As a teen, finding out that you are pregnant is a life-changing and scary event. As a parent, finding out your teen is pregnant can both shock you and cause despair as you wonder, now what? Before this ever happens, you can help your teen learn important lessons on how to prevent teen pregnancy.
Unfortunately, teen pregnancy is a nationwide problem. However, there are programs set up through the government and other organizations aimed at prevention. For example the
- National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies: founded in 1996 with the goal to reduce teen pregnancy by one-third.
- Adolescent Family Life Demonstration and Research program: began in 1981 provides research grants and demonstrations to promote programs that help raise the awareness of abstinence. This is an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services.
For more resources on prevention programs in your area, go online or contact your local health department. Check also with the schools in your area to understand what kind of teen pregnancy prevention programs they offer.
Although the rate for teen pregnancies have dipped since the early 1990s, the United States still has the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of teen pregnancy among other countries of similar status. So if you are parent of a teenager, what else can you do to help prevent your teenager from getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant?
Keep communication between you and your teen open so that talking about teen sex is easier to broach.
- Be approachable so that if your teenager has questions about sex or relationships, you can be ready with answers.
- Teach your family values and help your teen see how much they are worth. Explain that no one should be able to make him or her feel like they have to be sexually active.
- Encourage safe and fun activities and sports. Show them their strengths and keep education a top priority.
- Watch for warning signs of heavy relationships with the opposite sex. Also watch for signs of depression or a drop off in previously enjoyed activities. You may need to take further steps to help them avoid becoming sexually promiscuous.
- Teach your teenager the problems associated with unsafe sex. Show him or her the diseases that can result as well as the threat of unplanned pregnancy.
- Know what your teenager is doing and where they like to hang out. Make your home an open place for your teenager’s friends and encourage fun activities at responsible and respected places.
Finally abstinence is the only sure way of preventing teen pregnancy. Family values that promote abstinence as well as talking with your teenager over and over about the importance of abstinence can go a long way in preventing teen pregnancy.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention Sources:
- Department of Health and Human Services: Office of Public Health and Services, “Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs” [online].
- TeenPrengnacy,com, “So, I’m Not Pregnant. How Do I Prevent Getting Pregnant?” [online].
- TeenPregnancy.org, “Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Why it Matters” [pdf online].
- TeenPregnancy.org, “So What?”, “About the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy”, “Fact Sheet: Dads Make a Difference” [online].