Protecting All Teenagers
"In the first study of its kind, researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found at least one in 4 teenage American girls has a sexually transmitted disease.
The most common one is a virus that can cause cervical cancer, and the second most common can cause infertility. Nearly half the black teens in the study had at least one sexually transmitted infection, versus 20 percent among both whites and Mexican-American teens.""Blame is most often placed on inadequate sex education, from parents and from schools focusing too much on abstinence-only programs. Add to that a young person’s sense of being invulnerable."
That last should also say "parents believing it is someone else's child". I say that because in working with the NE coalition working on preventing teenage drinking, I learned that parents are a big part of the drinking problem. It's always someone else's kid or they believe that it's the first time their child has had a drink or they don't want their child to face consequences either from school or police.
Is that where we are with our children and sex? And hey, let's get those boys in here because these girls didn't get infected all by themselves.
And what else?
“Sexuality is still a very taboo subject in our society,” she said. “Teens tell us that they can’t make decisions in the dark and that adults aren’t properly preparing them to make responsible decisions.”
Sure, we can tell them that abstinence is the best thing both physically and mentally. But is that it? I think many kids just don't understand how much they can be hurt by being sexually active early. I'm thinking of an article I read, written by a teenager, about how nice it is to wear low-cut tank tops and show off her "boobies" but hard to have boys staring. (Really, you think?) But voila! MySpace to the rescue because she posts a picture of herself (hopefully mostly covered) and waited for the "great comments on my rack". This is so sad and pathetic it's not even funny.
Aren't we a more open generation of parents? There's certainly a lot of talk about sex on tv and in the movies. But is that information? What I found out raising my sons, and was grateful for, is that there are a lot of books written for kids about puberty and body changes and sex that make it a lot easier to have these discussions. Don't believe it isn't your child because clearly, even if these numbers are only slightly off, there are legions of girls who are infected.
Anybody out there still believe that preaching abstinence is going to do the job? How can generations of parents keep duping themselves that this is the way to go without mentioning STDs, condoms, how to protect yourself and how to say no?
I'm not religious but God help us all if this doesn't change.