Category Archives: Teens

Bristol Palin’s Baby Daddy Talks

I am just sickened.  It seems the “male” who impregnated Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter outside of wedlock (and now, with no wedlock to be had) is going on television shows to give “his side” of the story.  What “sides” are there to be had when two teens breach basic moral good sense and have sex when they are in no position emotionally, psychologically or financially to raise a family?  Now there is yet another poor child in the world without an intact, covenantly committed, grown-up and secure two-parent, mom and dad family.  Sad.

In the old days, the man “did the right thing,” and marriage was the solution.  These days, men just walk away, or women declare that they “don’t need” a guy – they can do it all themselves.  Well, the abandonment by a dad is devastating to a child in many painful ways, and no woman, no matter how nurturing, can offer any child what they lose in not having that paternal influence.

So, instead of tarring and feathering this young man for daring to “kiss and tell,” he’s being treated like something special, with polite interviews on television!  I find this utterly disgusting, but typical for TV, which goes looking for situations like this to exploit for ratings, e.g., “We have an exclusive interview with the boy who knocked up Sarah Palin’s daughter!”

During the election, Mrs. Palin paraded her pregnant daughter and the sperm donor around to display family values, saying they were “engaged.”  That, too, was a disgusting display, especially with John McCain embracing this shameful young man on international television.

“Normalizing” children born without the protective womb of family is an assault on the well-being of children everywhere, and a bad influence on young men and women who too often follow that old adage:  “Monkey see, monkey do.”

Children should be our first concern and responsibility – not our incidental playthings.

Morning-After Pill for 17 Year Old Girls?

Out-of-wedlock sex is just no big deal anymore.  It’s even the basic plot of many television sitcoms, making it seem like a royal good time.  After all, isn’t sex just a natural instinct and desirable physical release?  If you have an itch, it should be scratched, right?  At least that’s what I see my dog Bebe do when she clearly has an itchy paw.

Religious teaching be damned.  There should be no guilt about a good romp in the hay that is meaningless, whether extra-marital or non-marital.  Why the big fuss?

Well, let’s see.  We can throw in the “fuss” basket some of the following:

1. Sexually-transmitted diseases, some of which can kill.
2. Unwanted pregnancies, some of which we can kill or raise without a complete and loving home with two parents, who have a sacred covenant called marriage.

Of course, there’s also the unexpected consequence of realizing that very little out-of-wedlock sex has any meaning whatsoever after so many such experiences.  Women feel used and desperate; men feel crass and disappointed.  And never mind the hurt feelings that come from ultimate rejection when one gets bored and the other underestimates what being sexually intimate results in with regard to feeling about themselves and their life.

This all leads up to the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been ordered by a federal judge to allow 17 year old girls (not women) to have Plan B, the morning-after pill, without a prescription, as it is available to those over 18.  This has been an ideological issue, as some folks wish for girls (married or not) to have no impediment to “expressing their sexuality” with the back-up of the morning-after pill, as well as abortion. 

This is astonishing to me, considering all the medical and emotional issues that surround sexuality.

The morning-after pill is a contraceptive that reduces the chance of pregnancy if taken within three days after sexual intercourse.   It contains a high dose of birth control drugs. The pill works by preventing ovulation or by interfering with implantation of a fertilized egg.

I’m just sad that girls, often having sex with adult males, figure it’ll all be okay without a condom, because the adult male reminds them that “there is always Plan B or an abortion.”  Not to worry…no big deal.

Well, over 32 years of a radio call-in program has provided me proof that there is no easy fix for the feelings of guilt, loss, being used, and multiple meaningless sexual experiences.  I, for one, am sad that we keep opening the door wider and wider for women and men to feel less and less responsibility and awe about each other.  No wonder anti-depressants are among the best-selling drugs in America.

The Dangers of Teen Sexting

In the more than three decades I have been on the radio and in counseling practice, the saddest experiences (and the most difficult to be helpful with) are those where parents call to tell me their child is dead.  The child may have been the victim of an accident, war, a crime, an illness, or a suicide.  No matter which, the pain is unimaginable and the duration is infinite.  It is against the “order of things” for our children to die first; and it is against the order of things for us to feel incapable of protecting our children from everything, anything, and anyone. 

The hurt and rage a parent feels is understandable.  A desire to do something with that hurt and rage is also understandable. It is generally difficult to get a sense of closure or justice or revenge.  And so many parents believe that, if they can get one or all of those, the pain goes away.  It doesn’t….not really.

An 18 year old young woman in Ohio sent nude pictures of herself to a boyfriend.  Apparently, this “texting” of private parts is quite the rage in the youth population.  At some point, the relationship ended, and he, I guess, thought it would be amusing to send the photos to other students at the school.

In May, 2008, the young teen went on a local Cincinnati television station to warn other teens against sending personal body part or naked photos to others, lest they also go through the harassment that she got, as students – mostly girls – called her a “slut” and a “whore.”  In spite of her noble efforts to warn other young people, and the gratitude she got from innumerable parents, two months later, she decided to kill herself, apparently as a way to avoid the painful embarrassment.

“Sexting” (as it’s called) is a growing problem that has resulted in child pornography charges being filed against some teens across the country, because sending sexually charged pictures of minors is a crime  One national survey found that 39% or more of teens are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages, and 48% report receiving them!

This young woman was humiliated by the daily snide remarks, and she started skipping school.  Her mother drove her to school to make sure she got there.  Then, after attending the funeral of one of her friends who committed suicide, this young, tormented woman hanged herself in her bedroom.

