Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Why I Am Done With Glee

posted by Linda Mintle

I really loved the music when TV’s Glee began, so much so that I downloaded several of songs, but my Glee days have come to an end. I’m over the constant message of sex, sex and more sex that continues to be driven home in every episode.

When the show began, the plots were more about a variety of struggles in high school–being bullied, teen pregnancy, feeling like an outcast, and yes, sexual temptation.

But this season, sex seems to be a constant theme. A few weeks ago, the episode was all about having sex in high school. And those who tried to resist were made to look like fools. One scene had the Glee girls talking to each other about having sex. The message was, when you love someone, high school sex can be the best introduction to your sexual life–a complete opposite message of the early shows that showed the reality of teen pregnancy and boyfriend break up. At the end of that episode, everyone decided to have sex–adults, teens and now the writers have added a teacher-student sexual relationship (totally inappropriate).

A blog on the Huffington Post talked about this sexually charged episode this way, “Last night’s ‘controversial’ episode didn’t have a single shot of gratuitous teen sex, nor did the characters bare any skin. That’s because last night’s episode wasn’t about teens having sex. It was about love. Unlike most teen shows on television, Finchel (Finn & Rachel) Klaine’s (Kurt & Blaine) first times were tender, sweet and almost too private. It was so refreshing to see two couples share such an intimate moment. It wasn’t raunchy or needlessly provocative. It was sweet.”

So we are calling these relationships love relationships? And because the sex was “sweet,” it was fine. Just have “sweet” sex in high school and you will be fine.

Are these blogs ever written by parents of teens, or  health workers who have to tell a 15 -years old that she now has a life long case of genital warts, or by social workers who deal with the broken hearts of teen love lost?

I don’t care how sweet is it, the message that sex is right if you love someone is not one I want to promote to my teens. I’ve counseled way too many teens who thought they were in love, had sex and deeply regretted it–even when it was “sweet” but I guess no one talks to those kids.

So while we spend millions of dollars trying to prevent teen pregnancy, STDs and mental health breakdowns, we have media promoting the path to those ends.

According to the CDC: Among U.S. high school students surveyed in 2009…

46% had ever had sexual intercourse
34% had had sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months, and, of these
39% did not use a condom the last time they had sex
77% did not use birth control pills or Depo-Provera to prevent pregnancy the last time they had sex
14% had had sex with four or more people during their life

An estimated 8,300 young people aged 13–24 years in the 40 states reporting to CDC had HIV infection in 2009
Nearly half of the 19 million new STDs each year are among young people aged 15–24 years3
More than 400,000 teen girls aged 15–19 years gave birth in 2009

So “sweet” sex can still land you an STD!

Parents, keep talking to your teens about the consequences of sexual behavior in the teen years. The risk of STD, pregnancy and a broken heart are not worth the “sweet moment.”

Also, parents note these research findings by RAND Health behavioral scientist Rebecca Collins. She examined the impact of TV sex on teenagers’ sexual beliefs and activities. Here are the conclusions:

  • Watching TV shows with sexual content apparently hastens the initiation of teen sexual activity
  • Sexual talk on TV has the same effect on teens as depictions of sex
  • Shows with content about contraception and pregnancy can help educate teens about the risks and consequences of sex–and can also foster beneficial dialogue between parents and teens.

 

Bottom line, talk about these shows with your teens. Watch them to know what the messages are so you can have a conversation. Parents still influence their kids, even when it doesn’t feel like that is the case.

So I’m done with loving Glee but I will continue to monitor the content to know what is being told to teens.

 

3 Ways to Avoid the Commercialization of Christmas

posted by Linda Mintle

It is only November and already children are hounding parents for presents. The way our culture focuses on getting versus giving, many children don’t know the true meaning of the holidays.

How can we change this? By being intentional, one family at a time.

Let’s begin with advertisers. Advertisers see your children as consumers who will persuade you to buy their products. So they target kids to do just what many do—hound parents for specific toys. One thing parents can do is minimize the amount of exposure  kids have to advertisements—change the television channel, click off ads on the Internet and record television shows and use videos in order to avoid ads altogether.

The second strategy is to regularly talk to your kids about the real meaning of the holidays. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and giving to others because of the gift we were given from God. Support those talks with real life activities that involve giving to others, e.g., preparing and taking food baskets to the poor, serving in a soup kitchen or mission, buying and wrapping gifts for the needy, singing at a nursing home, making cookies for neighbors, etc.

Third, read the Christmas story, do the Advent candles, attend special church plays and musicals. Draw children’s attention to the reason we celebrate. Develop traditions and rituals like going caroling. Direct your children’s attention away from the commercialization of the seasons and back to what is important. The pull towards materialism is strong but parents can change the focus.

 

If You Smoke, You Don’t Get the Job

posted by Linda Mintle

You smoke, don’t apply for a job. You will be screened and turned down.

Yes, it is controversial. A Virginian hospital chain will be instituting a “nicotine-free hiring policy” at the end of this month. If you want a job, you must be nicotine free to get it. The hospitals will screen applicants and say NO to the hire if you smoke or use tobacco products. And this hospital chain is not the only health care institution to implement such a policy. Baylor Health Care Systems will come on board in 2012 and the Cleveland Clinic has already adopted such a policy.

Sounds a bit big brother, but it is perfectly legal. Even though the ACLU has concerns, it too recognizes the right of institutions to implement such a policy.

This new initiative is a step up from the smoke-free campuses offered at many hospitals. Some hospitals see this new direction as an extension of their wellness policies. Tobacco use is linked with cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. We all know that while smoking is not illegal, it is bad for your health.

My question for you is this: Do you see this as an intrusion of private liberty, discrimination and/ or a smart move on the part of health care systems?

 

Why Lady GaGa Doesn’t Have to Take Off Her Clothes

posted by Linda Mintle

I watched A GaGa Thanksgiving last week. I am always curious about the influences that shape people to be who they are and wanted to hear her story–at least a slice of it.

It was a surprisingly entertaining special. Her roots as a jazz singer were clearly displayed. What an amazing talent! It appears she grew up with a strong sense of family and had great things to say about her grandparents and mom. The only hint at wounding was when she sang and talked about being bullied and unaccepted in school. So from a shrink perspective, she either hid her wounding well, or this larger than life persona is an act she feels she needs to be noticed.

So here is my question: Why does she have to be so provocative? Honestly, it overwhelms her talent.

My teen daughter’s response to this question – that is how people become famous. They believe they have to push the edge, take off their clothes and get down and dirty. Once they create a stir by pushing the envelope, they keep doing it to continue to gain more attention.

If this is true, it is really sad. Lady Gaga had me when she sat at a piano and did an acoustic set–just her, the piano and the music. A star can do that. In fact, I remember when Mariah Carey emerged on a stage and just stood there and sang–her talent was obvious. But now….

Are we so debase as a society that we can’t see and recognize talent without requiring women to take off their clothes and sell sex?

Lady GaGa, love your talent, your artistry and find all the weirdness and exploitative sexuality a detraction from your God given talent. So I guess I’ll have to wait for another special to enjoy her mastery again.

At least, I saw a glimpse of a real woman, with compassion, a love for family and real talent. Why these artists feel they have to invent themselves to something other than they are baffles me. It is like they dissociate from the vixen they portray to this other person. Usually they say, it is all an act. I say, the act overshadows the talent. But then, I’m not the one buying their music!

What do you think?

 

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