babble home - news for the rest of us
today's active topics

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
FAQ | Forum Home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» babble   » right brain babble   » humanities & science   » The kids are alright. So shut up! LALALALA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!

Email this thread to someone!    
Author Topic: The kids are alright. So shut up! LALALALA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!
Babbler # 625

posted 03 October 2002 12:40 AM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Last week's Maclean's (I hadn't checked the mail in a while, as you can tell) has an interesting cover story about parental opinions regarding issues and concerns faced by their children. Well, the parents think they're "concerns" at least. It had a number of interesting polls, while I'll just reproduce the data from, and comment on some as I go along. The way they were done compared Québec to the rest of Canada, most times. I'm stating to think that there's something in the air in Canada outside Québec, because a bigger portion of "English Canadians" appear to be fooling themselves.

Parents Top Five Worry list:
Education: 39%
Health/health care: 12%
Safety: 8%
Drugs: 7%
Making time for kids: 7%

Sex and the Single Teenager
Q: What's the appropriate age for teens to have sex outside marriage?
15: 5%
16: 30%
17: 18%
18: 25%
19: 5%
Never: 11%

Rest of Canada
15: less than 1%
16: 5%
17: 5%
18: 28%
19: 14%
Never: 41%

Pardon me while I say HAHAHAHAHAHA! 41% in the rest of Canada said "never"?!?! HAHAHA! A lot of these parents are kidding themselves, I have to think. My guess at the percentage of teens who aren't having or haven't had sex by the age of 19 doesn't go beyond single digits. Either 30-40% of parents think their kids are behaving in an extremely inappropriate manner, or they just don't have a frigging clue. What is it between Québec and the rest of Canada that makes Québeckers so much more realistic about this? The only similarity I can see between the two is that both groups like round numbers (15 & 17 were much lower than 16 & 18), which tells me that parenting is being looked at as though there's some kind of owner's manual- that "kids to this by this age, and that by that age", and that too many parents don't realize that the number of days you're alive doesn't necessarily mean a darn thing when it comes to maturity. I'm not quite getting the words out to express my sentiments accurately, but it just seems that parents are dealing with ideas surrounding their kids in broad stroaks, which are the product of our culture, as opposed to just accomodating the needs of the children as they arise. It also suggests, to me, at least, that a lot of parents want to know what's going on in their kids' sex lives, and I can tell you right now that most of the time, if you try to talk with people my age about their sex lives as a parent, the most likely response will be "Um, no." In other words, "This is none of your business, and it is extremely uncomfortable. Stop now. You are making me seriously dislike you." Which is not to say parents shouldn't know anything about their childrens' sex lives, knowing who they're dating and how serious it is would be common enough knowledge. But knowing the when, where, why, and how about their sexual behaviour, I would say, isn't terribly necessary. Dare I say asking about it in detail is beyond intrusive and likely to result in a dropped jaw and squinty eyes from the kid who feels a tremendous infringement on their privacy.

moving on.

It would be acceptable for their children at some time to have a sexual relationship with a member of the same sex:

Québec: 57%
Rest of Canada: 44%

When reached for comment, a PFLAG spokeperson said they thought the numbers were promising. Sure, they're better than prior surveys, but the majority of Canadians outside Québec are still worked up over this. It's like when we hear polls like "75% of Canadians think Canada will still exist in 25 years! hooray!" uh, yeah, but 25% said no. To me, that's. A. Problem. And I don't know about you, but this kind of poll gives me the urge to try and corrupt some other teenage boys.

Finally, the "secret lives" poll

percentage saying their teens are always open and honest with them:

Québec: 62%
Rest of Canada: 52%

Percentage saying their teens have...
Drunk alcohol: Q-57% ROC-37%
Smoked cigarettes: Q-39% ROC-14%
Used illegal drugs: Q-25% Roc-8%
Had sex: Q-23% ROC-4%

This to me says that between 20 and 40% of parents in the rest of Canada are sinfully naïve. what do you think?

