Help Eliminate Teen Pregnancy
When it comes to teen pregnancy, often we ask these two questions: if a teen finds themself facing an unplanned pregnancy are the parents to blame? Or should we point our fingers at the teen’s own bad choices? We ask because we care. And as parents, we want to protect our kids from difficult situations and the consequences of poor decisions.
Are you a mom or dad who’s wondering if you can make a difference in your child’s choice not to have sex prematurely? The answer is YES! And If you don’t want your daughter or son to be one of the one million teens who become parents every year, consider this:
Be a role model.
Our kids often follow where we lead. Consider your life. Are you living with integrity? Are you only having sex within the boundaries of marriage? The saying “Do what I say, not what I do” never works. We have to set the standard we want our kids to emulate. The standard is God’s Word, not the current culture.
Talk about what love is—and isn’t!
Love is not sex. Going “all the way” with someone doesn’t prove your love (no matter what they show on television). True love is shown through life-long commitment and by valuing the other person. Remind teens they are responsible for setting sexual limits on a relationship. Remind young women, “Sex won’t make him yours. A baby won’t make him stay.”
Remind kids it CAN happen to them.
Having sex, even so-called “protected” sex, can lead to pregnancy. It can happen even to kids from a good family. The only way to 100% prevent pregnancy is not to have sex. And, yes, it’s possible—everyone can make good choices. It’s our job as parents to instruct our kid’s on how to make those choices. Talk openly with your child about sex and sexuality and remind them they are in control of their body—no matter what anyone else says.
Emphasize that even “good girls” get pregnant.
Having a good report card, being a good person, having an important parent, or being conscientious will not protect you from pregnancy. According to teenpregnancy.org, one in three young women get pregnant at least once before they turn twenty—good girls included.
Let your kids know that most teens (and adults!) wished they had waited.
Sex before marriage can not only lead to pregnancy but there are other health concerns, such as STDs. There is also emotional baggage. According to teenpregnancy.org, 60% of teens “wished they had waited longer” to have sex.
Encourage your teen to plan their actions BEFORE the situation arises.
Talk about setting boundaries and not putting themself in situations that will cause them to compromise those decisions. Help them make good plans for their future and stick to their goals. If possible, role-play conversations until they feel confident saying what needs to be said to avoid sexual situations. The more practice a person has in saying something, the easier it will be to say it when the time comes. Even if it feels awkward or silly, help your child find their own words for protecting their boundaries.
Talk about the media’s wrong messages.
The media (television, radio, movies, music videos, magazines, the Internet) are chock full of material sending the wrong messages. Just because we see everyone in Hollywood having sex and having babies doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Babies are a life-long responsibility, not a fashion accessory.
Encourage secondary purity.
Teens can say “no” even if they’ve said “yes” before. Today your child can make the right choice and choose abstinence. Even if they’ve been sexually active in the past, remind them that they can choose differently next time. Help them find forgiveness in Christ and build them up in the way to find the strength to avoid temptation in the future.
Realize parents can only do so much . . . but make sure it’s done!
As a parent, you cannot be around your child 24/7. Yet, we can do our best to prepare our kids. Don’t wait.
Let your kids know you are available to talk about every issue in life.
It’s so important for parents to open up a two-way conversation, not a one-way lecture. Parents can do this by turning the above topics into questions such as: What are your boundaries? Do you think sex proves you love someone? What do you think of the messages the media gives out?
Some of the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had were talking to my kids about sex. But those are also some of the most important ones. Not only did it help us to discuss this important topic, but it lead to other important topics and drew us closer to each other. When we care enough to breach difficult subjects with our kids they begin to understand our hearts better. Don’t miss this opportunity to build a lifelong relationship with your child. Remember, they will grow up one day and this conversation might be a crucial part of their life choices.
Lastly, remember Parents, you CAN make a difference in your teen’s lives!
Help Eliminate Teen Pregnancy
Although an unplanned pregnancy is something we would rather spare our child from, if your teen (or a teen you know) find’s themself in this situation, know that they can choose to parent and be successful. Teens can be good parents and a baby is always a blessing. We can choose to help a teen become a good parent by supporting them every step of the way.
For more resources on supporting teen moms, you might want to read these posts: