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View Poll Results: What are your opinions on this issue?
There's definatly a problem. Somthing needs to be done about this 18 69.23%
I don't think there's a problem at all, just kids being kids 1 3.85%
I don't really care, cause I don't plan on having children. 5 19.23%
ot exactly sure, let's see what it's like in a few years... 2 7.69%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll


Thread: Teenagers just keep getting younger...
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Old 11-29-2006, 09:37 PM   #1
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Teenagers just keep getting younger...

You've probably already heard a lot about how kids nowadays are acting way more mature, but this is a bit topic. I go to the mall sometimes and see little girls, who look about ten, in micromini's and very tight t-shirts. I mean, somthing must be wrong here. They look like prostitutes, and they haven even began their periods.

Also, kids are growing up much more in the responsibilities and the way their treated. I see little children with cell phones, and labtops, and iPods. I don't have a cell phone, I got my ipod on my 13th birthday(When I became a teenager), and labtops no kid needs until they go off to collage.

Kids are also getting WAY into relationships too quick. One of my cousins had dated over 10 girls before 4th grade. And that rate's not gonna slow down for kids anytime soon. With teen pregnancy growing to an alarmingly high rate, what will our future hold? Will these current tweens be our future teenage moms and dads?

What do you think about all of this? Do you think today's tweens are becoming more mature too quick? Why do you think all this is happning and who is to blame?

Links to articals reguarding the subject.
http://www.thetowntalk.com/apps/pbcs...INION/61127010
http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/11/28...ion=cnn_latest


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Old 11-29-2006, 09:41 PM   #2
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Old 11-29-2006, 10:18 PM   #3
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Hey, they're getting both taller and shorter too. I remember that it seemed like the shorter incoming freshman in HS got shorter and shorter as time went on. As to who's to blame, popular culture mostly. Though negligent parents run a very close second.
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Old 11-29-2006, 11:18 PM   #4
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As a father, I am greatly concerned about this issue. My kids are 9 and 6 now, but I fear they will be pushed into adolescence too early. So I enjoy every minute of their childhood I can.

I read an article a year or two back that talked about how the average age of menarche in the US was 14 in 1900. Now it's 12. That's what scares me most. Girls are physically able to get pregnant long before they have the maturity to deal with it. Combine that with a culture that virtually screams out, "Have all the sex you can!!!" and you have a recipe for disaster.


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Old 11-29-2006, 11:28 PM   #5
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I'm not sure, but I know for certain that I am not what most people term mature.

Interestingly, my 13 year old sister looks at least 5 years older than she is. Apparently that's natural - she doesn't have a bunch of gimmicks, makeup or particularly suggestive clothes. Go figure. *fights off stupid older mens*


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Old 11-30-2006, 12:38 AM   #6
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But yes, children grow up faster today than earlier. It's evolution at work more than society, I think.

What is a problem with society, I think, is that kids don't play anymore. When my older little brother, who's now 18, turned 14, he wanted LEGOs for his birthday. Recently my youngest brother turned 14, and his wish-list was made up of things like video games and DVDs.

Children need to get off the PlayStation and TV and play with LEGOs, model planes, water rifles, and what the Heck not more. It's more social, it's better for their eyes, bodies and minds, and their creativity greatly exceeds that of the producers of the Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory, and other downright mediocre series designed to cash in on the fact that children swallow whatever's handed to them. Oh, and LEGOs don't tell kids to get pregnant.

It might not neccessarily be a bad thing for children to grow up faster. It does have its advantages. But it has its disadvantages, too, of course, and I'm not sure of what to do with it.

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Old 11-30-2006, 01:32 AM   #7
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How about the clothing industry selling clothes for tweens that actually are tasteful? They look like little prostitutes because that's the only clothes that are available in the stores.

@DE--if the body matures faster than what the brain is capable of dealing with socially/psychologically/mentally, or if society forces maturity before a kid is cognitively ready, it'll be a disadvantage.


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Old 11-30-2006, 01:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
They look like little prostitutes because that's the only clothes that are available in the stores.
There are other places to buy clothes for tweens. Online, for instance. Modest clothing won't ever be completely dropped.

