What do we know about teen parents? Take a moment to make a mental list (or, if you’re motivated to get out a pen and paper, I won’t stop you) of all the facts and statistics you’ve heard.
In case you’re coming up short, I’ll give you a few:
Depending on your view, the answer to that question might seem really obvious or very tricky and hazy.
At a recent conference I was part of in London, Alan McKee presented Healthy sexual development: a multidisciplinary framework for research. What McKee and his colleagues determined to be the core parts of healthy sexual development had me jumping up and down in my seat with joy (literally: I may have disturbed my fellow attendees with my bouncing). It summed up the things we try to support, encourage and inform our users with and keep core at Scarleteen so well, and so much of what I think -- after many years of thinking hard about and working with these issues, and being fully and broadly immersed in them with a very diverse population -- truly is central to healthy sexual development.
I'm delighted to have permission to excerpt and reprint this framework here.
I remember it very clearly. I was a senior in high school and we were all noshing together in the lunch room when Darla, who was two years my junior, blurted out that she had seen her boyfriend naked and that they were planning to have sex soon. It would be her first time, although we thought he probably had more experience. ”I sure hope it gets smaller before it goes in, because my hole isn’t that big!” she declared and we all laughed together.
Part of the 2010 Blogathon to help support Scarleteen. This entry is courtesy of Tess at Urban Gypsy.
If I earned a dollar each time I’ve heard the statement, “I’m surprised you’re so strict,” in relation to my parenting, I’d be basking on a beach in Tahiti now rather than on a Metro North train whisking me off to do a sex ed consult on the Lower East Side. I’d probably be doing sex ed consults in Tahiti; you can take me out of NY but you can’t kill my desire to help people learn more about their sexuality. But back on point, I can always hear the implied, “you with your pierced nose, tattoo, open marriage and non-stop sex talk.”
The funny thing is, my friends may have been surprised but my daughter was not.
My father and I don't have the best relationship but he continually forces me to give him hugs, kisses, etc. even after I say no. It really bothers me, even if it is just a kiss on the cheek. He also comes in my room a lot (without knocking) and lays down in my TWIN size bed with me and wont leave even after I tell him to get up....
We're glad this day has rolled around again, and always glad to have the opportunity to keeping talking about the essential human right of reproductive choice. Perhaps obviously, we're less glad that any of us still have to work so hard to support reproductive choice and justice, or to need to explain that it should simply be self-evident.
I hate, hate, hate that phrase. Nearly everywhere I go or look as a young adult sexuality educator anymore, I run into it incessantly.
Let me be clear: I don't hate doing all that we can, to help people of every age to avoid pregnancies or parenting they do not want or do not feel ready for. I'm so glad to do that, and it's a big part of my job at Scarleteen and elsewhere when I work as a sexuality and contraception educator and activist.