• To Moms (and Dads) of Teenagers

    Not long ago, on Facebook, we were having a flamethrower session about the recent federal judge’s ruling that the Morning-After pill must be provided to teenagers — without parental consent.

    I ended the discussion when I asked that whomever present had not had pre-marital and/or teenage sex to please “raise their hand.”

    It’s been over a month. The silence has been deafening.

    Unfortunately, the Obama administration has decided to appeal that judge’s ruling.

    Please deliver me from parents who have forgotten what it was like to be a teen, or who think they can somehow prevent their kids from doing the same things they did — especially the majority of you whom have different standards and expectations of your sons than your daughters.

    Long before I had kids, I vowed to never have different standards for my sons and daughters. I did it, mostly, and I have two of each.

    My sons would disagree. They would say that I was not as tough on their sisters as I should have been. They are correct, in that I was not as tough on them — but that came from wisdom and experience, not from any double standards. It’s not that I was not tough enough on my daughters; it was that I was too tough, and too angry, with my sons.

    When my sons would slam their bedroom door, I would get mad and yell at them. When my daughters did it, I realized that simply taking the door off the hinges for a few days, and doing so calmly and quietly, would solve THAT problem.

    It did. Wisdom, not favoritism.

    The issue of teenage sex and contraception versus parental consent has been an issue for a long time.

    Sex is in the bottom tier, the foundation, of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for a reason, right there with water, air, and food.

    We are never going to stop our kids from having sex. It is not going to happen. Abstinence-only education does not work, it never has, and never will.

    And we don’t get to control when and where they take that plunge.

    The bottom line is that our teenage children are, in many ways, adults. By the teen years, we have lost almost all control of their minds and brains, and any attempt to maintain control of their bodies is at least foolhardy.

    You don’t think they are adults? Really?

    Let them run afoul of the criminal justice system, and every over-zealous district attorney in the land will charge them as adults if there is any way possible to do so. They will be ensnared in a system that treats them as adults but for/about which they cannot vote.

    When we do the right thing, and, say, tell our kids that they can call us anytime they have been drinking and need a ride, and will get one without consequences, we are not condoning their behavior — we are perhaps saving their lives, and the lives of others.

    Society has raised us to view sex differently, but it is the very same thing. By making sure there are condoms in the house, or simply sitting back and allowing the schools, the libraries, the social clubs — whomever — to have condoms and birth control available free for the asking, we are also saving their very lives, or at least preserving the quality thereof. And, like their drinking, we are not condoning their behavior.

    Kids will be kids. If we can keep it from killing them, it is every parent’s duty to do so.

    • Don’t get me started on when they are adults. Brains not even fully formed until 26. The justice system is wrong to charge them as adults. I say expose them to everything and then help them, if you can, to make good choices. Let them see consequences.

      • Maya North

      • May 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm
      • Reply

      I agree with both you and Madge. And if a young person is old enough to impregnate or be impregnated, they are old enough to decide what to do about it.

    • Tom, I agree fully. Let them have all the sex they want, just use protection, and remember with great powers of intimacy comes great responsibility! Also, I was almost a juror for a case of a 16 year old being tried as an adult. It was a case that would have put him in jail for most of his young adulthood. I think that is wrong. They aren’t adults, they should not be tried as adults. Back to sex. Sex makes babies, not the stork or god. If the outcome isn’t to have a baby, kids need protection and a back up plan. That’s it. J

      • Tom Mcmasters-Stone

      • May 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm
      • Reply

      Thank you all for reading! It’s certainly not easy being a parent these days. If we only knew ahead of time what things were going to look like at the end of the tunnel…

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