is a government website. I’ve mentioned it here before, but only recently have I had a few moments to explore it.
It is www.4parents.gov, the website in which the federal government continures to insert itself into family matters (again), often taking positions that are, well, ridiculous.
This site already is generating some controversy. For one thing, it offers this offensive approach to sexual oreintation:
As such, your child is certain to hear about alternative lifestyles at some point. Since adolescents are impressionable…
I know adolescents who are far less impressionable than their Fox-listening, dogmatic church-attending, dittohead parents. Don’t you? But then it goes on to say that you should discuss this with your adolescent:
- Your discussions should take into account your adolescent’s awareness of alternative lifestyles as well as how common they are in your particular community
Yes. Tell your impressionable adolescent about the importance of conformity, and being just like everybody else.
- If you believe your adolescent may be gay, or is experiencing difficulties with gender identity or sexual orientation issues, consider seeing a family therapist who sharIf you believe your adolescent may be gay, or is experiencing difficulties with gender identity or sexual orientation issues, consider seeing a family therapist who shares your values to clarify and work through these issues.
Now, this is actually good advice…as long as you recognize that the one with the "issues" is you, Mr. and Mrs. Parent.
The site also gives short-shrift to condom use (do you see it mentioned here?), and leans heavily toward an abstenance-only "education". The think about abstinance-only education is that it doesn’t work — in fact, it is downright dangerous as recently reported in a major study of adolescents:
Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, a study of 12,000 adolescents suggests.
The report by Yale and Columbia University researchers could help explain their earlier findings that teens who pledged abstinence are just as likely to have STDs as their peers.
The latest study, published in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that teens pledging virginity until marriage are more likely to have oral and anal sex than other teens who have not had intercourse. That behavior, however, "puts you at risk," said Hannah Brueckner, assistant professor of sociology at Yale and one of the study’s authors.
Among virgins, boys who have pledged abstinence were four times more likely to have had anal sex than teens who have remained abstinent but not as part of a pledge, according to the study. Overall, pledgers were six times more likely to have oral sex.
The pledging group was also less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience or get tested for STDs, the researchers found.
That’s right. The Christian right (who is behind the abstinance-only pledge movement) is directly responsible for the huge spike in anal sex among high schoolers. Heh.
Some of the government website is purely comical. This page, for example, gives some oddly-contrived ways of beginning to discuss sex with your kids. Now, imagine you are a teenager and your parent attempts to begin using a dialogue with you by using these "conversation starters":
Your jeans are looking a little short! How much taller do you think you’ve grown since last year? More changes are going to happen. Do you know what some of those changes are?
A teenager, at that point, should be able to remind his or her parent that they have sex ed in school, unless of course the parent is one of those crusaders who fought to have it taken out.
I haven’t seen Jason around here lately. Sometimes relationships with old friends change during teen years. How are things going with your friends?
The teenager will answer "fine", which (by the way) may actually be the truth. End of conversation.
That song has a good beat, but the song makes it seem like having sex makes you a man (or woman). Do you think that’s true?
"Dad, you’re listening to one of YOUR records. And I don’t know what "wang chung" even means".
They never talk about STDs on that television show, even though they have lots of stuff about sex. Have you heard about anybody at your school who has gotten an STD?
That’s what I like to see when I watch television. Sitcoms about STDs. Why don’t they do more of those?
I heard that there was a wild party last weekend after the game. Have your friends been talking about it? Did you know that alcohol and drugs really increase the chances of having sex and geting a disease?
Ah, yes. Exaggerations and fears. The staples of any good propaganda program.
I heard a commercial on the radio about always being prepared by having condoms. Do you or your friends think that condoms really make sex safe?
"As opposed to having sex without them, Mom? Yes. Yes I do think that. Man, I can’t wait to get out of this house!"
I overheard a couple of kids from the neighborhood saying that, if you’re dating someone, you have to have sex with them in order to prove that you’re loyal and you’re not cheating on them. Do you think that’s what loyalty is about?
"No, it’s what sex is all about though."
Ms. Martin told me that there are five girls at your school that are pregnant. What do your friends think about teenagers having a baby?
"Actually, it’s only three now, Mom. Two of them have had an abortion."
This is a dumb question and a dumber conversation starter. Your adolescent is not a moron. They will think that just as you do. Teenage pregnancy is a drag.
I know that a lot of your friends from work have their own cars. But they’re a lot older than you are, and I don’t want you to ride with them alone.
And this isn’t even a question and conversation starter at all. It is a command.
Some guys go out for a good time over the weekend, and end up with thousands of dollars taken out of their paychecks for the next 18 years. Do you know how that could happen?
"Hey, yeah. Where is Dad?"
I was at the store yesterday and ran into Kendrick, Mrs. Jakes’ son. He joined the military after high school. What do you think you want to do when you graduate from high school?
"Break the chains of this family’s oppression by becoming a porn star, war protester and commie. In that order."
I know that you would like to have a family some day. Tell me about what you would look for in a wife (or husband). How will you know she (he) can be trusted to share the future with you?
"I hope she won’t browbeat and moralize me all the time, Mom."
Anyway, it’s a rather, uh, interesting site.