Implosion

Implosion - A sudden inward collapse

This is my prediction for Britain. I already commented on the campaign in Britain to "Stop at Two" (when the fertility rate is already below replacement). Now, the benevolent government of Britain, in an effort to curb teen pregnancy, is encouraging parents NOT to share their values with their children.

Beverly Hughes, the children's minister in England, is distributing pamphlets next month to parents (through pharmacies) entitled, "Talking to Your Children About Sex and Relationships". The pamphlet encourages parents to talk to their children about sex. Among the suggestions:

  • Start the "big talk" with children as young as possible, before they get "misinformation" from their peers.
  • The best time to talk is while doing "mundane" tasks like washing the car and watching t.v.
  • Take your daughter to the doctor to learn about birth control options. "Or, if you have a teenage son, suggest he talks to his girlfriend about it and visits a clinic with her."
  • Use the lives of celebrities as a way of introducing the topic

Um, really? Of the above, I am going to say that I only agree with suggestion number 1. I personally am grateful for Family Home Evening and PPI's (that my kids ask their dad for because they enjoy those chats) because they give us time to talk about lots of serious issues, so we don't have to "sneak" them in while washing the car. I'm not even going to begin with how I would feel about encouraging my son to go to a clinic with his girlfriend. And celebrities as role models? Perhaps if I want to teach my children everything NOT to do. But, this last one is really the kicker:

  • Avoid trying to convince your teenage children of the difference between right and wrong when talking to them about sex. “Discussing your values with your teenagers will help them to form their own. Remember, though, that trying to convince them of what’s right and wrong may discourage them from being open.”

Clinical Psychologist Linda Blair explains further, "We do not know what is right and wrong; right and wrong is relative, although your child does need clear guidelines".

Are you kidding me? Are you people for real? Let me fill you "experts" in on a little info: Children want to know what is right and wrong and to try to do what is right. Children want values. They are looking for them. And they will find them - it is just a matter of where they find them at. As a parent, are you really going to leave your children to the wind (the media, their peers, the government) to help them figure out what is right and wrong? And, really, Ms. Blair, right and wrong is relative? No wonder our world is so screwed up. As I commented on another thread: Most people don't even know what is right anymore. I wonder why. Perhaps it is because parents are listening to morons like you.

Ms. Hughes says, "When it comes to sex and relationships, young people tell us that they would prefer advice and information to come from their mum or dad". Um, Ms. Hughes, if young people want advice and information from their parents, what makes you think they don't want to know what their parents think is right and wrong? Further, I agree that we should start teaching our children about sex at a young age so they don't believe misinformation from their friends. But, why would I provide them with information and not values? Is it not possible that they will get misinformation on what is right and wrong from their peers? Do you not see the inconsistency at all?

In the U.S., we seem to have done well with the "Parents are the Anti-Drug" campaign. It is widely acknowledged that parents who spend time with their children and talk to their children about drugs and smoking can curb this behavior. Why not sex? Why not a "Parents are the Anti-Pregnancy" campaign?

Simon Calvert, deputy of the Christian Institute, said this about the pamphlet:

The idea that the government is telling families not to pass on their values is outrageous. Preserving children’s innocence is a worthy goal. We would like to see more of that kind of language rather than this amoral approach where parents are encouraged to present their children with a smorgasbord of sexual activities and leave them to make up their own minds.

About her "role" in curbing teen pregnancy, Hughes said:

[the government] doesn’t bring up children but . . . it does have a role to play in supporting parents and giving them access to advice and information

Uh, you know what? I'm not so sure parents need your help, particularly when you are giving such bad advice. Does the government really understand that its role is not to bring up children? More and more, we see government replacing parents because parents are doing such a "bad" job. And with the British government encouraging parents not to pass on their values, I have to wonder, in the near future, are parents going to have much of a role at all to play in their children's' lives? Or, will we be replaced by those who "know better"?

(One last question - when the church places a HUGE emphasis on parents teaching their children what is right and wrong, who do you think would be behind a movement to get parents NOT to teach their children these things?)

17 comments:

Scott said...

Stephanie--

You're wrong again. Celebrities are excellent way of introducing this topic.

