Bristol Palin Will Not Make My (Or Your) Kid Abstain

Officially, Bristol Palin calls herself a "teen activist," a crusader against premarital sex, a person who stars in public service announcements alongside The Situation of MTV (and probable STD) fame. 

In reality, she is the daughter of someone famous (Sarah Palin) and made headlines for her pregnancy at the age of 17. In other words, do as she says, not as she did. And even if she's a born again virgin as she claims, is she really the one I want telling my children not to have sex?

Um, nope.

After all, her insistence that "it is possible" to abstain seems a little like a lie when it is so clear that she didn't abstain at all. Sexual abstinence may, indeed, be the way to avoid ending up like Bristol, but I would rather my kids get that lesson from someone who actually did wait for sex.


Children are hard-wired to experiment. From the time they're born to the time they leave the house, they're testing boundaries and learning their own limits and values. As a parent, the last thing I want to tell my children is that something they know I do (be it yelling or swearing or talking with my mouth full) is "easy" not to do. 

That is the quickest way to make me look like a giant hypocrite and make them not believe anything I say.

Sure, Bristol is actively living with the consequences of her actions and she is a good person to talk about the consequences of having sex. By all means, tell my children how hard teen parenthood is, but please do not try to tell them to abstain or suggest that something you couldn't and didn't do is "simple."

Because for some, it isn't. At 17, I was way more concerned with getting into a good college and wearing the right shoes than having sex. I suppose I was a late bloomer and was lucky that way. I didn't start having sex until I was much more mature than others. That said, according to a 2005 study by Durex, 17.3 remains the average age worldwide for children to lose their virginity.

And yes, that scares me, too. I do not want my 17-year-old having sex any more than anyone else, but I don't think a teen mom will scare them out of sex. Maybe she can teach them to wear a condom, but talking down to teenagers and telling them to do as we say and not as we do is the quickest way to make them shut down.

And then they really will end up like Bristol Palin.

Do you think Palin is a good abstinence advocate?


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