Promiscuity and Catholic youth


#1

In Catholic teaching, and in reality, chastity is God’s plan. Also in reality, it is not as universally “catching on” among Catholic youth as we wish. Warnings, scoldings, and even excellent religious education are not correcting the problem. I make no references to the types of people who post on these forums or any of their family members but frankly I see a huge problem with chastity among Catholic youth, and although I don’t know exact numbers, the problem is big enough to make one wonder just what positive effect – if any – we as parents and teachers of these children are having.

The other day I was sure that I posted to the Bill Joel thread, but since I have an unreliable connection in my motel room, I didn’t get a chance to see follow-ups until I went to the public library and could not find my post. Either it never got posted in the first place, or it was deleted. If it was deleted, I suppose I wasn’t surprised because I allowed myself to speak as if I was still a sexually active youth, away at college and out of reach of mommy and daddy, and it probably was offensive and/or scary to some. That, however, is the reality young women faced 25 years ago, and I believe there is precious little difference now. I was not a bully or controlling; I was always very polite to women, which was actually one of my best weapons at impressing them. I was just as stupid as they were, but I knew how to get what I wanted without even really trying, and Catholic beliefs and even supposedly firm convictions did not save them from sin. These are not fallen away Catholics, but women who went to Mass every Sunday, often midnight Mass at the Indiana State Catholic Student Center, that we’re talking about. (I went to Rose-Hulman, an all male engineering school right outside of Terre Haute. Girls under discussion were from Indiana State, or from St. Mary-of-the-Woods Catholic Girls’ college.)

Perhaps my post was repulsive to some, because of its direct language. That’s understandable. I have four teenage children and two younger, and I believe that my daughters need to know what types of challenges they face, how to recognize attempts at seduction, and they benefit from my being totally candid about my own past and leave them open for discussion if they think that makes me hypocrital since I advise them NOT to follow in my footsteps. This has opened channels of communications that have kept me informed in ways that many other parents may not hear from their children. My oldest (9th grade) daughter does what she can to help her friends, but sees them beginning to fall to worldly traps and sins of the flesh with practically no involvement of their parents.

This time I raise the issue directly, as a concerned parent and Catholic, so we can discuss it head on instead of under the context of Billy Joel.

Here are some of the things going on in the freshman class of the Catholic high school in which my daughter attends. There are many wealthy people who send their children to this school, and ex-employees of the school with whom I’ve worked say that especially among some of the wealthiest there is a collective blind eye that seems to be prevalent where we don’t admit there are any problems. This is easy to maintain, because except for the children who actually get caught, they all keep up a pretty good act, and of course if they don’t they are likely to be expelled. The school has an excellent reputation, good religious teaching, and very strict discipline and dress code policy. When I go to pick up my kids, those kids coming out are the image of innocence and scholarship with their nice uniforms and everything. Graduates receive high offers from prominent colleges and employers report they are very good workers. Therefore, I am not dissing this particular school but exposing what I believe to be the current state of the world for youth.

These have been corroborated by my daughter, a couple of her “still chaste” friends, several juniors seniors at the school including my two sons – one who is senior and the other who graduated last year – and yesterday by a teacher at the school.

  • Rainbow parties: freshman Catholic girls and boys attend parties where they wear bracelets with edible beads of various colors. The exact details are a bit sketchy, bit it goes a little like this: a boy eats a bead off the bracelet of a girl, and then she is “obligated” to perform favors for him – the exact favor designated by a color code of the beads.

  • Rest room breaks: I just found this one yesterday from some juniors and the psychology teacher at the school. Apparently there are certain out-of-the-way rest rooms where girls have found they can get away with sneaking into the boys’ room between classes for some quick illicit behavior.

(continued)


#2

(continued)

  • Pregnancy: My daughter knows specifically of at least two other girls in her class who think they might be pregnant, and several others who may get that way any time based on their behavior. These are just ones she knows of directly, not counting the probably-true hearsay rumors.

