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Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 9:02 AM


From Time Magazine online:

As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there’s been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town. School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, “some girls seemed more upset when they weren’t pregnant than when they were,” Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. “We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy,” the principal says, shaking his head.

Salzypat  (Level: 162.6 - Posts: 5425)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 9:06 AM

I just heard this on TV this morning. The situation is so sad and so outrageous that I don't even know where to start responding to it.

Lettermanfan1  (Level: 88.3 - Posts: 486)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 9:16 AM

This made my stomach turn over. Geez. Maury Povich or Dr. Phil will be all over this one.

Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 9:41 AM

As the mother of an almost 17 year old girl, I have had very blunt conversations with her and her boyfriend (who thank God I happen to like very much and is a very level headed kid that has 72 college offers already) - about what one moment of being out of control could do to their futures. I really never thought when she was born that I could imagine having this kind of conversation. Last year when 4 girls were pregnant and one almost delivered at the school - I took the opportunity again to talk to her about it. She loves kids, wants to be an elementary school teacher with a minor in music - babysits, and takes care of kids at church. I personally feel very grateful that I found a way to talk to her because I truly believe her head is in the right place - and while I've embarassed her boyfriend a bit, we all get along fine after the initial "if you don't want your lives to turn into this....speech". I was really ticked when she told me she had watched "Juno" with some friends - but her take on it at least leads me to believe that something I've said has sunk in as her response was "It was only a movie and not something that I would ever want to go through - I have too many plans". I'm not naive enough to believe that it couldn't turn on a dime either.

I just can't imagine what thought process would lead these girls to such a pact.

Davidf  (Level: 102.1 - Posts: 746)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 9:42 AM

The UK is the worst in Europe for that

Davidf  (Level: 102.1 - Posts: 746)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 9:45 AM

If I had a penny for everytime a teenage girl got pregnant I would have quite a lot of pennies, which I would then change at the bank and then go and invest in some new wave retro enterprise

Salzypat  (Level: 162.6 - Posts: 5425)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 10:03 AM

First of all, who is going to be financially responsible for these babies? Are the grandparents going to continue raising their daughter AND their grandchild? If I were a betting person, I would bet that each of these girls will receive full benefits from the government, which means we are going to be paying for those babies. If the dad truly is a homeless person, then you can sure bet he's not going to make any contribution other than his sperm.

Second, do these girls have one brain cell at all? Who on earth told them raising a baby was going to be a "happily ever after" experience? How did they know the father of the babies (I can't believe one homeless guy fathered all of those babies) didn't have a sexual disease? Couldn't they have found an honor roll student to father their children if they were determined to go through with their plan?

It's just stupid beyond words

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 10:14 AM

I saw it on the news this morning, too. Pretty stunning.

There's supposed to be a TV show (yes, I know a reality show) coming on soon that follows a group of young teen couples practicing taking care of babies. I think at first they all thought it would be great to have babies, but the promos show them totally exhausted, etc. I think it's called The Baby Borrowers, or something like that. If this show turns out to be what I think it will be, teens would benefit greatly from watching it.

Revdodd  (Level: 68.7 - Posts: 775)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 12:04 PM

Kids without plans or purpose are most likely going to be the ones who'd decide getting pregnant at 16 or 17 is a good idea.

And as more parents abrogate their duties, we'll have more kids raised without plans or purpose. It's not a religious thing, not a racial thing, not even an economic speaks to the heart of these kid's self-worth.

Fudypatootie  (Level: 207.0 - Posts: 1302)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 2:33 PM

When our daughter was 12 we had her take the baby-sitting course so she could be a "certified" babysitter. Then we had her start babysitting our friends' two little girls who are complete brats. Best birth control ever.

Aquamar  (Level: 187.0 - Posts: 926)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 4:07 PM

I agree with you one hundred percent. I too had my girls babysitting when they were eleven. This really does the trick. Just a couple of hours with a baby and or toddler seems to work wonders.

Lettermanfan1  (Level: 88.3 - Posts: 486)
Fri, 20th Jun '08 11:04 PM

Kaelin, did you see Juno? I've heard others say she didn't suffer any consequences, but she certainly did! I watched it with my teenage son, and it actually gave us another opportunity to talk about "it".

