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A familial and cultural rant

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Between us, Dottie and I have 4 nieces. All of them are in the 19-21 age range.

To date, none of them has gotten married (and that's good). And every one of them has gotten pregnant, with 2 deliveries, a miscarriage, and one still on the way. That's bad.

The U.S. Census Bureau says that the quickest way to poverty is to drop out of school early, use drugs, or have children out of wedlock.

Maybe marriage is out of fashion. Maybe it's old fashioned. But it has some real advantages. Until you're married, no matter what else a couple shares, the idea that they can leave at any time remains in the back of their mind. Once married, the idea of making it all work out is foremost in the mind.

Today, 75% of all babies born to African-American mothers are born out of wedlock. That bugbear of the left, Bill O'Reilly, said that if that happens in the rest of our population, our culture is headed for disaster.

Now, Dottie's nieces didn't surprise us much. They were never disciplined, they never respected their parents, they always put their friends ahead of family and responsibilities. But my niece is a real shock. She attended religious schools her whole life, until she went to a public college.

Another boogey-man of the left, Rush Limbaugh, said years ago that he didn't mind if people didn't teach their kids self-discipline. We'll always need someone to wait on tables and sweep floors in the restaurants and businesses owned by those who DO learn it. And he once said (again, this was years ago--I haven't heard him for many years, so I have no idea what he says these days) that HE would vote for Jesse Jackson, if the Rev would stand in Harlem and Watts and tell the young men to get jobs and marry the women having their children. I'm hoping the example of President Obama has some influence on this problem, because this is just not good and bodes ill for our future.

Just for the record, I grew up on welfare, in the housing projects, slums, and barrios of Denver, with a single mother. I know how hard it is to struggle your way out of that life trap.
post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Between us, Dottie and I have 4 nieces. All of them are in the 19-21 age range.

To date, none of them has gotten married (and that's good). And every one of them has gotten pregnant, with 2 deliveries, a miscarriage, and one still on the way. That's bad.

The U.S. Census Bureau says that the quickest way to poverty is to drop out of school early, use drugs, or have children out of wedlock.

Maybe marriage is out of fashion. Maybe it's old fashioned. But it has some real advantages. Until you're married, no matter what else a couple shares, the idea that they can leave at any time remains in the back of their mind. Once married, the idea of making it all work out is foremost in the mind.

Today, 75% of all babies born to African-American mothers are born out of wedlock. That bugbear of the left, Bill O'Reilly, said that if that happens in the rest of our population, our culture is headed for disaster.

Now, Dottie's nieces didn't surprise us much. They were never disciplined, they never respected their parents, they always put their friends ahead of family and responsibilities. But my niece is a real shock. She attended religious schools her whole life, until she went to a public college.

Another boogey-man of the left, Rush Limbaugh, said years ago that he didn't mind if people didn't teach their kids self-discipline. We'll always need someone to wait on tables and sweep floors in the restaurants and businesses owned by those who DO learn it. And he once said (again, this was years ago--I haven't heard him for many years, so I have no idea what he says these days) that HE would vote for Jesse Jackson, if the Rev would stand in Harlem and Watts and tell the young men to get jobs and marry the women having their children. I'm hoping the example of President Obama has some influence on this problem, because this is just not good and bodes ill for our future.

