Two

Thank you all for your kind words concerning my student who thinks she might be pregnant. The trouble about situations like this is that technically, school personnel is under no specific obligation to inform parents of issues like this. (I know, right?) The other five or so times this happened to me, the child immediately agreed to allow me to break the news to their parents and we handled it from there. There was no violation of trust in me as a confidant because though I gently pressed upon the students that the sooner they told their parents, the better it would be, it was a decision that I allowed them to come to themselves instead me going "behind their backs."

This time my student is much more hesitant to talk with her parents. I spoke with her again Friday after school and tried to gently persuade her to tell her parents sooner, rather than later, even offering to tell them myself first so that it took some of the pressure off of her to tell. She seemed agreeable to me talking with her parents, then waffled a bit and said that she would tell them when she "found the right time." I could sense her indecision and asked if she'd like the weekend to think about it and she said she would. I'll talk to her again this afternoon and will use a bit more firm, but gentle pressure to talk with her parents.

As if that situation wasn't enough, I also learned on Friday that I have a student on my team who is definitely pregnant. She had a positive home test the week before last and has a doctor's appointment sometime this week. I don't know what decision is going to be made about her pregnancy (and neither does she, for that matter), but at least her parents are aware and are actively involved.

The thing that gets me about these two students is that they are at the bottom of my list for girls who I would have expected to have pregnancy crises this year. I have a tough group of students this year, especially when it comes to the girls. Many of my students come from broken homes and have extremely low socioeconomic statuses, and their backgrounds usually lead to them having significant behavior problems in the classroom. These two girls have active and involved parents, have comfortable home lives, and are generally well-behaved. They're the types of girls who you look at and expect that they'll be able to stay on track straight through college. They still seem to have the appropriate childlike nature about them instead of trying to carry themselves as "you can't talk to me that way" adults. While I'm careful not to make assumptions about my students based on their appearances, I still can't help but know that I would have expected something like this from a handful of other girls far before I would have expected it from these two particular girls.

What most rattles me is that these girls are just five years older than Kyra. Like these girls, Kyra has the benefit of an emotionally comfortable home, of parents who love her and an extended support system. The truth is that as parents, we never know. We do our best to raise our children and teach them of the dangers of the world so that they might avoid them. We like to think "not my child," but truth of the matter is that no matter how good the upbringing, it's still ultimately up to the child to make the decisions that affect his or her life, and all we can do is be there to help guide them from one decision to the next and help them work through the consequences, whether good or bad.

I keep thinking about what the girls' parents are thinking/will think and how I would feel if I were in their shoes. I pray that I never am, but if I were I know that I would be asking myself Where did I go wrong? and How could I let this happen? Even now, I feel a bit powerless in knowing that as a parent, I can try my best to raise my children to keep themselves safe,  but that I can't dodge or block every bullet for them.

21 Comments

  1. Beautiful Mess on January 11, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Ooohhh that’s scary! Sounds like those girls are like Nae. I talk to Nae all the time about sex and drugs, but in the end, only she can make that decision. That makes me really sad and terrifies me! I guess all we can do is be supportive and love them unconditionally.
    Lots of love for those girls.
    *HUGS*



  2. Erin on January 11, 2010 at 11:14 am

    I was that good girl that got pg too. If you read all the statistics about who SHOULDN’T get pg in HS, it was me (band, soccer, honor roll, yada yada). But yet it did and luckly, I made it through ok. I just had this same talk with my DD (now almost 14 yo) this past weekend. I’m a little disturbed with her thinking process right now, but hopefully we can continue the discussion to get her to the god place where it DOESN’T happen to her too. Thank YOU for being there for these girls. Its a very scary place to be.
    (BTW- do you mean they are just 5 years OLDER than Kyra? From what I can see in your history, Kyra is 8-ish…making thse girls only 3 yo with how you have that sentence.)



  3. Moxie on January 11, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Thanks for catching that mistake, Erin. That’s what I get for posting on the fly in a hurry.
    I hope that your daughter takes all of your talks with her to heart and will use them as motivation to make the right decisions.
    Thanks for reading along and for commenting today.



  4. Steven & Michelle on January 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Gulp. Catching up on your latest posts and reading this with a heavy heart. Along with being a supportive husband of my gestationaly surrogate wife, I’m also dad to two wonderful teenage girls. We do EVERYTHING we can to provide our precious kids with the best possible environment. To us, that doesn’t mean sheltering them from every situation that comes up in a normal teen’s life. (OK, maybe a little. Perhaps more than a little. OH FINE. I do it as much as I can…or know about. Sigh.) The social pressures these kids have to deal with are off the scale compared to teens of my generation. I admire them for their coping skills. And still I worry 24/7/365. No wonder I go through the Tums.



