Teen Pregnancy as Table Talk

Because we were able to sit down to dinner together last night, I took Rev. Dr. Debra Haffner’s challenge and spoke to my daughters about the younger Spears daughter who is 16 and pregnant.  As Rev. Haffner supposed, and as I anticipated, they had all (even the 9 year old) heard the news. I told them all the things I’ve always told them, but I also added how terribly disappointed I was in the adults in these girls lives who were failing them miserably. “Not having sex is the surest way to not get pregnant at 16,” I told them, “but there are other ways to keep that from happening including contraception, and we need to talk about that so we don’t fail you like Britney’s mom failed her and her little sister.”

“Gabby told me that Britney’s mom was writing a book on parenting,” said my eldest daughter, “but that it’s been put on hold indefinitely.”

My husband and I looked at each other and smiled, then he said “is that true or are you making a joke?”

“Knowing Gabby, it’s probably true,” she said.

“Either way,” husband responded, “it’s a pretty good joke.”

We reiterated the need for these girls to claim their own power, take control of their lives and not rely on boys to be responsible.  I also brought up what Lizard Eater said on a previous thread of mine, about once you start, that’s all boys will want, etc., and for them to be sure they are ready to give up on the OTHER fun things couples can do together.

Alas, here’s the conversation we didn’t have that we need to have tonight: People make mistakes. They are not the mistakes. Be kind to people who mess up, because one day it may be you.

What was interesting to me as I reflected on the conversation was to hear my daughters talk about this girl as if her life is over now that she is pregnant. “It’s so sad,” said 9 year old, “because she was a really, really good actress.”  Many nights of table talk to get to this one, too.


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5 Responses to Teen Pregnancy as Table Talk

  1. iamsamiam says:

    Good for you for seeing the Spears story as an opportunity to educate.

    I have three girls and fortunately, I’m still in the toddler stage!


  2. kjwagner says:

    May I also bring up a book? When I was five years into marriage and we decided it was time for kids, I was shocked at how much I DID NOT KNOW about my own body. I mean…I had high school sex ed, for heaven’s sake. And I was a college-educated professional! How could I NOT KNOW where babies come from? All my appointments with the OBGYN were also not as illuminating as Toni Weschler’s book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Three tries using this book and suddenly we were parents-to-be, after a year of trying without.

    Now Weschler has a new book out that focuses on teenagers. I always swore any daughter of mine would read Wechler’s book before getting out of junior high, so I was happy to see she’s got one for the younger set of women:

    Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen’s Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body

    I have NOT read the book (my girl is only four years old), but I’m hoping it’s just as good as her TCOYF title!


  3. radical mama says:

    Sooo glad I am not at that stage yet. Not just the teen pregnancy talk, but the celebrity stuff either.


  4. uuMomma says:

    Thanks, Kaleigh. If Rev. Haffner hadn’t suggested it, we would have skipped right over it at our 8:00 dinner of thrown-together chili. First time we were all in the same place at the same time in several days, so I get ya.


  5. kaleigh says:

    Glad you wrote this. Last night was a frantic, running-around night, so no dinnertime conversation (unless you count things like, “Hey, you ate the last breadstick!” as conversation). I want to talk to the kids about this situation (they love Zoe 101…actually, I like it, too) and see what they’ve heard and what they think. Great post, and well-done with the conversation. Good message to the kids.


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