Talking to your kids about Jamie Lynn Spears
What’s that sound chiming louder than Christmas carols playing over department store speakers? The buzz over the fact that Jamie Lynn Spears, sister of Britney and star of Zoey 101, is pregnant at 16-years-old. For parents, Jamie Lynn’s pregnancy provides a teachable moment to talk with their kids about sex, love, and teen pregnancy.
1. Love is not sex. Going “all the way” with someone doesn’t prove your love. True love is shown through life-long commitment and by valuing the other person. You are the one responsible for setting sexual limits on a relationship. If you feel you have to have sex to prove your love or to stay in a relationship, then it isn’t a healthy relationship. Sex won’t make him yours. A baby won’t make him stay.
2. It can happen to you. Having sex, even so called “protected” sex, can lead to pregnancy. According to CNN.com, Jamie Lynn told reporters: “It was a shock for both of us, so unexpected. I was in complete and total shock and so was he.” If you are having sex, you can get pregnant—no shocker there. The only way to 100% prevent pregnancy is to not have sex.
3. Even “good girls” get pregnant. Jamie’s mom Lynne Spears is quoted as saying: “I didn't believe it because Jamie Lynn's always been so conscientious. She's never late for her curfew. I was in shock. I mean, this is my 16-year-old baby.” Having a good report card, being a good person, or being conscientious will not protect you from pregnancy. According to teenpregnancy.org, 1 in 3 young women get pregnant at least once before they turn 20—good girls included.
4. Most teens wished they had waited. Sex before marriage can not only lead to pregnancy, but there are other health concerns, such as STDs. There is also emotional baggage. God created two people to be bonded for life. According to teenpregnancy.org, 60% of teens “wished they had waited longer” to have sex … including Jamie Lynn.
“I definitely don't think it's something you should do; it's better to wait,” she told [OK!] magazine. “But I can't be judgmental because it's a position I put myself in.”
5. Dating someone older raises your chances of getting pregnant. Jamie Lynn is 16 and her boyfriend is 19. Dating someone 2-3 years older often leads teens to make adult choices before they’re ready.
6. Consider the advice you’re getting … and who you’re getting it from. Your boyfriend or girlfriend wants you to go all the way, because of what they get out of it. Parents, youth leaders, and pastors give you advice to stay abstinent because they know the consequences. They tell you that God’s plan for sex is within marriage not to stop you from having fun, but because they understand (and often have faced) the consequences.
7. Each of us has to plan our actions BEFORE the situation arises. Set boundaries, and don’t put yourself in situations that will cause you to compromise those decisions. Make good plans for your future and stick to your goals. Think ahead instead of being caught up in the emotions of the moment.
8. Not everyone is doing it. Some are. Some aren’t. Don’t try to fit in by giving in.
9. We are role models, whether we like it or not. As an actor for Zoey 101, Jamie Lynn is a role model to millions of young girls. Each of us are role models for those around us, including classmates and younger siblings.
10. We are created as sexual beings, but the right time (after marriage), with the right person (our spouse) is key. Premarital sex may seem glamorous in movies and on TV, but there are consequences. Not only are teenagers lives changed because of pregnancy, there is also a child who will be raised by someone who isn’t mentally and emotionally prepared to be a parent.
11. The media is full of wrong messages. The media (television, radio, movies, music videos, magazines, the Internet) are chock full of material sending the wrong messages. Just because we see everyone in Hollywood having sex and having babies, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Babies are a responsibility, not a fashion accessory.
12. You can say “no” even if you’ve said “yes” before. Today you can make the right choice and choose abstinence!
It’s also important for parents to open up a two way conversation, not a one-way lecture. Parents can do this by turning the above topics into questions such as: What are your boundaries? Do you think sex proves you love someone? What do you think of the messages media gives out?
Need help talking to your teens? My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson) is a book for teen girls, encouraging them to script their lives instead of being caught up in the drama and emotions of the moment.
A former teen mom, Tricia Goyer is also the author of Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom
Tricia Goyer writes articles for national publications such as Focus on the Family and is a columnist for teen moms through MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International: (www.mops.org/teen)
She is also an author of the parenting book: Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah), which speaks to parents about the unique parenting challenges and issues of our generation.
For more information, go to: http://www.triciagoyer.com/