On the issue of tweens acting like teens themselves, there've been quite a few articles about this lately. Unfortunately, the moral fiber of this country is unraveling, and it's taking the kids with it. In these instances, parents become all the more important. If they really put their feet down on it, their children won't be able to dress and act like sluts. Popular culture, peers, and all sorts of other actors have contributed to this strange trend, but ultimately, parents have the authority to stop their kids from following it. The fact that this generation of moms and dads is much softer than previous one, though, does not help at all.

In short, as that article said, 12-year olds aren't hot. Parents can and should stop them from acting like they are.


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Old 11-30-2006, 01:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
How about the clothing industry selling clothes for tweens that actually are tasteful? They look like little prostitutes because that's the only clothes that are available in the stores.

?
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Old 11-30-2006, 01:57 AM   #10
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Yeah, that's about right, I was planning on cloistering my daughter once she hits puberty to keep her away from you horny guys.
I do like Prime's idea of a shotgun and rocking chair on the front porch, however....


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Old 11-30-2006, 08:07 AM   #11
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In terms of the biological onset of puberty coming for younger and younger children, this might IMHO be due to the advances in medical care and nutrition that have taken place over the last 100 years. Our society is healthier (aside from the obesity issue) and better fed than it ever has been before.

In the sexualization of younger and younger children, I think that this phenomenon is mostly due to the media and industry targeting the tweenie set as consumers more and more heavily. They've got money to spend, and there's no shortage of unscrupulous businesses selling sex as maturity that want it. What kid doesn't want to appear more "mature" than their schoolmates?

And for the record, my 13 year-old daughter shops for her own clothes, but nowhere in her entire wardrobe is anything that comes close to the slutty gear. She doesn't want to dress like that, and even if she did, there's absolutely no bloody way I'd ever let her leave the house looking like some Australian street pimp's nightmare.


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Old 11-30-2006, 10:42 AM   #12
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In the sexualization of younger and younger children, I think that this phenomenon is mostly due to the media and industry targeting the tweenie set as consumers more and more heavily. They've got money to spend, and there's no shortage of unscrupulous businesses selling sex as maturity that want it. What kid doesn't want to appear more "mature" than their schoolmates?
As you said. There's money to be gained on borderline pedophilia, so they make parents dress up their kids like they're little prostitutes.

Not to say there's not a difference between nudity and "challenging" nudity. If it's a hot day and you want your six-year old girl to be topless in the sun, fine by me. If you dress her in a challenging type of clothing, that's a different thing.

As for physically maturing before they're mentally ready, yup, that's a point. Think it's been like that for the last, oh, 200 000 years or so.


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Old 11-30-2006, 04:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
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How about the clothing industry selling clothes for tweens that actually are tasteful? They look like little prostitutes because that's the only clothes that are available in the stores.
Too true. Even target has gone to the dark side. We went there a few days ago and were looking at the kids stuff. Nothing was moddest at all. There was a lot of stuff that children should not be wearing. I mean we went to the Dottie Loves stuff, and that stuff's just wrong. There were hoops there the size that I have just been permitted to wear. They had make up, and T shirts with the stupid sayings on them, all the stuff that makes teens look like skanks, but for children!

We're not in the age of innosence anymore. Everything is mini and tight, everything is sex obsessed, everything is for mature audiances only. There are no more G rated movies, no more innocent cartoons, no more toys that don't pose a threat to killing kids. Even Barbie's gone OC, and took the sunkist mini skirt look to heart. I may not even be concerned with having children at the moment considering I can't even drive for another 3 years but no. Children should not be dressed like whores, children should not be using profanity, children should not be watching gory movies, and children should not be emulating their older brothers or sisters. They should take the time and be kids, and not be concerned with learning all the lyrics to 50 Cent's new song.


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Old 11-30-2006, 04:51 PM   #14
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I voted for not caring, because I have no plans on having kids.

With that said, I think the issue should be less about young girls wearing questionable clothing and acting older than they are, and more about fat chicks wearing tight clothing and thinking that they're the hottest thing around. *Barf*
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Old 11-30-2006, 05:31 PM   #15
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I personally don't think there is a problem, but being a teen, I think kids are in entitled to do whatever they want, to just be kids while we (they?) have time...
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Old 11-30-2006, 06:23 PM   #16
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TK, I want to thank you for steering this discussion back to the REALLY important issues.

