Girl Power

Headline News

After school yesterday, The Princess did her homework on the coffee table while I rested on the couch. The TV was on, but without sound, as I had been watching a movie but switched to CNN after it ended and did not want to disturb the algebraic processes.

And then we saw a picture of Jamie Lynn Spears.

And my daughter brought me up to date on the news.

Honestly, I didn’t know who the girl was, although of course I know the exploits of her older and more famous sister.

This morning I read articles telling parents "not to panic" over the news that the star of a show on Nickelodeon is publicly announcing her teen pregnancy. I read that Miss Spears’ father is upset over the announcement. And I read that the publication of Mama, or perhaps I should say Grandmama,  Spears’ parenting book has been delayed. (You think?)

My 12-year-old tells me that having a baby at 16 is not a good idea. She also informs me that having sex with your first four loves is not smart either. ( I think she means that "first true love" may not be forever. ) We touched gingerly on the idea that some girls *will* have sex in high school and that if they do, even if we don’t think it’s a good idea, it’s certainly better to have protected sex.

I really hope we’re not the only mother and daughter having this conversation.

19 thoughts on “Headline News”

  1. Yeah, my kids were shocked. And we have had lots of these conversations. Mallory said everyone at school was talking about it yesterday.
    I’m of two minds of this, I don’t want any sixteen year old being faced with this because frankly they aren’t ready to parent. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t or can’t parent, but they are ready to do it. It takes a lot of effort that’s hard to find at 16. I hate that some very misguided girls may take this very beautiful girl as a role model for early motherhood.
    I also hate that a girl is being demonized and judged for this mistake. All teens in this situation are, but usually not by the world. It must be awful. Especially considering other members of this family seem to be sliding into a tragic, infamous existence. They are both people, and it’s too bad that we now are a culture that rewards tragedy with this kind of attention.

  2. I think that my daughter’s five-and-a-half years may be a wee bit too tender an age to have this discussion, but I hope that the open way we talk about bodies and “ok touch” and saying no and being in charge of one’s body are setting a foundation for such later discussions.
    You are, in fact, a wonderful role model for how I hope to parent my daughter when she is older one day. And what Lisa had to say was really thought-provoking as well. I’m fearful about how we “sex up” these starlets and their flagrant mistakes, and what that says to our girls, but I feel saddened that their mistakes are broadcast all over the universe.
    I fight against being held to a higher standard as a pastor, but there is something about being more in the spotlight that should make us take pause, I suppose…

  3. I really wish they’d get this story the heck out of the news. The press is playing it as though it needs to be on the front page, to remind parents to talk with their children about sex, etc.
    If they need reminders that badly, then their kids are up a creek without a paddle anyway.
    And the only thing worse than having to contemplate motherhood at 16 would be having to contemplate it while CNN turns you into a cautionary tale.

  4. And, uh, oops. I hope that comment didn’t sound like it was directed at you, Songbird — (or at bloggers who are talking about JLS). It’s just the media that’s hacking me off.

  5. Not at all, JD. As we had our conversation I chanced from CNN to MSNBC and then to Headline News, and you would think it had been a nuclear attack from the coverage the story received.

  6. You bet we had that conversation. But 17-year-old WonderGirl’s comment was :”Gee, JLS is shocked! shocked! I tell you, to find out that sex causes pregnancy. No wonder her mother has to stop writing books.”
    I tell you, I don’t know where that girl gets her snark…

  7. My girls are 18 and 23 now, but you can bet we have had simolar conversations, many of my friends are amazed at how much talking we still do, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
    Well done and keep talking!

  8. I actually heard (well, saw, I was at the gym so was reading closed captioning) a discussion on one of the morning shows about how maybe kids wouldn’t hear about this.
    right. and obviously we should avoid the topic with children because “they aren’t mature enough to understand.” Too bad they are apparently mature enough (physically) to get themselves pregnant!
    sigh.
    I’m glad there are people out there talking about this! You can bet I’ll be talking about it with my youth group.

  9. P.S.: not because I think parents aren’t, and not because I enjoy those controversial topics that make parents anxious and kids awkward, but because we generally start our conversations in youth group with “what’s going on in teen culture” kind of things…so it’s sure to come up.
    That’s all.

  10. This year, my son at 8 years old seriously wanted to know where babies came from. I gave him a brief version he could handle. His response: “Ewwwwww. That’s it. My wife and I are adopting.”
    For JLS, I just look at the sadness of BS and, while not surprised, am sad for their family. The mom was seriously going to publish a parenting book? No way.

  11. My daughter is 19, we had many such conversations when she was younger, still have similar ones now…although different.
    My son is 15, the conversation is now with him, especially since he is a sophmore in HS and I really want him to be responsible and respectful and a person of integrity….

  12. I have gathered that every woman who is a mom and has a blog has informed the offspring. So you are not alone.
    My parents were way to late for me, but I knew if I came home one day and told them I had a baby on the way I would be dead or disowned or both.
    I am glad that you talk to your kid.

  13. No, we had this conversation too… and my 12 yo observed that “sometimes people do things because they didn’t THINK”. Yeah. That’ll blog.
    d

  14. My daughter, who is three, saw this story on the news with us. Since I am expecting she has heard alot about pregnancy lately. Her comment? “But she’s a GIRL mommy, not a woman! GIRLS are not mommies, they are GIRLS!” Three year old wisdom.

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