Oldcougar  (Level: 229.6 - Posts: 1935)
Sat, 21st Jun '08 1:02 AM

I have a high functioning autistic son, Jayce & well as 2 older step sons. We had lots of teens hanging around when he was little, even took in a couple of extra that were troubled. Jayce used to scream constantly & when he wasn't doing that he was repeating the same question over & over & over. They all claimed he was excellent birth control & not one of them got pregnant or fathered a child before the age of 23. Perhaps having teens work with special needs children would make them realize that you don't always get a sweet little angel & parenting is the hardest job you'll ever do, even with "normal" kids. Just want to qualify, Jayce, is my angel, but I sure wouldn't have wanted or been capable of dealing with his special brand of love when I was 16.

Papermanbill  (Level: 41.3 - Posts: 1312)
Sat, 21st Jun '08 6:58 AM

If I word this right, it'll make a lot of sense and not pee anyone off. Back in the 50's -60's, pregancy was a total family embarassment, sometimes girls were sent out of state or even to convents for unwed mothers. Now it is a badge of honor. When my youngest son was born in '87, there was a sixteen year old getting discharged with her new baby. She wasn't with a parent or guardian, instead with three of her girlfriends who were as young as she was. It was like she had a new toy and all were going to play with it. I've heard that kids know how welfare systems work and it isn't the tragedy it was years ago. They are offered schooling and childcare, just to get their diplomas. You never hear or see the boys anymore, whatever happened to that shotgun me and my friends used to be terrified of ?? Some say it is the modern times, I say it is not letting your kid know you are around. I have three sons 20-25-29, no drugs (ever), no shot gun situations and absolutely no drunk driving. The truth is, I am very liberal but I let them know I'm a step ahead of them, they kinda respect that. When I was their age, I got in enough trouble for all three of them. I paid my dues.

Alvandy  (Level: 242.0 - Posts: 7722)
Sat, 21st Jun '08 7:25 AM

Sure enough.

Front page story in this morning's [Saturday] York Daily Record--"Town [Gloucester, MASS] Deals With Teen Baby Boom."

Actually- York County has been dealing with this teen pregnancy problem for 20 years also.

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Sat, 21st Jun '08 7:35 AM

I think the difference in what has typically been the teen pregnancy issue is that programs and strategies were developed to help teens (girls and boys) who made a mistake or a bad decision and help them cope, adjust and turn it into something positive. In that regard, Liam, you're right, that it's not seen in the shameful way as before. But I don't know that we want to swing the pendulum so far back that these kids don't get any or not much support, and the babies suffer, too. Balance and common sense should prevail, but usually doesn't.

In this case, it wasn't a mistake, these girls are intentionally deciding to become pregnant and raise the babies together. One article I read said they were doing it to have someone to love. Apparently, Goucester is economically depressed (small fishing town, 30,000) and I imagine there's a lot of unhappy households. It doesn't excuse it, but it might explain it, or some of it.

Mplaw51  (Level: 185.5 - Posts: 1580)
Sat, 21st Jun '08 8:11 AM

I thought the principal was on TV and said that "daycare" (hate the phrase, who cares for the day? it's child care)is available on campus. This likely fed into the fantasy. Too sad that they may give up the most fun, in the sense of freedom, years of their lives. Once reality asks you to dance it's times to batten down and take it all seriously.
It's been spoken that public assistance will pick up the tab and for many this is true. I can assure you this no get rich quick scheme and there are expectations for the recipients. I work within this system, though not for the county or state. For those who view it as a hand out, they quickly get kicked to the curb for non-compliance. For those who view it as a hand up and accept the responsibility of what is being offered; more productive citizens will be created.
The saddest part is the lack of reality in these teens lives who think what fun this will all be. What a wake up call they are in for...

Salzypat  (Level: 162.6 - Posts: 5425)
Sat, 21st Jun '08 9:50 AM

This is going to be one of those "When I was a teenager...."

