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Happy 'National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy'

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A whopping 34 percent of young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20 -- about 820,000 a year. Eight in ten of these teen pregnancies are unintended, and 79 percent are to unmarried teens.

pregnant teen

Bill Albert, spokesman and chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, says that all this emphasizes how important it is to discuss relationships, love, sex, pregnancy and family formation with your kids sooner rather than later. "This should be the eighteen-year discussion that never ends," Albert stresses.

Rather than sitting kids down at 14 or 15 and explaining the "birds and the bees" in one long, awkward conversation (which Albert feels isn't effective, anyway), he says parents should start these conversations earlier than they think. "I'm not saying you need to discuss contraceptives with an 8-year-old," he says, "but that is a good time to start discussing what a good relationship is, and how to respect a boy or a girl."

When it comes to communicating with your kids about love and sex, Albert says that it's important to take baby steps and to send small signals over a long period of time. "You would never ignore how a kid does in school from kindergarten to seventh grade, [then] suddenly come up to him in eighth grade and say, 'You have to take school seriously.' That's a message you send kids over years and years," he says. "Discussions about love, sex, pregnancy and family formation are really the same way. It's critical to send age-appropriate signals at different times."

When moms do discuss love and sex, are kids even listening? Yes, says Albert. "All the polls and studies that have been done indicate that the people who most influence teens' decisions about love and sex are not their friends, or their boyfriends or girlfriends ... it's their parents," he explains. "Teens are yearning for your guidance from you, even if it doesn't seem like they are."

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30 comments so far | Post a comment now
farrah July 2, 2010, 1:02 PM

As much as i understand where you are coming from, i don’t think teen pregnancies are too much of a big deal as long as the teens stay together and do as much as they can with their baby, parents shouldn’t kick out their child for making mistake as they wouldn’t tell you about it unless they needed your help… they will learn from the mistakes… i know i may be a minor in this conversation and i may be a little bias as i was also a teen who was pregnant, i have been with my husband for 8 years now and my little girl hope is very healthy. As soon as i found out i was pregnant i ran to my mother she admitted it was a big thing and helped me all the way… me and my boyfriend got married 4 months later and both sides of our family have been a great help, i couldn’t have done it with out them, listen to your child as my mother listened to me tell then the consequences and let them make their own decision to keep or get rid, if you can help your child through something like that i know you will be a great grandparent. Thankyou for reading.

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