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Family/Relationships - Teens
Tags: Family/Relationships - TeensInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingTeens
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05/13/2010
IconI'm turning my blog today over to a 15 year old, who wrote me the following: Dear Dr. Laura: Hi. My dad sent something to my email that frankly made me sick. A young 13 year boy is now the father of a baby girl that was just born last Monday. The fact that the parents of this young boy let him have a 15 year old girlfriend, and the fact that they support this, makes me angry. This poor little girl is going to grow up with an extremely young mother, an even younger father, and is probably going to live in a broken home. These kids are not ready to be parents. Fortunately, my parents are together and happy, and all my life I've been given examples of what a relationship should be. I'm 15, and will never make the mistake of getting pregnant before I'm married. I feel sorry for the mother and father of the baby, because they've been robbed of their childhood. They will never get the freedom now that I have. I've listened to you for as long as I can remember, and I guess some of what you've been saying has sunk in. I was talking to my mom about the story and telling her how this baby needs to be given a good home with GROWN UP parents to take care of her. I couldn't help thinking afterwards "WOW! That sounded like Dr. Laura!" Thank you so much for your preaching, teaching, and nagging that helps many little babies just like this one. It makes me cry to think that this story probably won't have a happy ending, and my heart goes out to that baby. Thank you so much for fighting for kids who can't speak for themselves, and being a great role model. Laura O. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancySexSexualitySocial IssuesTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconA Connecticut state lawmaker is proposing legislation that would bar schools from punishing students for their electronic insults - even if they write them on class computers during school hours.This idiocy is in response to the punishment meted out to Avery Doninger, a 17 year old high-schooler who was disciplined in 2007 for writing a blog from home using vulgar language to defame and insult school administrators.School authorities barred her from running for office at Lewis B. Mills High School in Burlington as a "punishment."Her parents - of course-- are suing!I can't believe I heard the whole thing.On FoxNews.com, almost 100 people put in their two cents; the following was the most cogent of the bunch: "'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'' As far as I can tell, Congress did not impede on her freedom of speech. The child needs to learn that while she is free to say whatever she feels, there are repercussions to the things we say." And there it is.' You have the freedom so say whatever you'd like - without any consequences?' I think not.Colleges and employers have recourse to Internet records and can judge students by the electronic trail they've left behind, according to Tom Hutton, senior staff attorney for the NSBA (National School Board Association).' Well, let that be a lesson to adolescents who feel bigger than their britches with this pending legislation!The girl's mother "wished her daughter 'had used more sophisticated language.'" Instead of standing by the school punishment to teach her daughter the consequences of not thinking behavior through in advance of indelible actions, she's making it a cause for free speech.'Oh please.' It's another one of those cases of parents defending their children right or wrong because they don't want any criticism or don't want to risk their children's ire by punishing them for wrong- or stupid-doings.'Imagine if the teacher had put on a website that this girl was a "douche bag."' Would anyone defend the teacher or would he or she have to take sensitivity classes and then be fired anyway?We are getting way too far in "The Lord of the Flies" for my tastes. More >>

Tags: AbuseChild AbuseEducationFamily/Relationships - TeensPersonal ResponsibilityPolitical CorrectnessSchoolSocial IssuesTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhy am I not surprised when callers complain about the lack of respect their children display?' Simple.' Way too many parents never take on a leadership role in the first place.' It is profoundly sad to me when I give some direction to a parent which requires them to draw a line in the sand and I hear back, "But my son/daughter will get mad or pout."A recent caller wanted to know how to handle her sixteen year old daughter who wanted to bring a boyfriend with her on a family cruise.' I told her to tell her daughter that this was completely inappropriate and that she could go on a cruise with him when they were married adults.The mother just sucked in her breath and sighed in pain because, "She will just make our lives miserable."' Well, we now know how this parent runs her home: she give the kid(s) whatever will keep them from needing to be actually parented.' And, without proper parenting, these children grow up into out-of- control, disrespectful, entitlement-demanding, self-centered unhappy adults.Here is a letter from one mother who "gets it": Hi Dr. Laura: I just listened in amazement to the call from the mom who was afraid to tell her teenage daughter that the daughter's boyfriend could not come on a cruise with the family. Mom was afraid her daughter would pout. We have a teen daughter who would never dream of asking for a boyfriend to come on a trip with the family let alone pout if we said no. It's because as my husband smilingly tells the kids, we subscribe to the Reagan doctrine when it comes to child rearing:'' peace through strength. Deborah Amen to that. More >>

