Do 12-year-olds Need Special Condoms?

BY: - 15 Mar '10 | Parenting

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condoms
by Tara Pringle Jefferson
This post all started as a response to these: smaller condoms designed for 12-14 year old boys. The thinking was, most 12-14 year old boys do not use protection when they have sex. So let’s make condoms that fit them.

Ahem.

Is this okay? Are we just accepting now that 12-year-olds have sex? I’m having a hard time believing it, even though I consider myself to be pretty open about most things.

If  one of my kids  came to me and say, “Mom, I’m ready to have sex,” and they are 12, 13, I’m gonna seriously have to sit down and figure out WHERE I WENT WRONG. That’s not okay to me. I can’t see myself giving my 12-year-old  son a condom and letting him go. Condoms break. Birth control fails. Then what? He’s either a daddy at 13?  The girl has an abortion?  Someone else raises the kid through adoption?  Those options are not  appealing in any way to me.

Maybe this is splitting hairs (and feel free to call me out on this) but I think there is a big difference between having sex at 12 versus having sex at 17. At 17, I can somewhat  embrace the whole “teens will be teens” bit. But at 12, I can’t. At 12, there is no way for them to handle the consequences of sex. If they get pregnant (or get someone else pregnant) how will they provide for the child? They can’t quit school and get a job at 12. It’s hard enough to do it at 25. If my daughter got pregnant at 12, who is raising the kid? Me. And I’m not going there.

We need to understand that 12-year-olds are not emotionally ready for sex and shouldn’t be expected to. They are still children. Some might say, “Yes, Tara, 12-year-olds have sex.” But does that make it right? We need to stress the consequences of sex more than the act itself. Having sex is easy. Wham, bam, you’re done. That’s what  teens see. But it’s what comes next that can knock you on your bum.  Heck, even I didn’t fully understand that “sex  = babies” until I had a newborn on my lap and a throbbing Cesarean scar and I was 20.

I will talk to my child about all the different birth control options, but I will encourage them to wait. Not necessarily until marriage, but until they get to a place of stability with that person they’re thinking about laying down with. I can’t stress enough the importance of really getting to know someone before you have sex with them. Because when you have sex with someone there is always a chance you will be “stuck” with them for the rest of your life. So choose wisely.

Tara Pringle Jefferson is a freelance writer and blogger  living in Ohio with her husband and two children. Visit her blog, www.theyoungmommylife.com, to read more of her observations about life, motherhood and love.

About the author

Lamar Tyler wrote 2194 articles on this blog.

Lamar Tyler is co-creator BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. He also is the co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing.

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31 WordPress comments on “Do 12-year-olds Need Special Condoms?

  1. Clyde Anderson

    I really hate that this is even a subject to consider. So many young men have gotten pregant because the condom slipped off. So yes this is something to look into but I really don”t think a 12 year old should be encouraged to have sex to begain with

    Reply
  2. Alcinia

    Yes, pregnancy at that young of an age is very heartbreaking but no where in this article did you mention the threat of HIV/AIDS or other STD’s. Most 12 year olds are not fully aware of the extent of consequences of unprotected sex. So I think THAT issue more than pregnancy should be our biggest concern other than pregnancy. Maybe this is why African Americans hold the record for contracting HIV/AIDS, because are so anxious about unplanned pregnancy and do not even think about a more dire consequence of not using condoms.

    Reply
  3. TheSoulMom

    This is so scary to even have to consider. Unbelieveable actually. Reality is some young people are having sex and they should be protected, but I also believe that this may actually encourage the behavior. Treating it like it’s normal and expected. At 12, they don’t understand what they are doing, they are too young and they should be steered away from, not to ,sex.
    .-= TheSoulMom´s last blog ..Disney Princess and the Frog DVD…Every House Should Have One =-.

    Reply
  4. Tara @ The Young Mommy Life

    @Alcinia – There are many consequences to unprotected sex, with AIDS and HIV being one of them. I chose to focus on the pregnancy issue for this article.