For example:

"Hey Kid, you know how all those celebrities are complete gits with no sense of decency or self-respect? Let's talk about how to not be like them for a few minutes."

mfranti said...

scott, you are absolutely correct.

steph, do you have a teenage daughter with a ton of baggage?

i do. and the suggestions on that list are pretty sound.

about the last one, i udnerstand why your knickers are in a twist but...

you just can't tell you kid that sex is bad/wrong and don't do it. you just can't (i mean you can but it's very risky)

it's best to suck up your pride in the case of sex, and forget they are 15-16-17, whatever, and talk to them like and adult and be really really frank witht he.

that doesn't mean you should express to them your expectations. absolutely. (i would hope you choose to wait until you are married...) or in my case, i've said the above, but i also made it very clear that i know how things work out in the real world and things happen.

so frequent discussions about sex and how it works and the emotions and committed relationships and body image and masturbation and gross stuff and trust and companionship and responsibility, and genital warts,and hurt feelings and death vs. pg, and condoms and b.c and vulnerability, etc, etc. etc. are talked about quite openly. and frequently.

she's a kid most days but when it comes to her body and sex, she's a woman. and i, as her mother, have to be committed to her success.

so. she's drop dead gorgeous and currently, at almost 16, not interested.

yet! but she will be. the minute the right boy (girl? i don't think so) comes along.


ps. it totally sucks to think of your kids as sexual beings.

mfranti said...

correction...

that doesn't mean you shouldn't express your expectations with them ...

mfranti said...

and i don't know if you've noticed this but your tone lately is snobby.

it seems that everyone that attempts to live a life, that isn't lds, is somehow

STUPID.

yes. that is your tone. everyone but you and yours is stupid because they don't live the gospel according to the lds theology.

you don't have all the answers. nor do i. but remember that your/our religion isn't for everyone.

Stephanie said...

Thanks for the feedback, mfranti. I'm not suggesting to just tell you kid that sex is bad/wrong and don't do it. The church has a fairly comprehensive Parent's Guide to teach children about sexuality. It includes suggestions from toddlerhood to adulthood. Talking to your kids frankly (and often and openly) about sex doesn't need to include leaving out your ideas about what is right and wrong. In fact, I think it includes pretty complete explanations about why having sex before marriage is wrong.

Well, I have to admit that I don't find every single opinion in the world equally valid, particularly those that are self-destructive or destructive of others (as I believe that not teaching our kids what is right and wrong is). I value and appreciate opinions that are not LDS, but if they are in direct contradiction with the gospel (which I believe to be truth), then I feel compelled to say so. Granted, I probably should tone down the snobbery (perhaps "moron" was a bit too much), but I am really frustrated with the moral relativism people like Ms. Blair espouse, and I am not going to pretend that I find it to be a valid opinion. Well, sure, she can think that and have it as her opinion, but we are talking about the government setting this as the standard and trying to push parents to do it. Not cool.

Stephanie said...

I feel that part of my responsibility to "Stand for Truth and Righteousness" includes exposing falsehoods (like don't teach your kids what is right and wrong). But, thanks for the heads up on tone.

mfranti said...

oh what i wouldn't give for you to take my bio class-global environmental issues.

i would pay good money to read your journal entries (required) and get your feedback on the lectures and political/community garden service learning portion.

it would rock your world view.

Stephanie said...

Community gardens sound nice. I would like that.

The Faithful Dissident said...

At the start of the post, you say:

"Britain, in an effort to curb teen pregnancy, is encouraging parents NOT to share their values with their children."

But then later on it quotes this woman as saying:

"Discussing your values with your teenagers will help them to form their own."

So it's not that she's saying to not teach values. She's just saying to not dictate what's "right" or "wrong."

I disagree that a parent shouldn't say what he/she thinks is right or wrong, especially when it comes to something like sex. If I had kids, I would totally tell them that I think/believe that sex before or outside of marriage is wrong.

However, I "sort of" get what she's saying, since we all have to remember that these are people in the "real world." They are not LDS and when you're not LDS or conservative Christian or Muslim, no one thinks that sex is bad or sinful outside of marriage. So I think it's necessary to look at it from their perspective. And from their perspective, sexual morality as Mormons see it is not really on the radar. The priority is health and safety. So then teaching your daughter about birth control isn't as crazy as it sounds. In fact, it's a very good idea.

I disagree with her that parents shouldn't say what they think is right or wrong, but we all know that every generation likes to push the envelope and develop its own set of values, so I think perhaps that's what she's getting at. Think back to your grandparents' generation, then your parents, then you, and then kids today. Every generation has gone a step further. Even the way my husband and I "dated" before we got married would have been considered immoral by previous generations because we didn't have a chaperone, travelled on overnight trips together, etc. I would have hated it if my parents had tried to tell me in no uncertain terms everything that was "right" or "wrong," without letting me decide anything for myself. My parents passed their values about sex onto me and I knew what they thought was right or wrong, but ultimately it was I who decided what was right or wrong for me. I think that's perhaps what this woman is trying to say. Teach your kids values (I would add that it's OK to say what you believe is right or wrong), but let your kids decide for themselves what's right or wrong. Isn't that what free agency is all about?

"The best time to talk is while doing "mundane" tasks..."

