Jewish World Review July 14, 1999 /1 Av, 5759
The too busy parent
WHILE POLITICIANS AND MANY in the press attempted to make the availability of guns the "lesson" of the Littleton massacre,
another theme just won't seem to go away. What more and more Americans are recognizing is that the Too Busy Parent is a
cultural phenomenon with vast consequences for children.
One researcher estimates that 50 percent of parents do not
know who their adolescent children's friends are. Another has found that the average teen-ager spends only six minutes a day
talking to his mother, and even less conversing with his father. American advertising is full of time-saving devices for "families
on the go." Usually they are assumed to be going in different directions. Presidential hopeful Dan Quayle says he's seen
predictions that the next technological innovation will be microwave ovens in cars, so that people can eat while driving -- an
idea both unappetizing and, one would guess, unsafe.
Still, it is a telling snapshot of the way we live now. Families pack
briefcases, backpacks and cell phones before heading out the door. When they reunite in the evening, they pop dinner in the
microwave or order takeout and then veg out in front of their multiple television sets.
Each and every time a kid shoots
up the schoolyard, the parents are said to be shocked. Frequently, they will have had no idea that their children were going
so catastrophically off track. More evidence of parental disengagement was recently reported in The Washington Post. It
seems that among middle-school students in the Washington area, a new fad has taken hold -- oral sex.
Children as young
as 11 are asking questions about it, talking about it and engaging in it. Michael Schaffer, supervisor for health education in
Prince George's County, told the Post: "It is now the expected minimum behavior. The kids say if you're not going to have
sex, at least do this." They gather at one another's homes, or in public parks, and "hook up" for oral sex. Some kids have
been known to do it at school (in a crowded study hall), and there was one report about a couple of seventh-graders
engaging in oral sex on the school bus.
Once confronted, the kids offer health-based justifications for their conduct.
They know that sexual intercourse can lead to pregnancy and disease, and many youngsters are keen to remain "technical
virgins." Oral sex seems to them a "safe" alternative. "They think they are acting responsibly" a mom told the Post.
responses are unsurprising from kids who have been schooled in "safe sex" dogma and whose cultural milieu consists of rap
music, sex-drenched television and movies, and check-out counter magazines that constantly exhort single women to "keep
him coming back for more."
Apart from their misapprehension about the dangers of disease from oral sex (STDs can be
transmitted orally), their rationale makes perfect sense. After all, if the only reason to refrain from sex is to avoid pregnancy
and disease -- as the safe sex approach teaches -- oral sex with proper precautions ought to be OK, right?
When a principal at a Washington-area middle school phoned the parents of about 20 girls and asked them to attend a
meeting about the problem, the parents were, you guessed it, stunned. At the meeting, a few parents spoke knowledgeably
about their children's behavior, but most were dumbfounded, repeating a mantra, "But my daughter is in honors classes." One
mother went home and confronted her daughter. "What's the big deal?" the daughter retorted. "President Clinton did it."
But a few of the more sensitive kids who started having oral sex in middle school and are now in high school understand very
well what the big deal is. One girl, who did it because she imagined that the boy would become her boyfriend thereafter, is
sadder but wiser. "I realized pretty soon that it didn't make him like me." Others are dismayed at their own degrading
behavior. "It shocks me so much that I put myself at that level."
How very sad that these girls and millions like them
around the nation have to learn such painful lessons the hard way. How very despicable of their parents to be so caught up in
their own lives and concerns that they don't even know what is
JWR contributor Mona Charen reads all of her mail. Let her know what you think by clicking here. Please bear in mind, though, that while all letters are read, due to the heavy amount of traffic, not all letters can be answered.
07/12/99: Post-impeachment vindication?
07/09/99: Bubba goes native
07/07/99: Is Rev. Al Hillary's new pal?
07/01/99: Free Sara Jane Olson?
06/23/99: Behind the George W. frenzy
06/23/99: How to avoid Mediscare
06/21/99: Taking back our streets
06/16/99: Hide and seek
06/14/99: Impervious to the evidence
06/09/99: Unsung heroes
06/01/99: For $ale
05/26/99: Best friend these girls ever had
05/24/99: Baby Hope continued
05/20/99: Say no to the Gore tax
05/17/99: Baby Hope
05/13/99: Other high crimes
05/10/99:Three cheers for uniforms
05/05/99: Voucher opponents' worst nightmare
05/03/99: Lessons of Columbine High
04/28/99: Kevorkian is stopped
04/26/99: "Senseless tragedy"?
04/22/99: Hey, hey, ... Bubba
04/19/99: Why we are in Kosovo
04/15/99: Hooray for the NYPD
04/09/99: How to do something about taxes
04/06/99:Can the private sector handle foster care?
03/31/99: The Flower Child goes to war
03/29/99: Foreign-policy meltdown
03/25/99: 'Just doin' it'
03/22/99: Return of pay equity?
03/16/99: St. Hillary
03/10/99: Rodney King in perspective
03/08/99: Monica's story: No morals
03/04/99: Not home but library alone:
3/02/99: Tuning our racial sensitivities
2/27/99: Cease-fire in war between sexes?
2/23/99: Where were the religious voices?
