Where Parents Should Start to Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy

There comes a point where parents should start to help prevent teen pregnancy by taking an initiative to talk to their teens about safe sex practices and how to prevent pregnancy using birth control and abstinence. Preventing teen pregnancy is a mission parents should make a priority with their teens.

Whether parents think or know their teens are sexually active or not, there comes a time and place where parents should start to help prevent teen pregnancy by talking to their teens about safe sexual practices, abstinence, the importance of using birth control, condoms and more. However, most parents really don't know when is the right time to talk to their teen about such a serious and important topic. They might be concerned with addressing the topic too early and risk jump starting their teen's interest in their own sexuality. However, other parents might risk waiting too long to talk to their teen about making smart sex decisions until it is too late and their teen already has a bad sexual experience, contracts an STD or winds with an unplanned pregnancy

When Parents Should Talk to Their Teens:

Parents need to focus on the maturity of their teen before they consider the right time to discuss pregnancy prevention with their teen. However, this also means that parents need to not underestimate their teens. Unfortunately teens are learning about sex from their peers and the media in a glamorized fashion at younger and younger ages. This is the reality and unfortunately there is really no way around it, or to try and force your teen to live in a bubble. Because of this it is important for parents to discuss the realities of sex, the pressures teens face to engage in sexual behaviors and the risks they are taking by having sex. Teens are also learning about these things from their peers or the media at much younger ages. This is why parents can't ignore the tween sex statistics that show teens having sex at younger ages in their teens. About 13 percent of teens have vaginal sex by the time they reach age 15. While this is still a fairly low number, it does indicate sex is happening in the early teen years. 

Teen Pregnancy Risk Factors:

There are some studies and statistical evidences that show some teens who have past experiences with abuse, sexual abuse, violence, poverty and are the product of a teen pregnancy are more likely to fall victim to the same cycle and are likely to become teen parents themselves. That is why, especially parents who were once teen parents, need to expressly talk about these issues with their teens to help break that cycle. Just because some families are from lower income areas or financial backgrounds, that does not mean parents shouldn't spend the time to talk to their teens and establish open communication with them about topics like teen sex and preventing teen pregnancy

If parents simply take the time to cover all the bases of safe sex ranging from topics like abstinence to birth control methods like the pill and proper condom use, they are taking that initiative to help crack down on the steadily growing number of teen pregnancies that occur reach year. About 750,000 teen females in the United States become pregnant each year. About 59 percent of those pregnancies result in birth while about 27 percent result in abortion, followed by 14 percent that end in miscarriage. 

The Talk:

While some parents will choose to take the morality approach and only teach their teens about abstinence and the dangers of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, it is realistic to expect that some of those teens will venture out and have sex with a partner(s) anyway. That is why, even though many parents don't want to admit it, it is still important to discuss birth control options with your teen. Teach them about the hormonal birth control options like the pill as a method of preventing pregnancy. Condoms are also about 80 percent effective, if used correctly, in helping to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Having "the talk" with one's teen is always going to be an intimidating task, however there comes a time when it is a parent's responsibility to teach their teen about pregnancy and STD prevention to help curb the growing teen pregnancy rate. 

Sources: guttmacher.org

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