Mom's reluctance to discuss sex puts ...

Mom's reluctance to discuss sex puts daughters at risk

There are 55 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Jul 15, 2008, titled Mom's reluctance to discuss sex puts daughters at risk. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

DEAR ABBY: My 17-year-old niece, "Nicki," was recently diagnosed with an STD. When her mother, my sister-in-law "Cynthia," found out she was horrified.

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Patrick

United States

#44 Jul 16, 2008
Gingermom wrote:
Further to the knitting/crochet question: why are people still obsessing about this? Isn't the point that you pay attention, and who cares if your hands are moving while you do so? Many of us listen better while doing something rhythmic with our hands. It isn't even multitasking; it's enabling our own concentration to function properly. To the woman who was shocked to see it at a funeral - funerals are one place where literally anything should be permissible. You can't do anything for a dead person, so who cares? If it keeps you sane, go for it. Rude behavior would be something that disrupts a lecture or service in some way, not what a person minding his/her own business in their seat does. Nobody would object to them taking notes, right, or reading a hymnal during a service. Same thing.
No, it's not the same thing. Taking notes, as happens at my church during the sermon, shows one is paying close attention and recongizes the benefit of hearing the sermon. Kitting or crocheting is a sign one is not paying attention fully. Geez, why not just bring a coloring book or a gameboy or an iPod while you are at it. Maybe a 10 year old needs something to keep him/her amused and quiet; I'd expect a bit more from an adult.
someone

United States

#45 Jul 16, 2008
Lisa Simpson wrote:
<quoted text>
I wish that were true, but unfortunately, it's not in many cases. I graduated from high school 13 years ago, so it's been a while, but I personally went to a public school that did not have a sex education program. There was a short blurb about the biological aspect of sex in biology class, and 6th grade girls learned about getting their periods. But there was ZERO information about STD's and birth control. All that was taught in the church my family attended was "don't do it before you're married!" End of story.
I remember reading recently that over 30% of public schools in the US have abstinence-only sex education policies. It's very possible for a teenager to get through school without having good information about the facts of life.
Now, onto the rant - which is absolutely NOT directed at Gingermom!:-)
The prevailing attitude of so many parents in my hometown - including my own parents - was: "If you tell kids about sex and birth control, you'll cause them to become promiscuous." In fact, study after study has shown that the opposite is true. The more information kids have, the less likely they are to make risky or irresponsible choices. Also, you have to contend with the attitude that because premarital sex is somehow one of the worst things someone could possibly do, being prepared with protection means that the teenagers are planning to be 'bad'. Somehow it looks better from a moral/churchy perspective if sex just 'happens' rather than if they make a conscious choice to become sexually active and use protection.
Not surprisingly, my small rural hometown had (and still has, from what I've heard) a sky-high teen pregnancy rate and an epidemic of STD's. And the oh-so-wise parents sit in church and scratch their heads, saying "how can this possibly be happening?"
I don't think that young teenagers (under 18) being sexually active is a good idea - far from it - but that doesn't change the fact that they're going to be sexually active and need to learn to prevent STD's and unintended pregnancies.
Yep.....in their minds and in the context they grew up with better to be stupid and "caught in the moment" ie - sex without preparation then "deliberately sinful S-words" = preparing and planning to fornicate
Lisa Simpson

Leander, TX

#46 Jul 16, 2008
as far as the knitting: I do think it's rude to do something else while you're supposed to be paying attention in a meeting. You look like you're not really present, and that can be very distracting and frustrating for the presenter.