[ October 03, 2002: Message edited by: meades ]

From: Sault Ste. Marie | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 560

posted 03 October 2002 09:10 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Heck, we should take an informal poll of the parents on babble!

I'm giggling over the "never" thing too in the rest of Canada. Good grief. Of course, meades, you really do need to take into account that just as you don't want to think about your parents having sex (there's a nice picture to go with your morning orange juice), parents don't particularly feel comfortable thinking about their children having sex, so the age at which they think it's acceptable may be a little higher than what they know is reasonable or what they even know THEY did it at.

At the risk of TMI, I first became sexually active at 15 (and let's not get into the whole "virginity" thing, because I hate this thing about "if I'm a technical virgin then I'm not sexually active - I was "technically a virgin" until I was 18) but the thought of my son doing so makes me very uncomfortable and I hope he'll wait a year or two longer than I did before he does. Because even though I thought I was really ready and adult and grown up enough to handle it, when the relationship ended a couple of months later, I took it very, very, very hard. Much harder than I would have if the sexual dimension hadn't been there. A break-up with a boy who was much nicer and that I really fell for a year later was much easier to take for me, and I think it was because we hadn't had sex.

Of course, you couldn't have told me that at the time. So those rather conservative numbers could be reflecting an ideal well-being sort of idea on the part of parents rather than a stifling or head-in-the-sand kind of thing.

What I can't believe is that parents are so unrealistic about whether their children are having sex. That's just wild.

But don't forget, 15, 16, and 17 year olds see each other as autonomous beings. They see the persona the kid shows at school. But the parents at home see all the immaturity that there still is in the kid. Allowances (if they get those). Rooms that look like a fire hazard (well, some things never change, at least for me!). In many cases, parents are still doing their teenagers' laundry, checking their homework - well, in short, still RAISING them. It's kind of hard to think of your son as an autonomous sexual agent when you're still washing his clothes and giving him an allowance, you know?

For me as a parent - I think 16 or 17 is soon enough for a teenage boy to start having sex. If I know my rebellious and active and outgoing young lad, I'm willing to bet he'll become sexually active sooner, but if you ask me when I think an "appropriate" time is, I will stick with 16 or 17, knowing in my heart of hearts that even at that age he still likely won't be able to handle the emotional aspect of it very well because he likely won't have the emotional maturity of an adult.

But hopefully he'll have enough of a brain to remember to use condoms by that age.

From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 387

posted 03 October 2002 01:11 PM      Profile for Trisha     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree that 16 is young enough for sex as the sense of responsibility is not highly developed in most kids until about that age. I also think that parents should be responsible enough to take on some sex education with their kids, preferably by answering questions honestly when asked and explaining birth control at an early age. After that, it really isn't our business.

I do believe strongly that dating except group parties (adult supervised) and such should not be until high school. This may sound very backward to some of you but very few kids can handle these kinds of relationships younger and often end up being forced into sex before they're ready by exclusive dating too young. I'm not naive enough to think that even in group events kids don't pair off but it does improve the odds for having healthier relationships as they get older because there is less opportunity to get into trouble. Another point is that dating too young leads to boredom in relationships, which leads some kids into very dangerous lifestyles.

From: Thunder Bay, Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
Babbler # 518

posted 03 October 2002 04:31 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As the father of a fifteen and one half year old, I have recently been informed that coming home from school with a "hickey", doesn't prove ANYTHING, and I should mind my own business, too.

I was left with the impression that the mark was incurred during a science experiment or something.

From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 560

posted 03 October 2002 09:29 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I had hickies at 15 too. Oh wait, this isn't making you feel any better is it, Jeff?

However, in a way he's right - just because he has a hickey doesn't mean he's having sex. I think hickeys are pretty benign. I'd be happy if that's all my kid was doing at 15.

Even if your kids ARE having sex at a younger age than you feel comfortable with, I would make sure that they have all the information they need about birth control, and make no moral judgments on their sexual activity (well, unless they're raping people, but you know what I mean, about NORMAL sexual activity).

