Crouse:  I attribute it to smart kids who observe their peers getting STDs, unplanned pregnancies, broken hearts, etc.  And, to smart kids who observe broken marriages and have figured out that carrying in a lot of emotional baggage is not the best preparation for a successful relationship.  And, I believe that teens are getting better, more complete information today. However, too many are still being mislead by the myths of popular culture and the misinformation of misguided adults who believe that teens are compulsively driven by their hormones.

Ann:  How does one deal with rebellious teenagers who tend to want to do whatever they're told not to in your abstinence-only programs?

Crouse:  Rebellious teenagers are, in my opinion, the result of poor parenting or poor choices of friends.  To make a difference in their lives, it is necessary to build trust.  That requires building a relationship that takes time and an investment of emotional energy - difficult and time-consuming at best.  If an adult is responsible for a class, it is necessary to establish authority and keep to the planned agenda - regardless.  Within that context, then, the adult must try to break through resistance and gain trust - it usually comes when the teen learns to respect competence and discovers (through trial and error) that the adult has their best interests at heart.

Ann:  How do you deal with criticism from groups advocating comprehensive sexual education against abstinence-only, such as that it is limiting for teenagers and does not prepare them for the realities of sexual behavior?

Crouse:  Present the facts - they are incontrovertible.  The problem is that too many so-called ''liberal'' spokespersons have their own agendas and do not present truth - truth is flexible for them and spin is second nature so it is difficult at best to debate with them. The major abortion providers, ironically, are the major information providers (Planned Parenthood, etc.); major amounts of money are at stake in keeping teens sexually active.  But, in the end, truth does prevail and all we can do is present it as effectively as we can and pray that teens will hear the truth and follow the path that leads to the best outcomes for their future health, well-being and happiness.

 

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