(Written by guest blogger JustAnotherTeen.)
My guest blog for this month will be about 4parents.gov. I found this website through a commercial (they are all on their site) and I must say, it kind of disturbed me. On the about us page, they said this:
“4Parents.gov is part of a national public education campaign to provide parents with the information, tools and skills they need to help their teens make healthy choices, including waiting until marriage to have sex. Nothing is more important for a child, pre-teen, or teen than a caring parent. If pre-teens and teens are going to make the choices that will help them grow up to be healthy adults, they need parents to talk with them about important topics like sex and relationships. 4parents.gov is meant to give parents the information and guidance they need for having these conversations”
To me, it makes no sense. I mean, I realize it is just a further extension of the current administrations abstinence-only sex education, but seeing it so blatantly in print makes it worse. So making the choice to have sex before marriage, according to this website, is unhealthy. And apparently you won’t grow up to become a healthy adult if you don’t wait until marriage either! Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the fact that it is important to have a caring parent, but to say it is only healthy to wait for sex seems a bit over dramatic and damaging even.
“Do you know that 53% of high school students have not had sexual intercourse?”
By their own admission, almost half of high school students have had sex. I know they meant for this to bolster their case, but in my eyes it weakens is. By saying that almost half have sex, and yet also saying that there is no need for anything but abstinence only sex ed, they seem to contradict each other. I mean, is failing to tell teens the ways to protect themselves as much as possible not the same as condoning the transmission of STDs and unwanted pregnancies? Because in my eyes failing to tell teenager about contraceptives is like saying “I hope you get chlamydia if you have sex before marriage!”
“Do you know that, according to one survey, two-thirds of teens who have had sexual intercourse wish they had waited?”
According to one survey? One? With all the government funding going into this project, they could only find one survey that supported the numbers they wanted to use, huh? I’m sure with enough funding and time I could get a similar number of respondents to say that the moon is made out of cheese!
As many parts of the site as I hate, there are some good parts to. In the “What if my son or daughter tells me he or she is gay?” page, it has this good advice:
“If you believe your teenager may be gay, or is experiencing difficulties with gender identity or sexual orientation, consider the following points:
- All children, pre-teens, and teens need to feel accepted and loved. Remember, your son or daughter is probably very scared about having this conversation with you. Accepting your son or daughter can help lead to strong, life-affirming relationships in the future.
- Some teens who question their sexual orientation are at increased risk for depression, attempted suicide, or other problems
- Some parents need help in understanding and communicating with their son or daughter. You have made a great step in this direction already by visiting this website.
- Counselors and other health professionals may be helpful for both teens and parents when addressing difficult issues.”
Please look over this site and tell me what you think in the comments section! And, as always, feel free to email me at email@example.com !
I took at look at the PSA on the 4Parents website and was really liking it until the end when the clear message was that saving sex until marriage made for success in life. I resent the website because it’s funded by our taxes and certainly doesn’t promote my views about teen sexuality; rather a narrowly focused and thinly disguised fundamentalist perspective. Just imagine what we could do with the kind of funding that’s been poured into abstinence only sex ed! And we don’t even have to make it up; we can just take a look at what our more progressive friends overseas are doing, like the French website Karen talked about a couple weeks ago.
Much useful info there, but there’s not a lot of point in emphasizing the “tell kids to wait” if they aren’t pushing the “tell kids about sexuality” part at least as hard. Where’s the $%#@ PSA about that? At least the stuff about homosexuality isn’t nonsense. That’s a relief.
I found that site a couple of years ago and was horrified that these ideas are being promoted by the government. I mean, private groups can have their own opinions, but these people are supposed to represent US?!?
And how can caring parents have honest discussions about sex and relationships with pre-teens and teens if the only option is abstinence? That’s the biggest conversation stopper ever.
Well i didn’t get to view the site because it has been removed, but buy what has been commented by individuals and Dr Karen Rayne. It isn’t a good site. My opinion about abstinence is that yes , my kids should wait until marriage to have sexual relationships, and I think they should be educated about sex, safe sex, STDs, the whole nine yards but always making it clear that the best choice is abstinence. There are alot of bad consciences to having sex as a kid!!
I worked as a former Parent & Teen advocate for Native American Communities and was a trainer for the Parents Speak up National Campaign and feel the curriculum was relevant to the philosophy of what we face with sexual education in our community here. I see your view points clearly stated however, as a mother, aunt, sister, friend it is important to have an open communication with the young people you care about. From a cultural stand point we go to our elder(s) for guidance and confide in members of our community in a holistic approach to parenting and raising a child and “coming of age” ceremonies or when a child start puberty we start the conversation topics of self care, respect and practice “refusal skills” too. The idea was to give parents who ask for resources for the topic of this conversation tools for communcation and the families (clients) I have worked with loved this training and their teens participated as well.
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