Tags: AbortionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensParentingTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconWith all the hoopla surrounding celebrity minors who get pregnant ' out of wedlock ' everyone seems to forget or ignore the price that their children pay.' Obviously, a Jamie-Lynn Spears or a Bristol Palin has a source of financial and family support, but that situation is the exception and not the rule.' Glorifying teen motherhood and supporting it (think of John McCain with Bristol Palin's 'baby daddy' in a photo-op, for goodness sakes) does a gross disservice to the realities of the situations.Babies need adult parents ' a Mom and Dad, who are (preferably) married.' Or are babies just accessories to be called 'cute,' and then passed on to the hired help?A recent study by the Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy pegs the annual cost to taxpayers at almost $10 billion per year.' Spread that wealth!' Less than 40% of teen mothers earn a high school diploma, and their children are far, far more likely to go into foster care and eventually end up in prison than children born to even slightly older mothers, writes University of Delaware economist Saul Hoffman in Kids Having Kids:' Economic Costs and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy .Linda Lausell Bryant, the Executive Director of Inwood House, a New York non-profit that assists teen mothers is frustrated by the racial issues involved.' The vast majority of girls are black or Hispanic. 'It's a double standard.' If you're a poor kid of color, it's a bad thing.' If you're affluent and white, it's not so bad.' She explained to the Associated Press that many of the girls served by Inwood House had already dropped out of high school before they got pregnant, and saw motherhood as a chance to add meaning to their lives, which may have been punctuated with abuse, abandonment and/or chaotic homes. 'It is a dream,' she says, 'of raising a child the way they wish they'd been raised ' being the kind of mother they never had. That's the fantasy ' it's very powerful.' Our celebration of teen pregnancies leads young girls in the wrong direction:' increasing poverty, despair, child abuse, abandonment, and even infanticide. Why am I one of the only voices in the media stating that what Bristol and Jamie-Lynn did was wrong? More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingTeens
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05/13/2010
IconI'm just sickened to hear the news that Lori Drew was only convicted on three misdemeanor counts of unauthorized access to computers after she, her then 18 - year-old assistant, and her teen daughter plotted to humiliate a neighbor 13-year-old...who ended up killing herself because of the emotional pain she endured at their fingertips on the computer keys.You've probably heard the story: the young girl committed suicide in October of 2006 after the end of her online relationship with a fictitious 16-year-old-boy created on a fake MySpace account.' According to various news reports, the trio used the account to contact and befriend Megan.' Within a few days, Lori Drew encouraged her daughter and her assistant to on-line flirt with Megan; they planned to lure Megan to a mall to confront her with the hoax and taunt her.As things go and grow, another neighborhood girl got involved in the whole thing and sent Megan a message - as if she were the fictitious boy - that he didn't want to be friends anymore.' Lori Drew's assistant then, according to the District Attorney, wrote, "the world would be a better place without you in it."Twenty minutes later, Megan's mother found her hanging from her belt in her bedroom closet.I'm not a lawyer and I don't really understand all the legal machinations about what criminal behavior this planned cruelty constitutes, but it's clear that there's no real punishment for people who misrepresent themselves on an internet chat site with the INTENT to do emotional harm to a child known to have several psychiatric disorders.' Federal and state laws appear to be mute on this issue, and while companies like MySpace have "Terms Of Agreement" (which is kinda what "caught" Lori Drew, because she didn't abide by those terms), they don't have much in the way of "teeth" - often the most they can do is terminate the service of the offender.Imagine: one mother decided to drive another mother's child to devastating emotional pain as entertainment; she includes her own young teen daughter and a young adult employee....and they all have a great time of it.' No one charged the assistant or the daughter, even though they were all complicit in the intent to do emotional harm.'I hope there is a civil court for something like wrongful death so that these people pay some price for their evil cruelty.Now - add to that the parental responsibility of more supervision of this vulnerable, fragile, emotionally compromised child...her parents had reversed the lock on her bedroom for her "safety," as they were aware that she had problems.' Children without psychiatric issues ought not have unsupervised access to the internet or text messaging or any form of communication without parental oversight.' Children with psychiatric issues are at more risk.'Recently, another teenager, this one 19, overdosed with several medications to kill himself while his computer stayed on so that everyone on the net could watch him die.' There was a huge rageful response to folks waiting 12 hours before reporting this situation to the net site or the police...who came too late.It seems that he'd done this before, so many folks thought he was playing "wolf," others just didn't care, some showed concern, and others just "egged" him on....the same way folks on the ground often "egg on" a person threatening to jump from a tall building.' There are always creeps about.What was curious to me is that the reports of this event include that the boy died in his father's room and on his bed; that he used a combination of prescription and illegal medications.' Again we have a pathetically ill young man without proper supervision by those who could understand and help him.' It sounds like he needed hospitalization.The Internet gives young folks the attention and pseudo-importance they naturally crave.' It is also a conduit for evil...the same way electricity is neutral...unless you try to electrocute somebody with it.Parents have to be less casual about the evil that comes through all these technological marvels of communication. