Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kids Having Babies: Let's Be "Realistic"

A few nights ago, my wife and I talked to our oldest son about Alfie Patten, the British 13 year-old who is said to be the country's youngest father.

Our son's also 13, so the shock value of childhood parenting was particularly strong (the pictures of "baby" Alfie with his baby were particularly helpful). Actually, my son and I had the "birds and the bees" chat some time back, but with interest in girls on the rise around here, it never hurts to reiterate the basics.

So, with Bristol Palin's recent remark that abstinence was "
not realistic at all," I'm even doubly convinced on the need for early and often parental intervention on these matters.

I'm not the only one. Robert Stacy McCain's taken a little friendly fire for his hasty "
judgmentalism" on Ms. Bristol's teenage parenthood, and responds with a little pushback from his own fertile experience:
Look, I have three teenagers myself, a 19-year-old daughter and twin 16-year-old sons. Being judgmental is a full-time occupation, OK? I just put one of my 16-year-old boys onto a plane to visit relatives in Ohio, where he's also got a blonde girlfriend. When I called his cell phone before he boarded the plane, what was the last thing I told him? "Keep it in your britches, son."

Understand that sexy is a hereditary condition, so it's not like the boy won't encounter temptation. But something else is hereditary, too: Extreme fecundity.

My wife is one of seven children in her family, and we've got six kids, so there's really no such thing as "safe sex" with this crew. I've had to have this little talk with my daughter and her boyfriend, much to their embarrassment. It's about 100% certain they're not having sex, because if they were, there's a 99% chance I'd be a grandpa by now.
Well, as the father of two boys, "keep your britches on, son" might get some airtime around these parts in the years ahead.


Elizabeth said...

Dr. Douglas,
I think this story is a sign of the times. As a 17 yr old, I have seen some of my friends face the consequences of not practicing safe sex. I believe that more parents should be involved in their child's life and should find out what is actually going on. The majority of parents, in my opinion, seem to be squirming away from the issue of talking to their kids about sex. I believe that giving their child honest facts is the best thing versus the media bombarding teenagers, and even children, with constant sexual imagery. The media, as well as their surroundings, will lead to a misunderstanding of the true facts and risks of sex which will lead to dangerous risks being taken.


Anonymous said...

oh, wow! We've had the birds and the bees talk in our home as well- I would rather my boys hear as much from mom and dad as possible before they hear it in their school or from their peers. This gives me all the more reason to encourage open communication in our home.

Average American said...

I have two boys, both in their 30's now. As they each reached their 14th birthday, the first gift they got was a pack of rubbers. That was enough to break the ice and allow me to get into the rather unnerving discussion that ensued. I let them know in no uncertain terms that this was NOT my blessing to do as they pleased, but rather, it took away any excuse they may have for unwanted pregnancies. I believe my last words on the subject to each was something like this. "I don't condone you having sex for quite a few years, but if you do, you had BETTER use these!"

Jack Steiner said...

I have always believed that abstinence is a flawed approach. Humans are built so that we will continue to propagate the species.

That instinct doesn't come with a control mechanism that you can trip so that you don't make mistakes.

Parental involvement is critical.

DFS said...

That instinct doesn't come with a control mechanism that you can trip so that you don't make mistakes.


Of course it does. It's called our brain. I would've had sex with all my girlfriends had I turned off my brain and actually not cared about the consequences.

When I was growing up my parents had standards of conduct. More importantly, I had standards of conduct.

Have we lowered the bar so far that we really don't expect much of teenagers but rampant humping?

JBW said...

"Have we lowered the bar so far that we really don't expect much of teenagers but rampant humping?"

DFS: have you ever met any teenagers?

DFS said...

I have. Amazingly enough, I was even one once.

Donna B. said...

My daughter's best friend, the girl across the street who had everything going for her succumbed to the allure of sex on prom night her senior year of high school. I believe her story that it was the first time -- I'd known the girl since she was 8 years old.

So, she and the boy did the "right" thing and got married shortly after graduation.

They were divorced a few years later, but she never let any of the problems she faced get in the way of her goal to become a nurse. Years later, she is now a BSN and married to a man she loves.

I love this girl as if she were my daughter and she walked as a matron at my daughter's wedding.

Whether my daughters were virgins on their wedding nights, I do not want to know. I do know for sure they didn't get married because they were pregnant.

I have expressed love and appreciation to the parents of my sons-in-law for raising such wonderfully strong young men.

Parental involvement is certainly important, but expectations are even more so, I believe. I honestly think that Average American is wrong in giving his sons condoms, as the message is that he expects his son(s) will use them.

Oh, I understand and appreciate the fact that at least his sons may not become fathers at too early an age... but what is the expectation communicated?

At one point in the courtship of my youngest daughter and her fiance (which lasted almost 4 years) dear daughter told me that they were saving themselves for marriage and I hope they managed to do so, because the anticipation and thrill are inimaginable.

They've been married six years now and she's 27 and I think it's about time for a baby... but they are still not asking my opinion.

My question is: are parental expectations as, or possibly more, than parental involvement?

pre-teen said...

ok look im 12 years old bout to be 13 in a month. i understand the consequences of having sex. but i think they should let us wait til WE'RE ready. parets always say they don't think we're ready but they dont know that. to me they're just afraid of becoming grandparents. im not saying this gives us the right to do it, i'm just saying that if we think we're ready we're gonna do it anyways.