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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.


next: Top 5: Santa Train Wreck Photos
101 comments so far | Post a comment now
Annie December 19, 2007, 7:44 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 .

Annie December 19, 2007, 7:44 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 .

Bobbie Eller December 19, 2007, 8:03 PM

Plain and simple …trailer trash,if they put that show back on we don’t buy anything from their sponsors and we block Nickelodeon.
This isn’t an “opportunity to talk to our kids” it’s a chance to see what dirt bags are out there acting in front of our kids…

Bobbie Eller December 19, 2007, 8:04 PM

Plain and simple …trailer trash,if they put that show back on we don’t buy anything from their sponsors and we block Nickelodeon.
This isn’t an “opportunity to talk to our kids” it’s a chance to see what dirt bags are out there acting in front of our kids…

Bobbie Eller December 19, 2007, 8:05 PM

Plain and simple …trailer trash,if they put that show back on we don’t buy anything from their sponsors and we block Nickelodeon.
This isn’t an “opportunity to talk to our kids” it’s a chance to see what dirt bags are out there acting in front of our kids…

Anonymous December 19, 2007, 8:25 PM

I think this is absolutely classic: now perhaps the media will start to look at how completely trashy and worthless these ‘tween’ stars are, and kids will get real role models, not these glamor, sparkling fake faces on stupid TV shows. Two of the most potentially star-studded actresses of the last decade, sisters, have proceeded to throw their lives down the drain as fast as they could. I hope Nickelodeon burns for this one, I hope they burn long and hard.

Wake up parents, your daughters are out sucking **** when they’re 12, 13, your sons are out slipping fingers up dresses and sneaking looks into the girls bathrooms when they’re 12, 13. There is no such thing as ‘innocent teenagers’, they have all had sexual experience, they are all out watching porn at some friends house. And they’ll lie with their bright blue eyes straight to your face.

Next time before you set them out in front of the TV to watch spongebob or w/e craptastic shows they have on nickelodeon that day, ask yourself just what kind of people they’re idolizing. Take a gander at the Spears sisters, at Lohan, at nearly every child/teenage star that the last 10 years has grown up with, and see where they’ve gotten to. Go get them a book instead, they’ll thank you in the long run.

Andrew December 19, 2007, 8:25 PM

I think this is absolutely classic: now perhaps the media will start to look at how completely trashy and worthless these ‘tween’ stars are, and kids will get real role models, not these glamor, sparkling fake faces on stupid TV shows. Two of the most potentially star-studded actresses of the last decade, sisters, have proceeded to throw their lives down the drain as fast as they could. I hope Nickelodeon burns for this one, I hope they burn long and hard.

Wake up parents, your daughters are out sucking **** when they’re 12, 13, your sons are out slipping fingers up dresses and sneaking looks into the girls bathrooms when they’re 12, 13. There is no such thing as ‘innocent teenagers’, they have all had sexual experience, they are all out watching porn at some friends house. And they’ll lie with their bright blue eyes straight to your face.

Next time before you set them out in front of the TV to watch spongebob or w/e craptastic shows they have on nickelodeon that day, ask yourself just what kind of people they’re idolizing. Take a gander at the Spears sisters, at Lohan, at nearly every child/teenage star that the last 10 years has grown up with, and see where they’ve gotten to. Go get them a book instead, they’ll thank you in the long run.

Kitt December 19, 2007, 8:50 PM

I think it sucks for your children to have the kind of parents who post lame comments about internet articles. Some of you can’t even spell. I’m 22. I started having sex when I was 17 and my boyfriend was 16. I was on the pill and we used condoms. Over half of my high school class had had sex by graduation. I’d say that maybe 2% of their parents knew about it. About 90% of the women at my college (Wellesley) have had sex or are planning to in the near future. I’d say only 10% of their parents know. I have classmates who lie lie and lie to their parents about their sex lives. Their parents are clueless. I operate a Wellesley community online forum for sexual health and relationships and it is AMAZING the information that intelligent young women don’t know about sex by the time they get to college. If you don’t want to talk to your tween about sex, buy him/her a copy of OurBodiesOurselves. S/he’s already sneaked a peek at in the public library. And the stash of romance novels you keep under your bed? Your tween has sneaked one into her bedroom to read it. Be responsible and talk to your child.

Anonymous December 19, 2007, 11:38 PM

I find it comical how people are saying she’s handling it well. Running out to the highest bidder to get some cash for your story - I guess that is handling it well, financially anyway.

Jillian December 20, 2007, 8:30 AM

I dont think people should be trashing her just because she is 16. I was 16 when I got pregnant and I wasnt a slut or going around with a bunch of different guys. I had a boyfriend for 2 and half years and it happened. I finished school with a 3.9 GPA and I was a straight A student throughout my senior year. I think it is bullshit that people trash young girls for getting pregnant. you havent ever been in the sitaution so dont judge. My son is a year and a half years old and I am doing just fine. Its all in how you deal with the situation and face the responsibility.