Incidentally, at 15 when I had my first serious boyfriend, my father gave me "the talk". It consisted of a horror story about someone he knew when he was younger who got pregnant as a teenager, and the advice that when you're on the pill, "if you skip one day, you blow the whole month."

I didn't catch it until, like, days later. snerk.

Kids are often MORE responsible than we give them credit for as well, especially if they're in an environment at home that is not negative about sex. I know that most of my friends and I were quite well-informed about birth control. The only girl I was close with who had a pregnancy scare in high school was a girl whose parents were (surprise, surprise) Pentecostals whose sexual education of their children consisted of, "DON'T." Which meant that she was afraid to get a prescription for birth control, and didn't have any adults to talk to about sex even "hypothetically" (which is how many teens talk to their parents about sex - "I know this one girl, see, and she was wondering...")

From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1402

posted 04 October 2002 01:21 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Pregnancy isn't a parent's biggest concern anymore: they can get AIDS and die, except they don't believe it.
And then, try to think of a credible explanation, on the spur of the moment, for why the devil can't steal a person's soul. You were going to say, "It's all bullshit." Only, to kids who recently discovered the occult, that's meaningless, and they still can't sleep.

Parents: They will catch you flat-footed, sometimes. They'll get into some shit that, when you find out years later, you'll be glad you didn't know about. Most of the time, they'll get themselves out again, same as we did. When they can't, you'll pick up the pieces.
Kids: We did a lot of that, too, and mostly, our parents didn't know and we didn't want them to.

52% honesty with parents?
Never in the history of the universe!
And that is probably as it should be.

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1448

posted 04 October 2002 01:25 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My mother's idea of sex education was to, in a state of high agitation which produced a pale and clammy appearance, furtively thrust an ancient pamphlet on menstruation into my hand, tell me to lock myself in the bathroom while I read it, and made vague threats about life expectancy (mine) should a word be breathed to my younger sister. I was to bring any questions to her if I did not understand.

I figured if this information, which I'd gotten in school a couple of year earlier, produced this effect, a discussion of the mechanics of sex would be way beyond her. I went to the library, found out what I wanted to know, and decided I would wait a bit before venturing down that road.

I'm hoping my grils will wait until they're 18, like I did. Not that I didn't have opportunity, I just didn't feel that I was ready for that level of relationship until 18.

But on the off chance that they decide to start earlier and are disinclined to library research, the gals will have already gotten as much information as I can give. Or refer them to. I do not want them getting erroneous info from unreliable sources, that can be worse than no information at all.

[ October 04, 2002: Message edited by: Zoot Capri ]

From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2956

posted 04 October 2002 01:28 AM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't think I'm naive with my kids. I've always had an open dialogue with them over any issue they bring up. And, I bring up issues with them once and a while too.

Be that as it may it's not being "naive" or detatched improperly by affording them the same rights to privacy that we afford and expect as adults.

By that I mean in our discussions I don't gross them out with personal annecdotes-- kids are soo squeamish about thier parents being sexual beings, as if they aren't walking bits of empirical evidence of it-- and my eldest always keeps things in an hypothetical tense.

Talking about sex is much more than just covering the bases about birth control. Schools do that. Schools cover the technical aspects of sex pretty well as far as I can see.

The poll findings make me shudder, because it's the emotional aspects that parents are left to illuminate, and these findings indicate that parents aren't even tuned into thier own.

From: London | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 1402

posted 04 October 2002 02:30 AM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is that news?
Most people, most of the time, are busy with something else. We usually don't know what just flew by, because we're rooting out a caterpillar in the cabbages or calculating our tax refund or wiping at stuff that stuck to our shoe.
I had a great trick to find out what my teenaged daughter was thinking: i stayed up to watch a late movie or music videos with her. That's when she was most likely to make unguarded comments... in general, of course. And i could comment, in general, about stuff.

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged

All times are Pacific Time  

Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | | Policy Statement

Copyright 2001-2008