Good Girls

April 16, 2008 at 9:27 am 1 comment

The more YA fiction I read, the more I realize my teenage years were veerrrry different from those of some teens. They were at least a little different from some at my own high school–I didn’t start drinking until college and was never invited to parties. So now whenever I’m reading a book that includes a party scene, it takes me a few minutes to get oriented.

I like the choice of pairing this book with Positive Values. On the one hand, Audrey certainly demonstrates integrity, honesty, and responsibility in dealing with the repercussions of her photo finish. On the other, most of the teens in the book demonstrate how unrealistic restraint may be as a part of positive values.

I have a hard time with Restraint as a value. I mean, I’m glad it’s not just out-and-out called Abstinence, but is it really that different? I’d really prefer something along the lines of Sound Judgment–young adult realizes there are consequences to drug and alcohol use and sexual activity. Calling it “restraint,” to me, sounds more like “young adult wants to do fun things, but holds back.”

Given that a lot of teens in other countries are legally allowed to drink much younger, and given that many teens in this country grow up with sensible alcohol use as a part of family life (wine with dinner or special occasions, say), it seems ridiculous to me to say “avoid alcohol” without any caveat.  I’ve always wished that we had some sort of “drinker’s ed”  that would be similar to driver’s ed, but of course in this political climate it would turn into abstinence-only drinker’s ed. (THE ONLY WAY TO PREVENT DRUNKENESS 100% OF THE TIME IS TO NEVER DRINK!)

And then there’s the sex thing. See, with my hindsight goggles on, I can see that I was too young for sex at 15 and 16. But who am I to generalize my experiences to all teenagers, and say that all teens aren’t ready for sex? (Ironically, in sixth grade I was required to take part in the STARS Program–Students Today Aren’t Ready for Sex. It was more than a little pathetic.) I’m not ready to say that, across the board, teenagers are too young for meaningful sexual activity.

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Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You What I’ve Been Reading

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Linda  |  April 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    The safe drinking program is a great idea. It reminds me that I’ve always been skeptical of those programs in which teens act as mentors for their peers, and younger students, and teach them how to abstain. I’ve always wondered how or if teens could really make that work. Maybe they can and I just don’t know.

    But, a safe drinking program might be just right.

    On the topic of when to have sex. As I said in class I it seems to me that Cyrstie from High School Confidential has it just right. Her decision wasn’t based on age. It was based on making choices related to the guy, her maturity, her experience, etc.

    One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to positive values.

    Reply

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