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Talking to Preteens and Teens about Abortion - Page 2

post #21 of 28

We've talked very frankly with our kids about abortion, adoption, abstinence and contraception.   I'm good with any of those options, and present them fairly neutrally.  I would support any of these options.

 

I, personally, do think raising a baby as a teen is pretty much the definition of "ruining your life."  I appreciate that others feel differently.  We have two young girls in our neighborhood who got pregnant at a very early age, and my girls have watched the dramatic effects this has had on their lives.  I am not up for raising grandchildren, and my girls know this.

post #22 of 28

I want to share an experience my oldest son (12 about to be 13) had last weekend.

He's participating in a 6 week Our Whole Lives program through our UU congregation and I just can't say enough good things about it.

 

Last weekend the congregation which was hosting the day's program was also hosting performances of the Abortion Monologues.

The facilitators talked to the kids about the topic and then took them up to see about 5 of the performances and then outside to speak with two of the Anti-Choice protestors who were there about why they were protesting and what their experiences were that lead them to this place.  One man was protesting based on religious grounds but the other was protesting because he and his wife had chosen to abort a child (reasons for that decision were not given) and it profoundly affected him and his marriage.

 

Following that discussion the head of the regional Planned Parenthood organization came in to talk to the kids about the organization and to correct some of the misunderstandings and mistruths that the protestors had shared with the kids.  She also gave the kids acurate stats about abortion and talked about what options would and would not be available for women women did not have the ability to make decisions about their own bodies.

 

The whole experience sparked some great discussions about abortion from a factual standpoint as well as from a values one and we wandered into gender politics (it wasn't lost on my son that most of the Anti-choice protestors were men).

 

We've talked about abortion before - to a lesser extent with my younger kids - but this conversation really stood out because he had a deeper understanding of the whole issue - emotional and factual.

 

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post

I want to share an experience my oldest son (12 about to be 13) had last weekend.

He's participating in a 6 week Our Whole Lives program through our UU congregation and I just can't say enough good things about it.

 

Last weekend the congregation which was hosting the day's program was also hosting performances of the Abortion Monologues.

The facilitators talked to the kids about the topic and then took them up to see about 5 of the performances and then outside to speak with two of the Anti-Choice protestors who were there about why they were protesting and what their experiences were that lead them to this place.  One man was protesting based on religious grounds but the other was protesting because he and his wife had chosen to abort a child (reasons for that decision were not given) and it profoundly affected him and his marriage.

 

Following that discussion the head of the regional Planned Parenthood organization came in to talk to the kids about the organization and to correct some of the misunderstandings and mistruths that the protestors had shared with the kids.  She also gave the kids acurate stats about abortion and talked about what options would and would not be available for women women did not have the ability to make decisions about their own bodies.

 

The whole experience sparked some great discussions about abortion from a factual standpoint as well as from a values one and we wandered into gender politics (it wasn't lost on my son that most of the Anti-choice protestors were men).

 

We've talked about abortion before - to a lesser extent with my younger kids - but this conversation really stood out because he had a deeper understanding of the whole issue - emotional and factual.

 



This sounds like a very powerful experience.  Is this only done through the UU organization?  I wonder how the kids were going through the program? 

post #24 of 28

I believe some other organizations/churches use OWL (Our Whole Lives).  There is a wiki page on it (can't link b/c my computer is acting oddly).  There is a whole series of programs for kids as young as K through to adult, but I think the most popular is the preteen/teen one (DS's is aimed at kids 12-14)

 

The session before this one was on gender and sexual identity issues and they had a couple of very powerful speakers come and talk to the kids. One was transitioning from a man to a woman, one was a GLBT support worker and one was a transsexual.

The speakers were very open with the kids, and really opened up their eyes about how we are all on a spectrum, and influences on gender idenity.

 

The program has typically been run over a 25 week series. The one my son is attending is being run on a series of 6 Saturdays.  I think the presenters and facilitators are fabulous and they work really hard to give the kids a broad range of people to talk to.

 

HTH

Karen

 

  

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post





This sounds like a very powerful experience.  Is this only done through the UU organization?  I wonder how the kids were going through the program? 


I know that the program was developed as a collaboration between the Unitarian-Universalist Association, and the United Church of Christ, so UCC is using it. I don't know if anybody else is. OWL is awesome, though. I am so glad my kids will have the opportunity to go through OWL.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Llyra View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post





This sounds like a very powerful experience.  Is this only done through the UU organization?  I wonder how the kids were going through the program? 




I know that the program was developed as a collaboration between the Unitarian-Universalist Association, and the United Church of Christ, so UCC is using it. I don't know if anybody else is. OWL is awesome, though. I am so glad my kids will have the opportunity to go through OWL.

I've read about it and, honestly, almost joined a church simply for the OWL program for the kids.  Seems wonderful!

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post




I've read about it and, honestly, almost joined a church simply for the OWL program for the kids.  Seems wonderful!


When I was in high school, I went through the UU sex ed program (at the time it was called AYS - About Your Sexuality, but I understand that OWL is very similar) and my family did not regularly attend the church (although I had been going to the youth group for a couple of months at the time). For most UU churches, I can't imagine it being a problem to send your kids though the program even if you aren't regular attendees. When I went through, there was a fee for the program (which the church waived for us because we were very low income), so it wouldn't be like you were "mooching" off the church to send your kids through it. And if it's a no charge program at the nearest church, you could just make a donation or something if you wanted to. The program I went to was absolutely incredible. One of our advisers for the class was an openly gay, openly HIV+ man who had just lost his long term partner to AIDS. Hearing him talk about what he went through watching the man he loved die did way more to cement the ideals of safe sex in my mind than any "No Glove, No Love" PSA ever could. (And in great news, when my kids were going to the same church a few years ago for sunday school, he was one of my DD's Sunday school teachers - still healthy! I'd always wondered what happened to him, so it was great to see him again.) It was nice to have adults who were not our parents to be able to talk to and ask questions of and have them answer honestly and openly. I'm not sure if they still do, but at the time, they also had a parent class that ran simultaneously - based on making sure the parents had correct factual information and helping them learn strategies to talk to their kids/teens openly about sexual issues.
post #28 of 28

I haven't read all the posts. Until this week, I hadn't had a full conversation about abortion with my DD 14. We'd explained what it was when she'd asked years ago but not what you'd call a full discussion. She brought it up after a conversation we had with my MIL who is very active in the pro-life movement. We talked about her view point and I shared why it was such an important cause to MIL. I talked about a few of my friends who'd had abortions (everything from being very young, to being stupid, to date rape, to finding out about a particularly aggressive strain of cervical cancer.) We talked about how it effected them long term both the good and the bad and yes, both good and bad came from them. I talked about my own feelings on the matter. I talked about my unexpected pregnancy with DD and about how DS had several markers for a fatal genetic disorder and how we had to consider all our options (thankfully, he was perfectly healthy.) For me, abortion makes me ill but I can't reconcile my feeling that it's wrong to force a woman to continue a pregnancy she feels in her heart and mind that she shouldn't. Making it illegal is just not the answer in my book. I then told DD she'd have to decide for herself where she stood and we'd love her either way just like we love the rest of our family who is all over on the subject.

 

As for school, abortion hasn't been discussed as of yet. We live in a very conservative pocket and that community has been able to block sex-ed in our local district for many years. We've taken it upon ourselves to educate our kids but I do wish they had something in school too.

 

 

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