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Teens
05/13/2010
IconAfter posting a blog last Thursday (9/11/08) about "shame," I got this response from a reader: I grew up in a Roman Catholic family.' I attended parochial school, and I also became pregnant at 17.' I was shamed and ostracized for what I had done, but I have to say that the "shaming" I received from my family and community actually led me back onto the right track. I completed my high school diploma by attending school in the morning, and I began college at night (I was admitted to a local university because I was an honor student in my high school).' I attended college with 30 and 40 year-olds!' Ultimately, I graduated college and became a Certified Public Accountant. This was a difficult path, and I recommend it to no one.' I sacrificed much:' my young adulthood.' I did not do the things other kids my age did.' I took care of my baby, I studied, and I cleaned houses.' Although I was ashamed of becoming pregnant so young and out-of-wedlock, I loved my child more than life itself, and I always placed my child's needs before mine.' I did not "party."' I did not hang out with friends.' I did not do things just for myself, and most of all, I did not whine. I don't think most teens are capable of this, and most babies are probably better off being placed for adoption.' I had my family's help - I was not tossed onto the streets, but my parents' expectations were high, and "I" was my child's caregiver (not my mom).' I was the one up at night with my sick baby.' I was the one who took him to the park and the doctor's office, and I was the one he came to depend on most. I have been happily married now for many years to a man I am so blessed to have as my husband.' I have three beautiful children.' I have chosen to stay home with my younger kids and not work outside of the house.' I ALWAYS hated to leave my oldest child and felt tremendous guilt when I headed off to school for the day or to clean houses. It's an absolute treasure to be a stay-at-home mom.' My job in life now is to provide a warm home environment, and to be there for my hubby and kids.' By the way, the baby boy I had at 17 is now an honor student at [a major university], and quite a wonderful young man.' To this day, I still feel remorse that my oldest did not have the same childhood as my other two kids.' I feel I cheated him, and I suppose I always will. More >>

Tags: ChristmasCommitmentFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensHolidaysMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyRelativesSocial IssuesTeens
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05/13/2010
IconRecently, I came across a newspaper's Letter to the Editor written by a well-known television personality.' She'd gotten pregnant out-of-wedlock at 17, and had to endure "...[my] mother's disappointment, my father's anger, the priest's admonishment...[T]he shame and ridicule were more than I could bear.' I was no good.' I had messed up.' I knew it.' My dreams and life were shattered.' Days later, I was married off and sent away.' I said I did not love this man.' I was told: 'You made your bed; now you must lie in it.'" She went on to recount the damage to her self-esteem (which she called "life-threatening" ) and described being ostracized and condemned as a "bad" girl, "when I had tried hard all my life to do well and make my parents proud." While it's natural to feel compassion for someone who has faced that kind of negative reaction from all the significant adults in her life, it's important to point out that this situation was not all about her .' And it seems like this author still doesn't get it.' It is about the innocent, dependent child who finds himself or herself in an unprepared, chaotic, non-committed, immature and fragile situation by being born to a teenager and her male counterpart who are having a sexual relationship and are not prepared for the biological consequences:' a pregnancy.The concept of "feeling shame" is a very human, emotional/social mechanism.' Its purpose is to deter people from engaging in behaviors that will have negative consequences for them, for others who may be victimized by their behavior, and for the community and society as a whole.'' The motivation behind those who rage against "shame" is to dissociate behavior from consequence.' These days, judgment of others is considered a bad thing because it hurts feelings, but having hurt feelings (particularly if they're the result of actions which cause pain to others) is a good thing; it is part of having a conscience.' Only good people feel guilt.' Only good people suffer from doing ill to others.' It's human, natural, expected and respected for people to suffer over their wrongdoing.' To complain, however, that wrongdoing should not result in any negative reaction is immature and defensive and contrary to the notion of taking responsibility for how one's actions impact others.The author of the letter complains about having to marry the young man - whom she didn't love - in order to legitimize the baby and take responsibility as a family for the child's welfare.' Why is that a bad thing?' Why was she having sexual relations with someone for whom she didn't have the highest regard and wouldn't have chosen to be the father of her future children?'' Is it not in the best interest of the child to have the foundation of a family?Submitting to responsibility for a dependent child seems like a noble action to me.' Staying mutually committed for the well-being of another human being sounds noble to me.' And many can report that people so inclined grow together and build a strong love and family foundation. These ideals, however, don't often resonate with people who marry this young.' That is why adoption is often the best solution for the child.The author of this letter was making the point that the media shouldn't focus on those young men and women who make this sort of "mistake," because it hurts their feelings and because these are private issues.' Generally, these are private issues, but when people in the public eye and their families display behaviors which undermine role-modeling obligations or expectations, it should be examined publicly, because impressionable youngsters take their cues from their environment.' When there is no public "shame" for destructive, hurtful or illegal behaviors our children see and emulate, the disasters grow exponentially.The author writes : "If my pregnancy - my deepest shame - had been broadcast for all to know about, I might have taken my life." Clearly, now that the author is a mature woman, she is making her own "shameful" history public and is not suicidal.' Maturity is an important factor in dealing with serious issues, which is precisely why children should not be engaging in activities that endanger the lives of innocent people (as we've seen with fetuses being aborted or newborns tossed in dumpsters or toilets).' The young women themselves are at risk when they have a child's view of how "life is over" just because they're embarrassed.'So, instead of railing about how upsetting shame is to a pregnant youngster, it is important to point out to all the other young people out there what dangerous ground they tread when they "walk" as responsible adults, but in reality have the footprints of na've children.' Taking this story public is a way to warn children away from playing with the "perks" of committed adults when they are in no position to take on the responsibilities of their actions, nor to cope well with the emotional fallout.We are in an era which judges "judgment" as evil.' It isn't.' Morals, values, principles and ethics are prophylactics against pain and destruction, and not just somebody's evil attempt to wrest momentary pleasure from the grip of innocent bystanders. More >>

