Okay, Britney Spear’s 16-year-old sister is pregnant. So what? Join the club, honey. Alotta us baby-boomers were teenage Moms. So were our mothers. And certainly, at some point in our illustrious, holier-than-thou history, 16 was considered primo breeding age.
In fact, according to the NCHS/CDC report “Births to Teenagers in the United States, 1940-2000,” the birth rate for U.S. teenagers in 2000 was 48.7 births per 1,000 women aged 15–19 years, the lowest level ever reported. In 1957, the rate was 96.3 per 1,000, about double its current level.
Of course, in 2000, Baltimore led the nation with 22-percent of the city’s kids born to women under 20. No wonder cynics believed that our former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke’s slogan The City That Reads should have been The City That Breeds.
But my beef isn’t about why this girl got pregnant, what she (or her author-wannabe Mom) should do about it or, apparently the most pressing concern—if Nickelodeon should cancel her TV show. That whole choice thing is waaaaay too personal of an issue for me to discuss here. Hence the word “choice.”
What I find so infuriating is how quick therapists, counselors and other parenting “experts,” including some parents themselves, are to want to tell us what to tell our kids about this situation. Whatta they call that? A “Teachable Moment?” Or is it more accurately a “Marketable Moment? Thanks, Jamie Lynn. Maybe the writers can work the baby into next season’s Zoey 101 plotline.
Why would I need a script to help me talk with my kids about our feelings? You only need a script when you’re not gonna speak your own Truth. And this time seems like a real good time to be real. Gosh, no matter what you say to your children, you better be honest. They might not agree and you can’t make them. Ultimately, whatever it is, it’s gonna be your kid’s choice.
And you know that’s The Truth. Because you were a teenager once, too.