  5. fat chick on January 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Yikes. I’m glad that your student felt comfortable talking to you – she needs an adult she can rely on now.
    Don’t even know what else to say.



  6. Angela on January 11, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Moxie, I am interested to see what you think about the show ‘Teen Mom’ on MTV, in light of these most recent developments.



  7. Kristin on January 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Wow, that just so unbelievably young.



  8. Andreaa on January 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Wow, that’s really tough. I think it’s awesome that they feel comfortable enough to come to you, though. I hope she allows you to speak with her parents very soon. Bless you for helping these girls!



  9. LJ on January 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Yeah, it’s a sad state when we can pick out the kids who have the higher chance of falling into difficult paths, and outright shocking when the relative few who don’t seem to have those odds stacked against them fall prey as well. Good luck to everyone involved…



  10. Quiet Dreams on January 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I’m so glad that there are teachers like you.
    Whenever I’ve dealt with clients in similar situations (pregnant or something else equally worrisome), I also compare their ages to my nieces or to other girls in my life. Really makes it hit home.



  11. N on January 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    These are the kinds of things that scare the crap out of me about impending parenthood. Though knowing there are teachers out there like you to help kids out is always relieving.
    I know that I had it banged into my head from an early age (by my mom who had to drop out of college as a freshman b/c of OOPS, me) and so was very careful, even before I was mostly with women, but how to pass that on? I don’t know.
    I hope the first student comes to a place of peace in regards to talking to her parents.
    (and hey, look – I commented!)



  12. Trish K on January 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Wow, just wow. I can’t imagine being in the parents’ shoes. I, like you, am trying to bring my girls up to make good decisions, but you just never know. I just pray that I don’t have to deal with this type of situation with my own children. Sometimes having daughters is really scary!



  13. Carrie Holmquist on January 11, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    1. Still waiting for my phone to miraculously ring. Sniff, sniff.
    2. You just never know what will happen to our children, we can only do so much. It’s scary, and I think for teacher parents it is even harder because we see it every.single.day.



  14. Sunny on January 11, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    That is really scary, and sad. I want to ask, “What were you thinking?!” in true parental fashion… but honestly, truly to know. Did they not know the facts? Were they feeling pressured? It’s so mind-blowing to me, especially when I spend time reading so many IF blogs…



  15. a on January 11, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Funnily enough, I just met up with a bunch of people I knew when I was 13. We were all pretty innocent in those days anyway, but there was a lot of talk about people who might have been having sex. One girl said that she thought my parents were soooo strict. I didn’t think so at all – in fact, I spent most of my time running around as the lone girl in a pack of boys, and either no one noticed or cared, or they really trusted me, or my sister was just that distracting.
    I don’t know what kind of circumstances have made children so curious at such a young age. Is it the media? Is it the permissiveness of parents? Is it the information age? I guess all you can do is try to promote communication and to warn of the dangers. It’s frightening!



  16. coffeegrl on January 12, 2010 at 12:44 am

    When I was a mentor for some “at-risk” teenagers, this kind of thing happened with more frequency than we adults would have liked. The one thing that seemed to make it better was knowing that supportive adults (teachers, counselors, mentors, friends, and hopefully family) can help them get through it. In the meantime, I can’t help but wonder about how to make it all come out “even”. Couldn’t we find a way to “redistribute the wealth” so to speak – in some way. So many willing parents out there. So many confused, misinformed and scared teens.



  17. anymommy on January 12, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Yeah. Just yes. I think about this a lot. You are so important to those girls. Moxie, hugs to you, just for being someone they can talk to and for being so careful with their trust and their hearts.



  18. Jess on January 12, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Oh man…how hard for them, you, and their parents. It’s awesome that they have someone, you, who is a confidant to them.
    Hopefully everything turns out all right.



  19. nancy on January 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Oh boy. What a situation. How old are the kids? You may have already mentioned, so forgive me if I am asking you to repeat yourself.
    It just goes to show that there isn’t always a specific kind of person this happens to. How scary. I think of my two girls and wonder how I’m going to raise them to not fall into such a terrible situation. Oy vey.



  20. Ally on January 12, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Bless your heart for being so good with your students, even in circumstances like this. It’s heartbreaking when they come to you with news like this. I wish there were easy ways to protect them and shelter them. They’re just so young.



  21. leanne on January 13, 2010 at 11:23 am

    What a sad situation, but like the others I’m glad that this girl has someone like you to look after her. I have a daughter myself, and even though she’s quite young, I already find myself hoping that not only do I do my job as a parent well enough, but that she takes those lessons to heart and makes good decisions.