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingSAHM stay at home momTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconSFLA, Students for Life of America, are furious because of video of one of their undercover investigations has been pulled from YouTube.' Evidently, according to Kristin Hawkins who heads the organization, "Last week SFLA posted a video on YouTube exposing Planned Parenthood in Charlotte, North Carolina, covering up statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl." Here's the story: a college woman volunteering for SFLA entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Charlotte, posing as a 15-year-old girl who had unprotected sex with the mother's adult, shack-up boyfriend.' She told that staff that the stud had suggested she come to Planned Un-Parenthood and get the "morning-after" pill.'''''Planned Un-Parenthood gave her the pills, and made an appointment for her to start taking birth control pills without parental knowledge or consent.' SFLA also proved that the crime was not reported by PP to local police, which is a violation of North Carolina Law.According to Ms. Hawkins, YouTube said the tape had inappropriate content - damn right it did: it showed PP breaking laws...that's pretty inappropriate.' As it turns out, YouTube has also yanked previous pro-life organization videos while it does, according to Ms. Hawkins, continue to play videos which show, for example, a young man desecrating the Eucharist.To watch SF's video visit studentsforlife.org I'm always impressed with the star-studded and blinged out locals who attend the yearly Santa Barbara Planned Un-Parenthood fund raising events even with the ongoing' stream of information demonstrating their cavalier attitude towards minor women pregnant by adult men, their disrespect for parental rights, as well as their resistance to diving full force into the adoption realm. More >>

Tags: abortionAdoptionFamily/Relationships - TeensMorals, Ethics, ValuesMotherhood-FatherhoodPlanned ParenthoodPregnancyResponse To A CommentSocial IssuesTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconTurns out that the latter leads to the former!' Recent research by the University of Buffalo Department of Communication and the University of Hawaii reveals that the people who watch reality television visit social networking websites to engage in behaviors like the celebrities they see on shows like American Idol or Survivor .When people on reality TV are rewarded for their behavior, it communicates to the (usually) young audience that these behaviors are good things.' These so-called "reality" TV shows depict people being exploitive, deceitful, hyper-emotional, vengeful, conspiratorial, sexually promiscuous, generally undignified, immodest, self-centered, and basically exhibitionistic.According to the university research, "heavy reality TV viewers may adapt personality traits association with celebrities....Reality TV even may be to blame for the erosion of the distinction between the everyday world and the celebrity world." This phenomenon is encouraging young folks to make personal information about themselves publicly available online.' We've all heard about the proliferation of youngsters sending photos to each other and through the Internet, revealing their genitals and showing themselves engaged in various sexual acts.' Instead of this being "shameful," it's trendy.' Parents are becoming way too lax in allowing their children access to electronic equipment, from cell phones to the Internet, without any supervision.' So, with a little "push" and little "pull" back, kids are getting themselves into situations which will impact them for a lifetime.When children behave like out-of-control celebrities, including drug use, sex, having out-of-wedlock babies, "shacking up," and testing their parents' limits as well as the limits of the law, they are less likely to be studying, participating in sports, or contributing charitably in their neighborhoods. More >>

Tags: divorceFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingRelationshipsRelativesSexSexualitySocial NetworkingTeens
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05/13/2010
IconAfter posting a blog last Thursday (9/11/08) about "shame," I got this response from a reader: I grew up in a Roman Catholic family.' I attended parochial school, and I also became pregnant at 17.' I was shamed and ostracized for what I had done, but I have to say that the "shaming" I received from my family and community actually led me back onto the right track. I completed my high school diploma by attending school in the morning, and I began college at night (I was admitted to a local university because I was an honor student in my high school).' I attended college with 30 and 40 year-olds!' Ultimately, I graduated college and became a Certified Public Accountant. This was a difficult path, and I recommend it to no one.' I sacrificed much:' my young adulthood.' I did not do the things other kids my age did.' I took care of my baby, I studied, and I cleaned houses.' Although I was ashamed of becoming pregnant so young and out-of-wedlock, I loved my child more than life itself, and I always placed my child's needs before mine.' I did not "party."' I did not hang out with friends.' I did not do things just for myself, and most of all, I did not whine. I don't think most teens are capable of this, and most babies are probably better off being placed for adoption.' I had my family's help - I was not tossed onto the streets, but my parents' expectations were high, and "I" was my child's caregiver (not my mom).' I was the one up at night with my sick baby.' I was the one who took him to the park and the doctor's office, and I was the one he came to depend on most. I have been happily married now for many years to a man I am so blessed to have as my husband.' I have three beautiful children.' I have chosen to stay home with my younger kids and not work outside of the house.' I ALWAYS hated to leave my oldest child and felt tremendous guilt when I headed off to school for the day or to clean houses. It's an absolute treasure to be a stay-at-home mom.' My job in life now is to provide a warm home environment, and to be there for my hubby and kids.' By the way, the baby boy I had at 17 is now an honor student at [a major university], and quite a wonderful young man.' To this day, I still feel remorse that my oldest did not have the same childhood as my other two kids.' I feel I cheated him, and I suppose I always will. More >>

