It is said that everyday in America over 10,000 young people catch sexually transmitted diseases and while we cannot be with a growing teenager, every waking minute, there seems like there should and could be more that we can do. With sex every where that we turn; children are exposed to it at younger and younger than were their parents. Sex on TV, in magazines, on the internet, from their peers, at the movies, billboards, you name it, it’s available. A parent has to decide to help guard their child’s gates from everything possible that may try to manipulate its way in; rather than have them learn the wrong thing about sex on the street. Some parents still have difficulty living in reality about sexuality and kids. It is time to wake up and take action. Sexuality is a normal part of healthy development but nothing good, noting positive, or beneficial can come from teens having sexual intercourse or placing themselves in a sexual position. Teens explore and find so many things enticing. Parent should be there for guidance to encourage them to do the right thing-even when it appears that information goes in one ear and out another – children need parental direction. Everything that feels good is not healthy; therefore parents must choose to raise the standard and accept nothing less.
I spoke with a long time friend of mine today named Lloyd. He and his wife have a young adult who just completed high school and is preparing to enter college this next semester. Phillip is “the child”. Of there three boys, he is the middle child. He is the one who always colored out side the line. He would quite often push the envelope, his parents and anything else in his path. He is the one, who will have a tried and true testimony. Every wall that his parents warned him not bump, he ran full force toward it – head first. He tested every theory, every decision, just because. He kept his parents on their toes down to the very end. Not too long a ago (a few weeks ago) Phillip asked to go to one of his friends house and after a quick investigation from his parents the friend that he requested to visit was a girl who lived down the street aways who was 2 years younger than he is. Dad and mom declined and would not allow it. He has spoken with the young lady on many occasions but would not be allowed to visit her. Currently the girl is 16 and he is 18 years old. The state law, in their particular states shows the girl to be minor. Both of Phillips parents have warned him to stay away from this “pissy tail girl” as his dad refers to her, because he is so angry that she continues to come around.
There was another incident, when Phillip was home with his younger brother over Christmas vacation. His mom and dad were and his dad called him a few times on his cell phone but received no answer. Luckily his dad worked in a flexible position that would allow him time to take off, if needed. As he traveled home he called Phillip a couple of more times, but again the phone rolled to voicemail. He arrived home noticing that the garage door was open but he couldn’t ascertain why after looking into the garage. He entered the house asking his younger son where Phillip ran off to. The younger brother said that Phillip had taken out the trash. Dad ask the younger son; how long had it been that Phillip left and he informed him that it was about an hour ago. Dad ventured out looking for his son and further called him on his cell and received no answer. His son eventually spotted a few feet down the street talking to this girl who had shorts “that looked as if they were painted on and were so short that she would not be able to bend successfully without some part of her body falling out.” Ever since that day Phillip was informed to stay away from her. The young girl was always seen around the neighborhood hanging out with boys. My friend states that she is “hot” a term that he used to mean “in heat” (not sexy). He says that anything can happen and when a girl cries rape, it is easier for society to believe the girl even when she is a girl like this one. He never saw the girl’s parents around and was shocked at the mere way that she dressed (or failed to dress). He would quite often say, “I am not sure how she gets out of the house dressed that way”.
This time my friend and his wife arrived home and couldn’t locate their middle child but knew that he had to be around the house somewhere. After looking throughout the house they opened the garage and their middle child opens the door to an old car that had been sitting on one side of their garage abandoned and in need of repair. It is three-digit weather in Dallas, Texas these days and I can’t even image how hot it must be in the garage. Needless to say their son got in BIG trouble and is grounded until he leaves for college in a couple of months. But the girl, they were very reluctant to even talk with her because she is not their child. What do you do when you are trying to raise your children in the way of the Lord, but then you end up having to raise others in the neighborhood that seem to be abandoned? What can be done about those who parents refuse or are unable to raise or have given up on them all together, those who have no positive role models? Society normally judge boys on a harsher scale more often than not than girls, although we all know that there are those girls out there who lure and attempt to breakdown walls of purity, relationships and commitment – promiscuous and daring – they act first and may think later.
My friend Lloyd and his wife decided that since the girl has not followed their instructions as it relates to their house, they will pay an unexpected visit to her parent’s house tonight. It is not that he has bad feelings toward the girl, but instead the opposite. He wants her to have respect for herself as well as have respect for his authority. He would like his son to behave in the same manner. The teenage brain is often no match for teenage hormones. The parents will not be able to lock them up, and throw away the key while they are away from home working. Realizing there’s no way to prevent heated situations if the two adolescents continue to defy authority, he along with his wife are ready for a tough conversation with the girl and her parent(s).
Adolescents can be and are quite often self-willed. Sexuality is a healthy developmental process however it is hard for most adults to cope with let alone the pressure that a teen would have if their were to get caught up. Lloyd indicated that if you look at it from his side (having a son – although only two years older, the girl would still be considered under age). So there is also the fact that in the state of Texas it is a crime since his son is older. It is illegal although the law does allow teenagers to get reproductive health care and sex education. Not to mention, we have enough dysfunctional adults who regret their own behavior as teens and the scars that were left behind. For some the scars are still there as fresh bitter wounds that they could never quite overcome. Lloyd is very concerned about the safety of his son and also his neighbor’s daughter. He doesn’t want to even think about teen pregnancies – they currently have reality shows regarding it where it is almost glorified. The boys that this young lady has been hanging around are putting her at risk to be hurt. She is actually putting herself at risk. He and his wife do not plan to release their hold on their children even if other parents don’t appear to be stepping up to handle their part. Quick acts when under pressure and not thinking can lead to pain, bad reputations, gossip, and brutal talk from other kids, being ostracized, labeled, etc. Lloyd believes that it is time that the child and her family get a realty check, the sooner the better. “We want these young adults to respect themselves, the rules, their parents and God (and not necessarily in that order) or we will have some tough consequences.” Lloyd further indicates that they “haven’t forgotten how it is, especially how difficult it is to be their age. While some things are different many of the temptations are still there, which is why we I try to be there for our children (no matter their age) to answer the hard question; to be a resource; to give healthy advice; to lead by example because we cannot ensure, as working parents, that they will be supervised 100% of the time, therefore they must be equipped to handle the things (life) by making the best choices. Boys attract girls and girls attract boys, so we cannot stop being a parent even at this age.”
I am eager to find out the results of that conversation with “pissy-tail’s” family and I am impressed that conversations regarding raising children still happen. There is an old African proverb that says it takes a whole village (parents, teachers, neighbors, etc.) to raise a child and I believe that is truth. What a concept – parents stepping up to be parents. There are still neighbors who care enough to contact another parent when they are away and not aware of situations going on with their children. It is equally great to know that parents are still teaching about actions and consequences because a child at any age is impressionable. We learn something from everyone at any age (what to do and what not to do). Parents are becoming younger throughout the generations – we hear about it in everyone’s community – the baby’s raising babies epidemic. We need more parental eyes watching, loving and teaching. We still need those who care about family to impact our future.