Helping Your Teens Avoid Teen Pregnancy: 6 Things They Wish You Knew
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy asked teens across the country what they wish parents knew to help them avoid teen pregnancy. Marisa Nightingale, Senior Media Advisor of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy shares their candid answers:
- 1. Talk to us honestly about sex, love, and how to tell the difference. Just because we're young doesn't mean that we can't fall in love or be interested in sex. Help us figure out how to handle these powerful feelings and relationships (and heartbreak), and how sex fits into the mix.
- 2. Just telling us not to have sex is not enough. Explain why you feel that way and ask us what we think. Tell us how you felt as a teen. Listen to us and take our opinions seriously. Conversations, yes. Lectures, no.
- 3. Whether we're having sex or not, we need to be prepared. We need to know how to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. You don't need to be a science text book, but it would help if you can point us to accurate web sites that break down the various contraceptive methods, how to use them, where to get them...and how to say no in a million different ways if we are not ready but need some support on that.
- 4. Just because we have questions about sex, don't assume we're doing it. We may just be curious, and would rather get good information from someone we trust. We can get lots of questionable information from our friends. So if we do get up the guts to ask you about sex, don't freak out and think the worst or it might be the last time we come to you.
- 5. Giving us information about sex and birth control does NOT encourage us to have sex. Just the opposite—it encourages us to be safe when we eventually do have sex. We'd much rather know how to protect ourselves before the moment arrives, since you won't be there with us when we have to make the decision to say no or to insist on protection.
- 6. Pay attention to us before we get into trouble. Reward us for doing the right thing—even when it seems like no big deal. Don't shower us with attention only after there's a pregnancy or when there's a baby involved.
Get the rest of what teens want you to know here, and more resources for parents at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy's Parent Portal.