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Maybe sex-ed should include the law!

by Evie / April 17, 2004 4:14 AM PDT
http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2004/04/16/news/wyoming/e1fb379b922a5bb087256e77000499af.txt

This seems excessive to me. But could be avoided if all teens were educated in the law in addition to how to use condoms. When we teach sex-ed to 14 y.o.'s and they engage in it with somewhat older teens, it shouldn't come as any great surprise! This is such a tricky area, because having an older age of consent is necessary to avoid predatory adults from exploiting children. OTOH, who is to say that on any given day a 17 y.o. is necessarily more mature than a 14 y.o. or any better capable of consenting, etc.

Evie Happy
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Re:Maybe sex-ed should include the law!
by C1ay / April 17, 2004 4:45 AM PDT

An old saying states that "Ignorance of the law is no excuse." This comes from an era where the laws were simple an derived from the morals learned growing up. Any ordinary individual was expected to be able to work out what the law should be based on the values they had been taught. This made it impossible to be ignorant of the law.

Today, one should be able to argue with ease that a child certainly shouldn't be expected to know the law. They are just learning right from wrong. They get an ever broader knowledge as they grow older but surely no one expects they should magically know volumes more merely because they turn 16 or 17 or 18. Heck, many constitutional scholars couldn't even agree on whether or not Clinton was impeachable for perjury in a state court.

It would certainly benefit society if kids were more informed of the law growing up and introducing it to them in high school might be a good start. I wonder just how much the majority expects the kids to know of the law if they're not given any instruction in it.

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Re:Maybe sex-ed should include the law!
by Roger NC / April 17, 2004 5:46 AM PDT
...sexual encounter he allegedly had with a 14-year-old girl on Aug. 19 when he was 17 will be tried as an adult,...

The sexual assault laws set the age of consent at 16, while people who are 14 or 15 can consent to sex with someone who is not more than four years older, Krampner said. "That is a deliberate decision by the Wyoming Legislature," he said.

Ok, if the law says a 14 year old can conset to sex with someone who is not more than 4 years older, how can a 17 year old be charged in regarding sex with a 14 year old?

RogerNC

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com
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Re:Maybe sex-ed should include the law!
by Diana Forum moderator / April 19, 2004 1:42 PM PDT

I was wondering that myself (the 14/17 consent). It sounds like someone's father is pushing this.

I did notice that he is in football, wrestling, and track and field. I wonder if anyone has ever said no to him. I also wonder if the 14-year-old thought that she would be really popular if she had him as her boyfriend.

One of the problems is What does a 17-year-old football player want with a 14-year-old girl except sex.

I can see messing with his life a little but not 40 years.

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Re:Maybe sex-ed should include the law!
by Roger NC / April 17, 2004 5:47 AM PDT

Of course, then they bring up a dozen different laws, older and newer, some intended to be against pornography involving minors. And argue the law makes the other laws irrelevant, etc. Sheesh, and they wonder why people are losing respect for the law in general.

"This wasn't about kids having fun," Fitch said. "This was about some kind of a scheme engaged in by (the defendant) and his friend, Mr. Swope, to engage in sex-tagging girls."

Ok, I confess my ignorance, what is "sex-tagging"?

What really bothers me aobut such cases though is the ones that involve dating couples, they convict the guy of sexual assualt on his 2 or 3 year younger girlfriend, and then under sexual predator laws he has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life everywhere he lives. There has been more than one case that made the news about such happening the last half dozen years.

Not to justify sexual assault, or even seduction of young kids, especially by truely older people. But it burns me to see a teenager tagged as a sexual deviate or criminal for doing what probably the prosecutor, the judge, and most of the jury did when they were a teenager.

RogerNC

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Re:Re:Maybe sex-ed should include the law!
by Evie / April 17, 2004 5:51 AM PDT

I agree ... too many of these laws are deeming people "sex criminals" that are really not.

I didn't catch the 4 yrs. older thing. It would seem that this makes this case a moot point! I think many states have such leeway in their consent laws for just this sort of thing.

Evie Happy

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Re:Re:Re:Maybe sex-ed should include the law!
by Roger NC / April 17, 2004 6:17 AM PDT

There are several degrees of rape and sexual act laws in NC as I'm reading online here.

