It Takes a Village: Is it Parenting or Interfering?

by Alethea Thompson

Lincoln Heights is one of my favorite American drama series to watch with my family… and by myself! The show is about a police officer, Eddie Sutton, who moves his African American family back to the inner-city neighbor where he grew up. He struggles to balance safety and happiness and to teach his children morals. The family consists of his wife and three children (Cassie, age 17, Lizzie, age 14, and Tay, age 13).

The show touches on several real-life issues like family dynamics, racism, gang violence, dating, future goals, drugs and much more.

Recently an episode featured a storyline involving Cassie (the oldest daughter) and her romantic involvement with her boyfriend, Charles Antoni. Charles’ mother wanted her son to get a scholarship for college to play football and did not want anything getting in his way, especially an unintended pregnancy. To help ensure this, she gave Cassie birth control pills.

This brought up some conflicting feelings for me as a sex educator. While I can understand the desire to protect your own child’s future, a person should never take or dispense medication without speaking to a doctor or clinician. Without a relationship with a doctor, who could Cassie go to if she was having a problem or reaction to the birth control pills? Prescription medication without medical clearance can be a dangerous combination.

This could have been better handled if Ms. Antoni had sat down to speak to her son and his girlfriend. Opening up the dialogue about safer sex, birth control, and relationships would have been a respectful approach, allowing Charles and Cassie to make informed decisions, and given them a trusted adult who they could reach out to with other problems.

I guess things aren’t always perfect in TV-land. What do you think? How would you feel if Cassie was your daughter? How else could Ms. Antoni have handled this situation?