Looking Across Cultures for Good Family Models

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

In the latest family-focused issue of "Greater Good," a social science magazine, one of the lead essays introduces two families enrolled in a multi-year study of the American family: the Evanses, a standard-issue, two-kid, two-income suburban clan, and the Lopezes, a six-person Mexican-American family headed by first-generation immigrants with three jobs between the two parents.

The question? Which of the two families "enjoys a greater quality of life and tighter family bonds?"

The authors suggest that the Lopez family, despite the external stresses, are better off in the family department, in no small part because the work-life balance issues that bedevils many Anglo-American families (and, indeed, have given rise to this blog) are countered by tighter family bonds of all sorts.

The authors of the piece, Ross Park, Ph.D., the director of the Center for Family Studies at the University of California, Riverside; Scott Coltrane, Ph.D, the deputy directory of the Center; and University of California, Davis post-doc Thomas Schofield argue that research shows kids are closer to their parents in Mexican immigrant families, that siblings are tighter, dads are more involved, and that the social network of the extended family is more likely to be physically and emotionally present. That web, the authors say, contributes to all manner of good outcomes, from improved cooperation with peers to better school performance.

And while they are careful to caution that these positive trends are sometimes seen in families where gender roles lack equity (though they note the stereotype of the patriarchal Mexican-American family is increasingly outdated), the authors suggest that there is no reason why what they call "familism" can't be fused with egalitarian notions of family.

Studies, by their nature, tend to blur out individual examples that don't conform to the overall conclusions -- I am certain that I'll see a comment or two on exceptions -- but I had to feel a tinge of familiarity with the Evanses. I am at least 400 miles from extended family and in-laws, with brothers and sisters and parents scattered in a half-dozen states. And while I live in a neighborhood that mimics, on some level, that extended family, I wonder how much I'm missing out on.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  October 18, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Research
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Isn't part of the reason immigrant families appear to be more cohesive is due to the fact they are in unfamiliar territory? They ARE immigrants, after all, and presumably in a new area with only themselves to rely on, at least at first. Culture, society, people, expectations, etc, are all different, so they turn to each other for what is normal for them.

I'd be interested in seeing this same study on second or third generation families of immigrants; similar studies indicate that the further the families are from the initial immigrants, the more American-like they become in all ways.

Posted by: johnl | October 18, 2007 7:42 AM

I'm not at all surprised. When you have a culture that values family above all else, that's going to provide a lot more emotional support for its members. One of the big reasons I wanted to move back to Md was having family there -- both my mom and stepdad and my husband's siblings and their families. My family was so scattered as a kid, so I never had that close bond with cousins, and never saw my grandparents enough (hey, they spoiled me rotten -- what kid wouldn't want to see them All The Time?). :-) I want my kids to have a sense of belonging, a sense of place, to really know their family in a much more intimate, close way.

And yes, I do recognize that I am pretty much guaranteeing that they will hit 18 and run away to college as fast as their little legs can carry them and never look back. But hey, I figure it's my job to give my kids something to escape from and rebel against, right? :-)

Posted by: laura33 | October 18, 2007 7:48 AM

We Makos do stick together. We may not care for the hammerheads but still repect their ways which are very similar to ours!

BTW Third!

Posted by: nonamehere | October 18, 2007 8:02 AM

Does it mean that the Lopezes are more of the "helicopter parents" then the Evanses? Jokes aside, I think the reaction of the first poster -- johnL -- is right on. I am the first generation American and I moved across the country from my family to be "more American". This was in the early 80's and for the new immigrants at that time assimilation was the key to succeed in America. 25 years later, as a working parent, I sometime regret my choice because we have no extended family nearby and have to use babysitters and nannies. My career is very much tied to the Washington DC area and that's what I chose when I was 18. Most of my friends live near their families and enjoy the extended family benefits. And while I am envious of their "easy" lives today, 10 years ago I thought that their lives were "dull" compared to mine. Because we are such a small family unit, we have developed our own traditions early and this makes us a very close knit family. So, it's kind of interesting: on the surface we may look like the Evanses but in reality we our philosophy is close to the Lopezes.

Posted by: tsm | October 18, 2007 9:04 AM

Ha, ha, ha.

Yes, that's *exactly* who Americans need to emulate--low-skilled immigrants whose country is in such *great* shape from all these fabulous families with magnificent values that they're all coming up here as fast as they can.

To say nothing of the fact that all sorts of data contradicts those absurd stats they spout. If Mexicans have such great family values, how come their daughters are getting pregnant at such a young age at such a high rate, and how come daughters and sons both are dropping out of high school at the highest rate of any demographic?

Are you completely untroubled by reality when you post this nonsense? Or are you saying hey, let's ignore reality, but use this absurd post as a chance to yap nostagically about the America that used to be?

BTW, check out the Center for Family Studies. Look at some of the other projects and publications:

Coltrane, Scott, Ross D. Parke and Michele Adams. 2004. "Complexity of
Father Involvement In Low-Income Mexican American Families." Family
Relations 53, No. 2, 179-189.

and

"With funding from the National Institues for Health, Principal Investigators
Scott Coltrane Ph.D. (UCR) and Sanford Braver Ph.D. (ASU) address the lack of scholarship
on how fathers impact the mental health and behavioral problems of their adolescent children.
Particularly understudied, but at high risk, are children with stepfathers and children of Mexican
American heritage."

Yeah, sounds like the Center itself spends lots of time on the problems of Mexican American families.

But suddenly, they're the epitome of American values.

Idiocy.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier | October 18, 2007 9:13 AM

Considering the high level of hispanic dropouts and relatively low emphasis on education, I would say that the model is an utter disaster, especially for women.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 9:56 AM

Is it possible to agree with everyone who has posted? I think I do.

On one hand, there is a lot of pride in Hispanic culture here in the States. That culture happens to not really value education, and has no problem with teen pregnancy. Families start young, and there is a large extended family to help raise the kids.

So Hispanic culture (big young families who are employed as laborers) is transplanted here in the States and it doesn't really jive with our own culture (marry and start the family after at least a high school education).

Posted by: Meesh | October 18, 2007 10:12 AM

Since this topic seems to be spent, here is a joke from the WSJ's Juggle:

"How many people does it take to change a light bulb?

Two - the husband to do it and the wife to tell him that he changed the light bulb better than any other man's changed a light bulb and that she's lucky to have him, or she'd live in the dark."

And that he has a large penis!


Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 10:42 AM

After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in Portland, Maine, have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11. Not all parents are pleased with the decision..

Gee wonder why. Your kid can't take an apirin at school without your permission but these libs are perfectly content to make the decision for your 6th grade child regarding birth control without your consent. This will be reversed. The nerve of some of these bureacrats!

