Thursday, August 28, 2008

Parents can be immature too.

This is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned.

(For those too lazy to click - a mother is up-in-arms (so up in arms she's taking payment for her story from current affairs shows, I might add) that her 14-year old daughter was taken to a doctor by the school nurse to have the contraceptive pill prescribed)

If a 14-year old girl is sexually active, it's a damn good idea for her to be on the pill. If she approaches the school nurse, is that nurse then supposed to turn her away?

Is she supposed to inform a parent who the student is clearly not comfortable discussing her sex life with, thus losing the trust of the student?

Refuse to take her to the doctor and instead end up counselling her on termination services?

Pretend it isn't happening and hope it goes away?

Fact is, some parents aren't approachable on matters such as this, or for whatever reason, a teenager doesn't feel comfortable approaching their parents. In an ideal world, it wouldn't happen, but it does.

The student in this case, clearly felt she could approach the school nurse, and as far as I'm concerned, did the right thing by ensuring at least one adult would have the trust of the student.

The schools first duty of care should always be to the student. Quite frankly, the sensibilities of the parent are a very distant second to the health of the student under their care.

And that includes their sexual health. I think it's great that the student in this case felt comfortable enough going to someone - anyone - at the school for advice and assistance.

The real tragedy here isn't that the school nurse then provided that support, it's that the mother decided that it was in her daughters best interest to involve the media, instead of having a damn long think about why her daughter didn't feel comfortable enough to discuss it with her.

I can only imagine how deeply embarrassed this girl is going to be, and how soon it will be before she's being mercilessly teased and bullied because her mother didn't stop and think for one minute about who is really to blame here and what the consequences of her actions would be.

In this case, her daughter is thinking through the consequences of her actions by making sure she takes at least some precautions if she is sexually active or thinking about being sexually active, whilst her mother is thinking only in terms of who else is to blame.


Sweet Georgia said...

Great post. I think this is a really complicated issue. If it was my child I would be so angry that the school did this without letting me know, but I would be even more devastated that my child couldn't come to me.

Taking this to the media is crazy. The poor child.

(from iclw)

Carrie27 said...

A very hot topic.

I think the nurse should have told the parent first and then the mother should have taken her daughter herself. Taking this to the media is just showing how much this mother isn't aware of her own daughter's thoughts and feelings.

Private Tom said...

Why do I feel the that mum is either a fundie or a bogan? But either way, she's a self-centered b*tch.

Iain Hall said...

The pill is a very poor contraceptive choice for any young girl. and i Just love the way that you ignore the fact that at 14 this child is still two years away from being able to legally consent to sex. As a parent of a daughter I would be horrified if she was prescribed anything without the clear consent of her legal guardians until she is 18.
Condoms are freely available and no prescription is necessary a fact that neatly takes care of your "she is sexually active anyway" line giving a child the contraceptive pill at 14 is just silly unless there is a clear medical reason to do so and if she has the consent of her legal guardian .

Keri said...

Iain, I haven't ignored that the student is underage, but neither am I ignoring that 14 year olds DO have sex.

What's the better option - we pretend that it's not happening or we take steps to make sure that at least the student doesn't end up a teenage mother?

Also, a medical practitioner doesn't need the permission of your parent or guardian after the age of sixteen, not eighteen. And since the school is empowered as the guardian whilst the student is in their care, the GP in this case has not erred.

Condoms are notorious for being difficult to use if you never have before, and the error rate amongst adolescents is remarkably high.

I'll say it again so we're clear, Iain - you sensibilities rate a very distant second to the health of a student under a schools care. That includes their sexual health.

And can you explain what you're talking about when you say the pill is a poor contraceptive chce for a 'young girl'?

Iain Hall said...

Keri, if a girl can't get her head around the mechanics of using a condom (which ain't rocket science) then what makes you think that she will have any greater chance of taking the pill on a regular basis, especially if she intends to do this with out her parents finding out? Two minutes with a condom and a banana is all it takes to learn how to do it properly.
Don't you think tht if a girl is going to be sexually active that the aim should be to encourage her into safe sex practices as much as it is to help her avoid falling pregnant?

But it is a poor choice because relying on the pill may protect her from getting pregnant but it gives her no protection at all from STDs and that is a far more serious matter when we have diseases like HIV and Hep C out there barrier methods like condoms are far better in this respect. Chemical methods are more suited for people in long term relationships where they take monogamy more seriously .