When I was a sophomore in high school in the early 1950s, one of my classmates and his girlfriend, who was 14 at the time, were expecting a baby. They were married but the school district not only made her quit school but the father also. To their credit, they kept the baby, are still married, raised a good family and have worked hard and had productive lives. I am sure that theirs is the exception rather than the rule.

I am sure we don't want to return to the days of banishment and shame, which probably led to many back-alley abortions and deaths, but there sure needs to be some balance.

Mplaw51  (Level: 185.5 - Posts: 1580)
Sat, 21st Jun '08 10:35 AM

I went to Catholic school and we were given the "talk" as only a nun could give. It basically consisted of "don't let boys touch you or you'll end up in one of 'those' homes". Several girls disappeared and came back after visiting "relatives". Such a difficult choice to give up the child that has grown under your heart never to be seen again. It takes bravery to give a child up for adoption.

Someone spoke of a balance... good parenting, honest and frank communication, support to teens who may make the wrong choices are all a good start. It's all about the relationship and it starts as soon as you know you're pregant (or did with me).

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Sat, 21st Jun '08 11:57 AM

When my kids were the early 80's
the Pacts teens made were to commit suicide....
So I guess this Pact is a lot more Productive!!!!
And the kids are alive and safe....

We ALLOW Corporations to stuff our foods with
Female Hormones....and our Media with Sex and Money
- and then wonder why our kids are obsessed with sex
at such an early age - when they are not yet capable
of making good sound decisions. If kids are pubescent
at 9 and 10 - as they are these days....they have
actually waited quite a long time to give way to the
parental urge!!!!

Dontcha think!!!!

Salzypat  (Level: 162.6 - Posts: 5425)
Sun, 22nd Jun '08 1:30 AM

I agree with you, Rowlanda, about the hormones in food and the sex on TV and in the movies. It all adds up to polluting young minds and giving them a terribly unrealistic picture of life. I used to watch the soap operas 30 years ago, and they actually had a story line. Now when I try to watch them, the story lines seem secondary to the sex. I signed up for cable TV this past winter and I love it, but there are some things on TV, some of it not even late night. Then think of the kids who are home alone at night watching some of that.

It seems there is plenty of blame to go around, unfortunately.

Felix  (Level: 109.3 - Posts: 2498)
Sun, 22nd Jun '08 7:48 AM

I wonder where such liberal ways of thinking come from? This is one of the saddest things that I've ever heard. I saw Juno and thought it was unrealistic. Looks now as if Felix may be the unrealistic one. I'm having a talk with my 16 year old today!

Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Sun, 22nd Jun '08 8:09 AM

my daughter (16 almost 17 years old) has been gone for a week with her youth group (UM Army) doing work in another town for people referred to the organization by the Department of Human Services and several other organizations. She has been "out of touch" for the week as they don't allow electronic devices (including cell phone & tv). I showed her the article when she got home yesterday aftenoon. As she got to the end I was watching her read it and her jaw was almost on the floor by the time she was done. I asked her what she thought about it and she didn't say anything. I said "No thoughts at all?" She said "How can I respond to something like that? How could that many girls make a decision to do something that stupid?" I felt better.

Salzypat  (Level: 162.6 - Posts: 5425)
Sun, 22nd Jun '08 9:23 AM

Sounds like you've done a good job with her Kaelin. If only so many that age could be so wise.

If I'm understanding what she's been doing it's volunteer work. I think volunteerism could cure a lot of ills in this old world.

Feeling unloved? Volunteer and feel the love from the people you serve.

Feeling useless? Volunteer and find out how useful your skills are.

Feeling alone? Volunteer and meet some people who have absolutely no one in this world to care about them, then see if your situation isn't brighter.

Feeling financially pinched and poor? Volunteer and meet some people who give you a whole new meaning of being poor.

Feeling like your life is without meaning? Volunteer and discover what a difference just one person can make.

Tresgatos  (Level: 217.4 - Posts: 4450)
Sun, 22nd Jun '08 10:46 AM

Beautiful, inspiring post, Pat, and so true.

-- Geri

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Sun, 22nd Jun '08 11:04 AM

Yes Pat....
Wonderful inspiring thoughts....
Our teens are without Inspiration
and Aspirations for the most part

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