Teenagers. Maturity. Hmm.

I think it's important to remember that ninety per-cent of adults aren't "mature" in the classical sense. Our current society is rife with self-interest and pettiness. People refuse to make informed decisions, they refuse to take responsibility for their actions and they refuse to discharge their responsibilities to their family and friends.

We live in a society where people don't bother to educate themselves despite the fact that information is more available than ever, where people eat junk food and then try to sue the fast food chains, and where people decide to have a kid despite the fact that they're on welfare and in an overcrowded district. Nobody takes responsibility for anything they do anymore. And surely that's the mark of true maturity.

So if adults are willing to wear the clothes of grown-ups without actually being grown-ups, why shouldn't kids do the same?

But seriously, like TK said... fat chicks + tight clothing =


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Old 11-30-2006, 07:15 PM   #17
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I don't generally see a lot of people below 13 years old nowadays, me living the cloistered life that I do. The closest I see is my girlfriend's little brother. And he dresses a lot like I did when I was his age - normal blue-jeans, and a t-shirt featuring my favourite TV show character that week.

Now, I don't see a lot of girls under the age of 14 (or whatever the hell age they are in grade 9). But I don't see the problem you people seem to see. They wear pretty much the same thing they did when I was that age - which is also pretty similar to what the guys wear: jeans, t-shirts, etc. Sure, their fashion sense would make a blind gay man cringe, but then so would mine. I don't see the problem everyone else seems to see. Must be my region. Southern Ontario isn't exactly the wildest part of the continent.
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Old 11-30-2006, 07:46 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Yeah, that's about right, I was planning on cloistering my daughter once she hits puberty to keep her away from you horny guys.
I do like Prime's idea of a shotgun and rocking chair on the front porch, however....
My Uncle tried that, (Although his Daughter was already too far gone thanks to his crummy parenting)didn't work. His Daughter ended up losing her virginity on a bathroom floor, then she was stupid enough to brag about it to her Brother, who was stupid enough to tell me, who hates them both and dropped the hammer on them, now my Uncle hates me, life is good.
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Old 11-30-2006, 09:54 PM   #19
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Southern Ontario isn't exactly the wildest part of the continent.
It has been remarked...


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Old 12-01-2006, 12:26 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbo fett 66
I read an article a year or two back that talked about how the average age of menses in the US was 14 in 1900. Now it's 12.
Mace pointed out a reasonably possible explanation for this phenomenon, but I was wondering if anyone else had any ideas that could explain why this is happening. Menstruation beginning two years earlier on average than it did 100 years ago is quite a difference, and it obviously hasn't always progressed like this (that is, unless it's been moving steadily back from Biblical times when people lived 900+ years).

@Jae: My sisters complain about the kid's clothing thing all the time, and rightly so. They do almost all of their clothes shopping by catalog or online.

I agree with the others here that the whole premature maturity situation contributes to teenage pregnancy and may even encourage pedophilia in adults, neither of which benefits society, but what can be done about it?

And, yeah, TK: Fat chicks in tight and revealing clothing is really, really gross (unless you're a chubby chaser ), and I don't hesitate to tell them so (yes, I'm a bastard) as politely as I can, of course.


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Old 12-01-2006, 06:50 AM   #21
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And, yeah, TK: Fat chicks in tight and revealing clothing is really, really gross (unless you're a chubby chaser ), and I don't hesitate to tell them so (yes, I'm a bastard) as politely as I can, of course.
There's ways of dressing that flatter different body types and sizes. Truth be told, I appreciate a little meat on my bones, but yeah, the ones who can't seem to tell that they're not 90lbs and shouldn't wear low riders or go for the overstuffed sausage look are scary.


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Old 12-01-2006, 11:13 AM   #22
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It's the parents task to make sure their kids know how to dress. And as long as the parents actually buy the clothes themselves then it's even more a pity that those very young girls walk around like "bitches". I never understood why 3-4-5-6+ year old girls need belly free clothes, heels (even if it's "only" like 3 cm), or ear rings and the like.


