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Hopeless about teenagers? June 15, 2006

Posted by fajita in Christianity, Philosophy/Religion, Teens.

If you are hopeless about teenagers, how they are goig to Hell in a handbasket, then read Carina's mission statement. Carina gives me hope.


What Makes You Beautiful? April 26, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science, Philosophy/Religion, Sex, Teens.

I believe the lovely and talented Scarlet Johanson was recently deemed the world's sexiest woman. She has a pretty smile and a nice figure. Her acting ability is improving, but is not award winning. There is something likeable about her public personality and she carries with her (in some of the roles she's played) a little bit of the certain kind of feminine helplessness that makes men feel like they need to rescue her.

But is she a beautiful woman? I really don't know. You probably don't know either. You know where I am going with this. A woman's beauty is not measured by sex appeal. Sex appeal, even with continued surgeries, eventually falls apart. Usually it is cast away long before it falls apart becuase Hollywood and magazine publishers can always build a sexier woman.

The question of what makes a woman beautiful is important for most women, but I think it is particularly important for teenager girls. It's so easy for teenage girls to get beautiful and sexy confused. I would wager that most teenage girls do not feel beautiful because they don't compare to magazine covers and music videos in the sexy department.

When they don't match up, they usually feel worth less than they really are. Then there are two negative ways that they respond to the self-loathing.

1. Get sexy and learn seduction.

2. Self-destruct.

Neither of these is good. What needs to happen for teenage girls is a new (old) vision of beauty. They need to be exposed to beautiful women who make a difference. Mother Teresa was a beautiful woman. A teenage girl's compassion needs to be labeled beautiful more than it needs to be labeled good. What a teenage girl needs is a way to be beautiful without it requiring sex appeal.

Go ahead, ask a teenage girl what makes her beautiful and watch her squirm. She doesn't know the answer. She knows it's not supposed to be sexual, but at the same time she's going to have a hard time thinking of anything else.

Parents, youth workers, ministers, and anyone working with teenage girls, make them feel beautiful by finding out who that girl is and call it beautiful.

Teens and Sex part II April 20, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science, Sex, Teens.
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Many of you responded to the first installment of "Teens and Sex" post. I wish I could tell you all with certaintly what the rank order is, but I can tell you some of the research done by Dr. Ann Meier of the University of Minnesota. She did a study called, "Adolescents' Transition To First Intercourse, Religiosoty, and Attitudes About Sex."

As a review, I asked people to rank order the following influences that deter teens from having sex:

  1. Parent's religiosity
  2. Teen's Religiosity
  3. Low opportunity for sexual contact (not dating)
  4. Teen's attitude about sex
  5. Being Female

OK, this might seem counterintuitive to some, but a teen's attitude about sex is a more powerful force than their religiosity in influencing having sex fot he first time. Before some of you get all bent out of shape and think that she means God doesn't matter, you ahve to unpack this a little.

Religiosity is seen to be influential in many teens' attitudes about having sex. So, you might say, then it is religion that prevents sex. Not so fast, buster. There are non-religious teens who have attitudes that influence them not to have. So, we cannot conclude that it is religion that accounts for it all. A religious teen with a favorable attitude toward having sex is more likely to ahve sex than a non-religious teen with a favorable attitude toward not having sex.

Now, religious teens are more likely to have an attitude about sex that influences toward abstinence, so religion is important, but attitude is more important. Religiosity does have an impact (more for females than for males), but not as much as attitude.

Conversely, when a relgious teen has sex, this study says that the teen does not lose their religion. What does change, for females (who beging with attitudes favoring abstinence more than boys) when they have sex is that their attitude about sex becomes more permissive. Boys attitudes after first sex do not change.

About opportunity: Dr. Meier's study revealed that greater the opportunity for sex the greater the chance that it will happen. Well, no kidding Sherlock, anyone could have digured that one out. However, when she defines opportunity, it includes long term dating relationships.

About parent's attitudes: When the parent's attitude about sex is expressed in policing their child's behavior's, it is not as import a factor as the parent's attitude influencing their child's own attitude. So, parent's might invest more of their energies in influencing their child's attitude and not as much on their behavior.

And one final question that popped into my head: If more teen males have sex than teen females, does that mean of the females who do have sex have more of it because there is just as much sex going on between the fewer of them?

Teens and Sex April 18, 2006

Posted by fajita in Family Science, Sex, Teens.

Rank the following factors in teens deciding not to have sex (rank of 1 means it is the most influential factor and rank of 5 means least influential) Feel free to explain yourself.

Parent's religiosity
Teen's Religiosity
Low opportunity for sexual contact (not dating)
Teen's attitude about sex
Being Female