I recently led the Software segment of a new-hire orientation session at work, and one of the new project managers never put down her personal blackberry the entire time! There were only 4 people in my training session, so I could see everyone very easily. What her behavior said to me is "What you have to say isn't important, so I am going to do something else to bide my time until I can get outta this meeting". Interesting how often this person has had to call support to ask for help doing basic things that we discussed in that training session. Apparently, she did it in all the other training sessions too. Maybe knitting is marginally less obnoxious than text-messaging, but I agree that it's rude to the presenter.
Angelique

Portland, OR

#47 Jul 16, 2008
Misplaced Texan wrote:
<quoted text>
What's wrong with making an extra buck or two?
Exactly. On a serious note, sometimes the little booklets by Dear Abby is all the information, an individual gets.
Wandering Through

Chicago, IL

#48 Jul 16, 2008
L1: I certainly believe that parents should talk to their children about sex and don't wait for the schools or their peers to tell them.

However, if you're a parent that believes in and is teahcing waiting until marriage to have sex, then I don't think it sends the right message to give your kids condoms or birth control. It says that you don't expect them to live up to expectations. Yes, waiting is hard and yes most people don't wait, but if you believe in waiting and you're teach waiting, then you need to encourage waiting and expect waiting.

Some kids have waited until marriage to have sex. I'll bet your kids are just as capable.
too old

Elmhurst, IL

#49 Jul 16, 2008
multi-tasking wrote:
If you are so upset about someone knitting or crocheting, YOU are not paying attention to the meeting. Fix your own attitude and behavior.
Another perspective, my mother told me that during WWII, church services were altered so that people didn't have to stand at various parts. The change was made because women knitted (and probably crocheted) mittens, gloves, and socks for the troops during church.(We live in a farming community, so there was no "free time" during the week.) Also, today, crafters of both sexes contribute to orphans, survivors of fires and other disasters, etc. Unless someone is involved in learning trick roping, pay attention to the speaker and your own behavior!
Have you ever tried to run a meeting when some idiot is knitting?

I have. It's rude and disrecpectful. If you're "so busy" that you need to "multi-task" all the time, then you need to let some elements of your life go.

When I called out the knitters, they rolled their eyes, put away their needles, and started talking to one another. I had to threaten to kick them out and with disciplinary action in order to get them to pay attention.

If you don't want to go to a meeting and focus, then don't go. But, be prepared to handle the consequences. I know that's a tough thing to think about in today's "it's all about me" world, but it's the truth, and all adults should heed it.
Suze

Salisbury, MD

#50 Jul 16, 2008
I started crocheting when I started attending Weight Watcher meetings. The lady I habitually sat next to crocheted and it intrigued me. I started crocheting then and took it to the meetings and did find that I concentrated better with something for my hands to do. I also started using it as a diet aid--I couldn't eat and crochet at the same time. Hmmm. Maybe it's time to take up crocheting again.

As a former public school teacher, I can testify that birth control and STDs are covered in a cursory fashion if at all. I had a student back in the late 80s who was in 10th grade and pregnant for the seocnd time. She had not heard at all about birth control until she was enrolled in the program for pregnant adolescents--talk about locking the barn door after the horse is out. Obviously, it didn't take as she was pregnant again.

I started talking to my sons young--like 9 and 10 years old. If they're old enough to ask, they're old enough to be told. I have been totally straight with them, including telling them that it feels really good (for which I have been practically stoned, tar and feathered--"You told them WHAT???") and when they hit adolescence they're going to want to have sex, but it's an adult activity and really special, not something you just do cause it feels good. And that they'd better be really sure the young lady is one they will want in their lives forever because birth control can fail and men don't walk away and abandon a pregnant woman. Men support the babies they make, and I hope I've raised men.
Tamora

Honolulu, HI

#51 Jul 17, 2008
LW1: I thought Abby kind of missed the point. The LW thinks that the girls need more than just a talk or a booklet about sex - they need medical exams and birth control - and these are almost guaranteed to be partially covered under their mom's health insurance. I thought the aunt wanted to know how to convince Cynthia to schedule the young women appointments with an OB/GYN. I suppose the aunt could theoretically pay for it herself out of pocket, but it really ought to be submitted to their insurance for coverage, that's why one bothers to pay the premiums.
eeyore2003