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Old 12-01-2006, 06:13 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_Ave
Also, kids are growing up much more in the responsibilities and the way their treated. I see little children with cell phones, and labtops, and iPods. I don't have a cell phone, I got my ipod on my 13th birthday(When I became a teenager), and labtops no kid needs until they go off to collage.
Tell me about it. I'm nineteen and out of all the gadgets I only have a cell phone (without a camera), but I see kids that are 8-10 years old acting like they're 13-15 and holding the most expensive cell phones money can buy, etc. Mp3 players seem to have become a standard these days, everywhere I go I see someone with it, all ages. Sometimes it really makes me sick.

*goes to check the prices of mp3 players and cell phones with cameras*

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Old 12-02-2006, 04:47 PM   #24
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In my "circle of friends" or however you wanna say it, it seems like I'm the only one who doesn't have parents that buy for them whatever they want. Not so much the clothes, but all the latest fancy gadgets. I'm 15 and the only thing like that that I have is a cell phone which I just got last week (it's also my first cell phone I've ever had), and the only reason I was allowed to get it is because the store had a buy one get one free sale. Pretty much everybody around my age and even younger all have a cell phone and iPod, and they've had them for years. One 13 year old girl that I know has broken four Ipods and her parents recently bought her a fifth. I just don't get that.


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Old 12-04-2006, 04:57 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_Ave
You've probably already heard a lot about how kids nowadays are acting way more mature, but this is a bit topic. I go to the mall sometimes and see little girls, who look about ten, in micromini's and very tight t-shirts. I mean, somthing must be wrong here. They look like prostitutes, and they haven even began their periods.
I will agree with this, but I don't think its just "preteens" that have this problem, teenagers aren't exactly exempt for looking like prostitutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_Ave
I don't have a cell phone, I got my ipod on my 13th birthday(When I became a teenager), and labtops no kid needs until they go off to collage.
I understand your point, but iPods and cellphones and laptop computers (oh my!) only connotate "mature" people because older teenagers and adults used to use these exclusively. Cell phones are useful to all kids who separate from their parents on occasion. iPods aren't especially difficult to use and even young kids like to listen to music. Laptops also connotate work and work connotates old people, which may be where you're heading with that one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_Ave
Kids are also getting WAY into relationships too quick. One of my cousins had dated over 10 girls before 4th grade. And that rate's not gonna slow down for kids anytime soon. With teen pregnancy growing to an alarmingly high rate, what will our future hold? Will these current tweens be our future teenage moms and dads?
Unless its particularly serious, most kids don't get into a real relationships until they're 25th-30th "girlfriend"

Quote:
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What do you think about all of this? Do you think today's tweens are becoming more mature too quick? Why do you think all this is happning and who is to blame?
I blame Apple for iPods and cheap, affordable cell phones and plans for the phones. As for laptops, people suck at keeping computers clean and blame it on childish "games" so that might be why kids have their own computers.

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Old 12-04-2006, 09:37 PM   #26
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cheap, affordable cell phones
No such things exist.
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Old 12-04-2006, 10:42 PM   #27
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Quote:
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No such things exist.
Pay as you go?

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Old 12-04-2006, 10:52 PM   #28
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Quote:
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Pay as you go?
Tracfones suck, just a little more then regular Cell Phones.
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Old 12-07-2006, 12:06 AM   #29
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Agreed, that's why I have a good cell phone, a teenager is not complete without a cell phone anymore
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:05 AM   #30
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Here's when I got that stuff.
Laptop = 15 (only played EQ on it)
Ipod = 17

Irresponsible parenting, and teenage pregnancy causes these things to happen.

Parents = Don't care what-so-ever about there children or their future until its too late.


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Old 12-11-2006, 08:32 AM   #31
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So, teenage pregnancy caused you to get your Laptop with 15? I don't get it.


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Old 04-03-2007, 08:20 AM   #32
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Teenage pregnancy --> young parents --> little time for their children --> little time to raise them correctly

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Old 04-03-2007, 04:38 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxstate
young parents --> little time for their children
And why should young parents have less time than older parents? I don't see the logic here. Also, raising children "correctly" is not a matter of time in the first place.


