The birth rate among teenagers is at an all-time low.
That’s the good news.
“The number of new mothers aged 10 to 14 years in the U.S. hit a low, according to new statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”
The fact that there is even a statistic for mothers aged 10 to 14 should make us all very uncomfortable.
So this is the sort of good news you get when the doctor tells you that you only have six days to live and they have no idea what’s making you sick but after you die you’ll get a disease named after you. Congratulations!
Shopp attributes the decline to abstinence and an increased use of contraception. Again, the fact that children as young as 10 are using contraception in order to prevent pregnancy is not good news. Rather, it is a symptom of a society that devalues the family and has sexualized, not just women, but girls as young as 10.
Articles like these come along from time to time to remind us of the wonders of birth control. “See,” they seem to always tell us, “it’s working.” But we would do well to step back and ponder why a low birth rate among pre-teens is good news. To her credit, Dr. Shopp does explain that there is more work to do.
But what exactly is that work?
I’ve got an idea.
Now I know, that sounds Puritanical but hang with me. Many like to look to the government to solve problems like this. But while the government is pretty good at blowing stuff up and fining people for parking in the wrong spot, it isn’t so great at teaching kids about sex. Besides, should we really expect the same institution that teaches middle schoolers how to put condoms on bananas and kindergartners about finding their sexual identity to help families raise their children. In fact, one could argue that government is part of the problem, not the solution.
So the answer to this problem wont’ be found in a government program or a social media campaign or more birth control. It’s found in a mom and dad who are actively involved in the lives of their kids. Parents do not have to be sex therapists. All they have to do is ask one simple question and be ready to respond wisely to the answer.
“What do you know about sex?”
From there, a mother or father can learn if they are working with a clean slate or if they have to deprogram their child from what they’ve learned on the bus or by watching Riverdale. This question almost can’t be asked too soon, especially in a sex-saturated society. Asking it early could be the difference between the clean slate and the deprogramming. Deprogramming is much harder but that's what parents are for.
For far too long parents have passed their responsibilities off to coaches, teachers, and the media. While these things can be wonderful assets to a parent, they should never take the place of one. Sadly, sometimes they have to. We should thank God for coaches and teachers who have integrity and fill in the gaps when they have to. But we should also remember that it is the parent who has the most important responsibility in raising their kids. Parents who take their jobs seriously are the best kind of protection because they don't stop with simply keeping their kids from getting pregnant. Rather, they teach them that sex, before it is ever physical, is first spiritual and emotional and that it has much more to do with the heart than the body. Our government and far too many educators can’t seem to learn this. So they celebrate a declining birthrate among pre-teens as if its the beginning of the utopia for which they have always longed. And while they delight in their birth control pills that keep ten-year-olds from getting pregnant and condoms that help to prevent the spread of disease, the forget that there still isn’t a condom for the human heart.
There is nothing to celebrate about ten-year-olds with wombs that are empty but hearts that are shattered.