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Let’s get Real by Jessie Andersen

Hello Everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve got Jessie Andersen as a guest today. She’s a fellow Astraea Press author and her latest release is titled “At what Cost.” . She’s got an interesting article for everyone, so check it out and let us know what you think!

Teen issues: Let’s be real.

Some people balk at the idea that authors write about issues like drug abuse, alcohol consumption, driving under the influence, teen pregnancy and abortion in young adult literature. But let’s be real, folks, teens deal with these issues with or without reading about them, many times on a daily basis. I believe it’s my job to present some of these issues in a realistic manner, and to use my writing as an opportunity to show a few alternatives to these issues to the teens who will read my stories.

I’m a mother, and as I raise my children, I want them to avoid some mistakes that I’ve seen so many people make. My mother used to pray this prayer for me and my brothers, “Lord, let them not do anything so stupid that they can’t live with it.” Fortunately for her, it worked. God is good. J But I see so many teenagers making mistakes that can be avoided. Notice I didn’t say easily avoided, but avoided nonetheless. And please know, it’s not like me or my brothers were perfect by any means, (my brothers especially *wink*) but there were some things we didn’t have to deal with because of the choices we made.

Unfortunately, we can’t erase the issues that come up in teenagers’ lives. I wish we could. There are many times in my life that I’d love to go back and erase a decision or two, but we can’t. We have to learn to deal with the consequences of our actions, to live through them and to grow because of them. Sometimes, like with the teen pregnancy shown in my book, it’s a huge consequence.

For some reason, teen pregnancy and abortion are issues that hit my heart. I hate to see a young person have to struggle with raising a child when he or she is still a child. It’s hard enough to do as an adult. But even more, I hate to see a life snuffed out because a young person wants to make a hasty choice. Our tendency as humans is to quickly get rid of the problem, whatever it is. But sometimes, it’s not that easy. Sometimes taking what seems like the easy road at first, brings about the hard road later on.

It’s important not to downplay the types of issues teenagers are dealing with. We can’t ignore them, and we can’t make them go away. Instead, we must teach kids how to deal effectively with them and how to live with the consequences of those actions. Teenagers aren’t dumb. They know, be it, when reading a story or talking to an adult, when people are patronizing them. Give it to them real. Show them the real consequences to some of the things they might face in their teen years, and then hope and pray that they’ll make wise choices based on the truth.

So, for the teens out there reading this, I seem to be speaking more to adults in this post. Sorry about that. It wasn’t my intent, but sometimes the words just come out. Just know that even though we adults may seem overbearing at times, we do the things we do because we love you and want to see you happy in the future. We just may not go about it in the best way. I know you’re smart kids. You can put two and two together and make good choices. But the key to making those choices is to make them before the situation arises. Don’t let your temptations guide you. Use your head and stick to your decisions.

Okay, I’ve given enough advice for one post. Farewell, all. Thanks for putting up with my blabbing today.

You can find Jessie’s books here:


Barnes and Noble:

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After years of decline Teen Pregnancy is on the rise. Why?

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m continuing my discussion on issues that affect teenagers and this week I’m talking about teen pregnancy.

According to the CDC the teen birth rate rose by three percent in 2006. (This is the latest year that information is available).

This surprised me. I mean with all the birth control options available how could this happen?

I started to research this and according to Planned Parenthood the rise can be blamed on abstinence-only sex education programs. Of course, this blew my mind. Abstinence-only sex education programs? Isn’t this moving backward?

So I dug a little deeper and found that the Busch administration funded the abstinence-only sex education program and according to Heather Boonstra from the Guttmacher Institute, it’s reasonable to conclude that this type of sex education program is not effective.

Sigh. I should have known the government was behind this in some way! LOL! J Just kidding! J

Because of this rise in teen pregnancy President Obama has changed his funding protocol. He has decided to fund comprehensive-sex education programs.  That’s a good thing. In my humble opinion knowledge is power.

But truth be told, no birth control method is 100% effective. So the best way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence. Wouldn’t you agree?

Researchers have found that abstinent teens are far more likely to attend and graduate from college than those who are sexually active. They also found that these teenagers are less likely to suffer from depression.

So what can parents do?

According to the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health by Robert Recker and Kirk Johnson at Heritage Foundation, there are eight behavioral traits that are inborn, but can also be taught and reinforced. These are listed below.

  1. Future Orientation with a focus on long term goals.
  2. Willingness to postpone current pleasures for larger future goals.
  3. Perseverance, as in the ability to stick to a task or commitment.
  4. A belief that current behavior can positively affect the future.
  5. Impulse control, including the ability to control emotions and desires.
  6. Resistance to peer influence.
  7. Respect for parental and social values
  8. Sense of Self Worth and Personal Dignity.

These traits can be encouraged by parents and reinforced in schools. And in my humble opinion it’s best to start practicing them when they’re young. The reason I feel this way is that if you start doing this at a young age, by the time they’re teens these behaviors have become habits. J And we all know habits are hard to break. J

**I would like to thank the CDC and US News for some of the information provided in this blog post. J