Tags: ChristmasCommitmentFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensHolidaysMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyRelativesSocial IssuesTeens
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05/13/2010
IconRecently, I came across a newspaper's Letter to the Editor written by a well-known television personality.' She'd gotten pregnant out-of-wedlock at 17, and had to endure "...[my] mother's disappointment, my father's anger, the priest's admonishment...[T]he shame and ridicule were more than I could bear.' I was no good.' I had messed up.' I knew it.' My dreams and life were shattered.' Days later, I was married off and sent away.' I said I did not love this man.' I was told: 'You made your bed; now you must lie in it.'" She went on to recount the damage to her self-esteem (which she called "life-threatening" ) and described being ostracized and condemned as a "bad" girl, "when I had tried hard all my life to do well and make my parents proud." While it's natural to feel compassion for someone who has faced that kind of negative reaction from all the significant adults in her life, it's important to point out that this situation was not all about her .' And it seems like this author still doesn't get it.' It is about the innocent, dependent child who finds himself or herself in an unprepared, chaotic, non-committed, immature and fragile situation by being born to a teenager and her male counterpart who are having a sexual relationship and are not prepared for the biological consequences:' a pregnancy.The concept of "feeling shame" is a very human, emotional/social mechanism.' Its purpose is to deter people from engaging in behaviors that will have negative consequences for them, for others who may be victimized by their behavior, and for the community and society as a whole.'' The motivation behind those who rage against "shame" is to dissociate behavior from consequence.' These days, judgment of others is considered a bad thing because it hurts feelings, but having hurt feelings (particularly if they're the result of actions which cause pain to others) is a good thing; it is part of having a conscience.' Only good people feel guilt.' Only good people suffer from doing ill to others.' It's human, natural, expected and respected for people to suffer over their wrongdoing.' To complain, however, that wrongdoing should not result in any negative reaction is immature and defensive and contrary to the notion of taking responsibility for how one's actions impact others.The author of the letter complains about having to marry the young man - whom she didn't love - in order to legitimize the baby and take responsibility as a family for the child's welfare.' Why is that a bad thing?' Why was she having sexual relations with someone for whom she didn't have the highest regard and wouldn't have chosen to be the father of her future children?'' Is it not in the best interest of the child to have the foundation of a family?Submitting to responsibility for a dependent child seems like a noble action to me.' Staying mutually committed for the well-being of another human being sounds noble to me.' And many can report that people so inclined grow together and build a strong love and family foundation. These ideals, however, don't often resonate with people who marry this young.' That is why adoption is often the best solution for the child.The author of this letter was making the point that the media shouldn't focus on those young men and women who make this sort of "mistake," because it hurts their feelings and because these are private issues.' Generally, these are private issues, but when people in the public eye and their families display behaviors which undermine role-modeling obligations or expectations, it should be examined publicly, because impressionable youngsters take their cues from their environment.' When there is no public "shame" for destructive, hurtful or illegal behaviors our children see and emulate, the disasters grow exponentially.The author writes : "If my pregnancy - my deepest shame - had been broadcast for all to know about, I might have taken my life." Clearly, now that the author is a mature woman, she is making her own "shameful" history public and is not suicidal.' Maturity is an important factor in dealing with serious issues, which is precisely why children should not be engaging in activities that endanger the lives of innocent people (as we've seen with fetuses being aborted or newborns tossed in dumpsters or toilets).' The young women themselves are at risk when they have a child's view of how "life is over" just because they're embarrassed.'So, instead of railing about how upsetting shame is to a pregnant youngster, it is important to point out to all the other young people out there what dangerous ground they tread when they "walk" as responsible adults, but in reality have the footprints of na've children.' Taking this story public is a way to warn children away from playing with the "perks" of committed adults when they are in no position to take on the responsibilities of their actions, nor to cope well with the emotional fallout.We are in an era which judges "judgment" as evil.' It isn't.' Morals, values, principles and ethics are prophylactics against pain and destruction, and not just somebody's evil attempt to wrest momentary pleasure from the grip of innocent bystanders. More >>

Tags: CommitmentDatingFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyFamily/Relationships - TeensMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyRelativesSocial IssuesTeens
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