“There’s no point debating whether such young girls should be sexually active. Obviously, given the potential consequences, both physical and psychological, the answer is no. Just as obvious, our culture says quite the opposite: As long as there’s an exit, whether abortion or Plan B, what’s the incentive to await mere maturity?”
– Kathleen Parker (from Prude or prudent? The debate over access to Plan B)
From skimming the comments in this article, I’d like to add that I don’t think Parker is advocating (pre)teen pregnancy, but that it’s ridiculous for this to be so readily available to kids without their parents knowing. Being sexually active that young usually has other emotional/psychological/physical issues attached and simply addressing a symptom isn’t the answer.
Why does our public policy (and ed policy, come to think of it) continue to marginalize the family/parents? They SHOULD be in the know. they SHOULD have a right in knowing what their kid is up to / is taught.
For me, personally, I don’t believe in pre-marital sex. I also think that it’s a nobrainer that abstinence obviously is the best prevention for unwanted pregnancy (don’t want a baby? don’t have sex. done). (aside: I think this conversation could look less ridiculous if the person who advocates this is frank with the kids and walks the talk. Obviously abstinence-only education failed since many educators don’t agree with it – you can’t teach something convincingly if you don’t agree.) In general, as a middle school teacher, I think it’s important to be frank in general, and when it comes to the topic of sex, addressing the potential emotional and physical consequences is important. As a teacher, I want to show kids what a healthy relationship looks like (ie: someone shouldn’t demand something as proof of love), and I want to let them know that they don’t have to do it yet. They really don’t. They can WAIT to grow up a little.
But… with that said… I also understand that many kids don’t share my personal convictions, and for their sake, it *is* necessary to also talk about safe sex and prevention. In a setting and perhaps culture where it is more common for students to get pregnant and eventually drop out (most of my students’ parents had their first child in their mid-teens; one girl stated that she could just have a baby and go on welfare if she didn’t like school), I want them to have the knowledge and resources for safe sex if they decide to do so. It still makes me shudder because these kids are young. They really are. And no matter how much they know or think they know, just from my own retrospective, that’s just not true! And clamoring for sexual rights for adolescents is not empowering, it’s lazy on our part. Rather than teaching them to wait, to weigh their decisions, or just show them that affection and love is not earned from a physical deed, we’d rather just teach them how to prevent added economic drags by not having a baby or contracting a disease. So. Lame.
Whatever, I’d still teach it! It’s necessary. But LASTLY, I also want to say that ultimately, it’s NOT MY CALL. What my kids know or don’t know at this point is not my decision to make. If parents want to pull their kid out or whatever, it’s THEIR decision because this is THEIR kid. Yet somehow, Ed policy and public policy seem to disagree.
womp womp womp. thanks for reading my rambles.