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 10:58 AM

Okay, I had another useless conference call so I read the article Brian referenced and also skimmed the web site. It ain't all peaches and cream.

First, the Anglo family not only has no relatives in the state, but they also have "few friends in the community." Why? That seems to be a big part of their problem, to me. I moved away from my family in Louisiana after graduating from college (went to grad school in Indiana then moved to the DC area to work) because of my career aspirations - LA's not noted for high-tech engineering work. I was 1,000 miles away from family - but I made a lot of friends. Even today, we have numerous friends in the community who form and have formed a safety net for us (and we for them). It's not as close a bind as a family might be, but we do help each other out.

About that same Anglo family: "Ellen and Tom value family activities, but most of the time they do things separately from their children." Why? Yes, my kids have their own activities, but we have always been involved with them and know what they're doing. Oldest DD's college choir will be performing in November, and we'll be in the audience cheering her on. It'll shoot a whole Saturday for us, but there's not much else I'd rather be doing.

Also, as numerous others have pointed out, the Mexican-American "familism" should produce marvelous adults, with high achievers in school and no gangs or crime. Some do overcome tremendous odds and succeed. Yet overall, that doesn't jive with reality. Yes, Hispanic underachievement in many cases does correlate with racism/discrimination, poverty, etc. But those are all ignored in the article - it's all about how "familism" produces these tremendous results against long odds.

Interesting enough, another article in the same issue of the magazine, Stephanie Coontz's "The Family Revolution", has the following quote:

"We need to address the new challenges raised by the transformation and diversification of marriage and family life. But we cannot do so if we delude ourselves into thinking there has ever been a Golden Age when life was much better for all, or even most, families."

In other words, the one article talks about how to get back to something that this article asserts never existed in the first place!

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 11:02 AM

chitty

"How many people does it take to change a light bulb?

Two - the husband to do it and the wife to tell him that he changed the light bulb better than any other man's changed a light bulb and that she's lucky to have him, or she'd live in the dark."

And that he has a large penis!"

As long as we're making jokes - no wife would say that. It would be a girlfriend that said it to her boyfriend.

The wife would complain that it took too long to change it, that the husband never did his share of things around the house and she had to do everything herself.

And that, if that's what he thought six inches was, she'd expect any lumber he bought at Home Depot to be 2X3s instead.

(Of course, that's just a joke, and a weak one at that, but hey...)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 11:12 AM

Today's topic must be some kinda record...

Brian can sure pick 'em.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 11:17 AM

pATRICK wrote: "After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in Portland, Maine, have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11."

Why aren't the males who are having sex with girls as young as 11 being tried for rape, whether statutory or forcible?

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 11:20 AM

I think that culture plays a lot into this...more so than being a first generation immigrant. Look at how family is valued in places like Italy, for example...families there are very similar to the Lopezes.

Posted by: MV_78 | October 18, 2007 11:22 AM

Why aren't the males who are having sex with girls as young as 11 being tried for rape, whether statutory or forcible?

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 11:20 AM

Is the best use of our limited judicial resources to prosecute 13 year old boys for having sex with 11 year old girls? That's a very inefficient solution to the social problem of teen pregnancy.

pATRICK - I don't think this decision represents the liberal/conservative divide as much as the stupic/smart people on a school board divide, LOL. But, that's just me.

Posted by: mn.188 | October 18, 2007 11:29 AM

"After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in Portland, Maine, have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11."

Outcome - Mary wouldn't have conceived Jesus.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 11:29 AM

Can an 11 year old boy be charged with statutory rape against an 11 year old girl - or would they both be charged? Seems like there need to be some consequences here.

Posted by: noname1 | October 18, 2007 11:30 AM

@johnl/tsm/MV_78: You've picked up on one of the more interesting bits of the piece -- this structure appears to be a first-generation kind of thing, and the benefits fade as families assimilate.

@ArmyBrat: I think you may be the exception, and "Ellen and Tom" more the rule when it comes to separating adult time from family time. Slate just ran a piece about how interminable playing with the kids can be, which made me wonder exactly whether the I'd-rather-be-elsewhere parenting contingent is a silent majority.

Posted by: rebeldad | October 18, 2007 11:32 AM

MN, I agree that there's a problem with limited judicial resources. OTOH, perhaps making examples of a few of these boys would serve as a deterrent for at least some future statutory rapists.

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 11:33 AM

Simply throwing in two anecdotes that support the conclusions of the study. My childhood family, and DH's.

While my mother went in and out of mental hospitals, my dad's extended family, especially his mother, stepped in and helped him raise me and my siblings. We were always pretty close to Grandma and our cousins, and I think we did better at surviving, maybe even thriving, than most children of the mentally ill.

DH's father committed suicide when DH was 7 and his sister was 9. Their mother refused the help offered by an uncle, the suicide's brother, and tried to raise her kids alone.

By age 10 DH was a ward of the state, and spent the next three years in a mental hospital because he was "incorridgible" - whatever that meant. He was sexualized there by a 16-y-o male patient. At 13 he was gang-raped while in a juvenile detention lock-up.

His sister wasn't removed from the home until she was 16, by which time she'd put the local drug dealer out of business at her high school by undercutting his prices and not gotten killed for it, refused Jerry Garcia's offer of orange juice (laced with ????) at a Grateful Dead concert because she was already tripping, and called Acid Rescue one night when she came home to find her mother passed out on the floor with empty bottles of seconal and vodka beside her, and daughter was too stoned/high/tripped-out/whatever to deal with emergency services.

I and all my siblings graduated from high school on time, and were never in trouble with the law, and we all have college degrees. DH and SIL have their GED's, because they were smart people and set out to get them as a step to becoming emancipated minors, which both were at 17. Their educations were very spotty, and I've already outlined the low points of their interactions with law enforcement, child services, and juvenile justice systems.

Posted by: sue | October 18, 2007 11:34 AM

Is the best use of our limited judicial resources to prosecute 13 year old boys for having sex with 11 year old girls? That's a very inefficient solution to the social problem of teen pregnancy.

pATRICK - I don't think this decision represents the liberal/conservative divide as much as the stupic/smart people on a school board divide, LOL. But, that's just me.

Well maybe you are right, what idiots. I think prosecuting young boys or girls would just turn an ugly situation into a catastrophic situation.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 11:34 AM

Hey, RebelDad suggests we learn from the good in other cultures; he does not propose we should put them on a pedestal or that they have no faults. I lived in L.A. for a couple of years in an area that was 50% Latino and certainly felt there was something to be learned from the closeness of the families.

