In The News
Should Parents be Held Responsible for 15-Year Old Sexual Relationship?
Parents of a 15-year-old girl in Tennessee are being charged with child neglect after not stopping the relationship she was having with her 21-year-old boyfriend. Yet these parents didn’t see a need to stop the relationship since they actually approve of it. In fact, they allowed the boyfriend to move into their house and gave condoms to the couple.
But police see a different side to this story. Since the 15-year-old girl is considered a child and her boyfriend is legally an adult, their sexual relationship broke the law. Stephen Rogers Jr. is being charged with statutory rape, and now her parents face charges of neglecting their daughter. But should they be?
Neighbors in this small community have mixed feelings since it was a neighbor that originally called the state’s Department of Children’s Services to inform them of the situation. Another neighbor describes this coupon as “almost one of those perfect little couples you never see anymore.”
First, I have to say that I don’t think any 15-year-old should be having sex, but I’m also realistic and understand that many do, and in fact the teen pregnancy statistics would prove this. As a mom, I was surprised that parents would let their 15-year-old daughter live with a 21-year-old boyfriend, but the truth is I am shocked that police are charging the parents. Yes, I understand that this is against the law and this is not a choice that I would make for my child, but are they really neglecting her well-being? Six years difference in a relationship is not uncommon (and probably more normal than not) and if the girl was a tad older this wouldn’t be such an issue. Plus, the parents feel they are being responsible given the situation because they are aware of what their daughter is doing and encouraging protected sex.
Yet, she is only 15 and that means that she is still developing mentally, emotionally, and physically, which is why parents need to help their kids make better choices. I don’t agree with this parenting decision, but I also don’t see that these parents, who feel they are making the best decision in this situation, should be charged. What do you think? Should the parents be held responsible for this illicit love affair?