Of course, the focus for her mother is an attempt to punish those students or the school with lawsuits and criminal charges.  The mother is understandably beside herself and wanting to lash out in rage.  However, the fault doesn’t lie in the stars.  The openly sexual environment that children are exposed to makes these behaviors (like oral sex in middle school classrooms and bathrooms across the country) seem like the norm for the day.  Girls have always wanted to make boys love them, and cell phone texting technology just gives young people another avenue to express their hopeful desperation to be wanted and loved.

It was pathetic and stupid of her to send the picture; it was unconscionable of her ex-boyfriend to expose her to ridicule; it was disgusting for girls (competitive little witches that some can be) to make fun of her; it was brave for her to use her experience to warn others; it was too bad her family didn’t get her mental health support or transfer her to another school; it was a deadly coincidence that her friend committed suicide; it is an unspeakable anguish that she thought this was the best solution for a “temporary” problem.

I hesitate to write “temporary” because, with the Internet, such photos are forever, and those who wish to cause hurt to others relish in exploiting such mishaps for their own pathetic ego gain.

Parents, many of your children have already done this via hand-held video cameras or computer cameras.  Many of your children have already been “embarrassed,” while others have become more popular.  Very few will kill themselves, but even then, something in them does die, as what is precious and private becomes entertainment for the immature and downright mean.  Parents, make sure your kids know not to become either.

A Thirteen Year Old Father

I’m turning my blog today over to a 15 year old, who wrote me the following:
Dear Dr. Laura:

Hi. My dad sent something to my email that frankly made me sick. A young 13 year boy is now the father of a baby girl that was just born last Monday. The fact that the parents of this young boy let him have a 15 year old girlfriend, and the fact that they support this, makes me angry.

This poor little girl is going to grow up with an extremely young mother, an even younger father, and is probably going to live in a broken home. These kids are not ready to be parents.

Fortunately, my parents are together and happy, and all my life I’ve been given examples of what a relationship should be. I’m 15, and will never make the mistake of getting pregnant before I’m married. I feel sorry for the mother and father of the baby, because they’ve been robbed of their childhood. They will never get the freedom now that I have.

 I’ve listened to you for as long as I can remember, and I guess some of what you’ve been saying has sunk in. I was talking to my mom about the story and telling her how this baby needs to be given a good home with GROWN UP parents to take care of her. I couldn’t help thinking afterwards “WOW! That sounded like Dr. Laura!” Thank you so much for your preaching, teaching, and nagging that helps many little babies just like this one.

It makes me cry to think that this story probably won’t have a happy ending, and my heart goes out to that baby. Thank you so much for fighting for kids who can’t speak for themselves, and being a great role model.

Laura O.

Protecting Electronic Insults Is Insulting

A Connecticut state lawmaker is proposing legislation that would bar schools from punishing students for their electronic insults – even if they write them on class computers during school hours.

This idiocy is in response to the punishment meted out to Avery Doninger, a 17 year old high-schooler who was disciplined in 2007 for writing a blog from home using vulgar language to defame and insult school administrators.

School authorities barred her from running for office at Lewis B. Mills High School in Burlington as a “punishment.”

Her parents – of course– are suing!

I can’t believe I heard the whole thing.

On FoxNews.com, almost 100 people put in their two cents; the following was the most cogent of the bunch:

“‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’  As far as I can tell, Congress did not impede on her freedom of speech. The child needs to learn that while she is free to say whatever she feels, there are repercussions to the things we say.”

And there it is.  You have the freedom so say whatever you’d like – without any consequences?  I think not.

Colleges and employers have recourse to Internet records and can judge students by the electronic trail they’ve left behind, according to Tom Hutton, senior staff attorney for the NSBA (National School Board Association).  Well, let that be a lesson to adolescents who feel bigger than their britches with this pending legislation!

The girl’s mother “wished her daughter ‘had used more sophisticated language.’”  Instead of standing by the school punishment to teach her daughter the consequences of not thinking behavior through in advance of indelible actions, she’s making it a cause for free speech. 

Oh please.  It’s another one of those cases of parents defending their children right or wrong because they don’t want any criticism or don’t want to risk their children’s ire by punishing them for wrong- or stupid-doings. 

Imagine if the teacher had put on a website that this girl was a “douche bag.”  Would anyone defend the teacher or would he or she have to take sensitivity classes and then be fired anyway?

We are getting way too far in “The Lord of the Flies” for my tastes.

Parental Abdication

Why am I not surprised when callers complain about the lack of respect their children display?  Simple.  Way too many parents never take on a leadership role in the first place.  It is profoundly sad to me when I give some direction to a parent which requires them to draw a line in the sand and I hear back, “But my son/daughter will get mad or pout.”

A recent caller wanted to know how to handle her sixteen year old daughter who wanted to bring a boyfriend with her on a family cruise.  I told her to tell her daughter that this was completely inappropriate and that she could go on a cruise with him when they were married adults.

The mother just sucked in her breath and sighed in pain because, “She will just make our lives miserable.”  Well, we now know how this parent runs her home: she give the kid(s) whatever will keep them from needing to be actually parented.  And, without proper parenting, these children grow up into out-of- control, disrespectful, entitlement-demanding, self-centered unhappy adults.

Here is a letter from one mother who “gets it”:

Hi Dr. Laura:

I just listened in amazement to the call from the mom who was afraid to tell her teenage daughter that the daughter’s boyfriend could not come on a cruise with the family. Mom was afraid her daughter would pout. We have a teen daughter who would never dream of asking for a boyfriend to come on a trip with the family let alone pout if we said no. It’s because as my husband smilingly tells the kids, we subscribe to the Reagan doctrine when it comes to child rearing:   peace through strength. 

Deborah

Amen to that.