Ashley is a 14-year old from Wisconsin and enjoys kayaking, hiking and reading. Her favorite subject is English because the teacher is amazing!
Last year there was a story of a teen pregnancy pact in small town Gloucester Massachusetts. Eighteen girls got pregnant in that school; the average number of pregnancies was three. There are many theories as to why or if this pact exists. But it is not just one school reporting this “fad”. Although teen pregnancy rates have been dropping since the late nineties, they have started to rise again in the past two years. As parents there are many things you can do to prevent teenage pregnancy and endorse abstinence. Many of these are often well broadcasted but each teenager is different and there are many ways of teaching the same lesson.
1. Communication is key. Every parent knows that having “the talk” is very important, but the question of when is ever present. Teenagers are becoming “active” sooner than most parents would like to think so “the talk” could be a little late. As long as you catch your child before they begin to be active it will make a big difference.
2. Share your opinion. However much it seems like your child doesn’t care, they do care about what you think. These opinions can be as simple as your views on abstinence or on abortion. The one topic you should avoid is your story or stories. This just makes conversation strained and uncomfortable for both.
3. Listen to your child. It doesn’t matter what your teen is talking about, but by being there and listening shows your support. It also gives you a closer relationship with your child or children. Make sure your child knows that if something were to go wrong you would care enough to be calm and helpful instead of being immediately mad. This definitely doesn’t mean you have to be happy about it, but you should be there for them in their time of need.
4. Use common sense. This is generally a topic that makes people uncomfortable, expect it. Sometimes it is okay to laugh during serious conversation as long as the message gets across. Try to be as relaxed and open-minded as you can. If you seem sheltered and closed off you child or children are not going to confide in you as soon as they might have before.
Overall, use your instincts and keep in mind how you were as a teen. Parenting is not something you can have a process or a set of directions for. Just do the best you can and it will always be good enough.
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