Over-the-Counter Birth Control and Your Teen

“No prescription or doctor’s exam needed: The nation’s largest group of obstetricians and gynecologists says birth control pills should be sold over the counter, like condoms.” -Huffington Post

There’s no doubt that many parents and parent groups will be outraged at the availability of birth control for their 8th grade girl. Some very influential doctors are pushing for this to happen, but don’t expect it to occur anytime soon. 

Dr. Kavita Nanda contends that unintended pregnancies have been a major health issue for the last twenty years and easier access to birth control could help. Well, I think telling people that if they have sex, there’s an immense chance they’ll get pregnant would also be a good idea.

If the pill is sold over the counter, don’t miss the point that if your daughter buys birth control without your knowledge, this is a symptom of a much bigger problem. 

Parents will scream that it encourages sexual activity and puts girls at risk of other dangers. I agree, but these same parents may not have much of a relationship with their daughter. They may have the type of home where they don’t communicate with one another. So, while they are screaming at what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are doing, blaming them for the promiscuity of their daughter, they are neglecting their relationship with the one they can directly affect for the better. 

Speak to your doctor, your state representative, and anyone else who you think can affect this wide-reaching policy, but make sure you are also speaking to your precious child about the dangers of a promiscuous life-style. Girls on the Edge and Strong Fathers/Strong Daughters are great resources for this topic.

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BOOK REVIEW: Girls On the Edge by Dr. Leonard Sax

In Girls on the Edge Sax discusses four factors that are driving our girls down a path of self-destruction. In Boys Adrift you learn that males can be quite lazy. However, in Girls on the Edge, Sax shows how the will to succeed causes girls pain and anguish. Some would term his observations old-fashioned but it’s hard to argue with his plainly stated research. Gender roles, when based on facts and figures, carry a great deal of weight. To be clear, different does not mean inferior as some may assume. The idea that men and women are exactly the same will someday be old fashioned.  I believe Sax’s work is a trend towards embracing our differences as men and women which in the long run will strengthen both sexes and subsequently our families. 

The first factor is that of sexual identity. The chapter consisted a lot of what I expected; the over-sexualization of young girls and that the sexual empowerment movement has led many girls to be disempowered. If girls aren’t given the proper direction, their sexual identity will look to be fulfilled in ways that will leave them dissatisfied, emotional wrecks. The world tells them to be sexual; that it’s the only way they’ll be accepted. You as the parent must notice this and protect your daughter.

The second factor he calls the cyberbubble. In this chapter he discusses how social networking (ie facebook, myspace, etc) and the cell phone have driven girls into their own unfulfilling worlds where they look for something and get a lot but find nothing of substance. Parents whose girls are suffering because of this social cyber-world look for answers in prescriptions when all that really needs to be done is limiting time online.
Thirdly, Sax discusses obsessions. We expect a lot of our girls and they work extremely hard at numerous activities. Because of the changes in our world these last fifty years our girls have been given the green light to succeed with the talents they have been given and this is tremendous news. However, many go so far as to risk injury and well-being. How good is good enough? Some girls and their parents don’t know so they never quit. Sax discusses the dangerousness of this and presents real world examples that could save your daughter’s life.
The fourth factor, like in Boys Adrift, discusses environmental toxins. Sax asks and answers questions that may still leave you wondering, but his facts make sense. Whatever you believe after reading about the dangerous chemicals in your daughters lotion, something is going on when girls are hitting puberty at age 8. Also, can a man cause his daughter’s puberty to delay until a more appropriate time? According to Sax it is likely.
In the final portion of the book Sax discusses your daughters mind, body, and spirit in an unpretentious manner. I appreciate this as it enables a person of any faith or creed to consider what they want for their daughter. His method for these final chapters will cause all parents to wonder on a level beyond sports and school just what they are doing for their daughters growth and development.
Sax does speak from a point of view (POV) of someone who lives in a large metropolitan area. He talks about moving your daughter to another school if it doesn’t work for her. Not many have this option. Also, his experience seems to come largely from preparatory schools that an average parent would have no idea about. While I have a tough time relating to his POV, his research is rock solid. You will just have to adapt it to your situation. 
Some reviewers have complained of few practical actions Sax offers and that the book is more theory. This is true but the practicality comes as he discusses patients and what worked for them and their parents. I’m a counselor and loved the book as it helped me understand the teen girls I work with and particularly my own daughter. Tactics for parenting are very useful, but Sax answers a lot of “why” questions about teen girls and this is invaluable.

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See Miley Cyrus at the Pole, but She Won’t Be Praying

Miley Cyrus’ pole dance routine at the Teen Choice Awards Sunday has received a lot of criticism, but not from her dad. According to the Telegraph (telegraph.co.uk)

Billy Ray says he approves of her behavior. Well, of course he does. She’s been his gravy train ever since Achy Breaky Heart. He’s got to make sure it doesn’t stop. Although, it’s only two years until she’s eighteen, therefore she has to develop a fan base for when she begins posing for men’s magazines; following in the footsteps of Brittany Spears & Hillary Duff. How sad.

Billy Ray defended his daughter saying her moves were all good, clean fun. Where did he think he was; the Teen Choice Awards or Déjà vu in Downtown Nashville? Call it want you want, Miley seems to be on the path of many other teen actresses; that of selling her sexuality. Regrettably, our daughters get this message loud and clear. Ashley Tisdale did her part in proclaiming this mantra on America’s Got Talent. (8/25/09). Sexually provocative in her dress, she said, “Just have fun.” Interviews with Miley about being good and reading her Bible are forgotten as she wears less and less to appeal to the young boys who love her and the young girls who idolize her.

Preteen girls everywhere think, “I want to be like Miley, and I want to dress and act like her.” Even if they don’t think this way, a young girl’s self-esteem plummets when she realizes that she may never look like Miley who probably has more stylists than my car has spark plugs. It is particularly dangerous when a girl’s concept of beauty says that pretty girls have a certain body type and certain body features. This is a lie that we have been telling our girls ever since the first Barbie was introduced in 1959. Beauty takes many forms, and strong parents communicating this to their daughters will be well served. Hopefully, the latest cat to prowl down the aisle has not already thwarted these efforts.

While we watch these young women grow up on screen and slowly move into the “adult” realm, I hope we don’t allow our daughters to follow them. Scantily clad and having fun on stage does not translate well in the real world when girls go partying and guys get the wrong idea. Also, it distracts from what is truly lasting and beautiful about a person; things the camera does not show. Encourage your daughter to look inward and be happy with herself before she gets the wrong message from Hollywood.