    I read on some message board that a mom had her son follow someone with HIV around for a day. He got to see how many medications they have to take, doctor’s visits, etc and also got to learn how they contracted the disease. I thought that was powerful.
    .-= Tara @ The Young Mommy Life´s last blog ..The Young Mommy comes to D.C. and wants you to come too! =-.

    Reply
  5. TD

    I agree also about the main issue being with the contraction of HIV/AIDS/STD’s. It scares me to death to think that children that young are engaging in sexual activities. It is not just intercourse they are doing, it can be oral, anal, etc. Either way there are risks to catch all types of stuff. Children nowadays are being overwhelmed with the exposure to sex, whether it be music, movies, internet, magazines, school, church, etc. I may not be a parent, but I feel that having values and morals instilled into your child will more likely build their self worth. Now this is not the ultimate quick fix or solution, but it does make a huge impact.

    Most preteens/teens that are having sex are looking or searching for something. This could be love, acceptance, trust, or companionship. These are all things that can be given to a person through a variety of outlets which are positive. Are people going to wait till marriage to have sex? Probably not. However, I am still old school and believe that it should be held off until after you take that step.

    The key to all of this is education. Teach these kids the truths behind sex, it’s consequences, and realities. I do not support the idea of making smaller condoms made for boys, this will only increase the problems that currently exist.

    Reply
  6. lapreghiera

    Its sad people believe this to be the only solution to the problem, when actually it might just be a waste of time and money. There is all kinds of madness going on in the EU, you have to pray for those folks.
    But just about a week before this report came out, the news was talking about how men are wearing the wrong size condoms – they are not man enough (no pun intended) to buy the small or average brands on the market, for fear of having their purchase scrutinized either at the check out, or noticed by whomever they hope to get jiggy with. So what hyper-sexualized 12 yr old is going to believe they don’t have a python in their pants and buy the ‘kiddie condoms’, if their role model is another delusional male adult??
    In regards to the black rate of unwanted pregnancy, STDs, and AIDS it is a serious problem in our community, no doubt and I don’t want to take away from the need to address and remedy the problem appropriately. But it appears by statistics we are out of control, and I have problem with that because blacks are a smaller segment of the population. If the ratio in the US is say 8:1 whites to blacks, if 10 of 100 blacks get AIDS that is 10%, if those 10 got it from 10 whites out of a population of 800 that is only just over 1% of their population. So we look like we have a epidemic and they just have a small problem. Again, any lives lost or cut short regardless of race is a tragedy, but we need to balance having a healthy respect for the seriousness of the problem to causing undue panic and paranoia.

    Reply
  7. Politicalmusic

    Good article Tara.

    I agree with the creation of “baby” condoms. Although I agree that it is unacceptable, morally repugnant and all of the like… working with the poor everyday gives you a different take. It’s kind of like the free needle programs… one could argue that it encourages usage, but it actually helps decrease people being infected with HIV.

    Sex at that age is usually a sign of mass poverty. I would rather the young lad start to practice safe sex, since it is likely they will continue, than not give the option. The only naive point about the whole invention is that they are assuming that 12-14 year olds don’t know about condoms. It’s more of an issue of getting them to use it versus fit and creating new ones I think.

    It may make them feel cool in a sordid sense to have a condom if it is positioned right. But I agree with the statement above,

    “So what hyper-sexualized 12 yr old is going to believe they dont have a python in their pants and buy the ‘kiddie condoms, if their role model is another delusional male adult??”

    They will have a problem on their hands getting a teen to purchase a baby condom unless they are directly distributed and not called baby condoms or any of the like.

    Consider Magnum condoms by Trojan… the things are selling off the charts… and I will keep the rest of the comments about that PG. .. use your imagination.

    This typically isn’t a middle class problem, so middle class opposition or solutions sometimes will not apply.

