My approach to parenting was/is that we are simply advisors. Great kids can come from shitty homes & shitty kids can come from great homes; if I can be reductive, sometimes there is one rebel & one goody-two-shoes. Frex, I was the non-smoking teetotaller on the honour role, where my brother was the partying ‘fuck school’ type (though we were both rebellious, & successful as adults, in our own ways).
We parents do our best, accepting some people’s best is better than others (meaning those shitty parents who drop their kids off at relatives homes – or red light districts, or military schools – at the first sign of teen sexual activity).
My daughter was slut-shamed at 14 by ‘the other side’ of her family, her primary caregivers. We & are strict Catholics who have not one ounce of compassion for others’ pain & zero empathy for any bad situation if you got there by choice.
So she came to live with me. Long story short, her eventual pregnancy at 17 was not the end of the world, but you wouldn’t know that by the reactions of any of her family but me (BTW, the 16yo father’s family was pretty awesome, actually). Nothing is the end of the world but the end of the world. It’s positive, but somewhat complex situation, but it is what it is. My grandson is wonderful, healthy & loved.
This might be a cautionary tale about trusting kids to use condoms, & that we can’t. And that’s true, but technically you can’t trust anyone to do anything. I’ve found it fairly common for the parents (specifically single mothers) to have their daughters injected with long-term hormonal preventative, like Depo–Provera or a Norplant device, & some have great success. But I have many friends in their 30s & 40s with horror stories about the long-term chemical birth control methods, including hormonal IUDs (the repeated failed attempts to remove one was a living hell for my daughter).
But I do understand why parents want to go there – some kids will use condoms, some won’t. Some are satisfied with digital & oral sex, some aren’t. Parents want as much peace of mind as they can get.
All we can do is advise, & hopefully our kids take our experiences & opinions into consideration.
Inspired by this post.