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Family Fun Center: Can You Catch Teen Love?

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Katie Wisdom Weinstein: My 11-year-old daughter had her birthday party at a Family Fun Center last week. It looked a bit like a Family Planning Center, if you ask me.

Amid rides, go-carts, and arcade were young teen couples, hands in each other's pockets and whispering sweet nothings into each other's ears while waiting for The Claw machine. Am I getting to be one of THOSE mothers? Do I rush to hide my daughter's eyes so she cannot catch this preteen disease? Don't get me started on the 17-year-old pregnant teens, standing in line for pizza at The Shack. I mean, pregnant teens have to have fun too! If you believe all the research about babies hearing in the womb, these little dudes will come out happy as clams, amid the buzz, bings, and strums of a good Guitar Hero tournament.

teens kissing at a fair

But I digress. I was secretly riveted to the Skee-Ball lanes that night, where a tight-jeaned teen girl was pitching those wooden balls with all her might. Her meek male attendant, pants sagging to show plaid boxers, was cheering her on, touching her whenever he had the chance. Maybe I was jealous? I was never that girl way back when! I was brash but boy-shy. I was a big talker but no action. I would have D-I-E-D if a boy grabbed my arm like that in public at age fourteen. It would have been 10 hours on the phone, dissecting every moment with my best friend.

Clearly, things have changed. I am sure my daughter thinks me a huge geek, because although we have taught her the finer points of rock and roll, quiz her relentlessly on the nuances of Roger Daltrey's voice vs. Mick Jagger's, we get all nervous about BOYS. We openly talk about our expectations and I want to seem cool in the face of her conversations about who goes out with who. I just do not want her to grow up too fast. I do not want her feeding pizza to a high-school-aged womb. Yes, Bristol Palin is a cute teen mom, with her already teen body back in shape, but I am not interested in my daughter finding out about 7 Minutes in Heaven yet. Thankfully, she has a good head on her shoulders. She is not in a rush to grow up. I think her daddy can still win her prizes from The Claw, but for how long? Maybe this is a good lesson. Let's go to the Family Fun Center every year to get a good dose of reality.


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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Rachel May 12, 2009, 2:38 AM

As long as it’s not over the top, why would you want to stop it? I met my husband at 15, if my parents had stopped that relationship I wouldn’t be with my soul mate right now!

R.S. May 12, 2009, 8:41 PM

Yesterday I was doing my weekly mentoring at a Mother/Baby Program at a local Food Bank when an adorable 16 year old Hispanic girl came in to partake of our services. She did not speak English; she was 8 1/2 months pregnant and her 13 month old was not with her. The father of her children had just been deported back to Mexico. To boot we found out that her 13month old is developmentally delayed. He still is not sitting. Whew, I can remember when the only concern I had at 16 was if a new “zit” had appeared on my face or whether a boy was going to call.


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