Last night, I watched The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
The ABC Family show was unbelievable. Not in a wow-that-was-amazing way, but in a that-would-never-actually-happen way. The acting was bad, and the storyline outrageous. But what really killed my suspension of disbelief was that the teenagers told their parents way too much.
To put things in perspective, I'm completely at the other extreme. My parents and I hardly ever speak.
It's not that we don't get along, but we're not that close. I went to boarding school, and my parents spend most of their time overseas, so this has been the norm since I was 14. When my Californian roommate is at college in NYC, she speaks to her mother every single day. Multiple times, I've not spoken to my parents for a month, and none of us has even noticed.
Which is why, the only relationship-related news I ever tell my parents is A) I got a boyfriend, or B) We broke up.
My (lack of) communication with my parents probably doesn't amount to the healthiest relationship. But even if we spoke more, I would tell them little more about my love life. The teenagers on this TV show go into way more detail about their sex lives to their parents than I, nor any of my friends, ever would.
OK, so these teens are in high school, and a few of them have gotten pregnant. But in my experience, high schoolers are far less open about their sex lives than college students, at least to their parents. In high school, it's still taboo to be having sex. In college, it becomes a little more acceptable.
But this is a TV show. The reason that the teens talk so much to their parents here is because, as The New York Times
puts it, it's really a "cautionary tale" about teen pregnancy, made in collaboration with the National Campaign To Prevent Teen And Unplanned Pregnancy. At every commercial break, a star of the show encourages viewers to talk to their children/parents about sex to avoid pregnancy.
Avoiding pregnancy when you're not ready for it is great, and you should speak to your family abou it. But going into detail about your sex life that isn't oh, I'm dating someone, that tells them about all the essentially casual sex you're having, seems a bit excessive.
You can't tell your parents everything. At some point, you have to draw the boundaries and say, this is my personal life and doesn't have to do with you. For me, that point is my sex life. My mom spoke to me about sex, but we never went past that, and we never will. In my parent's eyes, I am a virgin until I die - yes, even if I have children. Hey, it could have been immaculate conception, right?How much information do you give your parents about your sex lie?