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Zoey's Pregnancy 101

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Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy gives Moms an opportunity to talk to tweens.

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Tween fans of Zoey 101 surfing the Web for info on their hero today are going to get more than they bargained for when they find out that 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant. Even if you don't plan to share this sensitive information with your tween, she'll likely hear about it on the radio, Internet, or from her friends. So, what should you do when your tween finds out that her favorite teen star is now a mom-to-be?

Sabrina Weill, mom of two and author of The Real Truth about Teens and Sex, offers the following three pointers:

1. THE TIP: It's important to make the gravity of the situation feel real for your tween.
It's very difficult for teens and tweens to grasp the concept of consequences. It makes it even harder when they see people they look up to, like Jamie Lynn, getting pregnant--especially when it doesn't seem like the consequences for them are so bad. Asking your tween some tough questions will help her look at this situation in a different light.

THE SCRIPT:
• How do you think Jamie Lynn felt when she had to tell her Mom she was pregnant?
• How do you think she felt when she had to tell her friends?
• How do you think her boyfriend felt telling his parents that he got his girlfriend pregnant?
• How do you think she feels about taking on the responsibility of caring for a new baby?
• How do you think her boyfriend feels knowing that he and his family will be financially responsible for supporting another life, starting now?
• If this happened to one of your friends at school, how would the situation be different from Jamie Lynn's?
How would it be the same?

WHY IT WORKS: Answering questions like these will help tweens understand that what they're hearing in the media is not the entire story. Jamie Lynn and her family are likely having many conversations behind closed doors and experiencing a lot of heartache over this pregnancy that the public is simply not privy to. You don't want to panic or scare your child, but you want to help them view the situation realistically.

2. THE TIP: Make sure your tween knows she can come to you no matter what.
Most importantly, you need to let your tween know you would be there for her in a similar situation--and that you would want her to talk to you first.

THE SCRIPT: "I will always love you, and I will always listen to you. If you or your friends are in a situation you can't handle--like you're sexually active, or you become pregnant--I would want you to come to me first. Your well-being is what's most important to me."

WHY IT WORKS: These words let you share your expectations and values with your tween while still keeping the lines of communication open. If she feels like she can always come to you, you're less likely to be surprised by any unexpected news or announcements, like Jamie Lynn's mother Lynne Spears was. Many teens and tweens feel like their Mom would kill them if they got pregnant. The truth is, you'd probably be disappointed, but you'd still want to be the first to know. It's important that she understands this.

3. THE TIP: Keep the conversation going.
Jamie Lynn's pregnancy is all over the news today, but it will likely garner less and less media attention as the days and weeks go on. However, this will probably remain front-page news for your tween for a while.

THE SCRIPT: "Hey, I heard some of the Moms at drop-off talking about Jamie Lynn. Are your friends still talking about it?"

WHY IT WORKS: As the conversation about Jamie Lynn evolves, your tween's questions will too. By keeping the conversation alive you can make sure you answer any questions she has and squelch any misconceptions she may be picking up from friends at school.

Of course, these conversations can be awkward, but unfortunately tweens are already having conversations and hearing rumors about sex--it's key that one of the voices they hear be one they can trust the most: their parents.

Will you talk to your tween about Jamie Lynn's pregnancy? Comment now.


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101 comments so far | Post a comment now
Elyse December 19, 2007, 1:53 PM

I can’t believe she is pregnant. I am dreading having this conversation with my 11-year-old but she watches the show and I know I need to face this.

Terra December 19, 2007, 2:12 PM

Sad as the situation is, I jumped at the chance to use it to speak with my 11 year old daughter. She was really open to conversation and had some great questions.
I am not one for using other peoples downfalls as life lessons…but, if it protects my child…
Who wouldn’t!?

anne December 19, 2007, 3:36 PM

That is a riduculous suggestion. In no way is my 8 year old ready for the sex talk. These are the girls watching Zoey 101 6,7,8,9,10. No where near ready for this kind of discussion. Why does everyone want our kids to grow up so fast. This is going to be really hard to explain to my daughter. I’m extremely disappointed in Jamye Lynn. Did no one explain that she was a role model for many young girls.

Maddy December 19, 2007, 3:56 PM

I cannot believe Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant ! It is totally ridiculus . I do not agree with this article at all ! They pretty much saying that its okay to get pregnant when you are still young . because in the article it says to just have your child tell you everything and that you could help your child . kids this young shouldnt even be having sex ! this is not cool .

Lillian December 19, 2007, 4:08 PM

She’s 16. The father is 19. She says they’ve been dating for a “long time” and they met “in high school”. Mind you, she is in high-school right now in the middle of her junior year. So, she was 13 and he was 16 when they started having sex, and he should have known to use a condom at that age, even if she didn’t. She just reached the age of consent last April, and now she’s pregnant.

Can you say, “statutory rape”?

I guarantee if her boyfriend were black and/or she wasn’t famous the guy would be in jail.

ally December 19, 2007, 4:16 PM

this is not going to be good for the show. Are they going to cancel it? I hope not. If they do it will be a big bummer to all of America.

Azca December 19, 2007, 4:26 PM

I was 8 years old over 15 years ago and I can tell you without a doubt that I was hearing about sex at that time. Eight is NOT too young to be talking to your kid about sex. Parents need to be open and frank with their kids about sex from a very young age so that it will be nothing but a thing as they get older and the kids around them start giggling about it. They’ll be able to shrug their shoulders and say, “So what? My mom already told me about that.”

