Avoiding a Modern-Day Tragedy Or, How to Keep Your Teenagers in Line And Stop Unwanted Elopements

Twenty Government Documents Designed to Help Parents Protect Their Children from the Dangers of Young Love

Chosen and Written by Merrie A. Beard LIS 5143 December 10, 2007

Lovers young and old alike recall the sadness and despair they felt when the learned the story of Romeo and Juliet, two star-crossed lovers whose relationship was doomed by family strife and cruel fate. The 1996 film placed the teens in a modern-day setting while using traditional Shakespearean language. Following in the footsteps of that update, this bibliography is intended to provide up-to-date information to help parents keep their teenage children away from dangers encountered by these famous teens, such as the threat of teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, suicide, and drug abuse. The following bibliography lists twenty government documents from federal and state levels designed to meet and, if possible, prevent these threats. The documents are arranged by topic.

(1) Gang Warfare
As we know, the rivalry and hatred between the Montague and Capulet clans kept Romeo and Juliet from freely expressing their love and devotion and declaring their marriage openly. The following documents and web pages discuss gangs and gang warfare of various types and factions. U.S. Department of Justice. 2005 National Gang Threat Assessment. ____________. Gangs Toolkit.

(2) Peer Pressure
Peer pressure also served our heroes badly. Driven by pressure from friends and family members to remain loyal to their gang factions (families), Romeo and Juliet felt it necessary to hide their elopement from all but a few. The following websites provide teens advice on resisting peer pressure. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The Cool Spot. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preparing Youth for Peer Pressure. (3)

Teen Pregnancy/Prevention

Lost in the wonder of their romance, Romeo and Juliet ignored some of the very real dangers they faced; teenage pregnancy and pregnancy prevention is at the top of that list.

National Center for Health Statistics. Fast Facts: A to Z. _______. Recent Trends in Teenage Pregnancy in the United States, 1990-2002. npreg1990-2002.htm Oklahoma State Department of Health. Oklahoma Abstinence Education Project. _______. Teen Pregnancy Facts about Oklahoma 2007.

(4) Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Hand-in-hand with the worry of pregnancy comes the worry of STDs. These documents/websites will help sexually active teens prevent the spread of STDs and protect their health and their future. U.S. Center for Disease Control. STDs and Pregnancy: CDC Fact Sheet. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

(5) Drug Use
Indiscriminate use of a dangerous substance led to the untimely deaths—directly and indirectly--of these young lovers. The sites listed below provide detailed information concerning drug use and prevention among teenagers. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Heads Up: Real News About Drugs and Your Body. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. When Your Child Needs Substance Abuse Treatment. White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Drug Facts.

(6) Suicide
Sadly, teenage suicide is a reality for some families. The following government sources give warning signs of suicidal behavior and steps parents can take to help their children receive the care they need. Oklahoma State Department of Health. Oklahoma State Youth Suicide Prevention Plan. ______. Youth Suicide Prevention: Facts and Statistics for Oklahoma. (7)

Parenting and Child Care

While obviously well-loved and cared-for, both Romeo and Juliet would have benefited from more attentive parenting and child care. Juliet’s own nanny aided and abetted her elopement and undoubtedly contributed to the tragedy that followed. The following sites are designed to help parents become actively involved in their children’s lives by providing the best parenting and child care skills possible. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Your Official Source for All U.S. Government Child Care Information. ______. Administration for Children and Families. National Child Care Information Center. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. About Teen Suicide. dn=girlshealth&lic=175&cat_id=146&article_set=21788&ps=104

(8) Name Changes
In the unfortunate event that your teenager proceeds with plans to elope, the following website will guide your daughter in changing her last name, thereby helping her avoid Juliet’s sad query, “What’s in a name?” U.S. Social Security Administration. Marriage, Divorce, and Name Changes.