Abstinence Pledges Make Life Harder for Teen Stars

Filed under: Celeb Kids

The Jonas BrothersWhen I was a kid (you love when anyone over 40 starts with that phrase, don't you?) -- when I was a kid, teen stars didn't talk about their sex lives. For all his fans knew, for example, Leif Garret was sober and celibate and going to church on Sunday.

Which was not the case, as it turns out.

Today, teen age celebrities are making public pledges of celibacy -- the Jonas Brothers all wear "purity rings," which brother Joe says symbolize "promises to ourselves and to God that we'll stay pure 'til marriage." But that promise, experts say, may be too difficult for kids who are in the public eye.

Teen self-help expert (when did teens start needing self-help experts?) Jill Zimmerman Rutledge, author of "Picture Perfect" and "Dealing with the Stuff that Makes Life Tough," says that a public abstinence pledge sets young stars up for ridicule. "If they stumble or make a mistake, then they don't have any room," she says. "They can be judged by that." It's a lot of unnecessary pressure on a kid who is already dealing with a very adult world.More than that, though, teen stars who pledge abstinence and then fail send the wrong message to their fans. Denny Pattyn, president and founder of Christian abstinence organization Silver Ring Thing, points out that stars like Miley Cyrus are role models to fans, who see their behavior, for better or worse, as an example of what to do in their own lives. And when a celebrity breaks the purity pledge, "It's disappointing. It's confusing. Kids put these celebrities on a pedestal and they idolize them," says Rutledge.

And then they run out and have sex, because Britney did it! Okay maybe not. But I do think he's on to something.

Decisions about sex and sexuality need to take place at home, not in the tabloids. Kids need to learn about sex -- when to have it, how to have it safely, how to deal with it emotionally -- from their parents, not from the Disney channel. And by "kids" I mean my kids and your kids and the Jonas Brothers. And while there's nothing wrong with making a pledge of abstinence, it shouldn't be a public thing; keep it to yourself, particularly when you're talking to the media. It's no one's business, really.

What do you think?

Celebrities who make public abstinence pledges ...
are role models for real kids.802 (32.7%)
are setting themselves up for failure and ridicule.613 (25.0%)
are probably lying about being celibate.650 (26.5%)
Who are the Jonas Brothers and why do I care?391 (15.9%)

ReaderComments (Page 1 of 2)


Flickr RSS



AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.