Tags: CommitmentDatingFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyRelativesSocial IssuesTeens
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05/13/2010
IconThe teen pregnancy rate is up for the first time since 1991, according to a report released by the National Institutes of Health, and is a cause for concern. "This is one of the key indicators for the health of the teen population," said Edward Sondik, Director of the National Center for Health Statistics. "Not only does this affect teen health at this point, but their health and well being for the next 20 to 40 years, as well as the health and well-being of their children." This is one of the most self-centered actions a female can take.' It is obviously not in the best interest of a child to be robbed of a father, a two-parent home, and a committed relationship which would give the child the security and role-modeling he or she needs to fulfill hopes and plans for a loving, secure marital future.It's very "in" lately to be a pregnant Hollywood star, and lots of money is offered for exclusive pictures of the heirs to celebrity notoriety or fame.' It doesn't seem to matter if the star is married or not - there is no judgment, no condemnation, no "clucking," no criticism, no shame, and no consequences.' It is just all "okay."'When people do the wrong thing, repent, and then do the right thing, you'd think that they would be idolized.' Nope.' The media tends to humiliate and denounce them as hypocrites.' So, the "act" is irrelevant; the only thing that is relevant in current day society is that you must never say that anything is "wrong."' If you do dare to call anything "wrong," then you will be attacked.'But back to the children.' Children having children is in no way a positive thing for either child.' There is sufficient research and practical experience to confirm the problems encountered by children without an intact family.' Why is this ignored?' Why is this denigrated or dismissed?' Why doesn't anybody care about the children?' Why is it all about how the female "feels" - which, I'm sure, isn't too great, once the reality sinks in that caring for an infant involves a lot of sacrifice and stress.Kids have very little to connect to these days.' That might sound like an odd comment considering all the means of communication available:' email, text messages, cell phones, and Internet social networking sites, but paradoxically, as the number of technological advances continues to grow, the sense of truly being bonded and connected one-on-one in the non-virtual space continues to diminish...significantly.' When one has a site with 200 "friends," one really doesn't have a true friend.With parents not around to connect with kids because of busy careers or divorce, or because they're shacking up or never got married, having a baby of one's own seems like an obvious way for a kid to get attention, bond to someone, and have some "hands-on" love.' Unfortunately, it doesn't play out that way as the child-mothers discover that children are seriously dependent beings.I remember when actresses like Ingrid Bergman (who left her husband and child to go to Europe to have an affair with one of her directors) were shunned from Hollywood for such behavior,' Now, having affairs, abandoning children, and giving birth out-of-wedlock are met with magazine covers and more job offers based on increased visibility.When children have children, it's largely because nobody is taking care of them; they're lonely and lost.' But we should never point a finger or suggest fault - after all, someone's feelings might be hurt!' And we all know that "feelings" are the most important value - right?' Dead wrong. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancySocial IssuesTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconAll media outlets recently went "buzzy" over the alleged conspiracy by a group of minor girls to get themselves pregnant.' My immediate concern went to the babies these children were so carelessly producing.' The real issue for me is that the babies are going to be born into troubled circumstances.It is terribly sad that these children had so little to hold on to and look forward to that they used this as a way to feel connected, important, and/or loved.' I can only hope that their babies will - because of all this critical scrutiny - be adopted into loving two-parent (Mom and Dad), mature, stable marriages and families.' This ultimately is in the best interest of the children. More >>

