- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2008

I didn’t realize last summer when I told my youngest daughter about the facts of life just how crucial this information would be if she’s going to understand the headlines.

It turns out my timing was good. After all, it’s much easier to discuss with Amy the news about the potential cancellation of one of her favorite Nickelodeon TV shows, “Zoey 101,” because I’ve already explained where babies come from.

Perhaps you spent the holiday season focusing on other things — such as your own life — and therefore you missed the news that Jamie Lynn Spears, sister of tabloid icon Britney and star of a popular Nickelodeon program aimed at tween viewers, is pregnant.

Miss Spears is 16. Her boyfriend (now described in the press as her “former boyfriend”) is either 18 or 19, depending on the story you read. In any case, he’s a legal adult while Miss Spears is not old enough to give her consent in many states, apparently including the one in which she became pregnant.

Now, in addition to owning up to her unplanned and ill-timed pregnancy, this teen celebrity also might be the victim of statutory rape, a concept I most certainly did not include last summer when I educated Amy about sex.

The folks at Nickelodeon are mum on their plans regarding the hit series, probably because they’re waiting to see whether this news impacts the show’s ratings. Theoretically, if there’s not much negative effect on viewership, they’ll keep the show and work around the young star’s pregnancy. Let’s just say that would affect the ratings at my house.

Suffice to say, Miss Spears‘ news precipitated a conversation with my daughter that I would have liked to avoid. Typically, I would prefer not to exploit my child’s innocence with a discussion about how and why a famous teenager will be a famous unwed teenage mom.

I learned long ago, however, that innocence and ignorance are not one and the same, and to preserve the former, I must convey the proper context about issues such as this.

This is how it went:

Me: “Did you hear some news about Jamie Lynn Spears?”

Amy: “Let’s talk about something else.”

Me: “So, is that a yes?”

Amy: “Wow, look at the time. I should probably get to bed since I’m a growing girl and all.”

Me: “Amy, we really should discuss this so I can answer any questions you might have.”

Amy: “This is my only question: Why are you torturing me?”

Story Continues →