I watched an episode of Dr. Phil last week called Pregnant at 11. When she was 11 years old, Hope became pregnant with her then 13-year-old boyfriend Bailey’s child. Hope and Bailey seemed like normal and very immature kids (Dr. Phil interviewed them, but didn’t show their faces.)
The baby was born prematurely but survived. Ashlynn is now 7 months old, and living with Hope’s aunt. Hope sees the baby a couple of times a week.
Dr. Phil also had on Hope and Bailey’s parents. They all seemed like nice middle class people, although all the parents kept doing was pointing fingers at each other. And throughout the whole hour, I just kept thinking: How in the hell did this happen?
I’m not naive, I know it happens far too often all over the world. I know that some parents don’t care and let their kids run wild. I know kids can be very sneaky and get away with a lot of things without their parents knowing. But it was still shocking to me to hear how it all unfolded.
Part of what was so shocking was that the parents were arguing over whose fault it was. Hope’s mother was arguing with her ex-husband’s new girlfriend about who knew Hope was pregnant first and didn’t do anything about it. Too late at that point, folks. You are way past that making a difference now. Where were you when your little girl was getting busy?
The bigger question to me is how in the hell did an 11 year old that had a boyfriend – and whose parents knew about – even have the opportunity to be alone with him so that she could be in a position to get pregnant?
Apparently Hope was friends with Bailey’s sister and would be alone with him while there. Did everybody just think it was a little-kid crush? Nobody took it seriously? Ethan tells me the little girl down the street is his girlfriend, but I know that he doesn’t even understand what that really means. I don’t think it’s time for me to have “the sex talk” with him.
Here are some other things that made my head spin…
When talking to Dr. Phil, Hope said she hadn’t been worried about getting pregnant because she didn’t think she was old enough to get pregnant. Of course she didn’t! She probably didn’t even know what sex was. I can’t even say that her parents aren’t wrong for not having “the sex talk” with her. But Bailey was 13. He should have at least known what they were doing and the potential consequences.
They said that they did it 6 times, under a bridge near Bailey’s home. They didn’t use any protection, though Bailey knew what it was and had been told about protection. Dr. Phil did mention Bailey is autistic, but then maybe they should have been supervising him more if they were worried he was unable to make proper decisions, care for himself, etc.
They are not together anymore. The whirlwind romance puttered out after the baby was born.
And I just keep thinking that my girls will be 11 in seven.frickin.years. I have a niece who is 12 and nowhere near mature enough to be considering having sex. These thoughts disgust me.
From this show I learned that as a mom, I need to constantly be on my game. I need to make sure the kids all understand at a very young age what sex is, and its consequences. That they shouldn’t be doing it. That they aren’t old enough to be considering it even. I need to be realistic about the world they are growing up in, and make sure that I am helping them develop strong morals and values and self worth.
Sometimes, this whole parenting thing is really scary.
After writing this post, I wrote 5 Tips for Talking To Kids About Sex. It will help with children of all ages, and includes what topics to discuss at what ages.
photo source: blmurch via flickr