On Dating, and Advice to Teens about Sex

these ideas are written within the context of radical unschooling
and the assumption that the parents haven't been controlling and punishing

On Mar 26, 2006 Su Penn wrote:
There can be big consequences to sex—birth control failures, disease, emotional fallout from mistakes. So I want to acknowledge that to my kids. But I don't want to magnify those consequences unduly.

So we should make a list of warnings that parents might want to give kids, or maybe make sure (casually somehow) that they're aware of them.

emotional distress
guilt over causing one of the above to someone else
probable loss of that friendship in case of breakup
possible loss of mutual friends
birth control failure
illegality / trouble / getting caught (at different points in life and in different circumstances those will be different things)
entanglement with nut cases (I've warned my boys, following having met a couple of their potential female companions)
premature marriage (which I think can be as bad as any of the other things)
loss of choices

I'm thinking of two things:
One was a long talk I had with my boys and another couple of their friends when a desperate kind of teen girl (I felt sorry for her, but still...) seemed to want and need nothing more than to be liberated from babysitting her younger siblings while her dad drank and partied and slept. The mom's whereabouts were unknown to me, but she was long gone one way or another.

I warned the boys that a pregnancy might seem like a great thing to her, if her dad would throw her out about it, or if the other family would take her in. And I told them that if they ever get a girl pregnant they have no option but to be a father at that point, but they would have no control over whether they were allowed to be good fathers or absent fathers or even whether the pregnancy would continue to term. They might doom themselves to a life of guilt and shame and no contact with the child ever.

The other thought is of girls who have been forced to give babies up for adoption so that the parents could save face. Many, many parents. And DID they save face? Depends which side of their face you look at, I guess.


More on sex/internet/younger kids, teens, choices, and the value of Yes.