Monday, January 17, 2011

Teen Pregnancy Prevention

In my not so humble opinion, I believe that parents should introduce their teens, especially their girls, to birth control and condoms as soon as they hit puberty. We all wish that our children would remain virgins until they are 25 or married, whichever comes first, but that is unrealistic. We must explain to our children that it would be better if they waited to have sex, but we should still give them the tools needed to protect themselves from disease and pregnancy.

Susie Q (1994)

My Twitter and Facebook friend, Lakisha M. Johnson (@MySoulOnPaper) posted a link on Facebook to the story about the 90 pregnant girls at Frayser High School here in Memphis. I had heard about this on the radio last week and the first thing that came to mind was--whatever happened to the free clinic?

Here's the link to the story ( )

I moved to the Frayser area when I was fifteen years old. Having lost my virginity 4 years prior, I was blessed and lucky that I didn't already have two or three crumb snatchers by the hand. When I moved in with my dad, he took me and two of my older sisters (ages 16 and 17) to the clinic to #1 get tested for STDs, #2 get birth control pills, and #3 get a bag of condoms. Daddy told us from day one that he was not condoning any sexual behavior but he wanted to make sure we were protected, just in case. "I don't need any accidents keeping me up all night and drinking up all the milk," he always said.

The reason why he did this was because he was a truck driver and was only home every other night. He didn't have time to watch us. We had to be in the house before the street lights came on but we could stay out until no later than 10 pm, when he was home. If we disobeyed these rules, we would be on punishment for two weeks to two months depending on how late we were out past curfew and what he thought we were doing while we were gone. (I was on punishment the whole summer one year, shaking my head.) My stepmother was always in a world of her own, so I and my sisters pretty much did whatever we wanted until dad asked the neighbors to start spying on us.

Even though my dad did the unthinkable in the eyes of most parents, he still taught us that we shouldn't just lay down with any old dude and that neither the birth control pills nor the condoms were 100% effective. He also schooled us on the importance of getting an education and having faith in God. As a scare tactic, he often used family members as examples of how not to be--Young mothers with three kids by three different fathers; living in the projects with a new car and big screen TV; those that had no job and weren't looking because (they said) "the man" was holding them back: high school dropouts that complained about cleaning hotel toilets.

My sister that was 16, at the time, didn't have a baby until she was around 18 or 19. She married her son's father, he joined the army and they hit the road. The sister who was 17, at the time, doesn't have any kids at all. And I waited until I was an old maid (31) to have a kid.

Even though he took us for the initial doctor visit, it was up to us to make our subsequent appointments, to take the pills and to make the guys use the condoms even if we had to put them on "the thing" ourselves (which I got pretty good at, LOL).

Parents, please help your children to enjoy their childhood and not try to grow up so fast. Set rules for them and enforce those rules. Stop trying to be friends with your kids, they have enough of those, they need guidance. Once the babies come, playtime is over. Once HIV hits, their lives may be over.

Like another one of my Twitter/Facebook buddies, Rob Grant (@Ima_Writer) says, "Condoms are cheaper than diapers, B, wrap it up."


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