Just for the record, I grew up on welfare, in the housing projects, slums, and barrios of Denver, with a single mother. I know how hard it is to struggle your way out of that life trap.
Bill Cosby spoke out about the black problem and he was attacked for it. Some folks are their own worst enemies.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Obama spoke up about families, marriage, and pulling your pants up. I hope the messages get through.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Obama spoke up about families, marriage, and pulling your pants up. I hope the messages get through.
Same here. I'm sorry to hear about your nieces though. It's not a good way to start out one's adult life - sort of puts the odds against one a bit. Let's hope they find their way and go on to better things.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
We are just so disappointed. Makes us glad we only have cats.
post #6 of 23
Well, it is true that out of the western world the US has the highest teenage pregnancies..But then again, the US is also the country where abortion is still taboo even among non religious people. I can never understand that, coming from a eastern european family.
Although abortion rates are much higher in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe, they are beginning to decline as of recently. I think a lot of it has to do with increasing use of reproductive technologies...Using ultra sounds and pre natal care, are all sending the message to people that their fetus is a separate entity even while inside the womb...I am not saying that life begins inside the womb here because that's not what I believe and I refuse to even use that terminology. I think a woman should have full control of her body and what's inside of it, as long as it is still inside- but that's just me of course.
So maybe the fact that social stigma is attached to abortions in the US doesn't have to do with religion at all but rather the use of reproductive technology, since we have the best medical care here like so many people have pointed out
Anyways I'm ranting excessively lol..
Back to the topic, a lot of people I know are ticked off at how the Obama family being good and stable is overly emphasized, as if they are the only black family that is stable..There are too many stereotypes associated with african americans and their reproductive choices and it can definitely get ugly. There is a book about it called Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty that is very interesting and educational..
Okay, I kept on ranting- apparently I can't help myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
We are just so disappointed. Makes us glad we only have cats.
I am sorry about your nieces..I do think success in life in the end depends on the person though, I know many people who have gotten pregnant and then eventually married the father of the baby and stayed together...
I know my best friend's mom got pregnant at 16 with her, and her mom later got her phd, married her dad and now has 4 more kids with him
post #7 of 23
I don't know if it's the generation or what. My brother and my cousin (same age as my brother) both got their girlfriends pregnant, and they now have 2 kids each. My brother and his girlfriend finally got married in May, but my cousin and his girlfriend refuse to get married. They do live together, though. They're all in their 20s, no teenage pregnancies there.

My grandma is having conniptions---her only great-grandchildren and they're....well, I won't repeat what she said. But I'm sure you can guess. Although she was pregnant when she got married. And her mother was pregnant when she got married and my grandpa's mother was pregnant when she got married....haha, long family history. "But at least we got married BEFORE the baby came!" she says.

And we're white. Very very white, LOL.
post #8 of 23
Sorry to hear about those you love disappointing you
Perhaps you two can still have meaningful and positive influences in their lives? Their childrens lives?

As far as race goes, if the current birth rates continue, minorities will be the majority sooner than some might think. You might want to learn Spanish if you don't already know it
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121867492705539109.html
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/08/13/cen...ies/index.html
Also, he more education one has, the less children one tends to have in general.
http://books.google.com/books?id=6JO...0rates&f=false
Of my female siblings and cousins each has chased and accomplished life goals, then married (2 still are not, they are waiting and around mid 20's) and then had children at around thirty. I have some friends that are choosing not to have children.
post #9 of 23
I'm always amazed by some of our friends & relatives, one of whom is younger than us and had her first child at 20 or so (and still has no college education). My friend has a brother who is 23 and a father, and single, and mooches off of his brother and parents to support the child.

I live out of wedlock with my girlfriend. We've been together for eight years, and we're in our late twenties (i'll be 30 in a few months). We're not perfect, but we do try to be better people today than we were yesterday. We use birth control.

It hasn't failed. In eight years.

It's not that difficult.

It's not costly. Certainly not compared to the cost of rearing a child.

It's just not that damned hard to avoid getting pregnant, and having a child when you're not even close to having your life in order... it's just idiotic. Men and women share the responsibility... men can insist upon wearing condoms. Women can use the pill, the depo provera shot, the nuvo ring, IUD, all of which are HIGHLY effective.

In order to use birth control, you have to know about it. In order to make sure that our young people know about it, how it works, and how to use it, it must be taught in school. Every school, public, private, religious, or homeschool. This isn't about religious beliefs or conservative vs. liberal sensibilities; it's about saving lives, saving careers, saving families, and saving children from being born into adversity. It's about reducing death & poverty.

Ok, I'm done. I totally agree that there are too many kids getting pregnant these days, of all races & creeds & incomes.
post #10 of 23
Birth control is effective and great but only to those who know how to use it. Condoms is the most widely used - but condoms is also the trickiest one since if used incorrectly it's not effective. And I know no school teaches how to put on a condom...which is sad.
And all the others- shots and pills are not easily accessible to teenagers even if they do know about them. In Europe birth control pills were sold OTC until recently...
I know at 30 it may seem idiotic to get pregnant on accident. But you've had 10+ years of experience getting to know how your body works, etc..
I mean it seems idiotic even to me at 21. BUT it was just 2 years ago when I had pregnancy scares..
post #11 of 23
My dad says what America doesn't realize is: Generally, the affluent blacks want nothing to do with the troublemakers (i.e. the career criminals, the crack addicts, etc.)

