Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Talk WITH your teens, not TO them.

I had to go stock up on pregnancy tests again last night. No, I am not crazy. Yes, I remember that due to the vasectomy/hysterectomy combo (special #2!!) I will never be pregnant again. I also am aware that buying 6 boxes of tests, for a total of twelve pregnancy tests, makes the cashier speechless. But I gave out my last one yesterday (it was positive...) and I need to be prepared for the next girl.
I give the tests to girls who come and quietly request one. Girls who generally are looking a bit green, and scared, and ready to bolt. This is not really part of my job, but when I was told I'm not allowed to have a basket of free condoms in my room, I responded with "I guess I'll be stocking up on pregnancy tests, then!"
It might seem like I am pretty casual about all this, but inside, I am horrified. Kids are getting pregnant. Despite all my lessons, my charts, posters, and long talks, kids are having sex without giving any thought to the consequences. STI's, babies, and broken hearts mean nothing. Sex is a fun party game. It's something to do when you're bored. It is a way to feel loved, even if it only lasts for the evening. I know that all parents say "Not MY child", and I have some big news for you. Yes, your child. YES. YOUR CHILD. Keeping them home at night helps, but guess what? You can do it during the day! You can do it on the bus, you can do it in the bushes, and you can do it when your parents think you are asleep, and your partner has quietly come tiptoeing into your room.
Only marginally more upsetting to me is the fact that for every 5 positive pregnancy tests, I see less than one full term pregnancy. Did you know your child does not need to ask your permission to get an abortion? Well, they don't. And your doctor should not break that confidence by calling to tell you. Again, children are acting with what seems to me to be little serious thought. An abortion is easy, cheap, and makes it all go away. I strongly encourage my girls to talk with their moms before taking that step, and I tell them all the right things about parental love overcoming the horror, but guess what? They aren't telling you. All you know is that they are really down for awhile, maybe you chalk it up to the flu.
I don't have the answers. I have no idea what else I can do to convince my students to save that special part of their hearts for someone special, and stop using sex as a way to end a drunken party. It is starting to make my heart hurt, and I don't know what to do.


fawn said...

I have nothing intelligent to say, just oh, man. I know the boys are just are responsible, but it's still the girls I really worry about. And holy crap, I've got two of them. I have no idea how I'm going to deal with things if they don't turn out to be the goody-two-shoes both Michael and I were!

dogsled_stacie said...

Wow, those are shocking statistics. Would be much more effective for you to be allowed to litter the classroom(S) with condoms... *sigh*

SSTyrner said...

Remember back when AIDS was a big deal in media? There were concerts and movies and everyone wore those red ribbons.
As far as I know, there still isn't a cure; AIDS/HIV is a very real life-ending danger.
There is no cure for Herpes either.
Unplanned pregnancy is a life changing risk of unprotected sex, but I don't think young people even consider they could also die or contract a disease for which there is no cure.
Wrap that Wrascal!

Anonymous said...

For a positive boost due to your honesty, posters, lectures, etc etc think of the amount of boys and girls who are practicing safe sex. We know the stats on teen sex and we know the stats on pregnancy so some of them are listening!! Keep up the info and maybe just maybe a few more will listen!!

Heather said...

Check out choosingthebest.org. I lead a girls only youth group here in Faro, and I've ordered this program for them. We'll see what results it has!