Posted by: dc_ca_2004 | October 18, 2007 11:38 AM

Sue, why in the world would you divulge all that on a blog? I think you passed Scarry in unfortunate family backgrounds.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 11:42 AM

WOW.

There is so much that people don't understand and misunderstand about first generation Hispanic immigrants and Hispanic culture in general.

Meesh - I disagree that Latino culture does not value education. On the contrary, that is usually one of the top reasons why families want to bring their kids to the US.

ArmyBrat - First generation Hispanic immigrants may appear to "underachieve" and indeed many poor Hispanic children underachieve for the same reason poor non-immigrant children underachieve at higher rates: lack of resources. But if you look at second and third generations of those same families, I don't think you can say that there is the same rate of underachievement. I hate citing studies I can't recall, but I believe there are studies demonstrating that Hispanics have lower unemployment rates and are rising to a higher standard of living more rapidly than Whites and African Americans.

Cal_Lanier:

"If Mexicans have such great family values, how come their daughters are getting pregnant at such a young age at such a high rate, and how come daughters and sons both are dropping out of high school at the highest rate of any demographic?" Easy. Because Mexican girls like to put out, and Mexican high schoolers are lazy and would rather take their siestas under giant sombreros than work hard and pull themselves up by their cowboy boot straps.

Posted by: JEGS | October 18, 2007 11:44 AM


noname:
"Can an 11 year old boy be charged with statutory rape against an 11 year old girl - or would they both be charged? Seems like there need to be some consequences here."

IANAL - but: statutory rape laws vary by state. See http://www.cga.ct.gov/2003/olrdata/jud/rpt/2003-R-0376.htm for a 2003 table created by the Connecticut state government (the Office of Legislative Research) that summarizes laws in each state.

In general, an 11 year old could never be charged with statutory rape for having sex with another 11 year old, for exactly the reason you point out. Which one would you charge, the boy or the girl? Why?

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 11:44 AM

"I lived in L.A. for a couple of years in an area that was 50% Latino and certainly felt there was something to be learned from the closeness of the families. "

The Latino men I know, while sexy, are waay to macho for me to consider as husbands or fathers and I'm not into violence. Their mothers are real witchy control freaks. I have neither the time nor the inclination to wait for these characteristics to "wear off" over generations.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 11:46 AM

chittybangbang - that's cool, you should probably find some better Latino acquaintances then.. of the Latino men I know, some are sexy, some are laughably macho, some are more progressive than I am, and one is my Dad. My grandma wasn't witchy or a control freak; she was actually really sweet and a great dancer to boot! And my Latina friends who are mothers are my heroes - talk about work/life balance. I'd like to see a guest blog from one of them one of these days!

Posted by: JEGS | October 18, 2007 11:49 AM

I forgot to add that we shouldn't refer to "Hispanic culture" as something that is homogenous, because it isn't. We have some common traits (i.e. importance of family, religion, history, etc), but I don't think that it's enough to compose one homogenous "Hispanic culture."

Posted by: MV_78 | October 18, 2007 11:52 AM

"Can an 11 year old boy be charged with statutory rape against an 11 year old girl - or would they both be charged? Seems like there need to be some consequences here."

The most effective consequence I can imagine is for an 11 year old boy to encounter on his front porch a shotgun-wielding daddy, accompanied by three of the boy's partner's brothers and two male cousins.

Posted by: mn.188 | October 18, 2007 11:52 AM

MV-78

"We have some common traits (i.e. importance of family, religion, history, etc),"

Most of that is a big bag of b.s.

The exra-marital affairs and violence of men are generally tolerated, lots of unwed mothers, fathers that take a powder with no stigma, kids that grow up ignorant in poverty - where's the importance of family , religion, history and in those cases?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 11:58 AM

Are the U.S. born children of Brazilian-born parents whose parents were German and Polish immigrants Latino or Hispanic?

Posted by: tsm | October 18, 2007 12:00 PM

tsm

"Are the U.S. born children of Brazilian-born parents whose parents were German and Polish immigrants Latino or Hispanic?"

They are Yankee Doodle Dandies!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 12:02 PM

"The exra-marital affairs and violence of men are generally tolerated, lots of unwed mothers, fathers that take a powder with no stigma, kids that grow up ignorant in poverty - where's the importance of family , religion, history and in those cases?"

Some of this happens in the US too you know.

Posted by: MV_78 | October 18, 2007 12:03 PM

chitty: I hate PC labels, sounds like you do too.

Posted by: tsm | October 18, 2007 12:06 PM

JEGS, if you can provide pointers to such studies, I'd appreciate them. While I'd quickly accept that second- and third-generation Hispanics tend to do better than first-generation immigrants (which is true of every ethnicity, as far as I can tell from some quick searches), I'm hard-pressed to find ANY data which shows Hispanics with lower unemployment, or having a higher standard of living, than caucasians. That's unfortunate for a lot of reasons, but I can't find much that disputes it.

(I have a Master's degree in Statistics and I'm well aware of games you can play with "rates of change." So, if in year 1 Hispanics are at "1" and Caucasians are at "10", and then in year 20 Hispanics are at "2" and Caucasians are at "15" then indeed the rate of change for Hispanics is better (100% vs 50%) but in any meaningful way it's just gotten worse, not better. So I consider studies producing that kind of results to be pretty bogus, just FWIW.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 12:06 PM

"Today's topic must be some kinda record...
Brian can sure pick 'em."

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 11:17 AM

OK, so here's something from yesterday's topic:

"Time to replace the unhallowed Halloween of superstition, darkness and selfishness with a Holiday of Spirituality and Generosity."

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | October 17, 2007 01:24 PM

A great idea, but the West beat you to it by about 2,000 years.

"children would go only to houses of friends and schoolmates and relatives and teachers.. . . bring a little package to each house, teach children true value which is, 'it is better to give than to receive.' HSG Day, children would give coins to charity for the poor."

For the West's holiday of generosity and spirituality, people send gift packages to the houses of friends, schoolmates, relatives and teachers. Two months before this holiday, my workplace has begun a collection to provide clothing and food to poor families so they can enjoy the holiday. As for spirituality, groups of Western people go from house to house in the snow, serenading homeowners with spiritual songs proclaiming joy to the world. See http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/j/o/joyworld.htm

"Selfishness, Western man is out for himself, greed, he who dies with most toys wins, materialism." (abu_ibrahim)

Mr. Charles Dickens wrote a story about the West's holiday of generosity and spirituality. The story's lead character is a selfish, greedy, materialist miser like the "Western man" described above. But Ebenezer Scrooge is no more the typical Western man than Osama bin Laden is the typical Mohammedan.