I don't know where my dad gets his information. He has fishing buddies of all shapes and colors (including black) so maybe that's where, or maybe he just creates the "information" out of the clear blue.

I know many would say Oprah disproves his theory, but I really don't know since I'm not black.

Anyway, the state of things today is sad and the high divorce rate only adds to it
post #12 of 23
I don't really think the problem is a lack of information. I mean, condoms and being on the pill, at least, are common knowledge enough that even I knew that after being homeschooled by an extremely conservative mom. It's just part of the culture. I'm not knocking the idea of a birth control methods lesson starting in "When you're married and not trying for a kid at the time, or any other time if you're going to do it anyway..." but I don't think putting one more source of information out there is going to have the kind of impact we're looking for.

What teenagers need is to know that they have a reason to use precautions. Girls that see themselves as having the potential to have a career someday have more of a reason to keep themselves from getting pregnant by whatever means necessary (abstinence, barrier, or hormonal). Boys need to hear that it's not normal or even acceptable to have a "babymama" and definitely not to have 4...actually I'd like "babymama" and "babydaddy" to become obsolete words...because it's a dad's job to man up and do the dad job. Both boys and girls need to know that raising rugrats is hard work, not just some easy cute thing; I learned this by babysitting my nephew and niece at 14 and helping raise a litter of orphaned kittens at 16.

Kitten fostering, by the way, is an excellent contraceptive; maybe we need to let the pet overpopulation and accidental human conception problems solve each other.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ut0pia View Post
Birth control is effective and great but only to those who know how to use it. Condoms is the most widely used - but condoms is also the trickiest one since if used incorrectly it's not effective. And I know no school teaches how to put on a condom...which is sad.
And all the others- shots and pills are not easily accessible to teenagers even if they do know about them. In Europe birth control pills were sold OTC until recently...
I know at 30 it may seem idiotic to get pregnant on accident. But you've had 10+ years of experience getting to know how your body works, etc..
I mean it seems idiotic even to me at 21. BUT it was just 2 years ago when I had pregnancy scares..
When I was in junior high school, the birth control talks were given by young volunteers from the local teen clinic. The school district's agreement with the clinic required the actual teacher to be out of the classroom during the presentations.

... and in those presentations, they showed how to put on a condom with visual aids.

Everything currently on the market was explained, along with information on where to go, how to get it, and how to get it for free. These talks were given once in 7th grade, again in 8th. And again in health-ed class in high school. It was VERY accessible. But that was in a large, progressive city. In other areas, I do understand that accessibility can be a problem. But education and accessibility are the only answers to that problem. As a society, we must address these issues.
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Keep in mind I live in a neighborhood that is at least 50% black. And yes, most of them are responsible adults with good jobs. And they complain about the kids, too.
post #15 of 23
We learnt how to put on condoms at college (in US it would be high school) 4 years ago.

I cannot imagine having a baby before I'm married or before I'm 25 but that's just my old fashion belief. I also don't really want a baby - just four paws, whiskers and a purr box please!

I'm also the daughter of a 36 year old mother - who had me when she was 15/16 and it wasn't planned and Mum isn't with him anymore
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by meowqueensdaddy View Post
When I was in junior high school, the birth control talks were given by young volunteers from the local teen clinic. The school district's agreement with the clinic required the actual teacher to be out of the classroom during the presentations.

... and in those presentations, they showed how to put on a condom with visual aids.

Everything currently on the market was explained, along with information on where to go, how to get it, and how to get it for free. These talks were given once in 7th grade, again in 8th. And again in health-ed class in high school. It was VERY accessible. But that was in a large, progressive city. In other areas, I do understand that accessibility can be a problem. But education and accessibility are the only answers to that problem. As a society, we must address these issues.
Well in Atlanta- which is supposed to be progressive compared to the rest of the south- sex ed consisted of a program given by volunteers from a church, and they showed lots of tapes of teenage moms talking about how they used a condom and it didn't work and their life is now hell...I cannot imagine what sex ed is like in the rest of the south! I agree with you, it is something that needs to be done and it is soo sad that it isn't being done.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ut0pia View Post
Well in Atlanta- which is supposed to be progressive compared to the rest of the south- sex ed consisted of a program given by volunteers from a church, and they showed lots of tapes of teenage moms talking about how they used a condom and it didn't work and their life is now hell...I cannot imagine what sex ed is like in the rest of the south! I agree with you, it is something that needs to be done and it is soo sad that it isn't being done.


