Beyond the Birds and Bees – Teenage Pregnancy

Came across an article about Jamie Lynn Spears today that she did for Glamour magazine just ahead of her 21st birthday in April. Remember Jamie Lynn? She’s the cute little sister to the “other” famous Spears, Britney.

My girls used to love Jamie Lynn’s show on Nickelodeon, Zoey 101. Truth be told, I didn’t mind watching it either. It was a cute show and I remember thinking that if she could keep it together, she may actually have a shot at making it post-Disney. The show was on the air from 2005-2008 ending only after Spears had announced to the world in 2007 that she was 16, pregnant and unwed. It was so shocking it could have come from somewhere like www.teeni.xxx porn news.

I remember the day that I heard the news vividly.. it was during the Christmas holidays of 2007 and my in-laws were visiting. As I often do, I opted to use the news as an opportunity to talk H#1 about the situation and what it meant to the 16-year-old Spears. When it comes to serious topics like this, I’m all about Shock Parenting.. I do NOT beat a drum and channel my inner peace. I tell it like it is and am actually pretty damn blunt. In a nutshell, I said that Spears’ life was ruined. My MIL overheard my statement and chimed in that “her life isn’t ruined, it’s just going to be different”. Yes. Different is a word one could use, but not me, not now. I realize that what I said was harsh, but the last thing that I ever want is for my girls to have some glamorized vision of teenage pregnancy. So much so that one of the only shows that is flat-out forbidden in this house is MTV’s “Teen Mom”.

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Back to the article. I found the article to be an honest insight as to what Spears has been through the past few years. I really do respect her decision to head back home to try to raise her daughter in as little limelight as possible. But the things she said about being a normal teen with hormones under the scrutiny of the wholesome image of Disney made me sad. She was afraid to talk to anyone about the fact that she was sexually active (with the only boyfriend she’d ever had) because of the fear of that wholesome expectation. This fear is what caused her to be afraid to ask her doctor for birth control. In her words, “I was judged for something that probably most everyone does”.

The math is simple…

Sexually active + no birth control, quite often = teenage pregnancy.

I don’t think Spears’ fear of opening up about her sexuality is any different from any other teenager. Whether they answer to Disney or whether they answer to Mom and Dad, teens still struggle with the fact that, in someone’s eyes, they’re viewed as wholesome. Just like our kids don’t want to imagine their parents having sex, we surely don’t want to think that our kids are having sex, even just visiting sites such as watch my gf adult. But they are and unless we make sure the lines of communication are wide open with no judgement, the chance is there for an unwanted pregnancy or STD.

It’s hard to accept this stage of our kids lives. Remember when the biggest thing you worried about was why your 2-year-old wouldn’t stop crying? That’s a cakewalk compared to the issues that lie before us. If we’re not having these talks with our kids now, it’ll be ALL of us that won’t stop crying if we’re faced with a life changing event like an unwanted pregnancy.

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So if you haven’t started having the conversations already, make a promise to yourself that you’ll start ASAP. I’m not saying barge into their room, but when the opportunity presents itself, be prepared to start the conversation. Talk about sex.. talk about contraception.. talk about abstinence and talk about what could happen. Because I know in this house, the only babies that I want to see for the next 15 years are the ones that are visiting.

Kristen
Are you raising a teen or a tween? Join the conversation over at Ten to Twenty Parenting!
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Comments

February 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

As a former sexuality educator, I cannot even begin to believe how negligent we are in this very important conversation. No one wants to think about their kid having sex, and no one enjoys the conversations that are so important. But I personally would rather do that than have my children put their lives at risk.
I think that sexuality education should start as early as children can understand. And when I say that, I mean I think it starts as early as toddler/preschool age, teaching about respecting others and respecting ourselves enough to make healthy choices, to talk to trusted adults and ask questions about ANYTHING! We need to empower our children in ways that schools are not willing/able to do.



ABittersweet1
February 4, 2012 at 11:51 am

I don’t have a teen or tween, but as a teacher who’s taught 5th grade I know the hormones and I worry about my 3 year old. (It’s never too early to worry ya know) I’m all about honesty, my parents were honest with me, but when I talked to my husband he’s worried that when she gets to that age if she asks for birth control it will perpetuate sexual activity. I disagree. Scare the mess out of her- show her pictures of genitalia with STDs, talk to her about pregnancy, make her watch birthing videos- then, and only then, if she feels like she needs to come to us and ask I’d rather give it to her than have a grandbaby earlier than anticipated.



Kristen
February 3, 2012 at 7:46 am

I wish the schools would allow all teachers to teach like that. I have a whole schlew of posts that I can spin off of this one.. things that I’m hearing thru parents with older kids make me realize that I may not be having frank enough conversations. Sigh… bring back the temper tantrums being the worst part of the job, huh?



February 3, 2012 at 7:33 am

I used to teach 5th grade which means we taught “sex ed.” I remember coming home from school one year thinking that those kids would probably all die virgins after what I had told them. Ha! I think telling the absolute truth is the only way to go and to also share that unfortunately there are many other scary things that can happen after sexual activity besides just pregnancy. If I got a few students to hold out for a while I am proud! 🙂



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