For statutory rape and sex offenses, if the victim is under 12, there is a 4 year spread to determine the class of felony. If the victim is over 12, there is a six year spread.

But if the victims is 13, 14, or 15 and the accused is more than 4 and less than 6 years older, it is a different class.

A juvenile who has not reached the age of 16 years CANNOT consent to ANY vaginal intercourse or sex act with a person who is at least four years older. The younger the juvenile, or the older the person with whom the juvenile performs the offense, the greater the punishment. The offense is either statutory rape or sex offense and the age of consent is 16 years of age; the difficult part to understand is the amount of possible punishment meted out to the guilty party because of the parties? respective ages.

Is that clear as mud? and that's just one interpretation of one state's laws.

RogerNC

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Re:Re:Re:Re:Maybe sex-ed should include the law!
by Dan McC / April 19, 2004 4:26 AM PDT

By the time the kids have studied the law long enough to determine if they're violating it they're no longer interested! At that point they move right into viagra and perscriptiong drug conversations.

Dan

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Well, that should reduce dependants on welfare
by Roger NC / April 19, 2004 5:47 AM PDT
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Re: Maybe sex-ed should include the law!
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 18, 2004 9:15 AM PDT

Hi, Roger.

There have been cases where parents who don't like a boyfriend have waited until he turns 18 (while their precious daughter is typically 17 or 16) and then had him arrested for statutory rape. Sorry, that's not justice.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
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The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Hmmm...
by Evie / April 18, 2004 10:28 PM PDT

... now she's a precious daughter. But when talking date rape cases, you seem to consistently take the other side. If the guy bought her a drink then he coerced sex and it is rape if she changes her mind the next morning.

I think the 4 year age thing is reasonable for boyfriend/girlfriend situations. But it is a rather sad state of REALITY that many of the girls who become sexually active at younger ages are not doing so with boys their age, they are being preyed upon by older teenagers. This is not always the case, and I'm sure there are some 14 y.o. girls that are more mature than their 17 y.o. boyfriends, but there just isn't a "level playing field" going on there.

Somehow the message got garbled that for liberation and equality girls should embrace free sexuality as soon as the hormones kick in. Any suggestion that the boys should exercise a modicum of restraint and self control was met with howls of bluenose religious fundamentalist that is out of touch with what it is like to be a hormone-crazed teenage boy. Very sad Sad

Evie Happy

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Re: Hmmm...
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 18, 2004 10:56 PM PDT
In reply to: Hmmm...

Hi, Evie.

The "precious daughter" comment was because most parents' argument is "he's not good enough for her." Sometimes that's true, but it's still ultimately her choice. I agree completely about the four-year exception, but many states don't have that -- I'm pretty sure Texas doesn't. So what's legal one day between two 17 year-olds suddenly becomes a felony when one turns 18.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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TX Law
by Evie / April 18, 2004 11:09 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Hmmm...
http://www.utexas.edu/student/lss/asklaw/statutoryrape.html

This statute does not apply if the adult and child engaging in sexual conduct are legally married. Also, if an adult who has sexual relations with a child can show that the child was 14 years of age or older at the time of the encounter, and that the adult is no more than three years older than the child, he or she cannot be convicted under this statute.

You seem to have an odd disdain for parents that wish to protect their daughters. I'll grant that there are some absurd cases that have resulted from the idiosyncracies of these laws, but these are the exception, not the rule.

Evie Happy
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Re: TX Law and free association
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 19, 2004 3:52 AM PDT
In reply to: TX Law

Thanks, Evie.

I don't have disdain for parents who wish to protect their sons (or daughters) as long as its not to an extreme degree. But in many cases parents don't want their progeny (at 17, "children" is not really appropriate) associating with, much less dating, certain others not for valid reasons (such as criminal or drug activity), but because of parental perceptions that the association is "beneath" their child. This is often due to differences in race, religion, or social class. We've spoken on this forum frequently of the problem of parents passing their own prejudices on to their children -- this (not necessarily use of the statutory rape law, but forbidding association) is one way in which that often happens.

