Believe it or not, parents and close adult relatives can do a lot to reduce the risk of their children becoming teen parents. Maintaining strong, close relationships with children and teens, setting clear expectations, and communicating honestly and often about important matters should be regularly practiced.
Here are some of the top nationally recognized tips parents should utilize to help their kids avoid teen pregnancy!
Talk with Your Kids Early and Often About Sex
Start the conversation about sex and make sure that it is honest, open, and respectful. If you can’t think of how to start the discussion, consider using situations shown on television or in the movies as conversation starters. Tell them candidly and confidently what you think and why you take these positions; if you’re unsure about some issues, tell them that. Be sure to have a two-way conversation, not a one-way lecture. Ask them what they think and what they know so you can correct misconceptions. Ask what, if anything, worries them.
Resist the idea that there should be just one conversation about this topic. Parents and children should be talking about sex and love equally to sons and daughters. All children need communication, guidance, and information about these issues, even if they sometimes don’t appear interested in what you have to say.
Know Your Kid’s Friends and Their Families
Friends have a strong influence on each other, so help your children and teenagers become friends with people whose families share your values.Some parents of teens arrange to meet with the parents of their children’s friends to establish common rules and expectations. For example, it is easier to enforce a curfew that all your child’s friends share. Hold fast to your convictions, welcome your children’s friends into your home, and talk to them openly.
Discourage Early and Frequent Dating
Group activities among young people are normal, and a great way to socialize, but allowing teens to begin steady, one-on-one dating before age sixteen may not be the smartest decision. Let your kid know your feelings on this issue throughout childhood. Don’t wait until your young teen proposes a plan that differs from your preferences, or they might feel personally attacked or believe you don’t approve of the person they want to date.
Be Aware of the Media Your Kids Are Consuming
Media outlets like TV, radio, music, movies, and social media networks are full of material sending false messaging. It is important to talk with your children about what the media portrays and what you think about it. If certain programs or movies offend you, say so and explain why. Be “media literate” and think about what you and your family watch and read. Encourage your children to think critically and ask them what they think about the programs they watch and the music they listen to.
You can always turn the TV off, cancel subscriptions and place certain movies off-limits. You will not be able to control what children see and hear fully, but you can certainly make your views known and control your home environment.
Discuss Your Kids Future Plans
The chances that your children will delay sex, pregnancy, and parenthood are significantly increased if their futures appear bright and exciting. Talk to your children about what it takes to make future plans come true and help them set meaningful goals. Explain to them, for example, that if they want to be a teacher, they will need to stay in school to earn various degrees and pass certain exams. Mention that becoming pregnant – or causing pregnancy – can derail the best of plans; for example, childcare expenses can make it almost impossible to afford college.
Providing open communication and building a trusting relationship with your children is the best way to encourage them to make proper life choices. Still, as expected, some young people slip up and make mistakes.
At South Avenue Women’s Services, we have the knowledge and compassion to help young women decide their next steps after finding out they are pregnant. We are a full-service women’s health facility that can provide you with a medical or surgical abortion. Our licensed professionals are here to help you make that choice and provide you with the information you need to determine which procedure is right for you and your situation.