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    Have you heard about the Duggar girls' new book, Growing Up Duggar, in which Jill, Jinger, Jessa, and Janna discuss everything from dating to growing up in such a large family to their relationship with God and everything in between?

    It promises to be quite the interesting read -- especially since they definitely aren't living the lives of typical teenagers. They don't kiss boys. They don't watch TV. And they don't frantically check and update their Facebook status 100 times a day because social media really doesn't fit into their daily life.

    And while some will probably argue that they're missing out on so many life experiences because of the sheltered life they lead -- they actually seem a whole lot happier than a lot of teens today.

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    Just because you made a baby does NOT mean you are in a position to get married to the mother or father of your baby -- especially if you are 15 years old. That's the message some Florida lawmakers are putting out there by moving to ban marriage for teens 15 or younger.

    According to state records, there were a whopping 110 marriages involving kids 16 and younger in Florida last year -- which just seems bonkers, regardless of whether these couples had children or not. If the law passes, Florida would be one of 10 states -- including Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin -- that already oppose marriage for children 16 and younger. But that's not going far enough.

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    Learning to put your first bra on is hard. Learning to put your first bra on in under five seconds lest your baby brother throw open the door at any moment and see you half-naked? That's substantially harder. Welcome to the life of a tween girl who shares a bedroom with her brother. 

    Welcome to the life I led for a substantial portion of my childhood. When I was 5, my brother came bursting into the world, full of snips, snails, and puppy dog tails. And after a stint in the bassinet in my parents' room, he was moved into the room I'd called my own for five years. It was a sleeping arrangement that would last until I was in high school -- a brother and sister together, sharing a bedroom.

    Needless to say, it's one of the worse things I see parents doing to their children.

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    MTV's shows Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant have been vilified on a national stage as glorifying teen pregnancy. Mayors have said the shows can't film in their towns because of the way it "encourages" teenage pregnancy. And yet, statistics released this week reveal something else entirely: Teen Mom is actually REDUCING the number of pregnancies that are happening among teens.

    In other words: This is birth control, people. It's the best sexual education out there.

    The National Bureau of Economic Research looked at Nielsen television ratings and compared them to birth records. They found that in areas where teens watched more MTV in the period after 16 and Pregnant debuted, the teen pregnancy rate declined faster than it did in other areas where that is not true. Additionally, when the show was airing, searches for birth control online went up. Is that crazy or what?

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    Without a doubt, one of the hardest parts of having a child who is fast approaching the tween years is the increasing need to explain the changing body. Puberty doesn't scare me. Talking about puberty doesn't scare me.

    But like many kids, my daughter is not a big fan of talking about her body with me. Considering her mother once sat through a sex talk with her fingers in her ears as she chanted "la, la, la, la, la" (I was such a mature kid), I suppose this is nature's way of getting back to me.

    But whether she wants to talk about it or not, puberty is coming, and she has to hear about it -- if not from me, then from a book.

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    I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I get a little creeped out when people talk about my husband like he's supposed to be the last barrier between some teenage boy and my daughter's purity. Why is my daughter's virginity anyone's business but her own? Just because he's her father doesn't give him any more ownership of her body than any other guy, right? If you answered that with an affirmative, then get ready to be officially creeped out by the hot new "purity ring" sweeping Pinterest.

    The ring (note: not the one seen above) is actually pretty cute -- it's in the shape of a crown, with little diamond-type chips. But the meaning behind it is anything but cute.

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    How many times have you thought about entering your teen's bedroom -- the room you sweat and toil to pay for each month -- only to stop dead in your tracks because you remember that one time you walked in without knocking and caught him (or her), ugh, engaging in some quality alone time? The issue of privacy and how much of it we should give our teens suddenly becomes a major factor once they turn 13 or 14. One writer took on what can be an uncomfortable topic by penning a hilarious review of Kleenex tissues on Amazon that you must read if you're a parent -- and especially if you're raising a teenage boy

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  • Say What!?

    School Suspends Teen For Hugging a Teacher

    posted by Jeanne Sager December 16, 2013 at 1:13 PM in Teen
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    A 17-year-old won't be seeing the inside of a school any time soon. Sam McNair was suspended from school for an entire year. His crime? He hugged a teacher! It may sound like a sweet thing, but a hug is a violation of the sexual harassment policy at Gwinnett County Public Schools in Duluth, Georgia.

    Considering just a week ago I defended a 6-year-old charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate on the hand, you may be surprised by my reaction to this student's suspension.

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    Quick, think: where's the dumbest place you partied as a teen? The home of a friend while her parents were away for the weekend? A parking lot? Most of my keg experiences happened at a huge park at night, where we hung out on the grass and were obnoxious and loud -- until police "raided" our parties, which pretty much meant they scared us and told us to get off the city's property. 

    But some teens are now hosting what are called "ghost parties." They select a house that belongs to a complete stranger who isn't home at the time and organize a big party on -- and in -- the person's property. And since many insist on tweeting about and posting photos from the event, they shouldn't be shocked when they, like the 16 teens who were caught after partying at, stealing from, and looting a California mansion, get caught and face very real charges.

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    If you're a woman and you have a social media account, you've likely had someone share with you this controversial Kmart commercial for Joe Boxer men's underwear. The sender either loved it ("Finally, an ad for us women," a Facebook friend posted on her wall) or loathed it and claimed it was going to destroy our children's innocence and demolish every value we work so hard to instill in them.

    The truth is: it's a really silly ad that is neither sexy and stimulating nor all that scandalous. It's sort of clever and will probably help sell a lot of underwear. And it might make your kids yawn. But that's about it, folks.

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