Azca December 19, 2007, 4:27 PM

I was 8 years old over 15 years ago and I can tell you without a doubt that I was hearing about sex at that time. Eight is NOT too young to be talking to your kid about sex. Parents need to be open and frank with their kids about sex from a very young age so that it will be nothing but a thing as they get older and the kids around them start giggling about it. They’ll be able to shrug their shoulders and say, “So what? My mom already told me about that.”

Concerned December 19, 2007, 4:29 PM

In response to Maddy:
Yes, she is a role model, but she is first and foremost a teenager. A child, not so different from your own. And she made a mistake, maybe. But she is handling it extremely well. I don’t understand why it is any different, she is just a child.
And she is acting beyond her years.

Concerned December 19, 2007, 4:33 PM

In response to Maddy:
Yes, she is a role model, but she is first and foremost a teenager. A child, not so different from your own. And she made a mistake, maybe. But she is handling it extremely well. I don’t understand why it is any different, she is just a child.
And she is acting beyond her years.

Spears Fan December 19, 2007, 4:36 PM

Well I am a fan of the Spears family, but all I have to say is maybe if the parents weren’t so concerned over their other daughter losing her children, their youngest wouldn’t have gone out and had one.

I know everyone makes mistakes, but I place this on the parents. Britney is grown, they have a child who is now going to have a child…

Kimbo December 19, 2007, 5:35 PM

It is sad that this happened, but Jamie Lynn made a mistake, just like a lot of other people do. And the truth of the matter is that girls her age are having sex. So, it’s better to talk to your child about it then to have her be embarrassed to discuss birth control options with you and have her in the same situation. That’s my opinion, anyway.

mag December 19, 2007, 5:48 PM

I don’t like that this article suggestes that the boyfriend is more financially responsible for this baby/family. A little sexist, plus she’s loaded. Also, I was propositioned with sex starting at 12. And that was 14 years ago! Wake up moms!

where was her mom? December 19, 2007, 6:00 PM

My children are 3 and 2. I do not plan on discussing sex with them at 8 years old, but I plan on talking about it. Obviously Jamie Lynn’s mom was so concerned about Britney falling apart she forgot about her youngest daughter. Yeah, she may have always been on time for curfew but she was doing something she wasn’t supposed to. I’m sorry about I hope Zoey gets cancelled. How could any mom in there right mind let their child watch that show knowing what a bad influence on young girls she is. Just like when Britney was popular, I did everything I could to not let my little sister listen to her. She was supposed to be a role model but dressed like a slut. I feel sorry for Jamie Lynn because she has screwed up b/c her parents are more concerned for her sister.

Jenni December 19, 2007, 6:33 PM

I don’t think the article is saying the guy is the only one financially responsible. Obviously the Mom is responsible too (hello, Brittney’s paying all the bills for her kids, right). But a guy has to think about this before he gets someone pregnant: CHILD SUPPORT LASTS 18 YEARS.

bob December 19, 2007, 6:34 PM

Who cares? It’s someone elses life. Let it go. She made her decision and now has to pay. I highly doubt that every girl now in the USA is gonna go out and have sex just because Jamie whatever did. Geez just look at the statistics…they are already doing it. “Sad they have to start putting nurseries in High Schools now”

Adriana December 19, 2007, 6:35 PM

I’m just a little confuse. I dont know if I should tell my 6year old daughter, since Zoey 101 is one of her favorite shows.I agree with Anne, Jamie Lynn is a role model for a lot of young girls and for her to be so irresponsible makes me very dissapointed. Dosent she know the situation her sister is in. What does she want to do follow her footsteps?

Kelly  December 19, 2007, 6:35 PM

My children are young, my daughter is 7 and I’m just trying to decide how to best explain this to her. She does watch the show occasionally and likes the Zoey character. When the star of High School Musical had naked photos leaked on the internet, my daughter got of her bus crying, explaining a boy told her that because of the photos the star would be sent to jail. She was heartbroken. I calmed her down and explained things at a level she could understand.
For this younger age group 7,8 year olds it is a harder conversation.
Hopefully, the media won’t glamorize Spears’ pregnancy. As it is a difficult road ahead for these two young parents.

sarah December 19, 2007, 7:01 PM

Okay everyone, calm down with the role model talk. As sad as it is, tons of girls and guys are doing this in high school. Ya, she may be a role model, but that doesn’t mean she has to be an innocent angel. I’m sorry you have to talk to your kids about this now, but its reality. Just because she is a celeb doesn’t mean that she has to be a role model. Ya, what happened sucks, but i personally think she is handling it very well.

Annie December 19, 2007, 7:43 PM

Well I think that it sad when people starts to think that its ok for a 16 year old to be pregnant start or not. I think that she is a bad role modle and yes you ar eon tv and when you acting on a “KIDS” tv show and your not a adult it’s not ok because kids look up to these little starlits on tv. I mean if it was an actress of 22 yong but older ok they would be on that big screen. Little girls loook up to thises people and kids think differently than adults. Also she has money to take care of this baby the average 16 year old dosen’t work enough money to sopport a puppy. So no its not ok. I would not let my 10yr old watch that show ever. They do look up to these pepel case they are all in the same generation. Kids will be kids i guess she forgit she was one… Dont let your kids grow up too fast it not ok .


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