88% of teens who promise abstinence actually have sex anyway? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 03:04 PM
 
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"Boys and girls should hear what the other hears."

ITA. Having taught sex ed, however, I think it is easier to be taught mostly in single sex groups.

However, when we as parents teach sex ed - which I think is our responsibility and certainly shouldnt be left to schools alone - I believe that we will naturally tailor our teaching to our children. Which means that we will naturally teach according to gender to
some extent. I believe that our emphasis will be different, because our chidlren bring to the learning their own individuality, whcih includes gender.

Therefore, I have no serious expectation if I ever have a boy, of talking about the unrealistic view of life presented in romance novels with him. It won't surprise me if I have that discussion with my daughters. Similarly, I don't really expect to have issues with my dds about guns or violent video games. They are already terrified by a pop gun in a Winnie the Pooh story LOL. I watch my nephews, on the other hand, and see how my sister has needed to give guidance on very different issues to her sons than to her daughters.

Now, how far these 'differences' are learned and how far they are inherent is debatable. I'd say it's a mix. But I think that serious discussion about gender issues and differences is interesting and useful as we all address parenting challenges. We also need to bear in mind that while many of us are trying to raise our children to respect the opposite sex, there are others who are learning by example not to do so. Being realistic, we need to prepare our children as good citizens of the future who can deal with those who did not have such an enlightened upbringing.

Hope this makes sense, children are noisy here!
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#92 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 03:16 PM
 
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I had sex ed starting in grade 4 (back then it was just stuff about body parts) and it was never segregated. According to Title IX, all school grades may have segregated sex ed classes but the classes must be equal in "educational quality.":
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#93 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 03:41 PM
 
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Originally posted by Greaseball
Although from what I've read, abstinence-only education has made it so the clitoris is no longer discussed. It's not even included in the anatomy diagram.
I remember sitting through an "almost" abstinence only class (about 99% don't have sex, and maybe 1% but if you do, use a condom). We were not taught about any other form of birth control, we were not taught where to get condoms, or how to use condoms (both genders were in the same class).
And most definately, the clitoris was not discussed. It was not listed on any anatomy diagrams (I still have the book...we had to buy our books in high school). It was not discussed in the text. In fact, the only discussion of the outer female anatomy was is "urethra" and "vaginal opening". The text also mentions the "labia", but does not tell what the labia actually is.
The inner female anatomy is discussed only slightly more in depth (uterus/womb, fallopian tubes, ovaries, egg).
The male anatomy is kept to this...penis, testicles, testicular sac. The only time sperm is mentioned is in one sentence "The sperm (carried in the male ejaculate) fertilizes the egg (released once monthly from the ovary), and a pregnancy forms."
I remember snickering at the fact that it was never once mentioned exactly HOW that sperm got close enough to fertilize that egg.

And JFTR, this book is "Growing Into Men and Women", and was the "textbook" used for sophmore Health in a middle class, suburban high school in Indiana. This would also be the same school where we were not allowed to say the word "pregnant" in the performance of the play "Grease", even though there was a pregnant 5th grader at the time. AND, the very same school where I remember watching the superintendant on the local news saying "There are no drugs or drug users in Franklin Township, and certainly not attending our high school." While I was watching him, I was sitting in the high school theatre control booth, passing one around with my friends...go figure.
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#94 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 06:01 PM
 
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Originally posted by grnbn76
I remember watching the superintendant on the local news saying "There are no drugs or drug users in Franklin Township, and certainly not attending our high school." While I was watching him, I was sitting in the high school theatre control booth, passing one around with my friends...go figure.
:LOL :LOL :LOL
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#95 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 07:12 PM
 
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Okay. (takes deep breath)

I am not saying we should raise our children to be "gender neutral.."
It would be impossible to do that in our culture even if we decided it was of value to do so.
I don't know to what degree gender roles are determined by culture or by biology. And science, while it can tell us about bio-chemical and neurological differences.. can't yet answer how those things translate into behavior.

But that does not come to bear on teaching about sex and sexuality, for me. I believe boys/girls need to hear the same messages.. of respect and responsibility. Of valuing other humans. Of the issues surrounding sexual coersion. To me, there is nothing to be gained and everything to be lost in presenting sexuality and sexual responsibility as different for the different genders. I believe it IS just as important for my son to understand what sexually victimizing someone is about as it is for a girl.

I guess what concerns me about some of what I have read in here is that I think there also needs to be some awareness of what messages we may inadvertantly be sending our kids when we talk about these things.

What I want for young girls is to of course be empowered enough to make strong, wise decisions about sex without internalizing the message that they should see themselves as potential victims. I think that creates a VERY DANGEROUS potential for self-fulfilling prophecy. And for relationships created out of fear instead of love.