I've always believed sex education should be taught in schools because there are too many parents that cannot seem to be able to talk to their children about sex and reproduction. Fortunately my mom wasn't like that but my best friend's mom was and it was sad. She started menstruating and thought she was going to die. I took her home to my mom and let my mom talk to her.

Unfortunately, too many ultra-religious folks do not want sex ed taught in schools, they fear it will encourage young folks to have sex instead of detract them from it which is a bunch of baloney IMO. I think it is the key missing ingredient for preventing unwanted pregnancies and SD's. Some young folks are going to have sex whether the parents like it or not and I say it's better to have them educated on pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. before they do the deed. It's too late afterwards.
post #18 of 23
I got married 2 yrs ago, at the time my children were 11 and 7.

I got pregnant at 18, had my first at 19. Yes, we used protection.
My 2nd, I was pregnant at 22, she was born when I was 23. Yes, we used protection.

I was a single mom up untill I moved in with my now husband and father of my 2nd child. (6yrs ago)

Yes, I dropped out of school when I was 18.... BUT, I went on to finish it later in life when I could.

Sure, I had dreams of being married, having planned babies, etc. But that was not the route I was destined to take. My mom and stepdad have 5 children between them, we lived in poverty and they both worked, and my mom used birth control including a vasectomy.

I guess my point is that not everyone who has children young, or out of wedlock, ends up in poverty.

Marriage for me, does not change a darn thing as to how I view my relationship with my husband, and I strongly do not believe that marriage will solve the poverty crisis either, I also don't believe that there is anything wrong with RESPONSIBLE younger adults having babies if they are indeed responsible and can care for said child. The teens that do it just so they can get on welfare or think its cool, well, that's a different opinion entirely.

The only true protection is abstinence. Other methods of BC can and do fail. Ask my mom that, who had my 16yr old sister at the age of 39yrs old after her partner of many yrs had had a vasectomy.


ETA: I was indeed taught Sex Ed in public school (I'm 32yrs old). My 13yr old daughter has been taught sex ed, both by me and the school. My 9yr old daughter has NOT been taught sex ed yet, but will be when she is older and more mature (whichever comes first)
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake_Lady View Post

Marriage for me, does not change a darn thing as to how I view my relationship with my husband, and I strongly do not believe that marriage will solve the poverty crisis either, I also don't believe that there is anything wrong with RESPONSIBLE younger adults having babies if they are indeed responsible and can care for said child. The teens that do it just so they can get on welfare or think its cool, well, that's a different opinion entirely.
I'm right there with you on marriage vs. relationship. We've been under pressure for some time to get married. We will, eventually, but on our own terms.

You're very right... it's about responsibility. But in the cases with my friends and relatives, it's not because they wanted welfare, or thought it was cool. They just acted without thinking about how wide ranging the consequences would be, not only for themselves, but for their families... and for their children. Out of lack of any self-esteem or self-worth.

Quote:
The only true protection is abstinence. Other methods of BC can and do fail. Ask my mom that, who had my 16yr old sister at the age of 39yrs old after her partner of many yrs had had a vasectomy.
True. While the more modern methods of birth control are highly effective for most people, there are exceptions. GF's cousin's 22 year old wife was taking the pill, and didn't know that another medication she was on changed her hormone balance in some way that nullified the pill's effect (the truly obnoxious part of that incident is that she's a nurse... you'd think a nurse would have the resources to find out about possible drug interactions.) BTW, there's a good article on contraceptive drug interactions on about.com.

I'm always leery of the 'a' (abstinence) word because of the religious conservatives pushing Abstinence-Only Sex "Education." But yes, the only way to be 100% certain to avoid STDs and pregnancy is to not have sex. I think part of why sex-ed worked so well when I was in school is that they made us really scared of pregnancy & STDs, and scared of how difficult our lives could be if contraception should fail.
post #20 of 23
I hear ya Mike. It shocks me the amount of young people who get pregnant before they're ready, and people who have kids out of wedlock acidentally. Yes there is some people who use birth control methods, and they just don't work for whatever reason, but there's plenty out there who either aren't using it, or are too dumb to use it correctly.

