A recent conversation with one of our adult daughters almost ended in a disastrous argument. This ill fated conversation centred around a small country town in which she had spent many of her formative years. To clarify, she is not our birth daughter but we love her that way.
Anyway the basis of this “conversation” was that this tiny town has a high incidence of teenage pregnancy. When asked what she thought was the cause of this huge challenge the answer was “well there really isn’t anything else to do there.” Intrigued I couldn’t help but ask the obvious question “is there nothing at all for children and teens to do other than sex?” Again the answer “no, the council will not provide facilities for them. They only have a pool manned by volunteers, paid for by the community and only open through seasons other than winter.”
It was all I could do to stop myself asking the obvious question “am I to assume then, that all these teenage pregnancies begin in the winter months only?” I managed to stop myself from such a dry comment. Another question burning on my lips and of more significance to me was “How does the community pay for pool costs?” The answer was the expected one “They do fund raising through the year and the actual owner of the pool works as a volunteer without wages.” It is to be assumed therefore that he is independently wealthy. Another unspoken question desperately wanted to ask was “do the kids who use the pool help in raising funds to keep it open?” It didn’t need voicing because the answer was clear.
What on earth are we doing to our children? Our daughter is a lovely, intelligent woman with a heart of gold. However in her mind the government is at fault for teenage problems in this area because they do not provide enough activities for kids to do so they can be kids and play. Now I have no problem with community centres or with community facilities such as parks and pools but please don’t blame the government for not raising children with a moral compass and an ability to work out how to spend their time. It seems to me that would surely be the parents’ role!
I suggested that if the kids had nothing to do perhaps they could help with chores around the home. This was definitely met with negative comments as after all, children and young people need to be left alone to enjoy their youth. Dry comments such as “is being pregnant at the ripe old age of 15 an enjoyable experience do you think?” only caused anger and frustration.
We had to agree to disagree. She takes the view that children of today are totally different from children in previous generations. It would seem that their has been some change in the gene structure of babies at birth to cause this anomaly. At least that’s the only way I can understand it. I take the view that children of this generation are just the same as in other generations and that the challenge we face is in training parents to teach their children common moral values and a work ethic – an ethic to which she holds by the way.
I would like to talk more on this subject and probably will but wonder what others think? Please feel free to leave a comment in the box. I would love to hear your views.