Tag Archive | Teens

I am Now Pro-Responsible

Since the beginning of time, the issue of women’s reproductive rights has been an issue. Whether it was a decision as to who would raise the child, how to keep from having a child, who had rights over the child, who was the father, whether or not you could claim to be from a particular religion, and this was an argument no matter what class level you were at. From Catherine’s children being removed at birth, by Empress Elizabeth, to all women having no control over getting pregnant. That was until Margaret Sanger came along and opened the first birth control clinic in 1916 (before this there were condoms and other items that wealthy women had access to).  In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court voted on Roe v. Wade (or legalizing abortion) and from that moment on, the war between pro-life and pro-choice has been an endless battle of women and men, screaming why they were right and not listening to the others point of view; safely from their battle grounds.

Now you are deemed anti-feminist if you are pro-life and you are a “baby killer” if you are pro-choice. I once went to a protest in the 1980’s in Los Angeles, CA. It was at a federal building in the Santa Monica area. Women were lined up on two sides and my first thought was that it looked like they were playing “Red Rover, Red Rover.” Each side yelled at the other, to the point where they were red in the face and barely able to talk by the end (I feel sure). They were hoping someone would “come over,” or at least this seemed to be the point of their debate. Though, in retrospect, I really don’t think they cared who crossed the line, they were more focused on the strength of their vocal chords and being right about their beliefs. I walked away from this “debate” because I felt disturbed by this façade or pretense that they even cared about women’s rights. All they seemed to care about was their side. I’ve never focused on arguing about this ever again. It is pointless when no one listens.

Instead, I have continued to work with young women or the father’s, pre-graduate degree in counseling psychology and post. In homeless shelters, TAPP – Teenage Awareness Parenting Project, Social Services/CPS, The Fatherhood Project (various men’s groups I was involved with), and now as a therapist in private practice.

It was hard for me to stay on the pro-choice argument when I began to learn that modern young women were just not using birth control. Not that I don’t believe women have a choice but I was alarmed at the staggering numbers of young women who – not because they were ignorant or had no knowledge of birth control – simply refused to use it. In the foster care system, the girls actually assumed that this would get them “out of the system.” They assumed that the courts would suddenly emancipate them: now that they had a baby, no money, no shelter, no job, no nothing – which is what would happen if they were dumped out on the street as an “emancipated adult.”

Other girls tell me they don’t use birth control because their “doctor said they couldn’t get pregnant.” It is amazing how many girls actually believe their doctor said this. I feel pretty sure that they concocted this belief by misinterpreting what the doctor said. There are probably rare circumstances that a doctor would say this but ultimately, if you are a teen, you are going to get pregnant. This is the prime age for fertilization. A teen’s body is ripe and in outstanding shape. If it isn’t the doctor’s fault, than they are playing the Russian roulette game, “Wait and see.” They aren’t married, just women who are risking and disrespecting their bodies with a guy who is totally hopeless. There are also the girls who “don’t want to get fat,” from old stories about antiquated birth control pills but don’t take into consideration the nine months of being fat, till your deliver the baby.

Meanwhile, the guys are playing the “I don’t feel comfortable with a condom” game. They also play Russian roulette with their bodies, because when they get AIDS or Herpes, that is not very comfortable either and lifelong if not life life-threatening. It is also not comfortable to have “the crabs,” or other venereal diseases. It is easier for a guy to run away from the “I missed my period,” sentence uttered by the gal, because we just don’t do much to hold them accountable in our culture.

So, while I do feel that ultimately, a woman has a right to make a choice about her body, I feel it is disrespectful to our society, to their bodies, and to all the children who are born unwanted to take such a carefree approach to life. Margaret Sanger did not risk her life and give up her family for the sake of abortions. She did this so that women could have sex without the burden of having an unplanned pregnancy. She did this so that poor young married people, in the inner city, weren’t having to forsake marital relations in lieu of 13 kids that they couldn’t feed. Welfare has become a crutch for ignorant people but they didn’t have this back when she started her clinic (welfare is a crutch because people who are raised this way, assume this direction if they get pregnant and so depend on its existence as their fallback plan). Margaret Sanger also did this so that any class level of men and women could have sex and enjoy this without procreation.