-- Dave K.
Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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But you are disingenuous ...
by Evie / April 19, 2004 12:19 PM PDT

... when you imply that there are a slew of parents sitting in wait for their 17 y.o. daughter's boyfriend to turn 18 to get him. Seems like this isn't even a gray area in the TX law. I think parents have every right to decide who their children associate with up until the point that the kid decides to live under another roof. If that means some parents pass down their prejudices, so be it ... eventually the kid will probably rebel and choose another path anyway. You just assume that any and all parental beliefs that don't agree with yours are necessarily wrong. Sorry, you are wrong there because in the end it all still boils down to individual beliefs and morality, so long as it is not illegal, your "free to make own decisions regarding sex/dating as a minor" just doesn't fly.

Evie Happy

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Re: But you are disingenuous ...
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 19, 2004 12:48 PM PDT

Hi, Evie.

I didn't specifically say Texas -- in fact said I wasn't sure the law here. There have been publicized cases where this has happened -- one involved a pregnancy, the guy wanted to get married, and instead was put in the slammer and then legally enjoined from contacting her and put on a sex offenders' list after he got out (around a year; she was still under the "age of consent"), even though she also wanted to get married; the parents forced her to put the kid up for adoption instead. This was featured on one of the News Magazine shows (probably Dateline or 20-20) a couple of years back, but I don't recall the state. I also didn't say "a slew," I said "some." The more important issue, which you've yet to address, is the extent to which you feel parents should be allowed to a) permanently determine the direction of thir kids' lives, as they did in this not-hypothetical case, and b) determine their kids' associations based on their own prejudices.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Althought a bit extreme perhaps
by Roger NC / April 20, 2004 8:51 AM PDT

The old line regarding extent to which you feel parents should be allowed to a) permanently determine the direction of thir kids' lives regarding what is right and wrong I'm sure most of us have heard sometime-------

"as long as your feet are under my table, you'll live by my rules" or under my roof etc.

Meaning of course that as long as the parent is totally responsible for the others support, care, and actions, the parent gets to set the rules.

Now most of recognize that too draconian an application of such guidelines can encourage young runways and other such problems.

But there is a lot of truth in the idea that as long as you're living off someone else's 'sweat of brow' and especially if you're underage and they may be held responsibile for your actions, that they have the right to say what moral and ethical guides you'll live by.

RogerNC

click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Re: Althought a bit extreme perhaps
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 20, 2004 1:40 PM PDT

Hi, Roger.

I don't have any problem with that notion when it comes to ethics, or even sexuality, or drinking/drug use etc. But when a parent forbids their children from associating with "those kinds of people" (outside of the house) because of race, religion, national origin, or economic status, that's plain wrong. And that DOES happen, more often than we'd like to think.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Re:Re: But you are disingenuous ...
by Evie / April 20, 2004 9:49 AM PDT

a. Until the kids don't live in their home. There are provisions for emancipation, and, as I read through a few of the statutes, it seemed most made provisions for couples who married before having sex.

b. See a.

What state was that case in do you recall? I seem to remember discussing a case similar to that involving an immigrant a while back. I also have a fuzzy recollection that there was a "right way" they could have proceeded within the bounds of the law, and I don't recall parents being able to force the girl to give the child up for adoption. If the girl was also below the legal age to marry without parental consent, there is a reason for those laws too. The young couple that is committed enough to want to marry can wait. And the very rare case where a young girl is mature enough to handle a relationship with a guy several years older, if the relationship is about love and not merely physical gratification, that too can wait ... otherwise the parents are well within the bounds of parenting to protect their daughter.

You do seem to pick out a few idiosyncratic cases to paint a broad brush about the motivations and parenting styles of any parents who don't embrace your sexual politics.

Evie Happy

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Re: But you are disingenuous ...
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 20, 2004 1:55 PM PDT

Hi, Evie.

My issue here isn't sexual politics -- the law is being used as a club. And no I don't recall what state it was in, sorry. BTW, I tried to do a search about statutory rape laws -- the age of consent is still 18 in Massachussetts, and there's no age differential "shield," so that's one state where what's legal one day is illegal the next. That comes from Stattutory rape laws by state; it looks like most states now have age difference provisions, but among large ones where there's an "absolute" line are Arizona, Georgia, and of course Massachussetts.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Re:Re: But you are disingenuous ...
by Evie / April 21, 2004 1:00 PM PDT

This brings me back to my first point Dave. You seem to have a big problem with parents using the law to protect their young daughters, living under their roofs, yet don't seem to have a problem with the "club" that is date rape laws as pertains to mostly adult women who consent to sex. Those women you have lamented are often coerced and cajoled with drinks and tricks of the sexual trade often to regret the sexual encounter in the morning. You blame the guy (often of the same age at that point), or you certainly have argued to that effect quite often in the past. Yet we are talking about a far more mature woman than the girl under 16. Why do you think adult women are so easily manipulated but teen girls are not?

