FORT WORTH, May 18, 2016 – Sex is fun. Sex is good. Until sex is used as a tool for entrapment or escape and leads to a lifelong situation of hardship and challenge. This is not in reference to human trafficking or child abuse. Specifically, this refers to teenagers having sex without fully understanding the consequences and responsibilities of their actions.
Let’s not be foolish enough to preach abstinence or to say everyone needs to wait until they are married to have sex. In fact, if two people are going to marry and spend the rest of their lives together (in a perfect world), that exploring their sexual desires and interests prior to marriage can be healthy and beneficial. This is an area that is personal and it is important for each couple to discuss their beliefs and make decisions based on what they feel is best for them, and not based on the opinions of others. These are positive actions.
Sex becomes a problem when teenagers have causal sex with or without protection, with multiple partners over a short period of time and then find themselves facing pregnancy without commitment or the ability to care for themselves, let alone a baby.
Being a teenage parent entails many struggles that one may not consider. Teenage pregnancy, in many cases, leaves the young parents unable to complete high school or in many cases, with only a high school diploma and no other technical training or advanced education. Therefore, the only job they can find is one that pays minimum wage. The problem with earning minimum wage, $7.25 in Texas, is that after taxes, mom’s income is only about $1000 a month.
Childcare here runs about $150 a week, leaving only $400 in her pocket. Diapers, food, shelter, transportation, basic necessities aren’t even covered, leaving the young mom struggling for basic survival.
Dad may or may not be in the picture. If he is, the challenge is pretty much the same on his side. Minimal education or skill training and not enough to provide for his child. He’s not responsible for supporting the mother of his child, only his child. Many of these teenagers are simply fooling around or casually dating when they become pregnant and now mom expects a ring and to be taken care of, while dad was thinking more along the lines of moving on with his life, sending child support and visiting the baby.
Mom then attempts to move on and date another boy. Getting pregnant a short time after the first baby and now finds herself with two children under the age of 2 or 3, different dads and still in the same challenging situation.
About now is when grandma and grandpa (his or her parents) step in and start supplying financial and emotional support to baby and mom. It becomes a “playing house” environment where all day mom stays home with baby, playing, feeding, watching tv and going to the park, while the grandparents take on the financial responsibility of continuing to pay for their own now young twenty-something child and their new grandchild/ren.
Eighteen is the legal age to sign a contract or join the military. Twenty-one is legal drinking age. Should there be a legal age for sexual relations? Many parents are fearful of talking with their children about sex, and leave it up to the school system in “health class” while still tying the hands of the teachers so that kids don’t learn too much.
They learn just enough to be dangerous and that’s never a good thing.
Is forced birth control the answer? Doubtful, and for more than one reason. Is more education the solution? Perhaps. But who is to teach this and what would they teach?
Being a parent is a special gift for child and mom and dad. It does not need to be a struggle or a purposeful challenge.
Parents, please teach your kids that there are consequences and responsibilities involved with having sex, beyond the night of passion.
Teach your daughters that she is allowing a boy into her body. This is a very intimate encounter and one that needs to be taken with consideration and forethought, not just because it feels good.
Teach your sons that he is entering the body of a woman who can possibly become pregnant (intentionally or by surprise), and he will be tied to her through this child for generations to come.
Teach your children that there is a large financial responsibility involved with having a child. And that government aid will not even begin to cover anything but the bare minimums.
Teach your children that sex is not love. That creating a quality relationship before having sex is the key to forming a solid foundation for the future. It is not a guarantee that the partnership will work forever, but it does provide a positive launching point.
Encourage your kids to go out with friends in groups. There is nothing “cute” about 13 or 14 year olds “dating.” It’s opening the door to early sexual actions, no matter what your religious upbringing may be.
Dating and sex require a maturity that teens simply do not possess.
Lead by example. Teach your children to respect themselves and their bodies. Encourage friendships first. Teach a strong work ethic. Be a parent to your child first, then their friend. It is up to parents, to mentor and guide our children so they can become better people, living a better life than this generation did.
They are the future. Teach them well.
Were you a teen mom or dad? Or grandparents to a child by a teen mom or dad? Please share your thoughts or feedback below. Looking forward to hearing from someone who has walked this out in their life.