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  • Teen Talk: "Defining Up" Expectations of Teens

    A recent comment by actress Jennifer Aniston that “women are more and more realizing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child” might seem to indicate that deviancy has irrevocably been “defined down” and that a culture of permissiveness has been permanently entrenched in our nation’s society.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the percentage of teens who believe that it’s okay for an unmarried female to have a child has increased to nearly 64 percent (among males) and to more than 70 percent (among females.

    Yet throughout the country there are oases of excellence that provide evidence to the contrary.

    One example is Teen Talk, a program for at-risk adolescent girls that was initiated by a community-based project in Milwaukee called the Family House. Though the Family House was primarily and originally established to provide hospice care for the low-income elderly, the project evolved to meet needs of others in the community, including the youths who would gather on the front steps in after-school hours.

    “When we started the program in 2004, Milwaukee had the highest rate of teen pregnancies in the nation, and there was a rash of STDs at the elementary school that was just a block from the Family House,” said Vicky Edwards, Teen Talk’s first coordinator. “Some of those girls were having babies just because they were looking to be loved and wanted someone to love. But when their babies started growing up, the responsibility and reality of motherhood set in.”

    “We had an after-school program, and we were seeing so many of our 13- and 14-year-olds becoming pregnant. And we were finding out that they weren’t getting any medical care and didn’t know what to expect,” said Cordelia Taylor, the founder and director of the Family House.

    Teen Talk helps pregnant teens access the care, nutrition, and information they need. In addition, it prepares the girls to make wise life choices through conversations about the benefits of remaining abstinent and how to resist unwanted sexual advances.

    The outreach also includes peer counseling, field trips, visits to museums, outings to restaurants (where they receive etiquette tips), a fashion show at a local department store, and movie dates followed by discussion groups—all of which contributes to greater self-esteem and a larger vision for their future.

    Teen Talk began with a group of 17 adolescents in 2004. To date, more than 170 teens have participated in the program. Of those, only two became pregnant. Those two young women stayed in touch with the program and came back to serve as peer counselors.

    Teen Talk participants were young women who lived in high-crime, drug-infested neighborhoods where the odds were clearly against them. Some lived with their grandmothers because their own mothers were incarcerated or addicted to drugs. The expectations and attitudes they embrace provide hope that the bar can be set higher for peers in much less daunting situations as well.

    Here’s hoping for high-profile voices to champion successes like Teen Talk that are teaching responsibility, affirming the significance of marriage, and restoring community.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Teen Talk: "Defining Up" Expectations of Teens

    1. Billie says:

      “women are more and more realizing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child” Jennifer Anitston? Unless that is her story she has no merit. She should take it back.

      Way to go, Teen Talk!

      The responsibilities a person lives up to, makes them the individual person they are. Take advantage of No one or NOTHING but true knowledge. It's better to love then face obvious consequences. Stay strong and don't fall for government social engineering.

      Teens, as all, were born free and of their own person with individual minds and individual ability to use and expand it. Don't let government fool you! There is much government omits from education.

      obama wants to mandate college to omit more.

    2. Drew Page, IL says:

      I would have thought that among young males 98% or more would have thought it's ok for a woman to raise a child by herself. That's simple selfishness. But I am amazed that 70% of young females think it's ok for a woman to be saddled with responsibilities of raising a child by themselves. I can't say that I blame many young women for believeing they can go it alone, given the way many young males act these days. Certainly not all, but too many young males today are not growing up to be men; they may be growing physically, but not psychologically, emotionally or spiritually. Too many have grown to be big babies, selfish, dependent on parents, avoiding responsibilities and expecting life's rewards immediately without the expenditure of any real effort. I don't blame young women for thinking "who needs this?"

      On the other hand, I think these numbers would be quite different if the poll were taken among women who have had to raise a child (dren) by themselves for several years. And I mean by themselves, without having grandma and grandpa to live with rent free, providing groceries, utilities, laundry service and to babysit when mom goes to work, or feels like going out with friends — that kind of 'by themselves'. Of course women like Jennifer Anderson and other rich celebrities don't have to concern themselves with such mundane necessities. They hire nannys and day care centers to do the dirty work and have enough money to cover all expenses. They can afford to live freely and very well. They seem to feel that "dad" can be their boyfriend 'du jour'.

      Statistics show that the children of single parents are much more likely to experience trouble with substance abuse, gang membership, dysfunctional relationships with the opposite sex and are more likely to drop out of school than are children with a mother and father at home. I can understand why Hillary says "it takes a village to raise a child", since so many of her constituents have no choice but to have the state be responsible for their children. I believe that it takes a mother and a father to raise normal, healthy, well adjusted children, not a village.

    3. Dennis Georgia says:

      Children only do what they have been taught to do. The "single mom" thing has evolved into a grand thing in their eyes and in the eyes of society. This country needs to get back to the basics, God, Country and willing to work.

    4. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      When I was working in a hosp. in Palm Beach, Fla. we had a child 12YO who had given birth, she was retarded and badly cripeled. She did not know how she got pregnant only that an Uncle had done "something" another day a 14 Yo gave birth and had twins, both these families were poor but they kept these babies. Education about childbirth and raising a child need to be started in middle schools, I for one, like the idea of the smart baby, a doll that they have to care for, it acts like a real baby and records responses to the crying. Young mothers have to change, feed this baby and it will wake them a night. They cannot leave the baby for a set period of time, must take it everywhere they go. It's better to learn on a doll than a real baby.

    5. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      This iceberg tip is another of the fleet, Progressive cultural chaos. Todays "family" is redefined to include gangs, a family is "anything at all." The political play is obvious to me in light of Uncle Joe Stalin's plan for American Families. The Progressive Agenda, their Welfare State is precisely that, alienated and isolated individuals who are vulnerable to Indoctrination. Tell these children having children "They are after your babies!" and that's why a fish needs a bicycle. (A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle is a famous old feminist quote.) Your kids will be Communist slaves!

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