Pro-Life and Pro-Choice women could actually come to the table and have some agreements with each other, just as the Pro-Gun and the reductionists could and just as the Democrats and Republicans could. They don’t because each side is more invested in being right than in coming to a compromise.

My new stance on being Pro-Responsible is that focusing on being responsible is much wiser and a better stance to take with young women and women in general than whether or not you should have an abortion. Pro-Life women are women. I haven’t really talked to many of them who believe that a woman who is raped should stay pregnant. However, this is dealt with anyway, IF a woman goes into a Rape Crisis shelter because she can get the “Day After” pill or the RU486 or whatever they call it these days. Though, if it is not the day after, women in general don’t believe a rape victim should be forced to keep the pregnancy. Meanwhile, pro-choice women have told me more times than not that they really wouldn’t get an abortion if they were pregnant or they wouldn’t want to but these are generally very responsible people.

Women who have told me they had an abortion, went through an unbearable amount of pain and grief. Generally speaking, this is a one-time thing, not a birth control option – though it happens. There are no accidents in life though. This is 2019, I don’t accept “it was an accident.” If you are not using birth control, it was on purpose. This is what women need to be focused on as an issue, not whether or not to get an abortion. By focusing on abortion rights, you are going to an early emotional grave – yelling and screaming – about what is the least of our problems. Women not using birth control, this is the more important issue at stake. Lets not forget the Special Needs girls who are extremely vulnerable (especially those in the inner city) to sexually active boys, who will pretty much do it with anyone they can get to pull their pants down.

Being pro-responsible is going to have more of an impact on our youth and young adults as we focus on making sure they are not only educated but encouraged. The most vulnerable population is the inner city girls and the girls from single parent families. These girls all KNOW about birth control, but they aren’t using it. So, what do we do?

We focus on teaching children to have respect for their bodies and building their self-esteem. I have, in the past, been a part of a wonderful organization in San Jose, CA called “Girls For a Change.” In this group, girls became “Social Change Agents.” They focused on projects, throughout the course of their school year, that took them out of themselves and into being concerned about an issue they cared about. Whenever we gathered together for conferences, with hundreds of girls, no one was pregnant. They were also less interested in gangs, chemical dependency, and hanging out with the wrong people. They were more focused on having an education and going to college in the future.

UNESCO studies show that the more educated a woman is, the less children she will have.

I was a Girl Scout until I was 14 years old and this was a safe place, that I could go to, to learn about: being a woman, work ethics, leadership, building a business, among many other things. This organization continues to provide young women with the same values. Women who are in the Girl Scouts, from around the world, can vouch for how this has impacted them. We continue to hear women thanking this group for helping them to become the person they are today. Eighty percent of female entrepreneurs; were once a Girl Scout. It is an institution that has been around since 1910 (began in England).

There are other ways of teaching young women to have respect for themselves and their bodies. Naturally, this is the job of parents but it cannot happen in a household with drugs/alcohol, mental illness, domestic violence, child abuse, narcissistic parent (s), and/or other mental health issues. It is part of a religious education but can’t be if the theologian has issues with women. It also can’t happen in a girls organization that is in a bad neighborhood and controlled by the streets rather than the group (which I have seen).

The Roe v. Wade argument is ridiculous because the law has been passed by the federal courts. It is ridiculous because it has avoided the real issues and we are ignoring the fact that women/girls need to be responsible for their bodies. Men/boys need to be responsible for their bodies as well. When adults do nothing but argue, kids will go off and look for emotional comfort. If we spent more time being focused on family planning and less on abortions being right or not, the issue may be of less concern. To do this, we should focus on creating more organizations that teach young people to respect themselves and to respect the other gender.

Teaching respect for bodies and self, will keep children occupied on their goals for the future and to be more aware of society at large. This is why I am now Pro-Responsible.

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Choose Chastity Because You Have Self-Respect

The idea of remaining a virgin has always had religious connotations with it because this is where the concept has the strongest need. In our modern society many people are ashamed to associate with a faith, which is very sad because it is important to value spirituality as well as mind and body. Parents are refusing to provide religious instruction through some avenue of persuasion, opting to “let them choose,” which is about as ignorant as allowing a child to vote. So by writing about chastity here, I want to put it in the context of self-respect.  For some reason modern women writers tend to focus on making sex acceptable and I think it is more important to make self-respect acceptable and a priority. This is not a conversation about religion but it is about being a feminist and it is not about hating men.

