Preventing teenage pregnancy begins with education and choice. The education component is often explained in schools with textbooks and teachers explaining the mechanics of sexual intercourse. Then there is the entertainment industry’s education of sex, summed up in the images and words today’s teens are exposed to that glorify sexual intercourse; the ads and songs that seemingly wipe away the fact that sex, or the romantic movies of high school sweethearts who need to consummate their love with sexual intercourse. The entertainment industry’s education of sex fails to reiterate that sex can lead to pregnancy, that teen mothers will likely not finish their education, nor marry or remain married to the baby’s father. These teenage pregnancy truths are where parents’ roles come into play.
Speak to your teenager about sex, be sure he or she understand the mechanics, the reasons for sex, and the down falls like sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. Discuss teen pregnancy statistics; StayTeen.org, Planned Parenthood, and the American Pregnancy Association are great agencies to garner information from or to direct your teen towards.
Be sure your teen understands the entertainment industry tends to glorify sex, and it can be great, but only between two matured, consenting adults. Talk to him or her about peer pressure and if there’s an inclination towards sexual behavior within his or her social circles. As parents, we like to believe our children will overcome peer pressure, but the sad truth is many teens simply want to feel accepted and if conducting sexual acts gets them noticed, they’ll be inclined to participate. Be sure girls, who some how tend to get the message that sex or being sexy can make a boy like you, understand the difference between a boy and a gentleman, and fully understand the risk of getting pregnant from sexual intercourse.
Once aptly educated, it’s up to your teen whether to participate in sexual activity, and increase his or her chances of getting involved with teenage pregnancy. Remind your child of his or her long term goals, and how having a baby at a young age can hinder those goals. Harp on your child the importance of waiting for sex, not necessarily for marriage, but until he or she is more matured and in a committed relationship. If your teen is quite certain his or her relationship is mature and committed, then ask him or her to imagine getting accidentally pregnant: missing out on up coming dances, not being able to go out on the weekends or partake in fun teenager activities. Remind him or her that if a teenage relationship is strong, then sex can wait for a few years when the couple can handle an accidentally pregnancy.
Finally, if you think your child is choosing to be sexually active, remind him or her about condoms, and consider taking your daughter to a gynecologist to discuss prescribed birth control methods. Remember to tell him or her you aren’t condoning teenage sexual behavior, but feel inclined to prevent teenage pregnancy.