  • Broken friendships: The group of “buddies” that were very close in Catholic elementary and middle school has broken apart as some of them get involved sexually with boys and others don’t. Those who don’t find it dangerous and repulsive, and try to counsel their friends, but to no avail. Adults may as well not be involved at all because these girls talk only to each other. Peer pressure is ineffective for them because they would rather becoming indignant and angry toward their previous “best friends” than listen to their good advice. They are certain that people who tell them what to do just don’t understand. Who does understand – you guessed it – their weakest friends who also engage in that behavior.

  • Alcoholism: A large percentage drink regularly. As far as I can tell, most parents don’t realize this, even though many of them (the children) openly share their party stories on their weblog (a.k.a. blog) sites.

I’m interested in discussing ways to get through and teach these children, and to retain our own influence as authority figures that we seemed to have when those same children were young.

My contention is that when we wear our “parent hat” and when teachers and religious act within their roles, we tend to cling to cliches of what is “supposed to” work, while the enemy has age-old systems in place to prevent them from working. My contention is also that good Catholic catechesis, keeping a child clothed, warm and fed, and participating in an occasional, if not clinical, discussion of the dangers of promiscuity, rituals such as promise rings, and other techniques are either not being used or are not getting the job done.

I have eventually come to take an approach of brutal honesty and openness with my own kids, and it seems to be paying off so far. They also know that they can tell me absolutely anything without worrying that I will “fly off the handle” and start unilaterally limiting their freedoms or breaking their trust with their own friends, for their having confided in me. I am blessed to have teenagers who tell me their relationship problems (platonic and romantic both) and at times even ask me to become directly involved.

I’ll leave it there for now…

Alan


#3

Hmm. Intersting post. I am not far from my teenage years (I’m 23), and I remember my friends slowly dropping out what we called “The ‘V’ club.” I think we all know what that ‘V’ stands for. I am the only one left in said club, but since I have had a boyfriend for 1 year and 2 months, they ask me, “So Kim, have you had sex yet?” Only recently have I begun to get indignant with them because a. It’s none of their business, and b. having sex is not something to be gloating about. It makes me angry as well as my boyfriend. His friends at work asked him if he’s “f***ed” me yet, and when they asked he got really mad at them.

The reason why I continually abstained is because I looked at all the former members of the “V” club and saw how they had to sneak around and lie to their parents. My one friend had her sister-in-law (a Catholic) take her to planned parenthood to get her on birth control pills. And guess what, once when she couldn’t make it up there I had to get them for her. (This was before I converted, and before I realized the immorality of the pill.) I even took a friend 60 miles to a Planned Parenthood clinic to get her the Morning After Pill, also before my conversion and realization of abortifacients. Where were the boyfriends in these situations? I had to make sure they were taken care of. I was there when they were jerks to them! They all had to continually worry they were pregnant, and not to mention the emotional attachements they formed to the jerks they were with!

I look back on those years and thank GOD that I had enough sense to say no when those times did arise. I would not be where I am today if I had not had the sense that I had.


#4

Alan–Have you discussed these issues with other parents? Because I suspect if you did, you would be shocked and you would understand why the other kids are the way you describe. In my discussions with other parents (and from what my teen gets from peers about their parents), I have been astonished by how many parents have an attitude that “kids will be kids” (or “boys will be boys”). Parents have told me that they would rather have their kids drinking at the homes of friends or in the woods nearby where they know where the kids are. Parents provide alcohol to their kids and their friends. Parents provide their own children birth control and believe that doing so is responsible parenting. So there are probably many who will happily provide birth control to other people’s children. I have heard of parents smoking pot with their kids and their friends. How about the Catholic mother of a teen who has breast augmentation–a fact that titillates all the teenaged kids’ friends? I could go on. Is it any wonder the kids behave the way they do? :frowning: In conclusion, look at your kids peers but look closely at their peers’ parents, too.