Not having sex before you are married is a very beautiful step toward choosing the right partner. It takes a certain amount of maturity, wisdom and focus to make this decision. I am always so proud of my female clients when they tell me they have opted to go in this direction. Some make the decision because of religion and some because they are smart enough to know they are not ready. When my female clients have chosen to embark on the path of sex before marriage, I am proud of them for choosing birth control and safe sex (a majority of young women refuse to use birth control). I know these women are not getting any support from their girlfriends because the “in” crowd is focused on their sexual appetites and what brand of sex they choose. The latter is ridiculous because you cannot be sure of your identity until you are an adult and even then, it takes time to adjust to being in the real world. Many people, I believe, are going to rue the day they made drastic changes to their sex and persona as a young person – wait and see. We have already gone through the plastic surgery guilt and the sudden surge in sex changes and sexual confusion is next. We, as psychology professionals cannot even give certain diagnoses to minors and this is because they are going through identity confusion.  So this is my main argument for chastity. Teenagers are going through an identity crisis and it is best to wait until they are an adult to make any sexual decisions. Regret is a painful feeling to deal with throughout your life.

With chastity before marriage so many benefits come with this decision. You are free to focus on your future without any inhibitions or “responsibilities,” [to someone]. In the meantime, it is important to date and befriend lots of people but be very open about your boundary of not having sex. By doing so, you will get rid of the bad people immediately who are only about pulling down your drawers. You don’t have to worry about disease or babies that “accidentally” occur because you have chosen not to use birth control. You can think about college or career aspirations. You can focus on building a financial portfolio so that you can buy a house and a nice car. You can enjoy having fun with friends and dates because you are not tied down to anyone. When you are dating, you are taking the time to get to know one another and finding out what it is you want in a relationship. When you finally do choose to marry, you are wearing a white wedding dress with pride and because you respect the meaning of the color. The long term benefits are that you will have a lot more happiness by choosing to respect yourself and you will be more successful in life.

The cons that come with sex before marriage are that once you have gone down this road, it is hard to turn back. You can with perseverance and strength and a willingness to start over though. Sex at a young age often becomes a place to perform. Young people get caught up in size, quantity, positions, acting, what they are able to do, and how great they are. This is a very shallow path toward a future because you become focused on your statistics and performance rather than your life. Many people, I have spoken with, who start out at a young age get so lost that they forget who they are. I spend time in sessions coaching them on how to find the human being that rests within. Of course because our society has decided it is not politically correct to discipline a young woman or the young man, for not using birth control, so many women have determined they can take the chances. They see these hideous reality shows where women have multiple partners, have babies before marriage and men see that it is practically acceptable to abandon a woman once she is pregnant. Our society is more focused on feeling sorry for than teaching values. Celebrities have no sense of their role in society and how they are ruining our young people by setting poor examples. It is great for a wealthy person to have a baby at 16 because they have nannies to take care of the unwanted child. The average person has nothing financially to contribute and this can end up leading to social services intervention and/or the public welfare system.

Sex is not a bad thing; it is a very wonderful way to be with a person that you love. It is icing on the cake but much more worthwhile when you have taken the time to get to know someone. Building a friendship and having trust and respect with your partner is foreplay. Foreplay is not a conversation on a first or second or so on date that you end with sex. It takes time to build this emotional connection and once you have a commitment, don’t end this by having sex. Wait to get married to do this, you’ve gone this far so why not? Young people are not able to make a decision that they are in love with someone when their friendship is about sex.

Emotional instability is often the very reason that women end up being unfaithful to their partners because we have “emotional infidelity” (before the act is performed of having sex) whereas men have physical infidelity upfront. When women don’t have a strong emotional connection to their partner, they seek someone else to fulfill this wish. You can’t love someone just because you have had sex together. That is infatuation. You can’t expect to build a relationship on a one night stand or a fling. Most women try to do this and they fall short or end up pregnant hoping to force the issue. Obviously none of this works. To quick to jump in bed is behind so many failed marriages.