"do Western children dress up as saints, Saint Peter, Saint Mary, Saint Mark, Saint Paul, Saint Elizabeth, . . ." (abu_ibrahim)

No, they don't, and for very good reasons. Dress up like Saint Peter, and they'll pack you off to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Dress up like Saint Mark, and they'll send you to St. Mark's Church in Venice. Dress up like Saint Paul, and you'll wind up with Mary Poppins in front of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. And DC girls -- don't even think of dressing up as Saint Elizabeth.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 18, 2007 12:16 PM

ArmyBrat - I didn't mean to say that Hispanics have a higher standard of living, but that their standard of living is rising more rapidly. And yes, that is obviously going to be true given the reasons you cited in your own comment. But the point is that Hispanics as an ethnicity are not just a bunch of lazy alcoholics/wife-beaters/rapists/witches, as some comments here would have you believe.

I'll look for some references pertaining to the comment you asked about. Probably won't be able to get to it today, as I'm pretty busy here (don't usually post for the same reason!) but I will take you up on the challenge, for sure.

Posted by: JEGS | October 18, 2007 12:17 PM

"But the point is that Hispanics as an ethnicity are not just a bunch of lazy alcoholics/wife-beaters/rapists/witches, as some comments here would have you believe."

Is there any way to prove or disprove your statement? I notice you left out the number of unwed mothers, etc.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 12:22 PM

tsm: "Are the U.S. born children of Brazilian-born parents whose parents were German and Polish immigrants Latino or Hispanic?"

Yes.

See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/1997standards.html

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 12:26 PM

Chitty wrote: "The exra-marital affairs and violence of men are generally tolerated, lots of unwed mothers, fathers that take a powder with no stigma, kids that grow up ignorant in poverty - where's the importance of family , religion, history and in those cases?"

And, "Is there any way to prove or disprove your statement? I notice you left out the number of unwed mothers, etc."

Chitty, the same can be said of your own claims, so in the interests of consistency, provide the data to back them.

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 12:34 PM

"Chitty, the same can be said of your own claims, so in the interests of consistency, provide the data to back them."

The topic is Looking Across Cultures for Good Family Models- I've looked at the Latino culture and no, it's not a good family model to me.

Popping out babies without an iota of thought to the future is stupid, stupid, stupid and causes untold pain, heartbreak and waste of human beings. I don't need a study to figure that out.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 12:43 PM

Chitty, where are your data?

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 12:45 PM

"Chitty, where are your data?"

I see it every day and Lady, it breaks my heart.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 12:50 PM

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/1997standards.html:
Hispanic or Latino. A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The term, "Spanish origin," can be used in addition to "Hispanic or Latino."

ArmyBrat, by these criteria, while a Brazilian or a Spaniard would be considered Hispanic or Latino, a Portuguese person would not be?

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 12:52 PM

Chitty, you base your claims on unscientific anecdotal observations, yet demand that those who disagree with you provide data. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 12:54 PM

"Chitty, you base your claims on unscientific anecdotal observations, yet demand that those who disagree with you provide data. You can't have it both ways."

You are right and I am wrong.

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 12:57 PM

"Popping out babies without an iota of thought to the future is stupid..."

God will provide!

If people of faith didn't have a reproductive advantage , there wouldn't be so many of them.

Posted by: DandyLion | October 18, 2007 12:58 PM

"God will provide!"

You mean the taxpayers will provide.

"If people of faith didn't have a reproductive advantage , there wouldn't be so many of them."

To starve to death.

They don't have a reproductive advantage. The women put out too much, too soon, and the men don't know how to keep "it" in their pants.

Some faith!

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 1:04 PM

Sue, why in the world would you divulge all that on a blog? I think you passed Scarry in unfortunate family backgrounds.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 11:42 AM

Because I hate what happened to DH and SIL because of their mother's pride and stubbornness. She's been dead for three years, but did make a sort of peace with her children in the last few years of her life.

And I love and miss Grandma (she died 13 years ago), and I will always be grateful that she was willing and able to help raise us, and grateful that my dad had the good sense to ask for and accept help.

Maybe, just maybe, somebody will read this and think. Maybe they'll make beter choices, and maybe some kid somewhere will be spared a little suffering. I can only hope.

Posted by: sue | October 18, 2007 1:34 PM

The exra-marital affairs and violence of men are generally tolerated, lots of unwed mothers, fathers that take a powder with no stigma, kids that grow up ignorant in poverty - where's the importance of family , religion, history and in those cases?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 11:58 AM

As a Hispanic woman, Chitty (and in this case, I think it would be more suitable to replace your the C with an S in your first name), I am appalled and offended by your ignorance and outright bigotry. Best go back to that hole that you seem to belong in.

Posted by: Emily | October 18, 2007 1:47 PM

Emily

"As a Hispanic woman, Chitty (and in this case, I think it would be more suitable to replace your the C with an S in your first name"

I accept. How would you change my last name?

Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 1:52 PM

Posted by: Emily | October 18, 2007 01:47 PM

I knew this was coming........and gasp! Emily is right.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 1:53 PM

Given Chitty's scorn for Hispanics/Latinos, no flan for It!

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 1:58 PM

Given Chitty's scorn for Hispanics/Latinos, no flan for It!

I agree, my hispanic newphews deserve better.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 2:00 PM

nephews (sp)

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 2:00 PM

pATRICK

"I agree, my hispanic newphews deserve better."

But not the familes of the mentally ill?
(Mental note.- You care only about those in your miserable orbit.)


Posted by: chittybangbang | October 18, 2007 2:05 PM

Chitty, we all know you are just Hillary in disguise and frankly your not even that good of a troll, much less a real poster. The only one miserable here is you.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 2:07 PM

mehitabel: "ArmyBrat, by these criteria, while a Brazilian or a Spaniard would be considered Hispanic or Latino, a Portuguese person would not be?"

As I understand it, yes. Back in the days when I was a Fed and was serving on promotion boards, we used to get detailed guidance on this. Prior to this 1997 ruling there was apparently a lot of discussion about whether a Brazilian was "Hispanic" (technically, they're Luso-Americans). This change was made to make it clear that Brazilians count, and to equate two words that didn't seem to have much difference between them. However, this doesn't seem to be right, as it seems that people from Spain, as well as from other formerly-Spanish territories not in the Americas now also qualify as "Hispanic or Latino", while those from Portugal or formerly-Portugese territories (such as Angola and maybe even Macao) do not.

(Not to even mention the repeat of "Cuban" in the original text - somebody needed a better proofreader.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 2:33 PM

ArmyBrat, so Hélio Castroneves and Antonio Banderas are Hispanics/Latinos, but José Saramago and Teresa Heinz Kerry are not? What about a Basque, or someone from Andorra?