#5

Some of what Alan describes is typical of what I call the “aristocracy” of rich Catholic families. Among other ills, these families tend to:
[list]
*] Be excessively controlling of their kids’ schools
*]Very enabling of their kids’ behavior
*]Very much adopt the “kids will be kids” mentality
*]Either turn a blind eye/denial to sexual behavior, or excuse it.
[/list] The system can only go so far to controlling the behavior of these kids when the parents are in a sense torpedoing the best efforts of the school in limiting this behavior.


#6

Alan,

Personally I think you’re right on when it comes to the sad state of Catholic youth, especially in Catholic schools. My friends and I used to joke that among all of our friends–from the neighborhood, from Catholic school, from public schools, etc–the kids we all went to Catholic school with were among the craziest in their behavior. Drinking, drugs, shoplifting, rampant cheating, casual sex, etc.

I would also agree with La Chiara’s estimation. I grew up in an affluent suburb, and kids were regularly given $400-1000/a month allowance–meant to cover their drinking and shopping habits, not any actual bills like cell phones or car insurance. Their parents were under the impression that it was “necessary” to give their kids whatever they wanted and to allow every whim to be catered to. A LOT of parents lived vicariously through their kids, too. Unlike you, they wanted to hear about their kids sexual experiences with almost voyeuristic glee. They rarely cautioned about diseases and never the emotional side effects of pre-marital sex, but gave out condoms and took their daughters to the doctor for pills.

Spring break trips were totally out of control. 5 girls came back from my class, pregnant, and let’s just say none of them had any bundles of joy nine months later. The school nurse, a parent of a girl in my class, went with a lot of her daughter’s friends to Cancun one spring break and spent the whole week in a drunken stupor with the seventeen year olds.

Eating disorders are also rampant in the Catholic schools I’ve been in. They want to look “perfect” and cute for their boyfriends and so they either don’t eat anything or puke it all up. You’re almost seen as abnormal if you don’t stress over eating a bagel and don’t go immediately purge it.

Co-ed sleepovers make sex parties really easy, too. All the school dances in high school were followed by massive co-ed sleepovers and some very nasty things went on. I was never allowed to spend the night, but I would go until curfew and it was like a free for all. Very scary.

Oral sex is often not seen as “having sex,” either. It’s considered as minor as making out (for some). This was very common. Our school had something called Nasty Thursday Parties–which, actually started out innocently enough with some underage drinking experimentation but it turned into weekly parties in high school that showcased porn, random partnering for oral sex, drinking to excess, drug experimentation, etc. Parents knew ALL about these parties, too. Plenty would volunteer to “host” them because it was a status thing for their kids. Everyone would come to school completely hung over on Fridays, then get ready for whatever football game and then everyone would get trashed at whatever after party there was. It was a common Thursday/Friday night routine.

I feel sick just thinking about all this stuff again. High school was a very confusing time and I can’t believe how “normal” this all seemed at the time.


#7

[quote=demolitionman65]Some of what Alan describes is typical of what I call the “aristocracy” of rich Catholic families. Among other ills, these families tend to:
[list]
*]Be excessively controlling of their kids’ schools
*]Very enabling of their kids’ behavior
*]Very much adopt the “kids will be kids” mentality
*]Either turn a blind eye/denial to sexual behavior, or excuse it.
[/list]The system can only go so far to controlling the behavior of these kids when the parents are in a sense torpedoing the best efforts of the school in limiting this behavior.
[/quote]

I utterly fail to see what economic status–whether wealth or poverty–has to do with fidelity to moral teachings. I think taking a walk down that path is a temptation to exploit prejudices and class antagonisms that do nothing to further parental efforts to convey to teens the guidlines of a moral life, much less help them live it out.


#8

[quote=Princess_Abby]Alan,

Personally I think you’re right on when it comes to the sad state of Catholic youth, especially in Catholic schools. My friends and I used to joke that among all of our friends–from the neighborhood, from Catholic school, from public schools, etc–the kids we all went to Catholic school with were among the craziest in their behavior. Drinking, drugs, shoplifting, rampant cheating, casual sex, etc.

