With influence from popular television shows, songs and music videos that play in heavy rotation, as well as constant pressure from peers, teens are engaging in sex early. As a result, concerns about teenage pregnancy are topics of conversation in many homes across America between teens and their parents.
Teen Pregnancy Risks After-School
When teens are unsupervised, the risk for teenage sex increases. The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center cites that between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., teens are most at-risk for participating in risky activities, such as teen sex.
Techniques to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Parents can help prevent teen pregnancy by engaging in honest conversations about sex with their teens. Be honest, and let your teen know how you feel about sex and teenage pregnancy. Make your expectations clear. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies suggests that parents should talk often with their teens about sex, establish rules and curfews, get to know their kids’ friends and families, place a high value on education, and encourage their teens to wait to date. Since the media plays a large role in shaping teens values and perceptions, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies also suggests that monitoring what teens listen to, watch and read can help prevent teenage pregnancy.
Teens hold many misconceptions that can cause them to make poor decisions when it comes to sex. Many believe they can’t get pregnant during their first sexual encounter, even if they have unprotected sex, some are unaware of how STDs are contracted and believe they can tell if their partner is “safe” by looking at him. Other teens even equate love with sex and participate in teen sex to gain the love of their partner.
Parents can clear up many misconceptions through direct communication with their teens. While many parents believe that teens learn about sex in school, teens still have questions. Parents also believe that when their teens are ready to talk about sex, they’ll come to them with questions, but that’s not always the case; parents have to start sex conversations.
Risks Associated With Teen Pregnancy
Teen pregnancies can be both problematic and risky. WebMD cites that pregnant teens may encounter health concerns, such as high blood pressure, premature birth, low-birth baby weight, sexually transmitted diseases and postpartum depression. A pregnant teen can reduce her risks by seeking proper prenatal care, attending all scheduled doctor’s appointments, abstaining from drug, alcohol and cigarette use, and by having a support system to discuss how she’s feeling throughout the pregnancy.
Dealing With A Pregnant Teen
Finding out your teen is expecting a baby may evoke a wide range of emotions from guilt and anger to excitement. Your teen is likely just as emotional and, for that reason, she’ll need your support. KidsHealth, a website for parents, cites that teens experience healthier pregnancies if they know they have the support of their families. As a parent, if you need a support system, contact a friend, church leader, counselor or use your spouse for support.