Parents of a child who is facing terrible two’s has a long road ahead. Just when the issues of potty training, and writing on the walls end the real drama begin. Today it’s no longer as simple as keeping the child in the house, or sheltering them from the simple things around them. Today, sexual activity, drug use, and adolescence rebellion could mean death. Today children face much larger issues than before and a lot of it has to so with biological and societal changes.
1st Children face huge sexual challenges. It’s not necessarily the biological (physical) changes themselves. It’s more that these changes are happening much sooner than ever before and our society has changed the rules. We now expect our teens to wait until after high school or better yet college to engage in sexual activity when 20 years ago it was natural for a teen to marry and begin families by 18; if not earlier. That’s a huge waiting period from the onset of puberty to an acceptable sexual active stage. Don’t you think? Well… The fact is one in four students have already had sex by the time they are 14, half by the time they are 19, and all but 10% by the time they are 21years of age.
This can be pretty scary since most of these teens are not practicing safe sex, are having more than one sexual partner in less than a year, and are not taking responsibility for their reproductive health. I’m sorry to say, teen pregnancy isn’t the worst thing that can happen. In this day and age, teens face issues such as HIV that soap and water, abortion, and antibiotics cannot change and therefore adolescence sex becomes one of the greatest issues. This is where I believe parents need to step up to the plate and dust off the base running shoes. You see, unfortunately, in our society, abstinence is the only thing that is being push. The past “safe sex” tools used to protect children are no longer a familure focus, which I believe places our youth at greater risk. Parents MUST be ready to discuss these issues with an open mind and open ears. They must remember what it’s like to be the teen and what it’s like to need the support even when you didn’t really want it.
With out support, and sometimes with, teens turn to drugs; which is the second area of concern. Our book covers the typical tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana but I have a little more experience in this than most as I spent 2 years as a street mother of approximately 45 children aged 12 to 24 and I can tell you that these three substances are the least of ones worries. At least we can pretty well say what’s in these items. Children in the Seattle area however, are using things like triple C (cough and cold) in large dosages. Sadly, It’s not unusual for teens to use a whole box of this medication to experience a HIGH and end up in the hospital with radical heartbeats that bring close if not fatal results. Even, my own daughter, who was educated about drugs, under my supervision, and loved more than anything over dosed on this drug. So I’ve learned that drug abuse has no limits.
Lastly, I think teens face a greater risk of gang association. I think this is a social issue. Today music and television play a huge role. Everything is as I call it, “cut your mama’s throat bullshit”. It’s all about killing, gangbangs, drugs, and disrespectful language. You can stop the music in your home but you can’t stop the public, the peers, and the society as a whole. Everywhere you look boys are wearing gang clothes, gang symbols and talking gang talk. Girls are just as bad, in their “hoochie mamma” clothing w/ their g’strings hanging out. Again, parents can try to change it in the home but society leaves it’s mark and kids are always going to find a way to get these items and act in ways that are inappropriate. I’m not even sure that it’s all peer pressure, as in this day and age people are quite eclectic in nature and it seems most styles and trends mesh in one way or another.