Monday, July 06, 2009

Teen Relationships

Some years ago, after the book Rainbow Party was published, it fell to disgrace because the material was a little too sensationalist to have credibility - at least in the opinion of its critics. Once again the issue of oral sex becoming commonplace for pre-teens and teens in America, is making news and a documentary. Until parents start to become ostriches with heads buried in the sands of denial, this story will likely do its rounds, get discussed and commented on.

Film-maker Sharlene Azam hits the nail on its head when she traces back the behavior of these pretty girls from affluent backgrounds who by their own admission have had wonderful childhoods. In short, there is no reason for them to engage in casual prostitution. She believes that many of them have been hurt and in love and do what they do to protect themselves from bing hurt again.

Azam said she thinks the "no strings attached" romances could be a defense mechanism against a greater disappointment.

"A lot of girls are disappointed in love," she said. "And I think they believe they can hook up the way guys do and not care.

"But unfortunately, they do care."

Claire Shipman advises parents to be constantly engaged in the lives of their children to prevent them from engaging in such activities. That and open communication, rules and boundaries says Shipman should do the trick. While she is right on the importance of all of the above, it would not be enough to deter a young girl who has been hurt and wounded deeply enough to consider doing whatever it takes to protect herself.

The answer may be in getting girls to value themselves very highly and recognize that there are many other accomplishments in life that are worth pursuing besides being in a relationship - specially one that expects sexual favors to sustain. Needless to say, positive and empowering female role models are very important in the lives of young girls.

A sense of purpose, a healthy self-esteem and a generous dash of ambition can act as effective deterrents against such reckless behavior. A girl who is driven to achieve and excel is less likely to need validation from a boy. She is likely to get a lot of male attention even without seeking it because she exudes so much charm and confidence. That would do enough to boost her confidence as a desirable woman. Her goal should not be to be the one who is most willing to offer sexual favors to have boyfriend, instead she be so far above the fray that she would never need to settle for anything short of a deeply loving and respectful relationship.


Aryan said...

Hey, I am here for the first time. This is such a good post. I liked these words the most : " she would never need to settle for anything short of a deeply loving and respectful relationship."

Vikas had given me your Blog ID. I hope you don't mind me visiting your blog.

Aryan's Mom

Anonymous said...

If only I had had Heartcrossings as my friend in my childhood....

I am glad at least West is talking about it.Sexual abuse has been going on for decades among us Indians. But suppressed and the perpetrator invariably condoned.It was not a handbag but a few cream biscuits thrust into my hand by a (sic) close relative who had promised my mother he would help me with my homework. I knew no English then but was asked to write an essay in English.

I leave it to you to figure out what was more violent, the rape or my mother's adamantine refusal to believe in me.I had lost my father by then.When found crying without sleep, I was forcibly dragged over to a psychaitrist and bombarded with a cocktail of drugs.

Now in my late forties, I have weaned myself away from allopathy (thanks to Internet & some anonymous people from America (certainly NOT India or Indians)by just communicating in detail everything that happened in my life.To detox and stabilize myself consulted a classical homeopath.

None of the so called well wishers I came across had even a shred of empathy for me.There must be a lot more victims like me.For years I was branded a 'sinner'.