My mum was widowed with 2 kids by the age of 25 and with the help of my grandparents, was able to get an entry-level job where she worked hard and worked her way up the ranks. She made sure we always had what we needed, and always had support around her to help out. She did it, but she pretty much gave up everything for us, and worked her butt off. Without that sort of dedication, you cannot do it. I don't think a lot of the young kids these days have that same sort of dedication - they expect everything to be done for them. Australia also has a much better government run support system for single mothers.

I don't agree with abstinence either - yes it's definitely the best form of birth control, but expecting kids to abstain when you KNOW they want to try it out is unreasonable. I was on Depo Provera injections for years and the were great. Apparently they're not good for long-term use for young people because it leaches calcium from your bones, but I still stand by them. It's injections every 3 months, so pretty fool-proof, and it's much less likely to be affected by other drugs.

I will be taking every precaution as a parent, particularly if we have girls to make sure they are on effective birth control from before I can even handle the thought of them having sex!
post #21 of 23
My sex ed started in 4th grade ( I am in my early 30's ) formally but I was taught at home ( NOTE parents find out what ??s kid has ) ... It continued threw high school ( Note I went to religious school for half of that and got far better education there than in the public system... ie NOT just abstinence ... I only knew three girls who had babies in their teens and two were 19 and graduated at the births
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
I hear ya Mike. It shocks me the amount of young people who get pregnant before they're ready, and people who have kids out of wedlock acidentally. Yes there is some people who use birth control methods, and they just don't work for whatever reason, but there's plenty out there who either aren't using it, or are too dumb to use it correctly.

My mum was widowed with 2 kids by the age of 25 and with the help of my grandparents, was able to get an entry-level job where she worked hard and worked her way up the ranks. She made sure we always had what we needed, and always had support around her to help out. She did it, but she pretty much gave up everything for us, and worked her butt off. Without that sort of dedication, you cannot do it. I don't think a lot of the young kids these days have that same sort of dedication - they expect everything to be done for them. Australia also has a much better government run support system for single mothers.

I don't agree with abstinence either - yes it's definitely the best form of birth control, but expecting kids to abstain when you KNOW they want to try it out is unreasonable. I was on Depo Provera injections for years and the were great. Apparently they're not good for long-term use for young people because it leaches calcium from your bones, but I still stand by them. It's injections every 3 months, so pretty fool-proof, and it's much less likely to be affected by other drugs.

I will be taking every precaution as a parent, particularly if we have girls to make sure they are on effective birth control from before I can even handle the thought of them having sex!
It's a hard way to go isn't it? It's just my opinion, of course, but I don't believe in babies having babies. Sure, some manage to actually feed and clothe those babies but they often (usually) need help because by becoming teen mothers who have teen boyfriends (fathers), neither one is educated enough or equipped to have a good life. Yes, with some assistance, some of them can go back to school and get the education needed to get a decent job, but it's not the best start in life as far as I'm concerned. I don't care how mature or responsible a teen is, that to me is not a good start on the rest of your life.

Abstinance is just nonsense. Yes, some will abstain, but the majority won't so for Heaven's sake give them the tools (education) to protect themselves. And yes, not all preventative measures will work but it sure cuts back on the chances.
post #23 of 23
I believe the problem of unwed pregnancy is being glamorized and popularized by all the celebs that are doing it. I'm going to trot out my old fashioned values here and ask why nearly every celeb these days finds it necessary to have children before they get married? They are setting a horrible example for young teens who idolize these stars and emulate them by thinking it is "cool" or "hip" or "romantic" to have babies in their teens without a father figure.

I am of the generation who believes it is every child's birthright to have two parents who are committed to the child and TO EACH OTHER! Yes, I had two children (now adults) who were born during my first marriage, and who grew up in a divided household due to divorce. It happens. But if I only had the knowledge and wisdom I have acquired over my lifetime of mistakes, to go back and re-live that period, I can practically guarantee the outcome would have been different.

Many of these celebs believe they are in a committed relationship, and certainly they are old enough to make their life decisions, and maybe if you are rich it offers a degree of security that most teen mothers don't have. But when her child becomes older, I can practically guarantee that the wish of that child is that his/her parents were married and living happily together.
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