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Old 04-03-2007, 04:46 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
And why should young parents have less time than older parents? I don't see the logic here. Also, raising children "correctly" is not a matter of time in the first place.
Because young parents usually need to work more to pay off things that they recently bought. A 20~ year old couple that just moved into a new house, bought a new car and complete interior furniture set are going to have work that off. This in turn leads to less attention, less energy and less time to spend with their children, which in turn leads to the children not having proper guidance on certain things.

Bah, this is a wide subject.
In general young parents need time to settle down and need more money to be able to feed their kids and themselves and all that crap and will have less time for their children.

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Old 04-03-2007, 05:21 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxstate
Because young parents usually need to work more to pay off things that they recently bought. A 20~ year old couple that just moved into a new house, bought a new car and complete interior furniture set are going to have work that off.
I do not know but one single couple around 20 with kids that just has moved into a house, bought a car and has to pay off tons of things. I rather think the opposite is the fact, the older you get, the more things you have to pay off. Although most people I know tend to buy things *after* they earned the money for it and thus avoid having to pay things off.

Quote:
This in turn leads to less attention, less energy and less time to spend with their children, which in turn leads to the children not having proper guidance on certain things.
Wrong. Young parents have, despite the fact that they have a job just as older parents have, way more energy to spend than older ones simply because they are younger. Young parents are usually more flexible, and also more flexible in finding ways to spend time with their children.

Quote:
In general young parents need time to settle down and need more money to be able to feed their kids and themselves and all that crap and will have less time for their children.
Wrong again, young parents need exact the same money as old parents do to feed themselves and a kid. Or do you think kids and young parents cost more money than old parents? In fact the older a kid (and the parents) becomes, the more it costs, because they need more stuff than a baby does.


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Old 04-03-2007, 05:36 PM   #36
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Ray is correct when he says that younger parents have as much time and in fact have more energy than older parents do.

And I might add that young parents also often have the backup of their own mothers and fathers. Grandparents can be a big help when it comes to bringing up a child. When one is older, one's own parents are unlikely to be able to function as child-rearers. Hell, they may not even be alive.

But there is a significant problem with teenagers having babies. The problem has nothing to do with how much time they can spend with their child, or how much energy they have... It has to do with their lack of experience, and their lack of patience.

To be a parent of optimal quality, one must be

a: patient as a god, and
b: experienced enough at the game of life that one can actually teach one's kids something worthwhile.

Teenagers routinely think they know it all. And to be fair, I've met some damned intelligent teenagers in my time. But the fact is that they know nothing about life, because they simply haven't had time to become good at the game yet. Only those who are excellent at the game have a right to teach the game. And that's what a parent must be, a full-time teacher. Nothing less will do, frankly.

Bear in mind however, that as I said before, most adults don't know anything about life either, because they're lazy good-for-nothing fools who have no interest in learning how the world really works. They pile year upon year onto their tally, but though their body may grow ancient and decrepit, their mind never really grows along with it.

Therefore teenagers should wait until they've gained some experience and patience before becoming parents. And if they NEVER gain experience nor patience... they should NEVER become parents, regardless of how old they get.

So it's not really an issue of age so much as it is an issue of worth. Only the worthy, the moral, the studious and the wise should be allowed to spawn offspring.


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Old 04-03-2007, 05:38 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones
I do not know but one single couple around 20 with kids that just has moved into a house, bought a car and has to pay off tons of things. I rather think the opposite is the fact, the older you get, the more things you have to pay off. Although most people I know tend to buy things *after* they earned the money for it and thus avoid having to pay things off.
Yes ofcourse, you marry your wife, get a kid and still live with your parents at home untill you can afford living somewhere else right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lol
Wrong. Young parents have, despite the fact that they have a job just as older parents have, way more energy to spend than older ones simply because they are younger. Young parents are usually more flexible, and also more flexible in finding ways to spend time with their children.
As I said, settling down leaves you with less money in the end because of A LOT of things that need to be bought. In the situation I presented, lets say the couple just moved into their new 300.000 dollar house. Lets say they took a mortgage on it, paperwork ahoy! Now, imagine the monthly fees for the mortgage loan. Good, lets sink deeper into the financial catastrophe.

You want kids... bam! Rooms need redecorating, clothes need to be bought, food, medical bills, time needs to spent to get everything in order.. all in all a very expensive and stressfull matter.