I would also agree with La Chiara’s estimation. I grew up in an affluent suburb, and kids were regularly given $400-1000/a month allowance–meant to cover their drinking and shopping habits, not any actual bills like cell phones or car insurance. Their parents were under the impression that it was “necessary” to give their kids whatever they wanted and to allow every whim to be catered to. A LOT of parents lived vicariously through their kids, too. Unlike you, they wanted to hear about their kids sexual experiences with almost voyeuristic glee. They rarely cautioned about diseases and never the emotional side effects of pre-marital sex, but gave out condoms and took their daughters to the doctor for pills.

Spring break trips were totally out of control. 5 girls came back from my class, pregnant, and let’s just say none of them had any bundles of joy nine months later. The school nurse, a parent of a girl in my class, went with a lot of her daughter’s friends to Cancun one spring break and spent the whole week in a drunken stupor with the seventeen year olds.

Eating disorders are also rampant in the Catholic schools I’ve been in. They want to look “perfect” and cute for their boyfriends and so they either don’t eat anything or puke it all up. You’re almost seen as abnormal if you don’t stress over eating a bagel and don’t go immediately purge it.

Co-ed sleepovers make sex parties really easy, too. All the school dances in high school were followed by massive co-ed sleepovers and some very nasty things went on. I was never allowed to spend the night, but I would go until curfew and it was like a free for all. Very scary.

Oral sex is often not seen as “having sex,” either. It’s considered as minor as making out (for some). This was very common. Our school had something called Nasty Thursday Parties–which, actually started out innocently enough with some underage drinking experimentation but it turned into weekly parties in high school that showcased porn, random partnering for oral sex, drinking to excess, drug experimentation, etc. Parents knew ALL about these parties, too. Plenty would volunteer to “host” them because it was a status thing for their kids. Everyone would come to school completely hung over on Fridays, then get ready for whatever football game and then everyone would get trashed at whatever after party there was. It was a common Thursday/Friday night routine.
I feel sick just thinking about all this stuff again. High school was a very confusing time and I can’t believe how “normal” this all seemed at the time.
[/quote]

…oh Lord, let’s don’t use the oral word…

let’s take up horseback riding…
http://www.learnaboutmovieposters.com/NewSite/LAGNIAPPE/SusiesCorner/LONE%20RANGER.JPG


#9

[quote=LoneRanger]…oh Lord, let’s don’t use the oral word…

let’s take up horseback riding…
http://www.learnaboutmovieposters.com/NewSite/LAGNIAPPE/SusiesCorner/LONE%20RANGER.JPG
[/quote]

horseback riding…hmmmm…


#10

I am amazed all the time at the attitude towards sex in our society, especially by the young. It seams like over the past few years sex has become a casual thing, which younger and younger teens are engaging in. What happened! What is even more shocking is what activities are classified as making out. :eek:


#11

[quote=hopeandlove]I am amazed all the time at the attitude towards sex in our society, especially by the young. It seams like over the past few years sex has become a casual thing, which younger and younger teens are engaging in. What happened! What is even more shocking is what activities are classified as making out. :eek:
[/quote]

I think we have “I did not have sex with that woman” to thank for the change of attitue toward what constitutes sex. People of influence - whether it’s political, sports figures, hollywood types - their behavior impacts our culture & our attitudes. In just the past 10 years look at how far the homosexual agenda has advanced. Used to be a big deal that a character was “hinted” at being gay - now every show has the token gay characater and is it any wonder that kids today think that being gay or bi is no big deal?

So long as society in general has the attitude that casual sex is no big deal - teenagers are going to get lured right in. Not all - not the ones from really strong Catholic families who have been blessed with parents who actually parent & have presented another side - God’s side of what’s right & what’s wrong. But the come to mass sometimes, drop kids off at CCD so they can check “religion” off their to-do parenting list - but too busy to get involved in their kids’ lives type Catholics - their kids don’t stand much of a chance against the onslaught.