The degradation of our current society is at an all-time low that I often wonder if it will ever be possible to repair it. So many inappropriate messages are being thrown out into our culture which unfortunately is witnessed by everyone, including the very young. When I grew up these topics needed to wait until after the nine o’clock hour which was reserved for adults. Even then, the topics were hardly an issue of concern to young people, not when you compare this with our world today. The focus on death by suicide and suicidal ideation is really missing the point. It is not about encouraging people to be sexually open; it is about encouraging self-esteem and abstinence as a way toward a happier and more successful life. I wonder if the rate would be so high if minors were not so focused on coming out or having sex in general? If we made the priority in schools about academia and goal planning for the future rather than passing a test and getting out of school. The idea of focusing on bathrooms rather than education when a person should not be choosing their sexuality as a minor (especially changing the gender) is so harmful to the young psyche whose brain doesn’t even stop developing until they are an adult. Young people won’t need to worry about bathrooms and sexuality if they are focused on their academic future. When they are out in the real world and beginning to see what life is all about, than they can make choices with a clear mind that is not intimidated by peer pressure, family, or religion.

Young people, often, do know what their sexuality is at a very young age but it is more important that they behave like a child and have fun. It is more important that they are groomed for adulthood and are taught principles to grow on. This means learning about religion – with their parents there to instruct as well as the religious sector. It means getting a good education – with their parents taking this seriously and being involved with the school. It means the parents need to teach values, i.e., work ethics and family beliefs. The only thing a young person should be choosing is which sport or type of dance to be in or which school club to join or which elective they want to take. Even then, this should be a decision agreed upon with the parents based on finances of course.

By not focusing on sex a child will have a much stronger and healthier sense of self. Being chaste will more than likely cause a child to be better educated in the long run and this will help them to make better choices in life. It is time for us to take a step back and reflect on the values we, as older adults, were taught growing up and realize how great we had it. Then we need to re-think the messages we are sending out on the Internet and how it is affecting the young minds. A young woman is more of a feminist by respecting her mind, body and spirit and a young man respecting feminist ideals when it is not about getting her in bed. Wait to have sex or to determine your sex and focus on your future. You will thank me one day.

How to Handle Drunk Girls

This email is a link to a very quick video created by Adam Mordecai. It is very important to watch and pass around. And then read my message below.

http://www.upworthy.com/the-shortest-psa-on-how-to-handle-drunk-girls-passed-out-on-your-couch-ever?g=3&c=upw1

However, if your teenagers are planning to have a party in your house:

1. Parents YOU should be responsible enough to provide responsible Adult chaperones. Preferably you.

2. There should be NO Alcoholic beverages with minors on site.

3. If the two above suggestions occurred the Steubenville rape case would not even be a topic of concern.

The message here is Don’t Let Your Teens Run the Household! Who are the adults in the family??

And if they throw parties while you are out of town, make sure you have neighbors whom you are close to and have agreements with that will keep an eye on your house and call the police when impromptu parties occur. Don’t worry about what other teens parents allow them to do, worry about what you allow your teens to do!

Why do Little Girls end up Pregnant?

In 1980, in Pataskala, Ohio, there were two girls in my senior class who were pregnant. In 2013, 34.2/1000 teens aged 15-19 are pregnant. There are now day-cares at high schools in the inner city. Girls go to school with their strollers. No need for the egg exercise when you already have the real thing.

Since this is WordPress, and I am not that good at getting multiple images to line up properly here online, I am going to use phrases and verbal descriptions of why wouldn’t a teen get pregnant. The words alone are enough to conjure up images shown in the media, heard in music, told to them at school by other kids, what they hear when they walk down the street, what they see on other women. Society teaches them that it is okay to have sex. Society shows them a sexualized culture.

“Who’s Your  Babies  Daddy?” Fox Reality TV show.

“Teen Mom,” MTV Reality TV show.

“Keeping up with The Kardashians,” E! Reality TV show.

“Bridezillas,” WE (Women’s Entertainment??) Reality TV show.

Celebrities no longer getting married and making babies.

Victoria’s Secret

Abercrombie and FitchAbercrombie-and-Fitch4

4-6″ heels

“I did not have sex with that woman?” President Clinton tells the world that Oral Sex is Not Sex.