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 2:41 PM

ArmyBrat, so Hélio Castroneves and Antonio Banderas are Hispanics/Latinos, but José Saramago and Teresa Heinz Kerry are not? What about a Basque, or someone from Andorra?

Welcome to the pointless world of PC labeling...............

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 2:43 PM

mehitabel, as I understand it you're correct. But I'm not a Fed anymore, and none of those people came up before any of my promotion boards, so I didn't have to address it directly. :-)

Now I try to stay out of the labeling business if I can.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 2:51 PM

Patrick,

As I'm sure you read in the article about the middle school providing contraceptives to students, parents had to sign a consent form first before any student could get anything from the clinic.

Presumably if the parents signed such a consent form, they are aware that their daughters --could-- get BC there, which may spur them into having frank and honest talks with the girls first, and perhaps take them for a visit to an OB/GYN.

The article also said that there were girls at that age --already-- getting pregnant, which was the reason for them wanting to provide BC for other already sexually active girls.

It was hardly a "we're going to give out pills so the girls can go screw" as Patrick is making it out as.

Posted by: johnl | October 18, 2007 2:53 PM

"Presumably if the parents signed such a consent form, they are aware that their daughters --could-- get BC there, which may spur them into having frank and honest talks with the girls first, and perhaps take them for a visit to an OB/GYN."


You missed the obvious. You must sign for ALL services and then the minor is protected by privacy laws, which effectively shuts you out of the process. That is the rub. You also missed the ridiculousness of strangers and your kids making enormous decisions without parental input.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 3:00 PM

"It is not clear why Americans have such high rates of mental illness, but cultural factors clearly play a role. Immigrants quickly increase their risk of mental health problems, especially if they do not live in native ethnic communities. Minorities also tend to have lower levels of mental health problems despite lower economic status, suggesting that the social support they provide each other is protective" (WP, "Study: U.S. Leads In Mental Illness, Lags in Treatment," June 6, 2005. From a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, "National Comorbidity Survey Replication," Kessler et al.).

This seems to back up what the Riverside study is saying and at the same time explain why the second generation has the problems it does.

I personally have observed, many times over, that Mexican-American families tend to show more warmth, and their kids tend to have more social and emotional intelligence then Anglo kids.

I have also seen that there are special and considerable challenges for second generation immigrants. The first generation has to negotiate the new culture in a practical, logistical, but superficial manner. The second generation has to figure out the deeper issues on their own. First generation immigrant parents are usually not as able to mentor their kids as they deal with teenage and adult issues, such as how to deal with sex and sexual advances, how to deal with schools, how to get into college, how to find jobs, how to build credit and get a mortgage, and a thousand similar issues. The second generation has to figure out all of these things on their own, often by painful experience. The good news is that they pave the way for the third generation. I've seen so many examples of this from immigrants of many different cultures coming to America, as well as with Americans who moved overseas.

Posted by: floomby | October 18, 2007 3:01 PM

The origins of Latin culture come from Southern Europe and anyone who has traveled over there should know the value that they place on the family. To be honest they are much closer than we will ever be to finding true balance.

I am as Caucasian as I could be but engaged to a "Lazy Mexican" (otherwise known as 2nd generation and a highly educated investment banker) and have seen both sides.

While I am close to my parents and brother, I don't speak with my extended family regularly and there is a real sense of disjointedness across the board.

His family on the other hand is incredibly supportive and there always seems to be someone there to help.

There are two sides to the coin and familial support comes with familial obligations and a freedom from that generally fosters more independence so it really is up to you to decide which model works for you. (Or maybe a balance between the two?)

Posted by: atlindc | October 18, 2007 3:36 PM

atlindc - thank you for dispelling stereotypes with your post. My heart is a little lighter this afternoon.

Posted by: JEGS | October 18, 2007 3:40 PM

No, Patrick, I was aware that once the parents gave their consent to use the clinic, privacy rules would allow the girls to get access to anything provided without further parental approval.

That was why I said that the parents, seeing their girls ask for them to sign the consent form, would have an open discussion with them first.

How is this different from an OB/GYN discussing sexual matters with a young girl and prescribing her BC without telling the parents? At least here a consent form is required before any services at all can be provided.

Or are you of the mindset that "if a girl is going to fool around, she deserves to get pregnant"? ISTM that the school is being as proactive as they can; they aren't handing out BC pills willy-nilly to every girl in school. They are asking for parental consent before anything further is done, to try and help prevent a mistake that will affect many people's lives for years to come.

Posted by: johnl | October 18, 2007 3:46 PM

You missed the obvious. You must sign for ALL services and then the minor is protected by privacy laws, which effectively shuts you out of the process. That is the rub. You also missed the ridiculousness of strangers and your kids making enormous decisions without parental input.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 03:00 PM

The kid is making the decision, not the strangers. Also, if you don't want your daughter to get BC pills, don't sign.

And further, this policy was already in place for condoms. But apparently young boys are allowed to be sexually promiscuous and condoms are not a hot topic. However, a young girl protecting herself is. Nobody's forcing parents to give these children contraceptives. If you don't like it, you don't have to sign. And I'd argue it's the same as giving your daughter $5 for a hamburger which she then goes and spends on BC pills/condoms from somewhere else. If your child is going to deceive the parents and have sex, they are going to do it. Preventing them easy access to birth control isn't going to change that.

However, while I support the process in theory I don't like the idea of it being the SCHOOL that is providing these services. Would be better if it were a local health clinic or drug store or something, but I guess at that point they are less likely to reach the kids who need their services and prevent fewer pregnancies.

Posted by: _Miles | October 18, 2007 3:52 PM

atlindc wrote: "There are two sides to the coin and familial support comes with familial obligations and a freedom from that generally fosters more independence..."

This is so true. My father's immigrant family very much hewed to the former model.

Posted by: mehitabel | October 18, 2007 3:56 PM

johnl and _Miles

(Since I'm gonna get roasted for this, I'll go ahead and lay out my defense first. So, apologies for the extraneous info up front.)

First, FWIW, we have three daughters; two are teens and the third is still a pre-teen. All three (plus our son) got sex education, including discussions of pregnancy, birth control, etc. from their parents, at school, and in religious education classes. They've had more embarrassing discussions with us than they ever cared too, but we wanted to make sure they understood all about their bodies, including sex.

I don't believe that teaching my kids (or other kids) about sex makes them more likely to have sex.

