“Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex” by Amy T. Schalet

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Introduction

These days, sex education appears to be a matter of multiple discussions. This topic especially regards teenagers, who are eager to start their sexual life, but they are not experienced enough. This fact is highly likely to lead to negative consequences and result in psychological traumas, unintended pregnancy, and obtaining sexually transmitted diseases. Amy T. Schalet is determined to draw the public’s attention to this issue. To fulfill this intention, she has written the book Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex. This way, the purpose of this paper is to provide a summary of the book and present its analysis and valuation of its weak and strong points.

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Summary

Amy T. Schalet presents a comparison between attitudes towards teenage sex in America and the Netherlands. For writing this book, the author has selected 130 families, who have met her criteria and have been white representatives of the middle class. In addition, participants are secular or moderately Christians and the majority of parents and their children do not regard themselves to any type of sexual minorities and are heterosexual.

The exploration starts with a question of whether a teenager may be allowed to have a sleepover with their lover in the parents’ house. The first difference appears to be evident in the answers, as the majority of Americans are more likely to forbid this pastime by contrast with Dutch (Schalet 2011). The author states that Dutch parents perceive adolescent sexuality as the norm identifies of its three frames – “normal sexuality, relationship-based sexuality, and self-regulated sexuality” (Schalet 2011: 32). Therefore, Dutch predominantly permit the aforementioned sleepovers in a family house, as they see it as an opportunity to contribute to the healthy sexuality development of teenagers.

As for families in the United States, they appear to be more conservative in this regard. Describing their position, Amy T. Schalet provides an illustrative example that American parents use three following frames for this tendency: “hormone-based adolescent sexuality … parent-regulated adolescent sexuality” (2011: 56). It is also worthy of note that a widespread conviction implies the permission of starting sexual life only in case of reaching self-sufficient age. However, the reality does not match this belief, as in fact, the majority of American teenagers are engaged in sexual activity.

According to the writer, the rate of unintended pregnancies is significantly higher in U. S. as compared to statistics in the Netherlands. Apart from particular prejudices in the U. S. society, the author supplies other reasons for such an approach to teenage sexuality. Amy T. Schalet contradistinguishes “American adversarial individualism” and “Dutch interdependent individualism” (2011: 83). They have appeared due to different expectations and perceptions of relationships in these societies. For instance, Americans are willing to receive autonomy and reach independence, while in the Netherlands, adolescents are determined both to achieve the previously mentioned goal and have ongoing relationships.

Analysis

All this, the author’s thesis implies that there is no adequate conception of teenage sexuality in American society. This fact prevents offerings from “ongoing practical, emotional, critical, and ethical guidance”, which is helpful for healthy sex perception. (Schalet 2011: 209). The writer claims that “the cultural frames that they [parents] have available to discuss teenage sexuality give American parents only limited tools with which to help their adolescent children navigate their entry into sexual exploration” (Schalet 2011: 209). Therefore, she recommends addressing this issue by accepting the framework, which involves acknowledging adolescent sexuality in many aspects.

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It is undeniable that Amy T. Schalet manages to highlight the hardships of growing up in the present-day developments precisely. These days, the culture of sex has undergone significant changes and differs from the one, which was in the past. It is an apparent fact that adolescents tend to have sex at an earlier age than they used to be in the 20th century. Gradually, sex is no longer presenting a forbidden topic in modern society. Moreover, carelessness in this issue is highly likely to obtain severe health problems, which consequences can be overwhelming. In addition, some sexually transmitted diseases may lead to sterility in the future.

On the other hand, pregnancy at an early age may have negative consequences too. Teenagers predominantly are not capable of providing infants with sufficient care and financial support. Moreover, a baby may limit their opportunities and changes their path of life drastically. For the aforementioned reasons, it is evident that the thesis, which is claimed by the author, appears to be a pressing concern. She manages to support the tendency to promote sex education among young people and their parents.

The position of the author can be considered to be convincing, as it addressed the highly-discussed issue in modern society. Moreover, Amy T. Schalet provides credible evidence for the central topic of her book. Throughout the narration, she conducts 130 in-depth interviews, in which participants are 58 parents, both individual and in couple, 32 teenage boys and 40 teenage girls. The author asks both American and Dutch members of families similar questions, which reveal the differences in their attitude to teenage sex. Such a wide range of participants, and the fact that the writer managed to have a conversation and reveal each one’s opinion provides the book with strong reliability.