Nor do I want my son to have to deal with internalized messages that he is, first and foremost, a potential predator. And I guess that is what hurts me. The idea that for all the work I am doing to help my son grow into a loving, gentle, respectful, honorable man.. he's going to be viewed by some with automatic suspicion.
Nothing I can do about that, I guess. But it is extrordinarily painful. AND I am not accusing ANYONE in this thread of being out to do that. But some word choices in here have made me come to ponder it. And it hurts.

So I guess I just think that we should choose our words very very carefully when discussing these things.. or we risk creating and re-creating the very things we say we are trying to avoid.
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#96 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 07:57 PM
 
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"I just think that we should choose our words very very carefully when discussing these things.. "

I agree. The trouble is though that when someone posts and thinks that they are being clear, their words may upset someone else who interprets them differently to how they were perhaps meant.

ITA that all young people need the same messages about respect and responsibility. I don't think anyone disagrees with that.

I have no intention of raising my daughters to be 'potential victims' nor of creating self-fulfilling prophesies. As a mother of girls, that comment stings: it cuts both ways. But then, I know that this is not what I am doing, just as I know that I am not raising my daughters to fear your sons. So, I can choose to be upset, or not, by such a comment. I choose not to be, as I am genuinely interested in discussion. I don't think that we are actually far apart in our thinking, maybe just in our interpretation about what one another mean. That's my guess, anyway

There is a fine line between raising children to be aware and raising them to be fearful. Fearful does not help them to be self-sufficient. But I believe that not to give them a realistic view of the world could lead them to be potential victims. In 'Protecting the Gift' there is a section about giving children the vocabulary and language to enable them to be able to talk about their bodies and so be more likely to resist abuse. I think that is vital from a young age.

As for internalized messages, it is no more desirable for boys to take one that they are potential predators than for girls to take one that they are potential victims. I do want my girls to understand about situations that could be potentially dangerous for them, and to know how to avoid them. That is just part of teaching them about personal safety, imo, and is no reflection upon the millions of good men out there, but is a reflection upon the small number of bad ones.

As for being viewed with automatic suspicion, I guess its a fact of life that in some situations men will be viewed suspiciously by women. Dh has learned this, as he has a tendency to go up to anyone and chat. Just recently, I was with him at a park with the children, but a group of women obviously didnt realise he was with me. One of the womens' young daughters was sitting near our dd, and dh tried to start up a conversation with the mother. She looked uncomfortable and moved away with her dd swiftly. Dh commented to me afterwards that he just hadnt thought how his approach would make her feel uncomfortable, but that she had done the right thing. And that he knew that I'd have done the same thing in her shoes. It's sad that a well-intentioned man can't approach someone without suspicion being aroused, but a fact of life. One of the things in Protecting the Gift that I thuoght was very true is that we can be so hung up about being polite and not offending someone that we can put ourselves into dangerous situations.

I have never really thought about it before, but I think that maybe one thing that boys need to learn is that in some situations they might make women feel nervous, and that they need to adapt to take this into account. Eg, dh would never walk behind a woman in a dark street if she looked back at him nervously and would hold back, look in a window or something and let her move away. He would never hurt someone, but she doesnt know that, does she? But isnt that an aspect of respect?

Translate that to teenagers, and maybe they need to learn about situations that might make a girl feel nervous, and that these situations are best avoided? I'm just musing here, but it seems to me that if one of my rules for my dds until a certain age (undecided until we get to that stage) will be that they go out and travel in groups not couples, maybe boys need the same rules? That way, all are protected. Is that stereotyping boys, or is it simply being practical and avoiding difficult situations for both genders?

This is interesting because its making me think about what my emphasis would be if raising boys not girls. And going back to the original quote, maybe my words here are "creating and re-creating the very things we say we are trying to avoid" but if we are to continue to discuss, that may be unavoidable? And to me, it is a shame to halt a discussion because of possible interpretations of what is being said.

(Taking deep breaths too as it's difficult when you know you're probalby offending just by discussing. )
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#97 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 08:01 PM
 
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A question, getting back on topic.

Where are these 'abstinence' movement classes taught? In school or in separate programmes in churches? So, if a kid gets the abstinence lectures in church, is he or she still getting sex ed at school?

These types of classes are certainly not fashionable in the UK, thankfully.
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#98 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 08:18 PM
 
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Are you in the UK or US now? Abstinence-only sex ed in public schools is not just a threat; it's been going on for a while now. I think different schools do it differently; some, for example, will discuss contraception but only the bad stuff about it.
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#99 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 08:29 PM
 
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I'm in the US but dont use schools. Is it whole school boards, individual schools, states? How common?

And how extreme is the emphasis on abstinence - ie a recommendation, an ideal, anabsolute?
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#100 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 08:49 PM
 
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Sex ed curricula are ususally approved by the local school board. HOWEVER, there has been a recent proposal to restrict federal funding to abstinance-only programs.