So, with that as a background, look again at the Maine school that provides birth control pills to middle schoolers. You both say, in effect, "if you don't want your daughter to get BC pills, don't sign." The issue is that if you don't sign, your kids can't get ANY treatment from the health center. That is, if your child sprains an ankle in gym, too bad - no treatment for her. If she is tripped by a classmate and cuts her head open, too bad - no treatment for her because you wouldn't sign. It's all or nothing - no treatment at all, or all treatments offered by the health center. How many parents are going to willingly deny their children a band-aid for a cut, or an ice pack and ankle wrap for a sprain?

I understand why the health center does that - the logistics would be very difficult otherwise. If a child is hurt or sick and comes in, you can check very quickly - treatment authorized or not? If so, treat the problem; if not call the parent or an ambulance, depending on the seriousness. If it was a checklist, the health center would have go down the list - can I apply ice to this patient? Okay. How about give an aspirin? No. She's bleeding - are bandaids allowed? It would get unmanageable quickly, and so it's all or nothing. But in this case, all or nothing includes distributing prescription medicine to a minor without parental notification - a little bit more than an ice pack and an ankle wrap.

johnl, you note that "How is this different from an OB/GYN discussing sexual matters with a young girl and prescribing her BC without telling the parents?" Do you know of doctors who widely treat under age children, and provide prescriptions, without notifying the parents? When my son broke his leg snowboarding, could the hospital provide a prescription painkiller without notifying me? When my daughter smashed her hand in a door and needed five stitches, could the doctor prescribe painkillers and antibiotics without notifying me? Why or why not?

In other words, why are birth control and abortion-related services (to include prescriptions) that can be provided to a minor without parental notification?

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 4:14 PM

The kid is making the decision, not the strangers

yes, let's let 6th grade girls make their own decisions. They obviously have the life skills, knowledge and foresight. That is idiotic even for you. And yes, the nurse is making the decision through her INFLUENCE on the child. Anyone thinking a school nurse has more concern for a child than her parents needs to get their head examined. John L your post was silly.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 4:16 PM

How is this different from an OB/GYN discussing sexual matters with a young girl and prescribing her BC without telling the parents? At least here a consent form is required before any services at all can be provided.

That is wrong too. You need parental consent for damn near anything a child is given but people like you then want to say, hey here's birth control that's okay, sorry parent's butt out. It is a ridiculous notion. Aspirin parental consent, Birth control not

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 4:19 PM

In other words, why are birth control and abortion-related services (to include prescriptions) that can be provided to a minor without parental notification?

Because it fits John L and his ilks social view of what is appropriate for YOUR kids and who should be giving the advice.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 4:20 PM

Last paragraph of my previous posting should read:

"In other words, why are birth control and abortion-related services (to include prescriptions) the only non-emergency medical treatment that can be provided to a minor without parental notification?"

(That's what I get for being in a hurry. My son broke his arm, not his leg, snowboarding but the point's still the same. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 4:21 PM

While I am on my rant, schools should NOT be telling parents to take health care, that they pay for in taxes ,as like it or lump it. Just more arrogance from bureaucrats

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 4:24 PM

Provacative! What say your pro-choicers?

"In other words, why are birth control and abortion-related services (to include prescriptions) the only non-emergency medical treatment that can be provided to a minor without parental notification?"

Posted by: atb2 | October 18, 2007 4:37 PM

In other words, why are birth control and abortion-related services (to include prescriptions) that can be provided to a minor without parental notification?

Because it fits John L and his ilks social view of what is appropriate for YOUR kids and who should be giving the advice.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 04:20 PM

Whoa. I never mentioned anything about abortion. And I didn't know it required a signature to get ANY health services. That would surprise me greatly. If that is the case, it's unfair, and they should have an option that parents can initial to ADD the extra benefit of contraceptives.

But I say again, where is the outrage that condoms have been handed out this whole time. There was no outrage. Little boys can have lots of sex, but for little girls it's a moral issue and it's wrong. I'm guessing both of you have daughters, which explains your being protective and probably not wanting them to have sex at all until they are married (and perhaps not even then). But your little girls are fast becoming young women. I want to know where the outrage is that condoms are okay, but BC pills are not. Boys (and apparently girls) have been allowed free, non-prescription access to contraceptives. But the minute it's something a young girl/woman has to make the decision on herself it's unacceptable.

And yes pATRICK, 6th graders making some decisions for themselves. They're already making plenty of decisions for themselves (whether or not to have sex). This just gives them more choices. But I don't know if I support the implementation, I'm just defending the theory.

Posted by: _Miles | October 18, 2007 5:01 PM

"In other words, why are birth control and abortion-related services (to include prescriptions) the only non-emergency medical treatment that can be provided to a minor without parental notification"

My guess the answer is because kids don't usually ask their parents for permission to have sex, and if warranted, it is better that a kid get some medical attention rather than none at all, especially if they fear that seeking medical attention will provoke their parents into punitive measures. Let's face it, a parent is not going to react in the same way to a broken arm as to a pregnancy, and it is much more likely that, absent the right to seek medical help privately, without parental consent, an underage girl may ignore the pregnancy, not get prenatal care, or even seek more drastic measures to end the pregnancy, without the help of a doctor. In these cases, in my view, allowing her to seek competent medical care without parental consent is better than some of the other options that she might choose in an effort to maintain her pregancy a secret from her parents. Same for sexual activity. I would rather that my daughter went to a doctor and got birth control, than that she had unprotected sex because she was too afraid to get my permission to get birth control.

Posted by: Emily | October 18, 2007 5:07 PM

"And I'd argue it's the same as giving your daughter $5 for a hamburger which she then goes and spends on BC pills/condoms from somewhere else."

Posted by: _Miles | October 18, 2007 03:52 PM

Five dollars?? There's an article in this week's US News and World Report about college girls complaining that the cost of a four-week pack of birth-control pills is about to go up from $14 to $42. Read it at
http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/2007/10/11/the-pills-price-on-campus.html

Here's a quote from the article:
"The 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh filled the rest of her yearly prescription at the old price, but she finally ran out this month and will have to come up with an additional $360 a year. 'That's the cost of my yearly electric bill or half my books for a semester,' she says. 'I haven't yet figured out what I'm going to do.'"

Not once -- not once! -- does the article consider the possibility that if sex costs as much as a year's electricity or half her books, maybe this college girl can stop having sex until she can afford the $360. That's because "stop having sex" in the Drive-by Media is the equivalent of the "sin against the Holy Ghost" in Christian theology -- it's unforgivable and therefore unthinkable and unmentionable. Someone -- the pharmaceutical companies, the government, *someone* -- owes the boys condoms and the girls pills so that they can exercise their right to fornicate without their parents' knowledge.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 18, 2007 5:08 PM

"I'm guessing both of you have daughters, which explains your being protective and probably not wanting them to have sex at all until they are married (and perhaps not even then)."

