Many families wonder how they can prevent teenage pregnancy, and it is not easy. We know that teenagers can be easily influenced by living in the moment. The key is having regular and open conversations with your child so that they know your values, beliefs and understand the risks of having sex young. These conversations are most effective in smaller bits, rather than one large awkward “talk.”
How To Help Prevent Teenage Pregnancy Through Conversation
The US Office of Adolescent Health reports that teens who have regular conversations with their parents about sex are more likely to:
- Delay the age when they first become sexually active
- More likely to use condoms and other contraceptives
- Have better overall communication within romantic relationships
- Have a lower risk of teen pregnancy
- Have sex less often than other adolescents
Explain How A Baby Can Impact Them Now
There are teens out there who want to get pregnant. They often do not fully understand the Effects Teenage Pregnancy Can Have On A Baby or on themselves. One way to reach out to your teen might be through technology. The Candie’s Foundation has created a free Cry Baby App that can begin to give your teen an idea just how demanding a baby can be over 24 hours. Some other topics to talk about include:
- Exploring future plans and how a baby early makes those plans harder
- Health issues of having babies young
- Emotional reasons why having a baby is tough
- How having a baby changed YOUR relationship with your partner
- How financially difficult having a baby can be
- It’s ok to feel sexual desire, everyone does. It is not ok to act on it in unsafe ways.
Explain Contraceptive Options & How To Access Them
Teens value your opinion (even when they seem like they don’t!) but will make choices that are their own. If a teen does not have access to birth control it leaves them very vulnerable if they decide to have sex. If a teen decides in the moment to have sex, it is likely they will have sex regardless of having contraceptives. Some teens will try methods such as the pulling out or charting their cycle, which leave them open to both STD’s and pregnancy.
Some parents feel by putting their daughter on a birth control pill is giving them permission to have sex. How do you discourage teenage sex when you have just given them a pill to prevent pregnancy? This becomes a personal choice that depends on your own personal beliefs about sex, love and reproduction. If you choose not to make any forms of contraceptive readily available, you are putting your teen at a high risk for pregnancy. Make sure to discuss your beliefs with your teen and why you feel the way you do. It is EQUALLY as important to have this conversation with both boys and girls.
Talk About Unhealthy Relationships
When talking with your teen about how to prevent teenage pregnancy, it is also a good time to talk about what unhealthy relationships look like. Warning signs in a relationship include:
- Pressure to have sex in the relationship
- One or both people are not enjoying the relationship
- The relationship pushes you away from friends or family
- Manipulation to get what one person wants
- Verbal or physical abuse of any kind
What conversations are you planning to have with your kids to prevent teenage pregnancy within your own family? Tell us in the comments.
Image Credit: Postcards from Inside