2/19/99: Depends what you mean by "acting"
2/17/99: As Minn., goes so goes the nation?
2/09/99: Prepare for post-impeachment spin
2/03/99: Teaching morality
2/01/99: What did he say?
1/26/99: The truth about the Peace Process
1/22/99: The vulgar decade
1/19/99: Was Jefferson libeled by DNA?
1/13/99: The backlash picks up speed
1/11/99: Who invented politics of personal destruction?
1/07/99: Shall we dance?
1/05/99: Try him!
12/30/98: The price of virtue
12/28/98: The gift of giving
12/22/98: Party of shame, party of shamelessness
12/18/98: Wag the country
12/16/98: Is this impeachment constitutional?
12/14/98: Republicans find courage
12/09/98: Nappy Hair and other racial slurs
12/07/98: Stranger in a strange land
12/02/98: Dangerous ground
11/30/98: Involuntary fatherhood?
11/24/98: Lies, damned lies, and sex lies
11/18/98: Another victory for cowardice
11/16/98: Separatism plus welfarism equals a dead end
11/10/98: Did conservatism lose campaign '98?
11/06/98: Democrat venality, Republican timidity
11/04/98: Are girls being shortchanged?
11/02/98: Believe the children?
10/28/98: What 'Measure 58' would do
10/26/98: The officers are bailing out
10/20/98: Using Matthew Shepard's murder
10/19/98: The school voucher that saved a family
10/14/98: Are powerful women different?
10/09/98: Can just sex be impeachable?
10/07/98: Repeal Miranda
10/02/98: Understanding the polls
10/01/98: What school texts teach about marriage
9/28/98: Fear of choice
9/23/98: A fork in the road: Bubba's fate and ours
9/18/98: Christianity and the Holocaust
9/16/98: The national dirty joke
9/11/98: Are we in crisis?
9/09/98: Does Burton's sin let Clinton off the hook?
9/07/98: Liar's Poker
9/01/98: One, two, three
8/28/98: Fat and folly
8/25/98: When homework is a dirty word
8/21/98: The unravelling
8/18/98: The wages of dishonesty
8/17/98: Sex, honor and the presidency
8/12/98: Pro-choice extremist
8/10/98: Switch illuminates biology's role
8/05/98: The presumption of innocence and the American way
8/03/98: An American hero
7/29/98: Lock up those who need psychiatric care
7/24/98: Making the military more like us
7/22/98: The 'Net sex hoax... and us
7/20/98: Disappointed by Cosbys
7/15/98: Feelings, not morality, rule
7/10/98: Guns as the solution?
7/8/98: Teacher preacher
7/6/98: The China behind the headlines
7/1/98: What is the First Amendment for?
6/26/98: The Republican city
6/24/98: Poison pen
6/22/98: Clinton: inventing his own reality?
6/16/98: Senator mom?
6/12/98: Wisconsin: a trail blazer?
6/9/98: These girls say no to sex, yes to excellence
6/5/98: Lewinsky's ex-lawyer would feel right at home as Springer guest
6/2/98: English? Si; Republican? No!
5/29/98: The truth about women and work
5/27/98: Romance in the '90s
5/25/98:Taxing smokers for fun and profit
5/19/98: China's friend in the White House
5/15/98: Look out feminists: here comes the true backlash
5/12/98: The war process?
5/8/98: Where's daddy?
5/5/98: The joys of boys
5/1/98: Republicans move on education reform
4/28/98: Reagan was right
4/24/98: The key to Pol Pot
4/21/98: The patriot's channel
4/19/98: Child-care day can't replace mom
4/15/98: Tax time
4/10/98: Armey states obvious, gets clobbered
4/7/98: A nation complacent?
4/1/98: Bill Clinton's African adventure
3/27/98: Understanding Arkansas
3/24/98: Jerry Springer's America
3/20/98: A small step for persecuted minorities
3/17/98: Skeletons in every closet?
3/13/98: Clinton's idea of a fine judge
3/10/98: Better than nothing?
3/6/98: Of fingernails and freedom
3/3/98: Read JWR! :0)
2/27/98: Dumb and Dumber
2/24/98: Reagan reduced poverty more than Clinton
2/20/98: Rally Round the United Nations?
2/17/98: In Denial
2/13/98: Reconsidering Theism
2/10/98: Waiting for the facts?
2/8/98: Cat got the GOP's tongue?
2/2/98: Does America care about immorality?
1/30/98: How to judge Clinton's denials
1/27/98: What If It's Just the Sex?
1/23/98: Bill Clinton, Acting Guilty
1/20/98: Arafat and the Holocaust Museum
1/16/98: Child Care or Feminist Agenda?
1/13/98: What We Really Think of Abortion
1/9/98: The Dead Era of Budget Deficits Rises Again?
1/6/98: "Understandable" Murder and Child Custody
1/2/98: Majoring in Sex
12/30/97: The Spirit of Kwanzaa
12/26/97: Food fights (Games children play)
12/23/97: Does Clinton's race panel listen to facts?
12/19/97: Welcome to the Judgeocracy, where the law school elite overrules majority rule
12/16/97: Do America's Jews support Netanyahu?
©1999, Creators Syndicate