Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Parents who don’t judge but help their children

Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is a 16-year-old girl who gets pregnant in her first sexual experience with Paulie Bleeker, a cute boy. She must make up her mind about the unborn child. She tells her sort-of boyfriend the news. He replies “Boy, what shall we do?” She answers: “I'll nip it in the bud before it gets worse. It can lead to an infant.”

She phones up an abortion clinic: “I'm calling to place a hasty abortion” she says to the receptionist. She goes to the clinic. Outside, there is a schoolmate who is with a banner against abortion. They speak and Juno is told that her baby inside already has fingernails, which makes her a bit thoughtful. Juno enters the clinic, sees the unhappy look of women and changes her mind: she is no going to have an abortion but to give the baby in adoption.

Later, she informs her father and stepmother about her pregnancy and her decision. Her father’s first reaction is: “I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say ‘no’.” There is no cry, no shout. There are neither faces nor grimaces. The couple agrees in supporting her.

This film is full of good dialogues, nice music and humour. As an example of a quick dialogue: in the scene Juno’s father accompanies her to the future parents of the child and their lawyer Juno says: “Can't we just kick this old school? I stick the baby in a basket and set it your way”. The husband answers: “Well, technically, that would be Old Testament”.

Nowadays there is a lot of information about sex but teenagers alas still become parents. I like what parents do in this film: they support the girl and her decision. The “harm” is already done, so what can they do?
On the other hand, there is something parents can do. They can give information to their children. There are books for both, parents and teenagers.

For fathers:

- Sex and Sensibility: The Thinking Parents Guide to Talking Sense about Sex, by Deborah Roffman
- Beyond the Big Talk: Every Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens from Middle School to High School and Beyond, by Debra Haffner
- All About Sex: A Family Resource on Sex and Sexuality, by Ronald Moglia and Jon Knowles
- Sexuality: Your Sons and Daughters with Intellectual Disabilities, by Karin Melberg Schwier and Dave Hingsburger
- Ten Talks Parents Must Have With Their Children about Sex and Character, by Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., and Dominic Cappello

Books for teenagers:

- Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships, by Ruth Bell Alexander
- It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health, by Robie Harris, Illustrated by Michael Emberley
- The Real Truth about Teens and Sex: From Hooking Up to Friends with Benefits – What Teens Are Thinking, Doing and Talking About and How to Help Them Make Smart Choices, by Sabrina Weill
- The Underground Guide to Teenage Sexuality, by Michael Basso
- What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Boys: A Growing Up Guide for Parents and Sons, by Lynda Madaras
- What'’ Happening to My Body? Book for Girls: A Growing Up Guide for Parents and Daughters, by Lynda Madaras

Once a daughter gets pregnant, how to deal with it? There are some webs on the Internet:

1. All About Life Challenges
2. Pregnancy Info
3. Pregnant Teen Help
4. Direct Gov.UK
5. Pregnancy

To sum up, it’s a very entertaining movie in which a teenager decides not to be mum because she doesn’t feel prepared. Instead of it, she gives her baby to a woman who really wants to become a mother.

United States, 2007
Cast: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Olivia Thirlby, Jennifer Garner, Jason
Bateman, Allison Janney, J. K. Simmons
Director: Jason Reitman
Producers: Joe Drake, Nathan Kahane, Daniel Dubiecki, Mason Novick, Lianne Halfon, Russell Smith, John Malkovich, Jim Miller, Kelli Konop, Brad Van Arragon
Screenplay: Diablo Cody
Music: Matt Messina (music), Kimya Dawson (songs), Alison Litton (music coordinator)
U.S. Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Video Distributor), Fox Searchlight Pictures (Theatrical Distributor).

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand

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