You also seem to have no problem with the "club" of a law that criminalizes adults 18+one-day through 21-one-day who drink alcohol. Do you really think that a 15 y.o. girl is more capable of making a good decision on having sex than a 19 y.o. is capable of making a good decision having a beer?

Part of the parental notification issue with abortion centers around the fact that most parents find out their daughter has been having sex with an older man and become pregnant as a result. Don't you think that the same parents who are responsible to feed, house, school, care for the health of, etc. their kids (under the club of law if they fail to do so) are every bit within their proper realm in expecting their kids to at least remain sexually 'pure' until the age of consent? (I think 16 is a good age for that FWIW). After all, they will be the ones helping to raise the child so the girl can finish high school, or pay for the STD treatment, and/or the counseling when the puppy "love" passes and she is left to raise a child on her own, or worse, live with an AIDS infection or some other STD that forever alters her life (I hear even with the new antivirals, herpes is still no fun, and don't get me started on HPV). Just as 16- y.o.'s are not allowed to drive an automobile, they should not be having sex.

Perhaps the statutory rape laws and the compelling reasons for enforcing them should be taught alongside the rest of sex-ed. As this link demonstrates this is a serious issue for society as a whole.

In Massachusetts, MFI's research (using 1996 data) found that in cases where adult men voluntarily acknowledge paternity:

Men age 20 and older account for 23 percent of all births by girls age 15 and younger Men age 20 and older account for 39 percent of all births by girls age 17 and younger.


BTW, I live right next door to Mass. and get much of my "local" news from sources that carry Mass. stories and I don't recall any cases like what you describe and they would surely be made hay over in that state. I'm sure there have been a few, but the majority of the prosecutions are for legit reasons as to why we need these laws in the first place. From my link, it seems that 16 is the age of consent in MA, although I don't see an age-of-offender exception. A good compromise I think is a two year difference so you Texans are more liberal on that count Happy


Evie Happy

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boys their age
by Richard Jones Forum moderator / April 18, 2004 11:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Hmmm...

Hi Evie,

It may of course just be my perception, but as I recall when I was around fourteen the girls my age preferred to date somewhat older boys. Probably because then they were approximately the same maturity psychologically speaking(?) Not that anyone was really dating that much ! And later, juniors or seniors in high school would consider a college boyfriend a 'catch'. That's just my take, maybe I'm wrong or things have changed.

I'm not saying there aren't boys who would take advantage of younger girls, just that maybe this would exacerbate the problem.

Rick

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Re:boys their age
by Evie / April 18, 2004 11:47 PM PDT
In reply to: boys their age

Hi Rick,

Yeah, there has always been that age gap. It seems to be worse nowadays as the girls seem older (physically at least) at younger ages whilst the boys seem younger.

Some might be surprised to learn that my first real date/boyfriend was when I was 17 and the guy was from a college class I was taking and 20 at the time. This was a fully vetted situation where my parents were concerned. There was an inequity of power inherent in that -- he was an adult, I was a child under the law. There were all sorts of ways this guy could have used this to his advantage were he the type. I can't imagine having a 17 y.o. boyfriend at 14. There were maybe a handful of girls at that age who even had boyfriends "back when". There seems to be far more pressure as to the "empowering" part of becoming sexually active earlier. Inasmuch as a large part of society has now thrown up their hands and proclaimed "they are going to do it anyway" and not expected their SONS to behave responsibly we have created a culture where this relationship is accepted and flies "under the radar screen".

No matter how mature the body, your average 14 y.o. girl is really no more mentally mature than your average 14 y.o. boy, and the vast majority of the time is really overmatched by a 17 y.o.

