Teenage Sex – The Sleepover Question Teenager, noun. = a young person ranging from age 13 to 19; synonym: adolescent, minor, youngster. (Encarta) Nowhere in this classification is there any restrictions what one should or shouldn’t do yet due to societal norms many things are seen as “taboo” for teens. Amy Schalet’s piece, Teenage Sex – The Sleepover Question, bring to light whether or not parents should communicate with their teens about sex and whether to promote it or forbid it.
Amy raises the point of stating that to attempt to understand one’s teen can help them communicate better and additionally help influences their choices which promote more responsible sex education, even if that means agreeing to “sleepovers. ” Through her study she attempts to juxtapose American’s traditional “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy versus the Dutch’s accepting and open attitude by supplying us with logical appeals from her own study and statics and pathos through the emotions of two teens from her study. Schalet, p1-6) Although I do believe that due to overbearing societal taboos teens are unable to communicate with their parents about sex as much as they should, I don’t agree with the idea of supporting teens partaking in sex due to the various dangers and consequences it may lead to. Rather I suggest the utmost importance in the openness of parent’s views while still maintaining a firm hand and not giving in to their children’s naive and unreliable urges.
About half of all teens between ages 15 to 19 have had sex at least once; 29 percent of pregnant teens have abortions; teens who are having unprotected sex have a 90 percent chance of getting pregnant. (Laren, Par. 2, 5) Teenager’s sexual activity is undeniable in today’s day and age and there is no point attempting to hide it or sweep it under the rug anymore. Schalet states how one of American’s major problems with teens is due to parents lack of communication which she spotlights through her use of logos through statistics and logical reasoning.
Furthermore, she continues to say how through this comfort created for their teens they “have more influence, to control through connection. ” (Schalet, pg 4) I believe that communication does influence children because it not only gives them someone to talk to, but gives them mature advice that isn’t biased due to last week’s music video. Parents who speak to kids are more likely to also be active in their child’s life which promotes a greater sense of morality in teens, thus communication is the key to teen’s safety and families with a stronger connection.
American’s standards and typical societal norms are very different to those in many countries, such as the Netherlands. Ironically, Amy attempts to not overgeneralize this cultural difference through her study of 130 families, both American and Dutch, but is biased due to her sample size. Although she states that their cultural differences are much more complex than “puritanical Americans and permissive Europeans” she only gives light to the white, middle class, and not particularly religious. Schalet, pg 3) Although this biased sample of the American population does not illustrate many minorities, such as those of Hispanic or African-American descent, it does serve to illustrate the emotional struggles many teens feel due to inability to communicate with their parents and the comfort this relationship can spark. Teens are continuously shackled to their parent’s image of their “little princess” and are not able to grow due to fear of shattering this idealistic image.
I believe that if parents were more vocal and understanding with their teens they’d not only feel more confident, but would be educated about safe sex, and not feel inadequate to their parents standards. Hence, another instance where communication can help teens be safer which can be reflected by how much lower the Netherlands statistics are. Schalet’s approach suggests that parents should be accepting to their own children’s sexuality and their growth, which although is partially essential to be able to create a stronger bond shouldn’t be taken to an extreme either.
Her continuous attempts to mock conservative parents by insinuating that they should give their teens whatever they want is completely incorrect in my opinion. By giving in to teens qualms, parents in fact avoid “actual parenting” due to convenience and doesn’t do anything but leave them with a false sense of freedom. On the other hand, excessive rigidity on teens can lead to rebellion and revolt for a feeling of justification. Through discussion, and explaining of consequences one can give teens the opportunity to not be just children, but to grow into adulthood and parents an find a middle ground on where to stand. Teenage sex is a taboo in various families life which leads to conflict worldwide. Teens, stuck in a limbo-like state of life, not being seen as adult yet growing into their own sexuality and themselves. They can fall in love, read a book, be the future of tomorrow, but only if we give them the space to grow and a firm hand to help them grow. I don’t believe that parents should support the sleepover question, but the antiquated notion of “not under my roof” should be long gone.
In order to help mold teens into adults with morality and precaution, parents should erase socially established phobias and attempt to establish a circle of trust wear safe sex can be promoted and making these decisions together through communication and trust. Works Cited Page 1. Laren, Brandi. “Statistics on Teen Pregnancy | EHow. com. ” EHow | How to Videos, Articles & More – Trusted Advice for the Curious Life | EHow. com. Web. 20 Sept. 2011. <http://www. ehow. com/about_4613893_statistics-teen-pregnancy. tml>. 2. Schalet, Amy. “Teenage Sex – The Sleepover Question. ” Editorial. New York Times 23 July 2011, Opinion ed. Www. newyorktimes. com. 23 July 2011. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. <http://www. nytimes. com/2011/07/24/opinion/sunday/24schalet. html? _r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&>. 3. “Teenager. ” Encarta® World English Dictionary[North American Edition]. 2009. <http://www. bing. com/Dictionary/search? q=define+teenager&qpvt=define+teenager&FORM=DTPDIA>.