13 Year Old Dad

Baby-faced Alfie, who is 13 but looks more like eight, became a father four days ago when his girlfriend Chantelle Steadman gave birth to 7lb 3oz Maisie Roxanne.

It just goes to show that the idea of pumping kids full of sex education from such an early age really isn’t working. Gordon Brown has said that this situation could have been prevented if they were using contraception; but the mad thing about this situation is that they were even considering sex at such an early age. He should be out playing football and watching transformers, not raising a family!

9 thoughts on “13 Year Old Dad

  1. It’s crazy that we still can’t get it right over here, but I think a large part of the problem can be attributed to the fact that despite a growing sexuality in the media or whatever, society as a whole is still very prude about sex.

    Being open about relationships and sexuality works, and sex education certainly needs to be sorted out and properly implemented because at the moment, it’s more or less doing sod all in Britain.

  2. I think you’re right, everyone is hit round the head with ‘sex’ left right and centre – sex sells etc.

    However I’m not sure whether a bit of prudence would do us some good. Look at the way they teach sex these days, remember the booklets they used to give us? They’re all in-ya-face groovy sexy things, if you start telling kids at such an early age about sex, then they’re going to start thinking about sex from an early age and in many cases having sex.

    Do we really need all this educating? It’s not rocket science to work out how it’s done, neither is it rocket science to work out how to protect from pregnancy. Why not have a bit of subtlety?

    Do you know of any figures to say that since the government’s increase in educational drives to teach sex; teenage pregnancy had gone down? I think it’s actually gone up, though I may be wrong.

    A balance needs to be found I think.

  3. Actually the biggest problem in Britain is that sex education really doesn’t go far enough, if we judge it by what other countries are offering. Although just looking at Britain for now, the statistics really don’t show what one would expect.

    Looking straight at teenage pregnancy (between the ages of 15-19), this peaked in 1971 with 50.6 pregnancies per 1000 women of that age group. However in 1975, an act was passed which basically allowed the NHS to give out free contraception and advice to anyone, not just couples over the age of consent. In the next few years, the rate of teenage pregnancies fell dramatically (28.1 births per teenager in 1981, 26.9 in 1983). Following this, the rate of teenage pregnancies seems to have plateaued at more or less 29, actually dipping slightly after government initiatives to teach about sex were brought in, although by no means significantly (26.3 in 2005, down from 29.7 in 1996 – the initiative was put in place in 1998 but there are no reliable statistics between 1996 and 2005 as far as I can find)

    So whilst I would say this disproves the notion that government drives to increase sex education have done more harm than good, it does little else more than show that sex education in Britain has very little positive impact, if it has any impact at all.

    So what can be done? Moving across to Europe, sex education in the Netherlands is generally considered to be the best in the world – and this is reflected plainly and clearly by the results it brings. Compare the rate of births per 15-19 year olds in Britain, 26.0 in 2007, to the Dutch 8.4 in the same period. The Dutch system is characterised by being open in the extreme. Doctors plainly and publicly encourage the use of contraception as part of a healthy lifestyle, and comprehensive sex education is common in Primary schools – comprehensive meaning discussion of sexuality and contraception, not just the biology. This system is often seen as a model for other governments to follow, because it works. Yes, there are certainly cultural differences at play here, but that I think only further proves the point that openness is key. The Dutch attitudes of pragmatism and openness (hey, check out Sweden as well for the same effect) translate into effective, no nonsense programs that bring results, rather than the uneven, self-conscious approach we see in our own country (or America, an even more extreme example).

  4. Yes, I think you make some good points. The only thing is, and I thought that you would have seen it coming you mention ‘rate of births’ I consider rate of conception, as you know – just as vital.

    But it is a mine-field, and I’m by no means an expert. You may disagree, but my problem isn’t so much with children having children, it’s children having sex.

  5. Well teenage conception rate in Britain fell by 11% between 1998 and 2006, and continues to decrease. Also, the average age of a person’s first sexual experience is on average a year older in the Netherlands than in the UK, to keep that comparison going.

    However, I think you’re right in that now we’ve reached the point in the argument we’re going to disagree on moral grounds.

  6. You may be interested in this from the Family Eduction Trust (Family & Youth Concern).

    Deconstructing the Dutch Utopia
    Press release
    Lessons from Dutch mythology: the factsheet based on Deconstructing the Dutch Utopia (PDF: 304k)
    Download the report in full

    For many years, extravagant claims have been made about the nature of sex education in the Netherlands, and its relationship to the low teenage pregnancy rate in that country. The British government’s teenage pregnancy strategy places great emphasis on the role to be played by sex education in lowering our high teenage pregnancy rates, and the Netherlands has been held up as an example. However, research conducted in primary and secondary schools in the Netherlands by Joost van Loon, a Dutch academic who is now a reader in social theory at Nottingham Trent University, calls into question the familiar scenario:

    Schools in the Netherlands enjoy a degree of independence from the state which is far greater than that experienced here. There is no national curriculum.
    Different schools handle sex education in different ways, reflecting the views of the parents and teachers. Differences between Dutch schools are probably greater than any identifiable difference between the Dutch and British models of sex education.
    Sex education does not start at younger ages. It is not more explicit. There is no evidence that teachers are using sex education to promote permissive views. The difference between teenage pregnancy rates in Britain and the Netherlands cannot, therefore, be due to sex education. There must be another explanation.
    Teenage pregnancy is the result of teenage sexual activity. We need to relate differences in pregnancy rates to those factors which are known to influence the likelihood of young people becoming sexually active.
    It is well known that young people from single-parent and non-traditional family structures are more likely to be sexually active. It is in this area that we find a great difference between the two countries. British children are five times more likely to live in a family headed by a lone parent than their Dutch counterparts. They are more likely to be in third-party care, and to find their mothers out at work when they get back from school.
    There is little support from the welfare system in the Netherlands for teenage mothers, and until recently, almost none at all.
    These factors would clearly affect the chances of young people becoming sexually active and would go some way towards explaining the difference in pregnancy rates in the two countries.


  7. I think that the problem is definitely a cultural one and not one due to our sex education in schools. Generally, it’s fair to say that sex is a taboo subject in Britain, but as has already been pointed out, it’s not rocket science, and people will figure out a way to do it with or without the help of education. The difference is that with the right education and the right, unrepressed, attitude toward it, children will have a healthy, well adjusted view of sex, rather than building all their opinions on what they’re fed by an admittedly very warped media.
    I agree with Sam, if you teach more than just the biology and include in education important things like healthy relationships and having respect for your own body, children will be protected.
    You can’t stop children from knowing about sex, simply because you can’t control what other parents tell their children, or what they let their children watch on TV. I know a fair few people who got all of their sex education from other kids at school, and their views of sex ended up being really immature. That’s not to say they didn’t want to do it or hadn’t done it, but they had gone about it in a completely unsafe way, as they had not been properly educated on it.
    Some of my family have grown up in a country which, while developed, does not have sex education in its curriculum, and I’ve been absolutely shocked by some of the ignorance I’ve come across in conversation with them. I don’t mean to call them stupid, they are some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met, but they believed things (at age 20 and UP) that they could not get pregnant if their boyfriend did not ejaculate and so they did not need to use condoms, and that you could lose your virginity if you used a tampon.
    You can see what I mean, these views are the views that a child might create for herself, making sense of the sexual world through guesswork and rumours rather than fact.
    So, I think it would be best if we didn’t cut out sex education in schools, but improved it to properly educate our children about all the important parts of growing up- not leaving out the link between sex, emotions, health and relationships. We need to be able to talk frankly about it.

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