It may come as a surprise to some, but teens repeatedly say that their parents most
influence their decisions in matters of love, relationships and sex. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy bases this conclusion on their own work with teens as well as the work of others across the country.
Parents tell us that they need more information about some of the topics they would like to talk about with their teens. This section is intended to help give you some background information about key issues.
You may have already heard the news!
After going down steadily from 1991-2005, teen birth rates for 15-19 year olds started to increase once again! http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsteenpregnancy/
The US teen birth rate continues to be one of the highest in the developed world!
Let’s consider some statistics about teen pregnancy:
- 3 in 10 girls get pregnant at least once by the time they reach age 20.
- Current data tells us that approximately 750,000 girls got pregnant last year.
Teen mothers are more likely according to the CDC to drop out of school and remain
single parents than women who delay childbearing until the age of 20 to 21 years of
age. They are also more likely to live in poverty than other teens.
Also we can’t neglect to mention the influence on the baby. Children of teenage
mothers are more likely according to the CDC to:
- Perform less well on tests showing their cognitive and skill development at the
time they enter kindergarten
- Show behavior problems
- Have chronic medical conditions
- Be in prison at some time during adolescence through their early 30s
- Drop out of high school, give birth as a teenager and be unemployed or
underemployed as a young adult.
For more information about teen pregnancy, see:
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Talk to your children about teen pregnancy. Many teens we talk with have never
had the chance to hear their parents’ views about teen pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to
bring the topic. Most likely this is not the first time your child has heard talk about it.
In fact, she or he may have just seen something about a pregnant teen on the Internet or watched a TV show or seen a movie where there was a teen parent or someone was discussing teen parenthood. Discuss some of these media examples. Also, if you know a real life example of someone who has been a teen parent, talk about how life as a typical teenager changed when that person became a parent.
This is a time to share your own values and feelings about this subject. It’s also a time
to talk about your child’s future and discuss together the hopes and dreams both of
you have. Examine how life would change if your child were to become a teen parent.
If you’re the parent of a male child, it’s just as important for you to talk about teen
pregnancy as the parent of a female. Contrary to what many teen males think, many
girls decide to keep their babies. Your young man can find himself a father with lots of
responsibilities, not to mention financial concerns.
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Some Statistics to Ponder
It has become more important than ever for parents to talk about pregnancy to their
teens. Consider these findings that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
released in June 2010 based on a large national survey:
- Less than half of never-married teen males (47%) reported they would be “very
upset” if they got a partner pregnant
- A little over half (58%) of never-married teen females said they would be “very
upset” if they got pregnant
- In fact, almost a quarter (22%) of sexually experienced teen girls said they would
be “a little pleased” or “very pleased” if they were to get pregnant.
- Almost a quarter (24%) of sexually experienced teen boys said they would be “ a
little pleased” or “very pleased” if they were to get a partner pregnant.
For more information, see: http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r100602.htm
These results are very troubling. Many teens today seem to feel that pregnancy is not
such a big deal. In fact it would be quite welcome to some.
These findings are well worth exploring with your own child. How does he or she feel
about pregnancy and parenting? How does your teen think life might change if they
were to become a parent?
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Resources for Talking about Teen Pregnancy
For more ideas about how to talk to your teens about pregnancy in video, audio
and print check out the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned
Pregnancy. There you will find a variety of resources in both English and Spanish.
Among the resources the National Campaign offers is a document that gives a quick
and easy summary of advice that teens from all over the country have said they would
give to parents so that they could help their children avoid a pregnancy. This advice
has been gathered by the campaign over the past 15 years.
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