Clearwater, FL

#52 Jul 17, 2008
While I could kind of see, if not totally understand, a mother shoving her head in the sand and refusing to accept the child would engage in premarital sex, what baffles me is why any mother, parent, etc, after learning the girl was sexually active, would do nothing to ensure that she was having safe sex. The ship has most likely sailed on abstinence only education, so why not at least protect against physical harm, unwanted pregnancy and so on? It's unlikely that a teenager, once they've started to engage in premarital sex, is going to suddenly agree that abstinence is best barring a tragic occurrence like a devastating disease or unwanted pregnancy, and is abstinence really so important that you'd rather subject your child to that rather than teach them safe sex measures before?
Amy

Cincinnati, OH

#53 Jul 17, 2008
Suze wrote:
... I started talking to my sons young--like 9 and 10 years old. If they're old enough to ask, they're old enough to be told. I have been totally straight with them, including telling them that it feels really good (for which I have been practically stoned, tar and feathered--"You told them WHAT???") and when they hit adolescence they're going to want to have sex, but it's an adult activity and really special, not something you just do cause it feels good. And that they'd better be really sure the young lady is one they will want in their lives forever because birth control can fail and men don't walk away and abandon a pregnant woman. Men support the babies they make, and I hope I've raised men.
While I agree that if they are old enough to ask the question, they are old enough to get the answer, it is important to know exactly what they are asking.

Little Johnny came in from playing one day and asked his mom, "where did I come from?"

Johnny's mom figured if he's old enough to ask, he's old enough to get the answer. She proceeded to spend the next uncomfortable 20 minutes explaining how bablies were made.

When she was finished she let out a big sigh of relief and then asked Johnny why he wanted to know. Johnny said "Billy says that he came from Ohio."
Luthers Mom

Salem, NH

#54 Jul 17, 2008
Amy wrote:
Maybe the aunt in letter #1 could teach the girls to knit or crochet to distract them from being sexually active.
Or maybe the Mom is too busy knitting to realize her daughters have found a hobby of their own?
John T

Chicago, IL

#55 Jul 17, 2008
too old wrote:
<quoted text>
Did you finish reading my post before you started your hyperactive replying? I went on to say that she should have talked to them about sex as soon as they got their periods.
Untwist your panties. They're more comfortable that way.
Actually I was trying to be funnny. Sometimes it's hard to tell. And they aren't really my panties, but that's another story...
ajh

Stockton, CA

#56 Jul 17, 2008
Tamora wrote:
LW1: I thought Abby kind of missed the point. The LW thinks that the girls need more than just a talk or a booklet about sex - they need medical exams and birth control - and these are almost guaranteed to be partially covered under their mom's health insurance. I thought the aunt wanted to know how to convince Cynthia to schedule the young women appointments with an OB/GYN. I suppose the aunt could theoretically pay for it herself out of pocket, but it really ought to be submitted to their insurance for coverage, that's why one bothers to pay the premiums.
I'm pretty sure most planned parenthoods and other free clinics will provide the birth control for a donation for kids who don't want their parents health insurance billed. That's the way it worked when I was younger anyway, not sure if this is still the case, or if there is some sort of age restriction for minors.
gingerwoods

Traverse City, MI

#57 Jul 17, 2008
I have crochet since i was twelve and can do it without looking. I frequently do this in most meetings, classes and church, while taking notes and participating. It intensifies my concentration and is in no way multi-tasking. Many people are like this. We are not being rude, we are considering whole things. No one has ever mentioned being bothered either in the thirty years I have been at it. Although, I did have Allen Ginsburg (poet) once see me crocheting in an audience during one of his readings and shout "Way to go, sister!"
Lisa

Frankfort, IL

#58 Jul 22, 2008
I am one who disagrees with the condemnation of doing hand work in a meeting or gathering. There are some people--and I am one--who concentrate better while doing hand work. Something about the manual motion helps me to process information better. It's just the way my brain works. I can carry on a conversation while I work, as well. It is not multi-tasking, really. It is really about improving concentration. And I know that there are many others like me in the world.

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