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Talking To Tweens About Jamie Lynn's Pregnanacy

Dec 28, 2007
What do you say to a tween when her favorite TV star gets pregnant? That's the situation facing parents with the news that Brittney Spears' sister, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn, is pregnant. Jamie Lynn, the star of Nickelodeon's Zoey 101, is highly popular with the tween crowd. It's impossible to shield girls from everyday life with it's sexy commercials and peer pressure to dance like celebrities on MTV. It is possible to provide opportunities for girls to engage in educational, fun and wholesome activities that give them a positive self-image.

Mothers feel their daughter's are growing up too fast. Girls hear provocative lyrics in songs without fully understanding what the words mean. Fashion magazines encourage outfits many mothers put in the category of "pre-prostitute". Schools offer sex-education classes beyond the developmental ability of many nine-year-olds. This is where creative parenting takes effect. After compiling hundreds of surveys from mothers and tweens, for my book, 12 Going on 29: Surviving Your Daughter's Tween Years, two facts stand out. Mothers overwhelmingly wrote they wished they had taken a more conservative approach when dealing with their tween daughters. "I let her watch videos I didn't think were appropriate, but all her friends were watching them", said one mom. "Now I wish I had simply told her that my standards said she didn't need to watch those topics". Daughters, on the other hand, wrote that the main person they want to go to with a problem is...their mom.

The 9-13-year old tween age group wants a close mother-daughter relationship. Girls still look to their mothers for guidance and comfort. This provides a perfect opportunity to talk with your tween about Jamie Lynn's pregnancy. It may even be the time to have that dreaded "Bird's and Bee's" talk. One mother, discussing teenage pregnancy with her tween daughter was startled when her ten-year old asked, "But mom, how do girls get pregnant in the first place?" The shocked mom assumed her previous sex-talk had registered with her daughter. Take time and watch an episode of Zoey 101 together. Casually talk about the situations. Are they realistic? Do people really talk to teachers that way? Help your daughter discuss what it's like to be Jamie Lynn, both on TV as well as in real life. Steer the conversation towards teen pregnancy, letting your daughter know how you feel personally, as well as the actual consequences of being a parent at a young age. If you're brave enough, do what the mother of a 12-year-old did. She wanted her daughter to experience the responsibilities of having a baby. Mom got a 10 pound bag of flour and taped a raw egg to the top. Her daughter had to carry the bag of flour with her all weekend, making sure not to break the egg. Her daughter soon got the message that babies are fragile, heavy and cramp your social life!

As a former camp counselor, I have memories of many 12 and 13-year-old girls arriving at camp with their pseudo-sophisticated attitude. Many had French manicures to accent their perfectly highlighted hair. Craft classes? How childish! Carry a backpack on an overnight hike? No Way! Where would they plug in their hair dryer? Fast forward two days and suddenly those tweens, away from cell phones and computers are planning how to win the fort building competition using tree limbs. They're proudly displaying the basket they wove in craft class. In fact, those tweens find themselves excited about "shaving" a shaving cream-covered-balloon. They giggle hysterically while making up a song about dirty socks. Their pseudo-sophistication disappears as they engage in age appropriate activities.

Being the mother of a tween is like a root beer float. First of all, root beer floats evoke the image of fun, of being together with friends or celebrating a happy occasion. Let's never forget that tweens are fun! You represent the ice cream, the substance of the drink. Then along comes your tween daughter in the form of root beer. It's a balancing act as you pour just enough root beer in the glass before it hits the ice cream and fizzes over. You and your daughter have a balancing act also. She wants independence, you want to protect her. She wants to post on My Space, you want her to keep reading Little House on the Prairie books. Sometimes a balance works out between you and your daughter in the same way the root beer and ice cream balance out to make a great drink. And that foam that rises on top of the glass? That's the extra fun you get from being around a girl who is developing into a young woman!
About the Author
Silvana Clark's book,"12 Going on 29: Surviving Your Daughter's Tween Years" gives practical advice on raising a tween daughter. Silvana is a professional speaker, giving keynotes and workshops on creative parenting. htpp://www.silvanaclark.com
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