Bambam asks: who will benefit from talking about teen pregnacy and why??
Hi Bambam –
Thanks for your question about talking about teen pregnancy.
But I have to admit, it’s a pretty funny question in a way. I mean, it’s not really going to do grandparents or monks a lot of good to talk about it, is it? But there are three groups of people who should be talking about it – a lot!
The first is, of course, teenagers. Teens need to be aware of the choices they have, the science of biology and anatomy, the laws about sex and parenthood, and most importantly, they need to know the truth about all these things, and not just some silly stuff someone made up for popularity or political reasons. Having a baby as a teenager would likely be the most important thing a person ever does, and no one should do that without being very prepared in advance.
The second is parents. Parents might know the facts about science and law, but they often really don’t understand teenagers. When Handsome was a teen, he dated a girl whose father told her that she could get pregnant by holding hands with a boy. This was about as stupid a thing as he could possibly have done! Once she realized that it wasn’t true, she would never then believe anything he had told her! If he’d just been honest with her, he could have then been the man she turned to with real, honest questions about boys and sex and romance. Instead, in his desire to keep her as the child he wanted, he probably lost her trust forever. Parents need to understand how smart and sophisticated teenagers are, and how much they need their parents to be strong, honest, and straightforward with them. Especially about something this important.
The third, I’ll bet you can guess. It’s children. Pre-teens. Of course, there’s no reason to start teaching a three-year-old the details about how babies are made (!), but children should learn – before their hormones kick in and they start hearing untruths on the playground – some basics about biology, economic reality, and the moral views of their families and others. If a girl doesn’t know “the facts of life” by the time she becomes fertile, say around twelve years old, the adults in her life simply haven’t done their job. You wouldn’t send your son on a hunting trip without teaching him about gun safety; why in the world would you let your daughter go into the world with the greatest power in the world – the ability to create a living being – not knowing how it works, and some basic rules of behavior for dealing with people about it.
If anyone is reading this and has some confusion about how to talk to young people about sex, I urge you to read my answer to HarrietteS’s question, “How should I deal with it if my date wants to do more than I do?” It’s one of the answers I’m most proud of!
You know what, Bambam? I’m going to actually change my mind! I said at the start of my answer that only these three groups needed to be talking about teen pregnancy, but there is someone else: Everyone! Every voter needs to be aware of the issue as they make decisions about laws affecting teens. Every person who deals with a child or teenager should be aware of the power of their treatment on young minds. Every prejudice should be questioned. Every fact should be known.
Because every baby is the future of the world. And the better prepared their parents are for them, the better the future will be.