And it’s by no means a “Catholic” problem. My former babysitter goes to a well know Christian College & she’s called the “Virgin Girl” because of her morals. She said that casual sex is the norm.


#12

[quote=AlanFromWichita]The other day I was sure that I posted to the Bill Joel thread, but since I have an unreliable connection in my motel room, I didn’t get a chance to see follow-ups until I went to the public library and could not find my post. Either it never got posted in the first place, or it was deleted. If it was deleted, I suppose I wasn’t surprised because I allowed myself to speak as if I was still a sexually active youth, away at college and out of reach of mommy and daddy, and it probably was offensive and/or scary to some.

[/quote]

WHAT?!?!? Aren’t you the FATHER of a teenager? Is there a reason why you find yourself compelled to fill your time with such bizarre and creepy internet activity?! (and please tell me you were in a motel room b/c you were travelling for business)


#13

quote=AlanFromWichita

  • Pregnancy: My daughter knows specifically of at least two other girls in her class who think they might be pregnant, and several others who may get that way any time based on their behavior. These are just ones she knows of directly, not counting the probably-true hearsay rumors.

Unfortunately the girls don’t “get that way” on their own. I had to chuckle at your terminology Alan. Also unfortunately, we can do the best we can with our kids and hope it is enough, but there are a lot more influences on our children than just us parents. I guess this is how our parents felt about us when we were trying to get away with many the same things. Personally I am glad my children are older. I honestly don’t know if I could raise kids in todays society. I have the good fortune to have my grand daughter ( 5 ) a good many weekends and I make sure and take her to church and teach her manners. She gets all excited when she blesses herself and gets to “see Jesus’ helper”- the priest. They are so innocent at this age. A shame they have to grow up isn’t it?
~ Kathy ~
[/quote]


#14

[quote=Island Oak]WHAT?!?!? Aren’t you the FATHER of a teenager? Is there a reason why you find yourself compelled to fill your time with such bizarre and creepy internet activity?! (and please tell me you were in a motel room b/c you were travelling for business)
[/quote]

Alan’s house burned down. He is staying in a motel, I presume, while his family’s home is rebuilt.


#15

Sorry to hear about the housefire, but the the manner in which his time is spent on the internet still creeps me out.


#16

[quote=Island Oak]Sorry to hear about the housefire, but the the manner in which his time is spent on the internet still creeps me out.
[/quote]

Sorry also. And I agree. How can we teach our youth if the parent’s internet behavior is open to question?
~ Kathy ~


#17

[quote=Katie1723]Sorry also. And I agree. How can we teach our youth if the parent’s internet behavior is open to question?
~ Kathy ~
[/quote]

Are we talking about Alan? How is his internet behavior open to question? Have I missed something here? :confused:


#18

[quote=Island Oak]Sorry to hear about the housefire, but the the manner in which his time is spent on the internet still creeps me out.
[/quote]

Dear Island Oak,

Thank you for your time and effort in responding on this thread. That said, it looks like it’s time for my first formal “critic clinic.” Read and learn, and maybe you will become a better critic.

Thank you for the sentiment on the house fire. I am sorry to hear about your issues with internet use. Perhaps it creeps you out because you jump to conclusions and judge. Plus, your thinking may be limited so it is not surprising that something that strikes you as odd is scary to you.

You may think I am bashing you, but I am helping you the same way that I intend to help young children by giving them a dash of reality they may not have heard elsewhere. To prove it, I will explain each of my “findings” above, and show you how you could rephrase the questions…

Jumping to conclusions: After some 1600 posts, I chose to write in a very direct style one time. Therefore, while “filling my time” is a vague term, when we are talking less than 1/10 of 1% it is clear that my time is mostly filled with much more “serious” posting.