Oral Sex and Anal Sex are said to keep you a virgin by teenagers.

Catholic priests involved in scandals, abusing young boys.

Child Abuse and Neglect (251 pages, you don’t want to push print).

Misogyny in Hip Hop Culture

Deadbeat Dads

Words used by men (and women) in music, street, schools: Whore, Bitch, Cunt, Skank, Titties, Tits, Bootie, etc…

“I like Big Butts,” lyrics

“Junk in the Trunk,” lyrics

Alcohol/Drugs

Cutting

Sniffing

Sexting

Competition

Eating Disorders – seen in women (and men) who have been sexually abused and/or have low self-esteem

Low Self-Esteem (watch any of the Killing Me Softly videos on YouTube)

Peer pressure to have sex

Sagging

Gang Rape

Gangs

Gangsta wannabe’s (using the terms, dressing like, parading the symbols in photos)

Entitled Teens

Teens run the household

Teen thongs

Carefree Pantyshields for thongs

Sexual predators online

Size 0

Plastic surgery for teens (no laws prohibiting minors)

Cults having sex with kids (more pronounced via the web)

“Real Housewives of…” (women see that it is more fashionable to be married than have a career)

“Bad Girls Club” (Oxygen network)

Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes

“50 Shades of Grey” (article about teens reading this)

Its all about sex. No matter where you look around teens are blatantly having sex in ad campaigns, watching videos which are no more than soft porn, dressing sexually, dressed for sex, listening to music that tells you you want to have sex and makes women out to be low-class citizens. All of these items above, not just one or even two are seen by or effect young women today. What is a young girl expected to think with these images and these voices?

More and more children are brought up with no dad and with young girls it effects them emotionally and often they try to find someone who will love them, take care of them, provide them that missing masculine energy they so desperately want in their lives. Boys have no men to provide them with role models and they end up in trouble, trying to fit in to society. The bad boys are attractive to the young girls. They give them the sense that they are in control, that they know the ways of the world, that they are going to be different than what they had growing up, they are going to change things. Don’t think parents that your two-parent household is immune to this. Your girls are looking at these same bad boys.

If a girl is not taught self-respect, if education is not the priority in her life, if she feels less than others, if she is abused, if she is taught that her brother is better than she is, she is going to look outside of herself for someone to give her love, to make her feel like someone. That person is not going to be mature enough or wise enough to know what is best for her. Birds of a feather. These girls attract the same, immature boys/men who need to feel good. The boys/men want sex, the girls want emotions. Emotional bonding just doesn’t happen when you have this split paradigm between a couple.

Boys refuse to wear condoms. Girls refuse to use birth control. Babies are born.

Teenage Angst

This is a time when the child is dealing with separation and individuation but they are at cross purposes.  The child wants to be on their own but they are so dependent on family for financial needs as well as emotional (whether they ask for it or not).  They want so much to be themselves but they really don’t know who they are.  There is bound to be experimentation based on things they are curious about: God/Goddess, self, sexuality, bad vs. good, substance curiosity, and other things.

You are the parent – if up until now you have been very consistent in setting rules and boundaries, you still might be running out of patience, because no teen is perfect even if you have done a good job.  Try to remember that your teen is going through a struggle to cope with life after hormones have set in and the knowledge that in a few short years, they are out of there on their own and have no clue what they will do.  Lots of fear.  But always remember that at one time a couple of decades ago, you too were in the same spot.

If now all the family dynamics have changed or there has been chaos all along, try to look at you and the father [figure’s] role in this situation first before blaming the teen.  It is not easy when your stress appears to be exaggerated by your child’s antics. It is not.  Your child’s life is actually being effected by what you and the father figure are dealing with on top of what they are trying to understand (as I noted above in relationship to their curiosity). In other words, you the parent are the adults – you have already been a teenager.  Try thinking about what your own family life was like when you were a teen and what your child’s family life is like now that they are a teen. If the dynamic is different, so will their ways of coping with things.  Your teen may or may not be like you, because they weren’t raised by the same one or two people as you were.  And times were different.