Personally, I don't see how knowing how your body works and how to make your body feel good as well as protect yourself from disease is mutally exclusive with abstinance. Here's what to expect if/when you decide to have sexual relations. What's wrong with that?

The truly scary thing is that my Catholic school upbringing better prepared me to take charge of my sexual health than most of my public schooled peers. I knew how birth control worked, the mechanics of sex, emotional considerations, etc. I was taught by a wonderfully open instructor how to navigate through relationships. I also never felt pressured to have sex until I was ready.

To Asherah and Pie: I really hope you didn't think that I was trying to imply that boys are all potential predators with my post earlier. Nothing could be further from the truth. For my boys, I am more worried about them getting hauled into court because of consensual sex with an underclasswoman. That's the only reason I will advise them to delay sex until they are legally adults and to only have sex with other legal adults. I'll tell my dd the same thing. In the mean time, I want them to know how their bodies and the bodies of the opposite sex work and to not be ashamed or embarassed by that. I want to know how to get birth control and what forms are the most effective at preventing pregnancy and preventing STDs.

I have been pregnant outside of a commited relationship and I had to deal with STDs, largely because after I was sexually assaulted by someone I trusted, I had sexual hangups that prevented me from thinking clearly. And I had a mother who thought/thinks sex is dirty and bad, so when I was assaulted I felt responsible for it.
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#101 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 08:58 PM
 
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Originally posted by Britishmum
I'm in the US but dont use schools. Is it whole school boards, individual schools, states? How common?

And how extreme is the emphasis on abstinence - ie a recommendation, an ideal, anabsolute?
I've wondered that as well. Maybe you could post a question in the teens forum about what kind of sex ed their kids are getting?

Though most of the sex ed I got was lame, when I was a sophomore our HIV education rocked! It was taught by a student panel, not a health or PE teacher, and it barely mentioned abstinence at all because of course everyone knows that abstinence is a way to not get HIV! It mentioned watching pornography and going to strip clubs as sexual activities with no risk of getting HIV, and even touched on S&M games that did not involve bleeding. They talked about all the different kinds of condoms, as well as where we could get them for free. (The school did not dispense them, but the nurses would give you a note to take to the health dept and they would give you 50 condoms there.) It was great. And here I am, without HIV! I wonder what the program consists of now.
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#102 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 09:10 PM
 
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Thanks Miranda.

I am so sad for my son right now. Sad that people think HE should bear the burden for what other men may or may not do. He should watch where he walks, who he talks to.. be self conscious every moment he is out in the world because someone MIGHT see him as a predator. Maybe we should just ban men from having anything to do with children, ever, because someone COULD see them as a predator. And because, after all, men are more likely to be predators. Just a fact of life.

Maybe I should teach my son that he should be careful who he has sex with because women sometimes lie about being on birth control. Or lie about who has fathered their child. Maybe I should teach him he should be careful because some malicious women DO lie about being coerced. Those are all facts of life too. Should I parent out of fear, out of assumptions and negative stereotypes?

No, I will not. I will not bury his growing sexuality under fear and projections of the WORST of human behavior. NO. I will not do that anymore than I will bury it under a concept of "sin" that I don't believe in. I will teach sexuality from JOY not fear. He will come to know the WORST of the human condition, unfortunately, no matter what I teach him.

And discussions of personal safety and "protecting the gift" will certainly be held.. but NOT in the context of sexuality. I am NOT going to link the two in my son's mind. What a horrid, horrid message to send to my son about his sexuality.

This conversation is pointless now, I know.
I am sorry for interrupting the rest of you.
I will stop now.
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#103 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 09:17 PM
 
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Sad that people think HE should bear the burden for what other men may or may not do.
I think it's sad that women have to bear the burden of what men do to them. It was not the doing or the fault of the woman, yet she bears it.

Quote:
He should watch where he walks, who he talks to.. be self conscious every moment he is out in the world
This is how women often live. It's not fair either way.

As soon as sexual assault stops being a fact of life for many people, things can get back to being fair.
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#104 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 09:41 PM
 
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Asherah, I'm sorry you feel that way.

I've tried to discuss openly and honestly and not hurt feelings, but clearly I've failed.

It seems that what I say will be taken the wrong way, and I'm sorry about that too. What else can I say?

I don't think that your son or anyones son should bear the burden for what some men do. But nor do I think that my daughters shuold have to avoid walking out alone at night or should not go out jogging wearing a walkman. But facts are, that is the way they need to live if they are going to stay safe. That's the way I live, and I'd be irresponsible to recommend that they do otherwise.

Is the reality of rape a 'negative stereotype.? Not in my opinion.

