It seems that, as with alcohol, European parents take a much more enlightened view of adolescent relationships and sexuality than American parents – or at least, the Dutch do. Apparently, unlike in the America, 2/3rds of parents there would be willing to allow the significant other of their teenage child to sleep over at the house. In the same room. With a door that closes, and everything! Data minded people can find the original study here, but the data reflects a simple fact: if you treat young people as intelligent individuals capable of making informed decisions based on accurate information, be it about drinking or about sex, then that is what they will be. If you tell them that they'll be in for "a world of hurt" if they disobey you, well – you're probably right. But you could have helped instead of hindered them or harmed them.
"Last time I checked," geneticist Dr. Mark Hughes says, "your gender wasn't a disease." But that's not stopping Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg and others like him from using techniques originally developed to cure diseases from running "Family Balancing" clinics in the United States that offer "100% sex-selection program"s. Steinberg says that "for every woman I see regarding the breast cancer gene, I see 400 women who want to choose the sex of their child."
Sex-selection is a very hot issue, and at $18,000 a pop, Steinberg's clinic is an extremely lucrative business. His patients often travel to the US from India, Canada, and other countries where sex-selection is illegal. However, there are significant gender biases in US families, too, especially among Indian, Chinese, and Korean parents. And pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, Steinberg's method, is just one method of sex-selection; another is actually abortion performed after an ultrasound. It all makes me wonder where to draw the line.
With the decision handed down that names Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the U.S. has taken a step towards sensibility in how it treats the personal freedoms and rights of its citizens. Australia may be taking another such step; but not if Angilcare adoption agencies has anything to say about it.
Angilcare, one of only 3 non-government, accredited adoption services in the state of New South Wales, has threatened to withdraw its services if the state passes a bill that will allow same sex couples to adopt. Chief executive Peter Kell wrote a letter to state MPs outlining 11 reasons why the bill should be rejected, which apparently includes that "children need the opportunity to have both a mother and a father," and says that adoption is not a gay rights issue, but should concern only the interests of the child. Which I suppose has much more to do with good modeling for gender roles than with skill or ability in parenting.
Jenna Russell tells of a high school freshman's ordeal with bullies. "Lexi would suffer in many ways during her first year," she wrote. "Lexi’s ordeal did not end in death or attract widespread attention. But in many ways, her case illustrates forms of bullying that are far more common, and is more instructive of the difficulties that school administrators across the state are likely to face this fall as they try to comply with Massachusetts’ new antibullying law."
Lexi, her friends, and their parents "described weeks of daily taunting, boys calling [them] 'whore' and 'slut.' Their conduct…amounted, in her view, to sexual harassment" that began after pictures taken by a former friend were posted to Facebook. But school officials were also struggling, saying, "the same students play both roles, acting as bully and victim." Ultimately, Lexi "doesn’t think schools or laws can stop bullying." Myself, I wonder how youth are expected to learn civility while forcibly imprisoned in school.
Friend of the show Dr. Karen Rayne brought this article to us. She says:
A recent study has come out … chronicling how much teenagers talk to their parents and what information they are most prone to share. … The coverage of this research is interesting in itself. It takes a straightforward study and twists it and applies in ways that the study was never meant to be used. The Times article begins: "Few things are more alarming to the modern hyperparent than a silent teenager. And for good reason: The quiet ones usually have something to hide." This kind of rampant assumption and generalization is common in conversations about sex and teenagers. But there is plenty of interesting tidbits to talk about in the actual study, including this: "Yet oddly, at least to those of us over 18, teenagers are more likely to hide the content of their romantic instant messages than their sexual activity."