Judging: By calling my activity “bizarre and creepy” you have precisely judged it as abnormal at best and possibly sinister. Please don’t think I’m upset about it because I also found it a bit amusing. Amusing, that is, because you showed no evidence of having seen the original post and yet characterized it this way based on a very brief summary I provided! (Let me assure you, I could say things much more bizarre and creepy than anything you’ve seen so far, and some of the other posters have seen me do so.) This kind of thinking is prevalent among people who have strong opinions about movies, books, and radio talk shows but have never actually watched, read, or heard them.

Biased, you say? Aha, have I given away that I was biased in my description of my own post? Yes, I was trying to point out that part of my post which may have been objectionable to whomever deleted it, not give a general review of what I had actually said. Of course it was tempting to do so, but it got deleted the first time and that hurt my feelings so I didn’t want to have to go through being deleted again. If it bothered you, then it seems the moderators have done their job in protecting you from that brutally honest truth presenting in that way.

Limited thinking: Based on your “hope” that I am traveling away from home to be in a motel shows that you have used the process of elimination without enough brainstorming. Either that or you were well aware of the possibilities and were just trying to keep it light. To give you the benefit of the doubt, as I nearly always try to do with people, I took it you were intending your response to have a cynical-yet-comical flavor, so on that basis it is OK because explaining it fully would have ruined the joke.

BTW, I find it fascinating that you become “creeped out” so quickly. You know what creeps me out? People who think I am someone to be afraid of. That’s one reason I don’t really want to be anyone’s “boss” then people would start fearing me because they think I can hurt them, quit being honest with me, and instead act passive-aggressive in any way from underperformance to going postal. That is, unless you are bothered only because you see posting on this forum as a waste of time. With nearly 650 posts, I would assume you are well enough versed in that department to have expertise! :wink:

Alan


#19

[quote=Katie1723]Sorry also. And I agree. How can we teach our youth if the parent’s internet behavior is open to question?
~ Kathy ~
[/quote]

Dear Kathy,

You agree with IslandOak? Wow, this is practically an epidemic.

If you are talking about me specifically, or were inspired to make this comment based on something I wrote, I am very curious to know what I have posted that you find “open to question.”

If you are just making a general comment, then I wonder whether every human being’s behavior in all areas is not open to question, at least in the U.S. where we have that freedom to criticise. Teaching youth is very difficult, in fact, when the credibility of those teachings is called into question by uniformed critics – and then those questions are repeated and exaggerated – while the message itself goes seemingly undetected.

Tell me, do you disagree that promiscuity is a huge problem among Catholic youth? What good, do you suppose, all our teaching is doing? As you say, I think one problem is that adults lose their authority one way or another with children, so the children do not trust them or even think they are on the same planet. That’s why I’ve learned to be blunt and honest with them, and not trying to keep some pious front, because they respond well to it. I say be as honest as possible, precisely so that one’s credibility is called into question.

For myself, I claim no particular authority than whatever you make of what I have to say. You are free to think of me as a sage or a wacko, but if I frighten you I’d like to know because I do not wish to frighten other people either for my own benefit or for theirs. Startling someone a bit to cut through their false face and hit them right in the emotions on a topic they otherwise can’t seem to hear, now that’s another story. :smiley:

Alan


#20

[quote=Princess_Abby]Alan’s house burned down. He is staying in a motel, I presume, while his family’s home is rebuilt.
[/quote]

Dear Princess Abby,

Thanks for jumping in to provide information. I’ve been running errands, fixing two cars (both of which “only” had bad battery cables), meeting with movers and restoration contractors, shuttling six kids to three schools, and some other stuff, and have not been monitoring closely.

Here is an update: we rented two apartments, side by side (for our family of 8), and rented furniture to put in it. One is complete; the other will be complete Monday, so after this weekend we will be out of the motel after five weeks. The insurance company asked us to move out of the motel to save them some money. We expect to be in the apartments for about three months during the repairs.

Alan


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