I have tried to explain clearly that I am not talking of raising my children in fear, but in a realistic way in the real world. Which sadly, includes danger. And people who are not raised by mothers or fathers who instil respect for others.

Parenting my way, I can assure you, is not out of fear. It is out of a realistic analysis of the world and how it works.

But I've tried to explain that, and as you say, it seems pointless.
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#105 of 107 Old 04-22-2004, 09:56 PM
 
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I thought we were talking about SEXUALITY.
Some people apparently see sexual ASSAULT as an issue of sexuality. I do not.
I see it as a CRIME. A crime of POWER and hatred. And of course I think women need to understand the reality of it and how protect themselves. And men need to take responsibility for it.. in terms of working to change the culture that feeds it... and disowning the culture of violence we live in.

But I personally would have that be a separate discussion from SEX education. Sexual ASSAULT education is not SEXUALITY education. And I personally think mixing the two sends a terrible message.

And Greaseball.. I am really not sure what you are saying.
I am not sure how forcing my son to walk around with a metaphorical sign saying "I am not a predator" will keep women safer or make up for the c%^& they have to put up with.

And.. while I certainly do take personal safety into consideration, and try to make smart choices, I do not walk the world in fear. I have traveled all around the world alone, safely. I do not think the fact of sexual assault means women have to live in constant fear. That's one response.. but not the only one.

And I am not about to share my own experiences to justify what I am saying.. I in no way feel safe enough to do that here.

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#106 of 107 Old 04-23-2004, 01:01 AM
 
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Asherah, I certainly dont see sexual assault as an aspect of sexualilty and agree that it is generally to do with power. And I certainly don't advocate mixing that with sex education, and didnt say so here.

We led onto the topic of assault and the reality of educating chidlren of the dangers from the discussion about whether we need to give boys and girls different emphasis in their sexual education. You don't think that there should be any difference in emphasis, I disagree.

As I said at the beginning, I believe it is far more likely that a girl will be coerced into having sex than a boy. That's not to say that boys wont have pressures upon them, but the likelihood of a girl being coerced is greater imo. And that would influence the way that I educate a girl vs a boy.

As for fear, I said several times that I am not talking about walking around in fear. I am talking about having a realistic view of the world. As you said, you have travelled and have made smart choices. That's what I want to help my daughters to do. What did I say that was any different to that?

As for your son or mine, no he should not go around all his life being self-consciuos that someone might see him as a predator. But if I have a son in the future, I would want to raise him too to be aware of these issues and to be mindful of where he might make a girl feel vulnerable, and where he needs to be respectful of that fact and back off. Wouldnt that also be a way of him being protected, as you say, from false allegations? That would include hanging back if following a woman on a dark street, or backing off if a woman seemed anxious by his friendliness in a park (which was my point about dh) Not that he must never talk to anyone in public - where did I say anything so extreme? But that he needs to be mindful of the issues and respectful of other people's feelings.

As far as sex ed, I believe that both genders need the same information, but sexuality is not an issue out on its own. It is a part of human relationships and as part of that, I want my girls to have the tools to withstand possible coercion (and where does 'persuasion' become 'assault' - there is a fine line, isn't there?) So my influence over all number of things will add up to give my girls a healthy view of sexuality and their power to choose. Which is what it is all about - choice.

I have first hand experience of where 'persuasion' crossed the boundaries and became imo 'assualt'. And as I said before, the teenage girl is left to carry the burden. I dont think that you can separate out the reality of that from sex ed. Schools don't need to touch upon it, but I see sex ed as my job as a parent, and I see that reality as part of the educatoin that sadly my girls will need to have. Not in a fearful way - I keep saying that, but you assume that I'm talking about fear when I'm talking about reality and practical ways to avoid danger.
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#107 of 107 Old 04-23-2004, 12:29 PM
 
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I've been thinking a lot about this thread and last night remembered some research I read a while back about anti-drug education.

The researchers compared the 'Just say No' type programmes with ones where young people got to role play and practice responses to situations. They considered the whole picture - the human response to peer pressure etc in addition to the 'evilness' of drugs line.

The children who underwent the more comprehensive programme and were given practice in the language of 'no' were significantly better at saying no in future years.

It would seem to me that any sex ed programme needs to take the same approach to be successful. Give children the facts. And give options, abstinence being one of them. Then give them the language to be assertive. That might be as simple as practicing saying "I'm not going to have sex with you," (for some kids, just using the word 'sex' let alone 'no' would be a challenge), to "I won't have sex without using a condom."

Handing out ideals withuot tools to follow them thruogh is fairly useless imo, for most children. But then, I think that the responsibility for sex ed lies mainly in the home, but unfortunately imo a lot of parents are unable or unwilling to give clear guidance. Maybe because their own sex ed was lacking.
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