Anonymous December 20, 2007, 8:34 AM

Note to “Annie” - hope you aren’t “helping” your kids with their spelling homework. It not ok.

debra December 20, 2007, 9:09 AM

I think that this is just crazy, what do we do just keep your kids away from the TV so that the won’t find out what going on with her, they are going to find out some kind of way, my grandson did, Teachers from his school was talking about it and the children heard, and he is a fan and 12 years old.
He ask me why would she miss up her life like that. Thats when he mother had to sit down and have a good talk with him.

debra December 20, 2007, 9:09 AM

I think that this is just crazy, what do we do just keep your kids away from the TV so that the won’t find out what going on with her, they are going to find out some kind of way, my grandson did, Teachers from his school was talking about it and the children heard, and he is a fan and 12 years old.
He ask me why would she miss up her life like that. Thats when he mother had to sit down and have a good talk with him.

debra December 20, 2007, 9:10 AM

I think that this is just crazy, what do we do just keep your kids away from the TV so that the won’t find out what going on with her, they are going to find out some kind of way, my grandson did, Teachers from his school was talking about it and the children heard, and he is a fan and 12 years old.
He ask me why would she miss up her life like that. Thats when he mother had to sit down and have a good talk with him.

Kim December 20, 2007, 9:20 AM

GEEZ! Did anyone ever think that MAYBE this is an opportunity to REFOCUS your kids AWAY from the Television????!!! Far too much time and energy is WASTED on idolizing celebrities. They are not perfect - far from it! And anyone who suggests that they are ‘role model’s’ is putting their child’s future in sad hands. YOU are your child’ BEST role model. DO what YOU think is right for your child, based on their friends, their school, their society. DON’T look to Hollywood for answers. Get REAL with your kids. PLEASE.

Veronica December 20, 2007, 9:57 AM

I can’t believe all of this trash talk. She’s a 16 year old girl, who yes, is a role model. But does that mean she needs to be perfect. If that’s the case, then let’s ban all the football, baseball, basketball and any other sport around!!!

It IS an opportunity to talk to your kids, especially for the parents that are “scared” of the talk. If you think your child is perfect, take a visit to any middle school one day and just take a look at what the girls AND boys are wearing!! Sex is all around us, even on an every day commercial. Get real parents.

You should be talking about sex, drugs and personal identity with your kids ALL the time. Make sure they are comfortable with themselves. That they know when they make a decision it’s their decision not a friend or boyfriends. Kids are going to do what they want, let’s give them to power to say “NO” and be OK with it when the boyfriend or girlfriend give them a hard time about “not doing it”.

As far as the show is concerned, I’m not sure what they should do. Maybe make it a reality show and have her raise the kid on air so when she has to get up at 2 am and feed the baby kids will “see” how hard it is and it’s not glamorous!!!

Veronica December 20, 2007, 10:00 AM

I can’t believe all of this trash talk. She’s a 16 year old girl, who yes, is a role model. But does that mean she needs to be perfect. If that’s the case, then let’s ban all the football, baseball, basketball and any other sport around!!!

It IS an opportunity to talk to your kids, especially for the parents that are “scared” of the talk. If you think your child is perfect, take a visit to any middle school one day and just take a look at what the girls AND boys are wearing!! Sex is all around us, even on an every day commercial. Get real parents.

You should be talking about sex, drugs and personal identity with your kids ALL the time. Make sure they are comfortable with themselves. That they know when they make a decision it’s their decision not a friend or boyfriends. Kids are going to do what they want, let’s give them to power to say “NO” and be OK with it when the boyfriend or girlfriend give them a hard time about “not doing it”.

As far as the show is concerned, I’m not sure what they should do. Maybe make it a reality show and have her raise the kid on air so when she has to get up at 2 am and feed the baby kids will “see” how hard it is and it’s not glamorous!!!

Amy December 20, 2007, 10:02 AM

My problem is not what Jamie Lynn did,as much as to how to talk to my 8 yr old about this. Because she is in a show where she plays a school kid, we as parents are forced to discuss a subject that maybe we weren’t ready to do just yet. I understand that eventually you have to, but at what age? I feel my son is too young to even start to understand about sex. They don’t even start going over it in school until 11 and 12 years. I don’t want to lie or dodge the subject, but I don’t know if his mind is ready for the explanation. Anyone got any specific ideas on how to explain briefly, not going into too much detail, but not lying either??

Veronica December 20, 2007, 10:09 AM

How to talk to your kids and at one age. My daughter is almost 6 and my son is 3 and we talk about it. In the simplest terms. We have discussed the actual parts of the body so that they are comfortable. I have an AWESOME book from Usborn that explains all the stuff - it’s the flip flap body book. And there are tons of other books at the book store you can get that are geared towards younger kids.

It’s not so much to say to a 6 year old this is where it goes, but to start to conversation so as they get older and ask questions they are comfortable to come back to you.

Laura December 20, 2007, 11:37 AM

Why do parents allow their kids to watch so much TV in the first place? How can the Zoey character be a ‘roll model”?
Seems to be it’s time to turn off the TVs and computers and get rid of the crap magazines and show your children that there is more to life than the superfical, marketing driven, brain rotting drivel that’s on TV.

It’s simple… Stop with having a TV in every room of the house. One TV is enough. And especially, children should not have TVs or computers in the bedrooms.

A roll model simply should not be a total stranger, TV character. They’re not real.


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