Saturday, October 13

Want the REAL story - Talk to a Teenager


Forget the media stories about how the world has gone crazy and all our children are headed for a pre-teen and adolescent life filled with indiscriminate sex, drug and alcohol addiction, mean girls and bullies the likes of which we 'old folks' can't even begin to imagine.

No. If you want the real story, I discovered today quite by accident, go talk to one of THEM. Talk to a teenager. NOT your teenager and NOT one of your teenager's friends or one of your friends’ teenagers. Talk to a teenager who has no vested interest in your opinion of him or her and you're likely to get the real scoop.

Like I did today.

"D" is a 19-year-old young man in his first year at a junior college. He graduated from our local high school and is now working at the rec. center where my girls take Saturday morning ballet. “D” and I spent about an hour talking about parents, siblings, drugs, sex, school pressure, and adolescent life in today’s world. Surprisingly, this frank and honest conversation did a lot to allay my fears about my girls’ future in this big, scary, cruel world.

Rampant, indiscriminate sex at younger and younger ages? No, according to “D.” There are a few kids who do that but the kids who are doing it in middle school are pretty much the same ones that are sleeping around in high school. "D" said there were maybe 5 - 10 'sluts' (my word) in his high school graduating class of 3000. Boyfriend/girlfriend sex isn't uncommon, but its not indiscriminate sleeping around.

Drugs are around and available. Some kids get into it and some kids get hooked. Most don't, though pretty much all the kids are drinking alcohol w/ probably one fatal accident a year at his high school.

This all sounds pretty much like the adolescent world of my youth.

The one striking difference was the prevalence of oral sex as an incredibly acceptable practice. No 'slut' label for this activity and it's 'often' used to entice a boy into a relationship. Though, according to "D," it's rarely successful.

"D" was pretty clear that the girls who were sleeping around, and the boys who were getting in trouble, were from homes that were rough or empty or 'just not what a kid should have.'

So, again, not horribly different from the world of my teen years. And not nearly as scary as the media would have you believe.


So. If you want the REAL story - talk to a teenager.


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