Teens in Crisis generally are dealing with many issues:

1. Being bullied (or peer pressure) that can take on emotional, psychological, and even physical abuse.  A Teen is not going to come to you – in most circumstances – and say “I am being bullied at school.”  They are now trying to cope with life on their own and feel that a mature person would do so, so they try not to come to you if they don’t have to.  Or “Only babies turn to mommies and daddies. I don’t need them I can deal with this on my own.” (hint: I am a big boy/girl now, I should be able to do it)

2. Family issues that just began or have been there all along. A. New family problem in otherwise healthy family – Divorce or death for instance.  The child is now having to cope with his/her own self individuation process AND abandonment of a family member. B. Old family problem in unhealthy family – Child is having to cope with individuation process, hormones, AND is still being raised in a family with addictions, and/or other mental health problems, violence in the home, or other on-going stressful situation.

3. Child’s sexuality – Sometimes kids know earlier on if they are interested in the same-sex, other times they are not so sure until hormones begin. Attractions begin.  They might be interested in the same-sex and confuse this with being gay or a lesbian.  And they might be but they might also just not be ready for relationships with the opposite sex.  If they appear to be very confused about this topic or are exploring it, you can bet they are being bullied at school.

4. Self-esteem – No matter how beautiful a child is to you, they are going to deal with feelings of being too fat, too ugly, too short, too tall, too skinny, something is going to bother them about their appearance just as it did with you.  Teens are dealing with acne, pimples, glasses – some for the first time, braces, development of breasts, size of penis, erections, and so forth.  Prior to this there were jokes about farting, nasal secretions and other gross things.  Now when it happens there are concerns about who’s looking, who knows it was me? For boys – does everyone know I have a hard on? For girls – cleavage and bumps – the angst of having people look at their chest for the first time.  Men are looking at girls in a different way in public (as well as school).

5. Academic Stress – for the teens who are trying hard to get into college through SAT or sports/music scholarship, there is so much anxiety when they fail a test or realize they just aren’t that good at the sport (good enough). Lots of trials and tribulations here that will affect their future.

6. Mental illness – Lastly there will begin to be symptoms of mental illness (if the child really has one) once hormones kick in.  Sometimes parents have known by now that something was different about their child, other times not.  If mental illness does run in your family, don’t second guess your instincts.  Of course you should never second guess but when it is in the genes, it is more likely than not that it has been carried down.  If there is no mental illness in the family – this doesn’t mean it does not exist.  Either way, consult with a psychotherapist first.  I say this because a psychotherapist does not have medication on the mind, whereas a doctor will.  However, if a psychotherapist suspects a child needs to be further evaluated with a psychological evaluation they will let you know.  It can be pretty clear to a psychotherapist that a child needs to meet with a psychiatrist soon for a medication evaluation.  My experience with doctors and what I have heard from many many others is that they will consider medication first.  A psychological evaluation determines what exactly is the mental illness – or their opinion based on tests accrued.  This is done by a psychologist and the results might include seeing a psychiatrist for medication.  A medication evaluation is completed by a psychiatrist to determine which medications to prescribe based on a psychological evaluation.  A psychological evaluation however is not necessary for medication evaluation.  Sometimes teens need to see a psychiatrist immediately due to the fact that a crisis has occurred, for example: teen is seeing or hearing things that others do not, teen has attempted suicide, teen is engaging in very odd behaviors that you have learned about.

My advice is that as a parent, it is always best to start with a psychotherapist for consultation before going for medications.  Most of the time I have treated teenagers (and I have heard this from my colleagues as well), it is for family issues not teen issues.  The first thing out of a teenagers mouth will be parental: substance abuse, abandonment, loss of family member through death, violence in home, etc…  These issues effect a teen more than their own issues.  That is because while they are trying to figure them self out, there they are having to take care of the one who should be taking care of them.

Sometimes it is a teen problem and they need to talk to someone about the issues mentioned above.  Never hesitate to bring a teen in for counseling but don’t be shocked and surprised if the therapist feels a need to see both the teen and the family, or just the parent (s).  Also, keep in mind that family therapy is not to chastise the teen, it is to deal with family issues in the home.  The goal is a healthy and happy family.  If the teen isn’t happy, no one will be.  However, if the family is already in a crisis, it is easy to blame the one who causes the most attention OR is trying to get it.  The reality is they just want your love and the safety of knowing you will be there no matter what. If a child feels unloved or unsafe – where does the responsibility lie?