Teen Pregnancy: Wise Tips for Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Teen pregnancy ...

... is a touchy subject for most parents. As parents, we know from experience how having children has changed our lives and how it can shatter dreams and forever alter the direction of a young person's life. In this article we will examine some crucial prevention strategies.

Before we get to the advice, let's look at current teen pregnancy statistics. The news is good—since 1998 the number of teens aged 15 to 19 years old who have gotten pregnant has dropped a whopping 28 percent. This is due primarily to school sex education programs, media campaigns and straight talk in the home. In 1998, there were 117 pregnancies for every 1000 female teens, by 2000, that number was down to 84 pregnancies per 1000 female teens. The states with the highest rates are Texas, New Mexico, Mississippi, Arizona and Nevada. Even though the numbers have dropped significantly, don't let this trend fool you into a false sense of security. After all, the numbers are still high, even though they are lower than they have been in years.

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So what can you do to help your child avoid a teen pregnancy? Following are some important teen pregnancy prevention strategies:

  • Create a close relationship with your teen. If you have cultivated a close, loving relationship with your child since birth, it is easier to maintain this connection as your child transitions into adolescence. If you haven't, start. Do this by listening more and talking less, by being there, by slowly encouraging confidences and keeping a pulse on your teen and his or her relationships. It's my firm belief that children who are connected to their parents, do not have a premature interest in the opposite sex because they enjoy emotional intimacy with people who love them deeply and truly have their best interests at heart.

  • Talk to your child about teen pregnancy. Highlight stories from your middle school and high school days or stories in the media about teens who struggle with the challenges presented by motherhood (or fatherhood) during the turmoil of adolescence.

    This calls to mind the fourteen-year-old girl in my high school who claimed you could get pregnant by swallowing sperm. Six months later, this girl was pregnant, was forced to quit school and never got her diploma. Fifteen years later, I ran into her. She was working as a cashier in a fast-food restaurant. At the time, I had an executive position with a company which took me all over the world. The distinction between our lives couldn't have been more obvious. This is a story I will share with my two boys when the time is right.

  • Educate, educate, educate. To avoid teen pregnancy, make sure your child knows the facts. Dispel myths or the magical belief that "it will never happen to me." If you're shy or uncomfortable with the subject, get over it. Role-play with your spouse if you need some practice before speaking about sex conversationally with your teen. We no longer live in a Victorian society and one of the most effective ways to protect our children is to make them aware of the facts and consequences of irresponsible behavior. Don't kid yourself into believing that school programs have fully informed your child. When it comes to a life-changing event like teen pregnancy, never make assumptions.

  • Keep the dream alive. A child who knows who she is and what she wants in life (even though this may change over time) has a dream that will guide her in making wise decisions when faced with peer pressure. She won't feel tempted to have relations with the opposite sex just because "everyone is doing it" because she will be more focused on her dream.

Although I referred to the female gender throughout this article, know that this advice applies equally to males. If more parents took responsibility for raising informed, self-aware teens who feel connected to their families and their individual dreams, the teen pregnancy rate would drop substantially.

About the author:

Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting . The book shows parents how to create a close connection with their kids and maintain it throughout their lives. It is the only parenting book that combines ancient native ideas (like stewardship) with heart-centered psychology to teach parents how to raise children to develop their strengths and unfold their unique spiritual nature.



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Copyright © 2006 by Laura Ramirez. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied in full or in part without the express written consent of the author. However, you may link to it from your web site, forum or blog.

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