_Miles, that's downright offensive. If you had actually bothered to read my post, you'd know that I have three daughters and one son; three of them (all but the youngest daughter) are teenagers, and we've been through sex education in many contexts as appropriate for their ages with each of them. As far as I'm concerned, they can be sexually active when they are fully ready, understand all the issues, have found the right person and understand fully what they're consenting to. I have my preferences as to under what circumstances that would be, but I also recognize that they're going to live their own lives.

Sheesh, it's really hard to have a discussion with people who don't even read what you write.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 5:14 PM

At the University of Maryland at College Park, they give out free condoms in the health center. I think girls who are having a hard time paying for BC pills should just have a stash of condoms themselves, and insist that their partners use them. Pretty cheap way to fix the problem of expensive BC pills.

Posted by: Emily | October 18, 2007 5:14 PM

Emily, I agree with you, and also add the caveat that the condoms can help prevent sexually-transmitted diseases. The pills do nothing about those. Pregnancy is not the only side effect of sex.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 5:15 PM

"As far as I'm concerned, they can be sexually active when they are fully ready, understand all the issues, have found the right person and understand fully what they're consenting to. I have my preferences as to under what circumstances that would be, but I also recognize that they're going to live their own lives."

I think it's great that you are being proactive and teaching your kids about sex, BC, etc. However, don't delude yourself that your kids will necessarily do things according to your requirements, timeline, preferences. They might decide that the right time for them is tomorrow, and if they do, there isn't a dang thing that you can do about it, other than pray that you gave them enough information to avoid disaster.

Posted by: Emily | October 18, 2007 5:17 PM

"In other words, why are birth control and abortion-related services (to include prescriptions) the only non-emergency medical treatment that can be provided to a minor without parental notification?"

Posted by: atb | October 18, 2007 04:37 PM

I'll take a stab at this one - although after yesterday's off-topic discussion, you'd think I would avoid any more controversies.

Another anecdote. Remember the clinic protests during the 90's, before the protestors were required to keep back a certain distance?

One of my former housemates was an escort during those days - the brave people who would put their own bodies between the scary and potentially violent protestors, and the women and girls seeking services. Over the weeks and months, she got to know some of the regular protestors, and had several conversations with whole families who were all picketing together.

At least two times, after a father had answered the question, "what if it was your daughter?" with, "she wouldn't need an abortion, because I'd kill her first,"
my housemate read the look of fear in the eyes of the girl who was the subject of the conversation, and later helped the young ladies terminate their pregnancies and get birth control without the parents knowledge. She believed, as the pregnant girls did, that the threat of murder wasn't merely a rhetorical flourish, it was serious.

We can argue morals and parental rights until our keyboards all fail and our fingers fall off, but healthcare providers are more concerned with patients' physical well-being than moral well-being. Providing reproductive services is healthier than risking the life of a kid who made a dumb mistake and may have a violent family situation.

I would like to believe that all girls would have loving and supportive parents - like the folks here - but sadly not all do.

Posted by: sue | October 18, 2007 5:17 PM

Getting back to something remotely related to today's original topic: while I think that the article Brian cited was pretty bogus, for reasons cited above, the point that we can learn something from other cultures is valid. My new neighbors are Korean; just moved here and speak hardly any English. We communicate mostly by pointing and signing (because my Korean is truly atrocious). But gradually we're starting to learn from each other, and while I'm pretty set in my ways (what with being older than dirt and all, at least according to my kids), I find that keeping on open mind is actually a good thing.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 5:18 PM

"Emily, I agree with you, and also add the caveat that the condoms can help prevent sexually-transmitted diseases. The pills do nothing about those. Pregnancy is not the only side effect of sex."

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 05:15 PM

Not only that, any pill or elixir or potion that cripples or disables a normal body function is a type of poison, albeit a local (confined to that function) and temporary (it will wear off) poison. A condom poisons neither the girl's nor the boy's reproductive system. Maybe that's why Hector was so anxious to get Helen back among the Trojans that he gave up his life fighting Achilles.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | October 18, 2007 5:23 PM

ArmyBrat, getting that impression wouldn't have come reading your post. And apparently no one wants to address what I keep pointing out - that condoms at a middle school were okay, but now that it's birth control it's not.

Cost: depending on how you purchase them, and whether or not they are name brand, they can be much more affordable. I don't know whether that student is covered with full healthcare at her university, but it tends to be limited and not cover prescriptions.

Personal aside(ready to be flamed): my pills (through my health insurance) cost $10 for a 3 month supply. I've been on the pill since I was a young teen due to a medical condition I had at the time. Both of my parents were fully aware, and yes we had plenty of discussions about sex as I was growing up. I stayed a virgin for 5 years after going on the pill. Providing people a choice doesn't mean they'll choose sex. That's pretty ignorant. Do you think your girls would be more likely to have sex if someone offered them free birth control? Or do you trust them to make the best decision for themselves as far as you have taught them.

I just don't think offering OR denying contraceptives to young teens will change their sexual activities very much. However, offering them contraceptives might allow them to be safer. But this one always gets turned into a moral issue...

Posted by: _Miles | October 18, 2007 5:23 PM

ArmyBrat - agree with you about the cultures, and your (much) earlier post as well. America is and has always been a nation of immigrants. Each time a new culture enters ours, it changes us just a little, while it adapts to "American culture." I think in concept, the idea of Hispanic families relying more on their family and sticking together is a good one because it's something that's historically worked. It's been only recently in America (perhaps due to social security, old people able to support themselves after retirement, and quicker methods of cross-country travel) that families now live as spread out as they do, and it's considered normal. It's possible we'll stay like this, or possible we'll revert a family-centric society. Afterall, how many parents who struggle with work life balance would love it if their own parents were in town to help take over the caretaking from time to time? I'm sure the article was a bit 2-dimensional, but it's an excellent thing to think we can all learn from one another's cultures.

Posted by: _Miles | October 18, 2007 5:31 PM

"I'm sure the article was a bit 2-dimensional..."

How many who have commented so far actually read the article, from beginning to end? And if not, why do you feel empowered to have an opinion on it? Certainly, anything can be criticized--and there have been some interesting thoughts voiced here--but the authors are much more thoughtful about their subject that most of the comments thus far, which have mostly been one -- not two -- dimensional.

Posted by: exformation1 | October 18, 2007 6:09 PM

"Do you know of doctors who widely treat under age children, and provide prescriptions, without notifying the parents?"

