Thursday, December 14 , 2017, 10:57 pm | Smoke 43º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Judging Teen Moms, Overprotective Mothers, When to Believe Rumors

Question from Ally

Why do people say it’s SO bad to be a teen mom and put the girls that are teen moms down? Sometimes it’s not even their fault right??

Weezy

It is not optimal for a person to become a parent as a teenager but the situation does not make the teen mom a bad person. Young people often hear the word “bad” associated with their choices. Let’s make sure we separate actions from character.

Very generally speaking, a person should be fully grown before that person begins raising another person. The emotional development of an individual will tend to arrest at the moment of trauma. So if a young person starts using drugs or is molested or becomes pregnant at, say, 16, that person may forever have the emotional maturity of a 16 year old. Adults tend to hope that teenagers enjoy a full and complete childhood before they bring other little humans into the world.

There should be no moral judgment directed at a teen mom. Pregnancy happens. Young people are impulsive and making out can quickly escalate into sex. Young girls are vulnerable. Sex is complicated. Sexual safety is tricky. It requires a learning a curve. Sexual abuse can be a factor.

Yes, we hope that teens will wait until they are at least 18 years of age, in a loving and committed relationship and fully educated in safety and protection before becoming sexually intimate. But there is always room for the world to grow kinder. When a teen has a baby there are two young lives at stake. That should be the focus.

(Fixers UK video)

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Question from Sara

Hi, Weezy. I’m 15 and I’m having a problem. I have a boyfriend who is 16, we’ve been dating for five months. He makes all A’s, is very mature, has a job and is just overall a good person.

My whole family has met him but the only person who has a problem with him is my mom. She’s overprotective. She doesn’t let me leave the house or even go on the porch. I ask and it’s an automatic no and I don’t know why. I do everything she tells me to.

She says she trusts us but her only problem is that I’m too young. I may be young but I believe I’m mature. I make good grades. I do all my chores, and I know not to give into peer pressure. I’ve never had sex. Me & him talked about that and said we weren’t but it’s summer now and I just wish he could come over.

She won’t let me leave the house and he can’t come over, so it sucks. I understand she doesn’t want me to get hurt, but she really hasn’t gotten to know him. I just wish she would give him a chance. Even my father and brother like him!

Weezy

He sounds fantastic. Clearly this comes down to your mom’s fears. Sex and pregnancy. Keep working on addressing these concerns with your mom.

She is feeling a loss of control. If you are alone with him, she does not know what could happen and her only solution is to eliminate your access to him. That may temporarily address her fear but it doesn’t help you learn how to function within a relationship, and it doesn’t help her learn how to allow you certain freedom within boundaries. Part of your mom’s job is to teach you how to control yourself. She can not accomplish that by doing all of the controlling.

Talk to your mom. Tell her that she has raised you well and that you are dating a guy who respects you and who is making it his No. 1 priority to protect and honor you. Ask your mom about her first love. She probably has an experience in her history that is terrifying her about you and your romantic interactions.

Suggest an activity that includes her and your boyfriend. Tell her that the very best way for you to learn how to cultivate a healthy relationship is for you to experience one. Tell her that you always want to be able to come to her for help and advice regarding romance.

The best way to nurture that sort of mother/daughter relationship moving forward is for her to loosen the leash while you are still a child. If she holds on too tightly now, once you are 18, you will run from her — hard and fast. You may need her but you will know that going to her comes with a price. You need a mom who listens and guides.

I know that this sounds like a very tricky conversation that could easily backfire. It could. Prepare for that. But keep trying. Ask her for clarity. At what age will you be more freely allowed to date?

The one hard and fast truth is that you WILL grow up and you will take control of your own life. She can’t stop that. She can make it more likely that you will always continue to include her.

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Question from Morgan

I’m REALLY confused right now. I started liking this guy who other people say isn’t a good guy. He’s really sweet and social, however, I’ve been hearing that he is a player and gets together with girls for the wrong reasons.

As much as I don’t wanna believe these rumors, there has been a large number of people who tell me that about him. My friend said he asked her for something inappropriately two years ago and even showed me the texts to prove it. At first I thought it was a joke even though I know it would be a dumb thing to joke about, BUT I have no idea whether he was serious or not. I feel like I should give him the benefit of the doubt, but am I just naive?

I’ve never actually dated a guy before and I think my feelings are getting in the way. I understand I should get to know him before I believe these rumors. How do I talk to him :( should I? Sorry if this makes no sense but I had to get this out and it’s bothering me all the time!

Weezy

Believe the rumors. People in the throes of infatuation tend to interpret what they hear to fit their fantasy. Resist this tendency. Your heart is on the line.

The behavior that is being described to you is not something that multiple people will make up. You’ve also been shown evidence. If you had heard this from only one girl, well then it MAY be some sort of jealousy. Once you are hearing it from a variety of sources, then protect yourself.

You are being told and shown that this guy flirts and trolls for pictures and more from girls. It’s working for him because girls like you are buying what he is selling. You think that he will change for you. He won’t.

You can get to know him and wait until he asks you for inappropriate photos. He probably will. Why go there? Why not spend your time and energy getting to know someone who deserves to know you?

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Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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