It's going to be hell trying to figure out a flexible solution for having enough time to be a proper parent to your child and still maintain the same rythm of work to pay off all the financial episodes that come with a child.

Older parents will have settled into the house, will have a more complete home with less byproducts of society to worry about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lol
Wrong again, young parents need exact the same money as old parents do to feed themselves and a kid. Or do you think kids and young parents cost more money than old parents? In fact the older a kid (and the parents) becomes, the more it costs, because they need more stuff than a baby does.
As I was saying, older couples will have settled into their surroundings, having taken care of a lot of the things newly wed couples would need to do.

I really don't feel like starting an argument right now, it's clear that you have something personal you want to defend, but I'd like to return to my safe lurk haven.

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Old 04-03-2007, 05:45 PM   #38
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I think I totally second that, AL.

I also want to add, that a certain lack of experience can be expected, especially when it comes to the fact that "first-time-parents", regardless how old they are, lack the experience of having and raising a child on their own. And usually they can rely on the experience of their parents here (like they did when they still were "kids only"). But still, a certain level of maturity is necessary to take the task of having a child, but this does not totally depend to one's age.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxstate
Yes ofcourse, you marry your wife, get a kid and still live with your parents at home untill you can afford living somewhere else right?
There are also flats, not only houses, especially when you live in the city, you know?


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Old 04-04-2007, 01:44 AM   #39
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finally a poll that i can answer honestly.....

i dont plan on having kids, so i don't really care!!!! though, it bothers me that most parents (aged 18-25 for example) don't care what their kids do...which in turn leads to having to put up with pathetic ****s in the workplace....


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Old 04-07-2007, 06:19 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Ray is correct when he says that younger parents have as much time and in fact have more energy than older parents do.

And I might add that young parents also often have the backup of their own mothers and fathers. Grandparents can be a big help when it comes to bringing up a child. When one is older, one's own parents are unlikely to be able to function as child-rearers. Hell, they may not even be alive.

But there is a significant problem with teenagers having babies. The problem has nothing to do with how much time they can spend with their child, or how much energy they have... It has to do with their lack of experience, and their lack of patience.

To be a parent of optimal quality, one must be

a: patient as a god, and
b: experienced enough at the game of life that one can actually teach one's kids something worthwhile.

Teenagers routinely think they know it all. And to be fair, I've met some damned intelligent teenagers in my time. But the fact is that they know nothing about life, because they simply haven't had time to become good at the game yet. Only those who are excellent at the game have a right to teach the game. And that's what a parent must be, a full-time teacher. Nothing less will do, frankly.

Bear in mind however, that as I said before, most adults don't know anything about life either, because they're lazy good-for-nothing fools who have no interest in learning how the world really works. They pile year upon year onto their tally, but though their body may grow ancient and decrepit, their mind never really grows along with it.

Therefore teenagers should wait until they've gained some experience and patience before becoming parents. And if they NEVER gain experience nor patience... they should NEVER become parents, regardless of how old they get.

So it's not really an issue of age so much as it is an issue of worth. Only the worthy, the moral, the studious and the wise should be allowed to spawn offspring.
Humor mode way on:
Proof that God exists: SpiderAL and I actually agree on something completely, which requires something on the order of a minor miracle.
Now what we consider to be the criteria for worthy and wise may be different, but that's another issue altogether. I've wondered occasionally why you have to have a license to drive a car but not to have kids (besides the obvious).

Actually, that's not so miraculous as just plain common sense. Kids aren't mature enough to raise kids--they're not done growing physically, and parts of the brain don't fully develop til about early 20's, so their ability to handle things in a mature fashion is greatly reduced.

We waited quite a while before having kids, mostly because I had to finish school, and it would not be fair to the child to have a parent with such divided priorities. Once we had a home and a car and we were both settled into decent jobs, then we felt like we were prepared to share our lives with children and for the responsibilities of taking care of them.