    Reply
  8. Da Minster

    No matter what the results may be the entire idea of UNMARRIED people having sex is wrong. As adults our children see us allowing and/or doing things that is wrong so they validate their actions into being right also. My daughter two years old and I would recommend to her strongly to don’t let me find out that she has even thought about sex at 12. Because just like the end of the article you become “stuck” with that person for life. Yes I have done alot of wrong in my past but I suffer alot of pain also. Our children need to know the consequences of their choices before going further and we are the ones (adults) that should not be having these talks a 12 because truth be told they probably started thinking about it way before then…

    Reply
  9. Gigi

    I disagree with the author of the blog in that sex is a ‘teens will be teens’ reality. I recognize that her child may be my next door neighbor or my childs’ best friend. Making my job even more difficult. Kids sense things and try to investigate a more permissive environment with a ‘cool adult’. I expected resistance, but I taught my daughters that sex is not casual. They never got an “Oh well” or “Sometimes things happen” attitude from me, from home. “My job as a parent is to prepare you and equipt you for life without me.” Our kids are tethered to the ‘group-think’ of peers, and the amoral television sensations of the day. The standard and expectations are set at home.

    Perhaps this is the catalyst for parents to begin to have open, regular dialogue and sex education with their children at this tender young age. Most 12 yr. olds are unable to comprehend the full extent of their actions when adults say ‘for the rest of your life’. Twelve years seems like a long time to them.

    Businesses are marketing goods/services to our kids without regard for anything more than the bottom line. It takes an educated, discerning child/teen to navigate these potentially treacherous waters. Otherwise the peer pressures, family dynamics and marketing ploys make for ‘perfect storm’. Many ADULTS are unaware and unequipted to deal with the physiological and chemical responses of the human body. They find themselves time and time again in similar regretful situations, drawn by a physiological ‘high’.

    Parents need to educate their children. Buy a book, educate themselves and then the kids. HIV/AIDS/STD are all after the fact. After reading this blog and the responses I find that part of the difficultly for our children may be that the adults have views based on their own choices. Some are not so quick to tell their children, this is potentially harmful to more than just the two engaged in the activity. Sometimes “No” is the answer. Protect yourself and the rest of us. Sometimes/most times protecting yourself means, don’t even put yourself in that situation. Learn from the misteps of others.

    Heck, where are your kids right now?

    Reply
  10. lapreghiera

    @ Political Music
    How is it not a middle class problem when my middle class taxes pay for all the services and fund the organizations that will start handing out these baby condoms with a pack of blow pops? It is not a sign of poverty it is a sign of immorality, there are a lot of rich kids with too much time on their hands humping around cause daddy has 3 mistresses and mommy plays with the pool boy.
    And I really can’t get with the free needles stopped HIV/AIDS from spreading argument, cause now the dope fiend is given a better chance of ODing with a fresh new needle, instead of an old tainted one. Pick which way you want to die.
    We don’t have to accept the lesser of the 2 evils. Educate yourself so you can educate your family and kids when the time is right as you see it to discuss sexuality, not when the government says their old enough to wear a condom.

    Reply
  11. 4 healthgirl

    I work with 12 year olds, (in poverty, 98% african american) and sadly am no longer astonished at the fact of what is happening in the lives of middle-schoolers. Yet, I do not agree at all with giving in to the illusion of “safe sex”. It doesn’t exist. Sex is not safe emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and as pointed out well in other posts, physically. It is up to us to speak out to the manufacturers of products that encourage our BABIES to take part in adult activities, and to encourage the youth themselves to campaign against the things that exploit them. In years past, outrage has put parameters on the liquor, tobacco, toy, clothing, and many other industries. Statistics are someone’s measure and bent on an issue, and food for thought that many youth are now more than ever embracing faith, morality, and religion in record numbers–including saving sex until marriage. Even if I am the only voice in a child’s life speaking to these issues, I do it because the alternative is so not OK with me. I for one am thankful for this post and will be contacting Trojan directly. I will also pass this along and ask that others do the same.

    Reply
  12. Tara

    Before you start flooding Trojan’s mailboxes with letters, I don’t think they are the manufacturer of the small condoms. I think Lamar just chose it as an illustration. The link in the first paragraph gives you more info on who is producing these….
    .-= Tara´s last blog ..So while Im in D.C…. =-.

    Reply
  13. Sodai

    My husband and I use our “early baby” life as inspiration to our kids. His first child was born when he was 13 and their relationship is estranged. I was born when my mother was 12 and our relationship is shaky. My view is that the parent and the baby are both children growing up together. How can you concentrate on your studies to better educate yourself when you have a baby spitting up on you or you have to interrupt your studies to change a diaper.