Tags: CommitmentFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPregnancySocial IssuesTeens
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05/13/2010
IconThe University of Mississippi's Potency Monitoring Project tracked the average amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in samples seized by law enforcement agencies from 1975 through 2007.' They found that the average amount of THC reached 9.6% in 2007, representing more than a doubling of marijuana potency since 1983.John Walters, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy cited "baby boomer parents who might have misguided notions that the drug contains the weaker potency levels of the 1970's.' Marijuana potency has grown steeply over the past decade, with serious implications for young people - the risk of psychological, cognitive and respiratory problems, and the potential for users to become dependent on drugs such as cocaine and heroin." [AP, 6/12/08] A report from the Office found that a teenager who has been depressed in the past year was more than twice as likely to have used marijuana than teenagers who have not reported being depressed - that's 25% compared to the 12% for non-depressed teenagers.' The study said marijuana use increased the risk (by 40%) of developing mental disorders.It's certainly not your Grandma's pot anymore. More >>

Tags: AddictionEducationFamily/Relationships - TeenskindergartenMarijuanaParentingSocial IssuesTeens
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05/13/2010
IconJ.C. Penney officials are upset about a racy, fake advertisement on YouTube, in which the retailer appears to be endorsing teen sex.' The "fake" ad'was not done with their knowledge or permission.The video, called "Speed Dressing," ends with teens telling the girls' mother that they're heading down to the basement to watch TV.' As they head toward the basement door, the words "Today's the day to get away with it" flash on the screen, echoing Penney's use of the phrase "Today's the day to..." in a series of ads it launched last year.' Penney's logo and slogan then appear on the screen.The title refers to the beginning of the video which shows two teenagers in their own respective bedrooms stripping down to their underwear and then timing themselves as they race to put their clothes back on.'The amoral part of this story is the response of Alan Siegel, chief executive of New York strategic-branding company Siegel + Gale. "It's not going to reflect well on the brand in Middle America, but the ad is nicely done and the people in it are attractive; young people in New York and LA will get a kick out of it," he said.The potential impact on young people is irrelevant, however, as long as it's clever and attractive?' Amoral thinking at best. More >>

Tags: AttitudeFamily/Relationships - TeensSexSexualitySocial IssuesTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconI watched an amazing video on YouTube of a University of Wisconsin sophomore and student senator, Roderick King, knocking over 4000 white crosses that "Pointers for Life," a pro-life club, obtained permission to place on campus grounds.' The display was meant to symbolize the 4,000 unborn babies who are aborted each and every day in the United States of America.So far, no disciplinary action whatsoever has been taken against Mr. King, and the student government has decided to put the issue off until next semester....uh...that's in the Fall.' I guess they figure we'll all forget about it and they don't have to punish one of "their own."' Whom do I mean by that?Ian Ivey, with The Leadership Institute, a conservative organization which trains and places conservative leaders into public policy positions, the media, and schools said: "It was an astonishing thing to see the video of the student senator just with clearly no respect, no regard at all to either the rights of the students who had set up that display, or the intent of the display and the real meaning of that display.' This is the kind of thing that happens on college campuses on a regular basis, where conservatives face this kind of oppression...mostly from students, but especially from student government associations who are thoroughly dominated by a leftist agenda." More >>

Tags: EducationFamily/Relationships - TeensMorals, Ethics, ValuesSchoolSocial IssuesTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconThe Center for Disease Control calculates that high-school kids are having more sex, and more unprotected intercourse, when compared to the behavior of their older siblings.' Condom use is down, as kids have become more complacent about herpes and AIDS.' Maybe it's also that the total swing of society in support of teenage sex and babies born out of wedlock is working - a photograph of Britney Spears' 17 year old sister Jamie's new baby is worth $1 million.' Hmmmmm. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - TeensParentingSexTeens
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05/13/2010
IconAccording to the Associated Press ( 5/27/08 ) Japanese youngsters are getting so addicted to Internet-linking cell phones that the government is starting a program warning parents and schools to limit their use among children.' The government is worried about how elementary and junior high school students are getting drawn into cyberspace crimes, spending long hours exchanging mobile email, and suffering other negative effects of cell phone overuse.' The government is also asking Japanese manufacturers to develop cell phones with only the "talk" function and GPS.Some youngsters are spending hours at night on email with their friends.' One fad is the "30 minute rule," in which a child who doesn't respond to email within 30 minutes gets targeted for bullying the next day.' Other children have sent in their own snapshots to a website and then ended up getting threatened for money.The cell phone craze in America is tightly connected to the growing "disconnect" between children and their busy, busy parents who feel some false sense of security while not supervising their children simply because the phone has a GPS locator.' Parents should not, as a matter of course, be giving cell phones with Internet access to children - it is just too tempting to abuse, and it puts them at risk. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingTeens
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05/13/2010

Tags: Family/Relationships - TeensMilitaryQuote of the WeekTeensValues
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