTV. The show, currently in its second season, chronicles the lives of four teenagers who became pregnant during high school. As would be expected, life as a teenage parent is less than glamorous or fun. I’m happy that the show does not glamorize the issue of teen pregnancy. Instead, it is shows the drama and emotional lows….a seemingly realistic glimpse of what life as a single teen parent must be like.

Three of the girls are still currently in a relationship with their baby’s father. Two of them are engaged, and all three couples live together….sigh. It appears to me that these three couples are to be “playing house.” That is, they have an ideal of what a couple with a child should look like, and are trying to exemplify this. However, given their inherent immaturity…they are unable to make this a reality.

The focus of my attention is Farrah. She was a popular cheerleader, whose boyfriend abandoned when she became pregnant. She is at constant odds with her parents, and has not
let motherhood slow her down too much. Dating, hanging out with friends, and socializing at night spots are part of her daily routine. Clearly, she was not ready to embark on the journey of motherhood. Developmentally, however, she is doing what would be expected of a teenager. But, of course her responsibilities are different.

I feel almost bad watching this show….. like a spectator to someone else’s drama and misfortune. But I think that people can learn from this. The reality is that teenagers often have sex. Not a newsflash! But why then do we parents avoid talking about the obvious? Uncomfortable as it may be…the consequence is even greater.

Here are some important stats:
• 33% of ninth graders (high school freshman) have already had sexual
intercourse.
• 65% of twelve graders (high school seniors) are sexually active.
• Oral sex is more common than that. Anal sex also occurs among teens.
• 25% of girls ages 14-19 have at least one sexually transmitted infection
such as human papilloma virus, herpes, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.

(Reference: Garofalo R, Forcier M. Adolescent Sexuality. In UpToDate, Basow, DS (Ed) Uptodate.com, Waltham, MA, 2009)

Good grief! I am personally not ready to jump into the nitty-gritty of the Birds-n-the-Bees with my Minnie-me’s. Thankfully for me that they are still so young that the primary focus of our conversations center around good touch/ bad touch, and “stranger danger.” However, I do know that sooner than later…we will have to broach the discussion of how babies are made. I want to make sure that I introduce the topic before anyone else does.

So….back to Farrah. The clip below shows her struggle with her new life. Immaturity, profanity towards her parents, and a lack of appreciation for the importance of her role as parent to a beautiful baby girl are an obvious in this clip. Maybe watching this might serve as encouragement to all of us to have the talk... before the statistics kick in ;).



Happy Parenting,


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