    Reply
  14. Kimberly May

    As upsetting and disturbing as it is to think of prepubescent children having sex, if they ARE, shouldn’t they have access to condoms that fit?

    Reply
  15. Anna

    I don’t remember 12 year old boys thinking about sex. They want to play sports and video games. It’s the fast tailed girls that put the thought on thier mind LOL. When my son was 12 he wasn’t thinking about those little girls, he wanted to play basketball and hang out with his male friends. This is disturbing. Kids who have parents who are involved in their lives and keep them occupied with after school activities don’t have time to get bored to have sex.
    @Sosai. A 12 or 13 year old can’t mother a newborn. There are many mothers with children who will never be able to have a healthy relationship with their child because they are too close in age. Thanks for your comment.

    Reply
  16. Nicole Woodard

    I don’t know ladies, I can’t even conceive of giving a 12 year old a condom and saying “Well son, if you’re gonna do it, better use one that fits!” Seriously, having a condom that fits isn’t the answer. We need to be there for our kids when they need us, so they aren’t off searching for love in the wrong places. They need to be active in chess clubs, science fairs, soccer leagues, so their free time is constructive and they don’t have the opportunity to indulge in self destructive activities.

    Reply
  17. Ruby Griffin

    I’m so ashamed of the this article,that i started not to comment on it,but i’m so stuck back in the time,that i over look of how the time have speed up…it’s so embarrass to admit search a mess,that the young generation is on the move…i disagree on the 12 yrs old condom,it like we’re giving our children permission to have sex,but there are some risk in this matter,we talk to our children’s,but do they really listen…we can’t be with them at all time,we just hope that they make the right decision,when that time come,but not as early as 12 or 13…

    Reply
  18. Gisselle

    I just dont know what to say. I have a daughter who is 11 years old in middle school. My daughter is not mentally able to make a decision about having sex! My daughter is now learning how to do her laundry and wash the dishes. I can not even imagine her engaging in a conversation about sex at age 11 or in 8 months when she turns 12! I consider myself to be a very open minded individual but I am sorry I cant even believe we have to have this conversation. It scares me on some many levels between the mental and emotional issues surrounding sex, pregnancy, AIDS/HIV and STDs I just dont even know how to deal with this. But I guess I better learn very quickly because the last thing I need is for the boy in school to tell her about sex!

    Reply
  19. meggy

    well i am 15 and i have a kid age 2 and we r sooooo close i love her so much it did ne no harm who kares wot little kids do its there lives there will ruin

    Reply
  20. love gal

    can u live your life with a kid?
    go out at night a week and blow all your money on nappies of food go out and enjoy yourself

    Reply
  21. SoDai

    Meggy
    I am glad you close with your child but if more concentration was made getting an education, your spelling would be a whole lot better.

    Reply
  22. Hmm....

    Hopefully, this will finalized the thought on the article and I dout it will. You people are right on both ends. I don’t think 12 yr olds should be thinking about sex at atll but at the same time the society we live in unfortuantely portrays sex to them. Back in 80’s and early 90’s I didn’t even know how my “private part” worked for sex. Unfortunately times have chaged and the schools,their friends,media and overall socitey as further educated them both negatively and positively at that early of an age or even younger. Best thing you can do as a parent or teacher, ect. is talk to them about the dangers of sex and let them know that it’s wrong at their age and they should be children and enjoy their lives as such, however if “things” have already happend then the best you can do is advise them in proper protection,ect and futher talk to them about what bad things can happen if they continue. There is no such thing as being able to “shield your child” from information and actions in today’s society. All you can do is be the best possible parent/role-model for your children and hope everythings comes to play in a positive manner.

    Reply
  23. Hmm....

    Also yes all contraceptive condoms should be taylored to fit any size male of reproductive age on up. As I said. No matter what it’s going to happen somewhere and at some point. Best to just have it available to help the male in making the right or wrong choice.

    Reply
  24. Curls

    I’m a twelve-year old girl and I think kids at our age not even CONSIDER sex! I mean come on! We’re practicaly babies.