What we lost from waiting as long as we did:
a. some energy--I can't do certain things because of a blown knee, like running behind my kid's bike to teach him how to ride. However, we've just had to learn how to work smart to work around the physical limitation. We don't try to do a whole bunch of energy intensive acts in one day--we spread it out, and that works better for the kids, too.

b. the ability for our kids to know all their grandparents--Jimbo's dad died when Jimbo was a teen, and his mom was quite a bit older than my parents, so we lost her a few years back, and my daughter really is too young to remember her. Neither child was able to benefit much from her love and wisdom.

c. Starting later means also that we may not be as available health-wise for any future grandchildren.

d. we're probably going to have less money for retirement because we're going to have child expenses into our 50's.

What we gained:
1. patience--absolutely essential when you have an over-tired 2 year old who decides to lay down in the middle of the floor at a store and scream at the top of her lungs. You can either lose it yourself out of impatience, or you can recognize that you need calmly to leave the store, get the child a nap, and come back later. You have to be patient enough to deal with a child's natural immaturity, and you need to be patient enough to let them do things for themselves even if you can do it 10 times faster, because they won't learn how to do something if you do it for them all the time. Those 7 years that we waited after getting married was a huge help for both of us to learn more patience.

2. Life experience--always a help. We did a lot prior to marriage and prior to child-rearing--spending time with friends, getting college out of the way, learning new things like wild-bird watching or history re-enactment, reading, being involved in some volunteer activities, traveling to different places, and many other things that are more difficult to do when you have children. Things we learned in those activities we're able to teach to our kids--my son has learned more about wild birds than most people will ever know (though having a 3 year old who can identify about 50 different species of birds in a book or at the backyard feeder is kind of scary), and we can talk about things like conservation, habitat protection and learning how to care for animals and such. We have a much broader practical knowledge base (from cooking to basic home maintenance and so on) than those in their teens/early 20's simply because we've done that much more stuff before having kids.

3. More knowledge about child growth and development. I highly recommend a college course on it, btw, or at least reading a book on it, or best yet spending some time in a day care center or church nursery or something like that to learn how children grow and process things. Even if you don't agree with everything in the class or a book, knowing what children learn and when has been incredibly helpful for raising ours. We know what to expect by a certain time, and we know what they're not able to do at a certain time. That way, we don't have unrealistic expectations or treat them like mini-adults, which they are not.

4. We were more mature in our marriage. A friend's grandmother said one time half-jokingly that it should be a law that people be married 5 years before having kids, that way if someone's going to get divorced/split up, they usually do it before then, and kids aren't affected. In our case we had 7 years married to get to know each other and work the good and bad out before adding children into the mix. Learning about each other is essential, and it's harder to spend that time with each other when you have very young kids.

5. We were a little more stable financially--many people whose marriages that break up cite fighting over money or having money-related problems as one of the chief, if not number one, cause. Fewer fights and less stressed over money parents=better for kids.

6. We understand perfection is impossible. We're relaxed enough to go from 'going for perfect' to 'going for doing our best'.

7. We had time to watch our friends as parents and learn from their mistakes and successes.

8. While my parents can help out now with our kids, they are not going to be able to help much in a few years due to age, so we've developed a community of friends who can step in and help in emergencies (and who we likewise would help in an emergency)--as long as you have those kinds of community connections, the effect of aging parents is mitigated somewhat. It's best if you can have grandparent involvement--there were things that I learned from my grandmother that my mother would never have been able to teach me due to the nature of our relationship and my grandma's knowledge base on medical things. However, there are good substitutes of grandparents aren't around.

9. By the time we felt we were ready, we were willing to put aside other fun activities to devote the necessary time to our children. We recognize that the time spent in their lives is crucial, and we also recognize they're not going to be with us forever. So, while some things are really hard right now while they're little, we're also enjoying every stage of life that they're at. It's amazing to see them develop from the time I first felt them move in the womb and saw them on an ultrasound to the people they are now. They certainly have their moments as we all do, but they're unique and very special. We're mature enough to see them not as a burden in our lives and something that infringes on our fun, but as people we can share love with. Yes, we have to work hard, yes, there are things we can't do right now because they're in our lives, but we're enjoying having them in our lives and being part of their lives. I don't know if we would have had quite the same appreciation for all that they are if we had had our children at an earlier age.

For us, it was worth waiting before having kids. We were in a better spot emotionally and financially, and the physical issues aren't that much of a problem.


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