Evie Happy

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Re:Re:boys their age
by Richard Jones Forum moderator / April 19, 2004 1:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Re:boys their age

Hi Evie,

Really? I thought girls matured faster than boys - mentally and physically - though I was referring to the mental aspect primarily, as in girls being more 'adult'/savvy/responsible than the same age boys - especially in the pre-teen and puberty stages and through early adulthood. And it's been said (half-jokingly?) that "Men never catch-up" Wink

I agree as far as the scenario of 17 boy vs. 14 girl - It would be a bit much, I think I said "somewhat older" and meant by that one or two years at most older boy( to 12-15 y.o girl) with maybe a larger acceptable gap later in school.

Rick

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Re:Re:Re:boys their age
by Evie / April 19, 2004 1:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Re:Re:boys their age

Hi Rick,

I think there are these studies and anecdotal observations that may make girls appear to be more mentally mature than boys but I think it is a bit skewed in the measure. In terms of being vulnerable to coercion, I don't believe that a 14 y.o. girl is any more or less vulnerable than a 14 y.o. boy. The physical maturity sort-of naturally pairs girls with slightly older boys but I think it is mostly an impression that these girls are mentally as mature as their bodies indicate. I have a huge problem with the sexualizing of the dress of girls these days. It sure isn't trying on Mom's high heels anymore. I recently saw the flower girl from my wedding -- she is now 15 going on 21. I didn't even recognize her, and could easily see an 18 y.o. thinking she might be older. Later while chatting around in the kitchen with her cousins, it became very clear she was really just 15. Girls like this are all too easily swayed by being praised for their maturity as well. Sheesh does that sound like psychobabble or what? It just seems that where the law exists to protect young girls Dave seems all too eager to blame the parents for trying to protect their "precious daughters" by using an example that is not representative of the truth (see the statute I posted where it would clearly not apply to two 17 y.o.'s when one turned 18).

Evie Happy

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dress
by Richard Jones Forum moderator / April 19, 2004 2:34 AM PDT

Hi Evie,

Yes, I've noticed that too. What my mother would have noted as "tarting up" or slutty seems to be more prevalent. Then it was halter tops, miniskirts, hot pants - most schools banned those. Nowadays midriff/cleavage showing is tame or tolerated and tatoos/piercings de riguer. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, et al as "role models" don't exactly help.

I'm not clear on what DaveK is really saying and don't want to get into that political/ethical mix-up other than saying maybe he's suggesting a double standard, gender wise? Dunno.

It's maybe cyclical and we are going through another 60's-70's kinda thingy, to be followed by restraint as a backlash? I read an article a while back that suggested because of HIV/AIDS that the "show" of sexuality upped because the actuality decreased, but then again the figures of teen sex don't exactly bear this out.

Rick

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This year ...
by Evie / April 19, 2004 3:32 AM PDT
In reply to: dress

... I'm seeing less butt cleavage in my classroom than last. Thank God! It does appear to go in cycles. I just really wonder what parents are thinking. My mom wouldn't have let me out of the house.

Evie Happy

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LOL
by Richard Jones Forum moderator / April 19, 2004 5:53 AM PDT
In reply to: This year ...

Hi Evie,

Butt cleavage! Yep. And those small of the back tats? WTF does that mean? If it's supposed to be attractive it sure don't work for me. I guess this means I'm officially an Old Fart or something, but I really can't see the appeal.

Rick

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Re:LOL
by Evie / April 20, 2004 9:53 AM PDT
In reply to: LOL

I guess the tatoos are to draw attention to the cleavage. Two summers ago, it seemed like all my students had them -- and not discrete little ones either -- giant butterflies and the like.

Made me laugh there, because just the other day one of my students was sitting with her back exposed such that must the top of the tatoo peeped out. Another woman in class asked her if it was a banana ... at a glance it sure looked like one, and I wasn't about to look any closer!

Evie Happy

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Re:LOL
by Dan McC / April 21, 2004 12:12 AM PDT
In reply to: LOL

At Club Med a few years ago, I saw a woman with a tattoo at the base of her spine of laced up shoelaces.

That was pretty cool. The wife and I both like that one.

Sorry, Rick, it does mean you're official. Wink

Dan

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Re: boys their age
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 19, 2004 3:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Re:boys their age

Hi, Evie.

>>your average 14 y.o. girl is really no more mentally mature than your average 14 y.o. boy<<
I don't believe that's what psychologists say. I believe one reason girls generally mature (psychologically) faster than boys is that the hormonal pressures don't wipe out their thinking processes to the same extent! Wink

-- Dave K.
Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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