    Reply
  25. Chachachacha

    They are just taking the easy way out. There could be many other actions taken, which will also lessen, not increase, the amount of 12-14 year olds having sex. I’m in my 40’s now, but when I was 12, dating consisted of passing notes and occasional movie dates with GROUPS of friends. As for affection, hugs, sometimes hand holding, MAYBE a quick kiss. Now, at 14, I can honestly say that a FEW girls wern’t virgins, but 95% of them were. But, that’s way too young, and no, I doubt they used protection. I feel that if somebody is stupid enough to have sex at that age, then, LET THEM LIVE THEIR CONSEQUENCES. Condoms should be advised to 17 year olds, NOT 12-14 year olds.

    Reply
  26. Code of Legacy

    well, im a 12 yrs old kid, and well, in my country, ppl dun really have sex at this age, we would watch porn and play sex games at most. But well, THIS has been a bit ridiculous, having sex at 12?? The main cause of it must have been the science topic on “Reproduction Of Humans” that has got them brain washed and some bad influence from …well, some advertisements on porn websites, I started to watch porn MAINLY becoz of this, well, but ive kicked the habit and last time, i would be watching like 10 porn vid.s a day, and my friend, he kinda got influenced by me, kinda feel sorry for him, but then, the topic on “sex” has been the hottest chat in our class, ppl were kinda crazy=.=!! (and well, if u were guessing tht I was the one who started it, u are brilliant, u got it rite, i did start it :)

    Reply
  27. Spenseravery

    There are so many things wrong with this I really don’t know were to start. My Mother & Father (they had sex w/each other) conceived me while still in High School. My Grandmother baby-sat me during there prom.
    Would a condom have helped? I doubt it. Sex at that YOUNG of an age is impulsive. I think that we can agree on that. The real question that I have even posed to my Son & Daughter is. Is it worth your future. Is having sex with Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful really going to be worth changing your future?
    I was against birth control for my daughter. My wife wasn’t. She choose to get it for her daughter. I would find out later. Much later.
    I can’t finish without the always present song lyrics, Tv shows, movies and over-sexualized characters directly put upon us. Its rough out there. For us Parents & our children. Till you are on your way to being self-sufficient? You are a CHILD.

    Reply
  28. Sad

    fk off, if we dont allow kids to have condoms they will either get aids, hiv’s or get pregnant better condom than sneaking and buying condoms behind our backs, if you think sex is gross, you either are 10 year old minded or dont know how the world works, its natural. NO CONDOMS GIVEN= 100% chance of pregnancy, and even if kids will be allowed condoms at this age, if they live in a good world and you provided them a good education and a good school, they wont know what sex is or they wont want it and will know better other wise, enjoy pregnancy and enjoy having a horrible child, its not condoms fault that your child will have sex its yours for not teaching them better and if they want to have sex all you can do is be happy for him/her and make sure there being safe eg: condom, the pill. This article is totally wrong. This is called taking away FREEDOM :)

    Reply
  29. Michelle

    From the moment my son came home (at the age of 12) and asked me what a blow job was, I knew it was time to make it CRYSTAL clear how I felt about teenage sex.  My sons are both 16 now and my message is the same one I gave them at 12.  I don’t believe teenagers are prepared emotionally, physically, or financially for having sex.  However, that being said, there are going to be teenagers and even kids younger than teens that WILL have sex.  And, if that is going to happened I would much rather my sons  be prepared.  I don’t want to be able to say “I told you so,” when my son ends up with an STD or someone he has sex with gets pregnant.  Therefore, I not only encourage my kids to wait until there are better prepared for sex (and much older), but I also encourage them to be sure to use condoms when they do.  And, for that reason, I leave condoms in the house specifically for them.  I remind them often that they are there.  I also tell them that even though I pray every day that they will wait, I also will not admonish them if I discover there are condoms missing from the box.  HIV and AIDS is really and unfortunately, we cannot live in a world with blinders on.  Often what we WANT and what indeed happens are two entirely different things.  I don’t want my boys to have sex yet at 16, but I am fully aware of the fact that they might – and when/if they do, I want them to use protection.

    Reply
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