Nevertheless, there is one aspect, which may cause some doubts about the thesis of Amy T. Schalet. All the respondents refer to the representatives of the middle class of both countries. This way, the attitude to the teenage sex of the population with other financial conditions is not reflected. Therefore, her argument may seem to be incomplete, as it covers only one group of the population.

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The writer manages to show the problem from two perspectives, which are micro-and macro-sociological. Amy T. Schalet protects adolescents’ rights and responsibilities in the context of relationships between children and parents. She emphasizes the importance of respecting teenage sexuality and addresses the necessity to have a conversation with offspring on this topic. In addition, she matches different parenting styles with cultural specialties, contrasting American and Dutch approaches to upbringing. Therefore, the book provides readers with several levels of sexual scripts.

Evaluation

The strength of the book implies providing a deep insight into the importance of discussion and supporting adolescents in exploring their sexuality. Amy T. Schalet contrasts the Dutch and American culture and their attitudes to teenage sex to show how understanding and support help prevent negative consequences of this occasion. American parents are so extremely feared of sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and rape that they prefer to restrict this part of relationships. This way, the comparison illustrates the ineffectiveness of such an approach and convicts the readers to stick to a more healthy and caring option.

Although the book supplies American parents with a powerful incentive to change their opinion in this regard, it does not mention how to discuss this provocative topic with teenagers correctly. Such a supplement would be beneficial in achieving the result targeted by the writer, as parents would receive not only the motivation but also practical steps for improving the communication with their children. Occasionally, despite being willing to make a change, parents tend to feel confused about discussing sex education with children, and this issue should be covered in the book. This way, the lack of advice for changing the atmosphere in parents’ houses can be considered to be the weakness of Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex.

Nevertheless, it is undeniable that Amy T. Schalet manages to address and impress the target audience. Every American parent will receive creditable and convincing evidence that the widespread behavior appears to be not only fruitless but also harmful for their offsprings’ path of life. In addition, young people are highly likely to be interested in the book too, and they will find irrefragable answers to the majority of questions regarding their parents’ approach. They may become more understanding towards their family and understand the motives of their behavior. All this, the book may be extremely helpful and informative for its core audience, which is American parents and teenagers.

Conclusion

The topic of sex education has become a hot-button in present-day developments. The book of Amy T. Schalet Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex manages to present the author’s perspective on this issue. The writer highlights the differences between Dutch and American parents’ opinions regarding teenage sexuality by interviewing both single and married adults and their children. The author notes that American parents are predominantly feared teenage sex, especially possible negative consequences, such as unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. However, the statistics of these circumstances are significantly higher in America than in the Netherlands. For this reason, Amy T. Schalet stimulates American parents to reconsider their approach and shows them another behavioral pattern, which appears to be more beneficial for the whole family.

Reference

Amy T. Schalet. 2011. Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex. University of Chicago Press.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, February 16). "Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex" by Amy T. Schalet. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/not-under-my-roof-parents-teens-and-the-culture-of-sex-by-amy-t-schalet/

Reference

PsychologyWriting. (2022, February 16). "Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex" by Amy T. Schalet. https://psychologywriting.com/not-under-my-roof-parents-teens-and-the-culture-of-sex-by-amy-t-schalet/

Work Cited

""Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex" by Amy T. Schalet." PsychologyWriting, 16 Feb. 2022, psychologywriting.com/not-under-my-roof-parents-teens-and-the-culture-of-sex-by-amy-t-schalet/.

References

PsychologyWriting. (2022) '"Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex" by Amy T. Schalet'. 16 February.

References

PsychologyWriting. 2022. ""Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex" by Amy T. Schalet." February 16, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/not-under-my-roof-parents-teens-and-the-culture-of-sex-by-amy-t-schalet/.

1. PsychologyWriting. ""Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex" by Amy T. Schalet." February 16, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/not-under-my-roof-parents-teens-and-the-culture-of-sex-by-amy-t-schalet/.


Bibliography


PsychologyWriting. ""Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex" by Amy T. Schalet." February 16, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/not-under-my-roof-parents-teens-and-the-culture-of-sex-by-amy-t-schalet/.