I actually agree with that one. Washing the car together or something like that is a perfect opportunity. How many kids want to sit down and talk about sex with their parents staring them in face with no distractions? Not many. Distractions can be good and help ease the discomfort.

I honestly think the only way you can stop a kid from having sex is to raise them with religious values and let them develop a strong faith of their own that will give them the determination to remain chaste. But the enemy is not the gov't, it's not celebrities, it's not even this Hughes woman. It's hypocrisy. People have turned away from religion, and thus sexual morality, because of the hypocrisy they see in churches and religions -- especially on the subject of sex. Now churches have lost their validity in the eyes of many and so who wants to listen to what they preach? So people have defined their own "morality." It perhaps seems absurd to you, Stephanie, but try to see it from the perspective of someone who has only bad experience with religion and hypocrites preaching "morality."

Stephanie said...

Good points, FD. Considering that the pamphlet is geared toward parents who have a hard time bringing up the subject of sex (which wouldn't be parents who started at a young age, etc.), I can see how suggestions like bringing sex up during mundane tasks would be helpful, but I still don't think it is the best way. I don't think this pamphlet is the ideal way to be teaching children about sex. And, I really have a hard time with telling parents not to tell their kids what is right and wrong. We do it on every other issue - why not sex?

Stephanie said...

And I get the impression that Ms. Blair is extending it to other issues beyond sex when she says "We don't know what is right or wrong; right and wrong is relative". Shoot - what's the point of being a parent if you can't teach your kids what is right and wrong? How can we have a functional society if right and wrong really is relative? I view this as a big problem in our society.

desertskunk said...

Very interesting, but I do find fascinating how the degree of moral relativism in society (from my limited perspective) seems to have started to grow exponentially starting in the 20th century, although why is beyond me.

Coming from my libertarian bent I think it's definitely a good thing in respects to removing "religious" elements from what in my opinion should be completely secular arenas such as law and justice, but I find somewhat disturbing how so many people seem to be applying this to there personal lives. I think it may prove dangerous in the long run for large portions of society to exist without firm personal convictions of right and wrong, (but not necessarily requiring identical versions of right and wrong for all people.) In my opinion the stability of society is largely maintained by the majority of people acting rationally and with principles, take that away and situations like Enron, Gadiantons or worse, occur. This increasing view of right and wrong being completely relative or irrelevant on a personal level is nothing more than a updated version of "eat drink and be merry..."

The Faithful Dissident said...

"I think it may prove dangerous in the long run for large portions of society to exist without firm personal convictions of right and wrong, (but not necessarily requiring identical versions of right and wrong for all people.)"

I think that's very true. But a major hurdle is that many religious people -- not just Mormons, but other faiths as well -- tend to expect/demand "identical versions of right and wrong for all people." And, of course, secularists do the same with people of faith. It's an endless tug of war.

matt said...

Here what I was told about the difference between raising teenage boys and girls, "boys are a lot easier, you only have to control one penis. With Girls, you have to control every penis in town!" :)

The Wizzle said...

Hmm, I don't know. I guess, if there are parents who are really so insecure and clueless that they are actually using a free gov't pamphlet from the pharmacy as the basis of their children's sexual education, then those suggestions would definitely be better than nothing. If you don't have much of a foundation with your children, then sitting down and having a big heart-to-heart about Teh Sex, looking deep into each other's eyes, is not going to go over well. I think it's not the best option with a lot of kids, myself included, even if you do have a strong relationship. I've read that boys especially tend to process things better and more comfortably if they can have a little space during the discussion, for example during a back rub or bedtime routine where they can be facing away from you.

And for using celebrities as examples, obviously thy didn't say "be just like Paris Hilton". The fact is, for a lot of children celebrities are an influence, or at least very interesting. You can use that to your advantage, if it helps. That's all. Good jumping off point, maybe.

I definitely think it is our job to be an example for our children, and I personally think that in the long run that is the absolute foundation of our "teaching". You can talk all you want - and not that you shouldn't - but when it comes right down to it, if your kids see you living a certain way and it brings you happiness, they tend to want to emulate that, eventually. You know, after they're done being teenagers.

This post reminds me of my last post - the one about looking for the good in any given viewpoint? Trying to give people the benefit of the doubt? Not automatically reading the worst into someone's words/writing/action? Coy taught me a good lesson on this (wherever he might be nowadays!)

Stephanie said...

Wizzle, so what is your opinion on the purpose for the whole post - that the pamphlet (government) is encouraging parents not to tell their children what is right and wrong? (I really should have just left out the rest of the suggestions - they are proving to be a distraction from the main point).

The Faithful Dissident said...

Matt, that was hilarious. Had to pass that one on. :D