Actually, that is becoming a serious issue among OB/GYN's, who feel that if a parent is in the room with the girl that they won't be as forthcoming in discussing their sexual history than if they are alone.

I don't recall where I saw the news article but it was very recent, and yes, the OB/GYN felt if the girl wanted BC to avoid unwanted pregnancies, he would prescribe it to her without telling her parents but only after trying to encourage her to not be sexually active in the first place (the article was discussing young teens, 13-15 yo's).

Posted by: jlnsford | October 18, 2007 6:30 PM

"In other words, why are birth control and abortion-related services (to include prescriptions) that can be provided to a minor without parental notification?

Because it fits John L and his ilks social view of what is appropriate for YOUR kids and who should be giving the advice."

Patrick, first off you are way off base in my own personal beliefs. Second, from this and other discussions I do believe you feel that if the girls are having sex, then if they get pregnant that's what they deserve.

The school ALREADY has pregnant 11-13 year old girls; that was mentioned in the article. The school is NOT handing out BC pills without consultation with the girls; that too was mentioned in the article.

As I said earlier (twice; now thrice), if a girl goes to the parents and says "can you sign this for me", I expect them to sit down and have a serious discussion with her about those issues that are being raised here among us, if they hadn't already done so.

Also, you're assuming parents are making all the serious decisions for these girls; obviously not since some of this school's students are pregnant. Or do you think they went to their parents and asked if it was OK for them to have sex?

You have your head stuck firmly in the ground and do not realize that "just say no" is a failed program when it comes to teens and sexual experimentation. Not one comment about why it's OK for the school to have condoms but not OK for it to give out BC pills.

You may feel sure in your belief that your children will never have sex until marriage, so BC or other preventatives aren't necessary for YOUR kids; if that's your attitude than you're in danger of joining the same club the parents of those pregnant middle school girls are already members of.

Posted by: jlnsford | October 18, 2007 6:42 PM

The first time I went to a free clinic for birth control was nearly 30 years ago. I was 19, but looked 17 according to the Dr. She didn't ask my age until I was walking out the door, heading to the pharmacy with my prescription. She seemed relieved that I wasn't a minor - but like I said, she had already written the prescription.

Posted by: sue | October 18, 2007 6:50 PM

I've said it once, I'll say it again. CONDOMS! I grew up in the 80s and 90s when people were actually afraid of getting HIV. Now it's like, Oh, well, I guess I'll have to take these anti-virals until they have a cure. A CURE? Ha! Fat chance. And nothing says sexy like the diarrhea and hump back anti-virals give you.

Posted by: demandabanana | October 18, 2007 6:54 PM

demandabanana - I grew up in the 80's and 90's too and I rememeber the fear that was ground into us in our health classes about AIDS and other STDs. After seeing the graphic images they showed us it maybe me keep my legs crossed for many years. It seems now that any talk of sex ed turns into a debate of whether or not kids will/won't have sex. Frankly I'm all for scaring these kids straight of exactly what a disease (and as you point out what the treatments) will do to your body. It seems as though kids don't seem to care about getting pregnant so maybe its time to try a different angle.

Posted by: noname1 | October 18, 2007 7:48 PM

"And apparently no one wants to address what I keep pointing out - that condoms at a middle school were okay, but now that it's birth control it's not."

I'll address it. If you take politics and values off the table for just a wee moment, you see that condoms are very different in their effect on the user than is a prescription medication including hormones. Now consider the "patient". 6th graders are at an age where the developmental impact and side effects of any prescription medication bear extra-special attention and consideration. Condoms have no side effects. Birth control pills are an entirely different issue. Are school personnel going to go review with each girl who requests birth control pills the side effects of these medications? Do you think that bcps were ever tested in clinical trials on a population of eleven year old girls? Don't you think there is reason to have more concern about dispensing prescription meds to this population than dispensing condoms? Some times you have to get past your politics in order to see what's at stake.

Posted by: mn.188 | October 18, 2007 8:10 PM

MN you make very good points about the potential side effects esp regarding have studies been conducted on girls while using the pill.

I also think the point that they are trying to make - decrease the teen pregnancies by giving the pill - is not going to happen by giving a very regemented drug to children. Talk about a false sense of security that is going to be instilled in kids. Anyone who has ever been on the pill knows the side effects that can occur if the pill is not taken at the same time every day as well as missing a dose can cause the pill to fail.

Posted by: noname1 | October 18, 2007 8:35 PM

"Patrick, first off you are way off base in my own personal beliefs. Second, from this and other discussions I do believe you feel that if the girls are having sex, then if they get pregnant that's what they deserve."

This is probably the dumbest thing anyone has posted to me and that says a lot. Just your left wing nuttiness coming through.

Posted by: pATRICK | October 18, 2007 9:24 PM

Well, coming back later after two softball practices and two volleyball games, but I want to respond to a couple of things:

exformation, yes, I DID read the article as well as other articles in the same issue (as I noted). I found the article rather silly and in some ways sad. It tried to make some very valid points, but quite frankly it did so in a ridiculous way.

Emily, you don't know the half of it. Oldest DD is away at college. She has her first "serious boyfriend", who goes to a different college. He's coming up to her school tomorrow for a formal dance. In theory, he's going to bring a sleeping bag and crash on the floor of her room. Her roommate won't be there, but her roommate does not want DD's BF sleeping in her bed. You're exactly right - the only thing I can do is hope and pray that she learned what we tried to teach her. I had a long talk with her about this issue last night. What's going to happen in that room will happen without my permission/intervention, or even without my knowing, in all likelihood. All I can do is say "I tried to raise her right" and step back.

_Miles, re: condoms vs pills: MN made the valid points I wanted to make re: the different impact on the body - hormones impact the body; condoms don't. BC pills are prescription because they have side effects, NOT because of some political reason. (Although I'm sure the pharmaceutical companies don't really object; I suspect that they make more money this way.) Also, as I already noted, condoms have the added benefit of helping to prevent the spread of STDs, which pills don't. But from the moral side, I don't think that there's a difference.

johnl, re: discussion with the parents: I agree that parents should discuss sex and BC with their kids (sons and daughters both). But when the kid comes with a permission form saying "please sign this so I can get a bandaid if I cut myself, or an ice pack if I twist my ankle" and the side effect is "and I can also get a prescription drug without your knowledge and permission", it's a very different story. The kids aren't coming and saying "please sign this so I can get the pill."

Posted by: ArmyBrat | October 18, 2007 9:46 PM

ArmyBrat, you're being needlessly defensive. I've found most of your comments to be thoughtful and interesting--my criticism was directed to others.

Posted by: exformation1 | October 19, 2007 12:55 PM

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