What Can Parents Do?
It is important to encourage communication by reassuring to your children that they can talk to you about anything. More teens say they would prefer to get information about birth control from their parents than getting information from health centers, classes, hospitals, private doctors, television, or friends.
Be clear about your own sexual attitudes and values.
What do you really think about teens being sexually active? Who is responsible for setting sexual limits in a relationship, and how is that done? Were you sexually active as a teen and how do you feel about that now?
Be a parent with opinions.
Sex should be associated with commitment, so I think you are too young to have sex. If you do have sex, always use contraception until you are ready to have a child. Our family’s values say that sex should be an expression of love, trust and commitment.
Talk with your children early and often, and be specific.
Make it an 18-year conversation. Help young people understand the context and meaning of sex, not just how body parts work. Ask teens what they think and what worries them.
Supervise and monitor your children.
Establish rules, curfews, and standards of expected behavior through open family discussions. Know your children’s friends and their families. Meet the parents of your children’s friends. Try to establish common rules and expectations.
Help Your Teen
Help them set meaningful goals for the future. Talk to them about what it takes to reach their goals. Explain how teen pregnancy can derail the best of plans.Let your children know you value education highly. Set high expectations about school performance—school failure is often a sign of other trouble. Know homework assignments and support your child in getting them done. Volunteer at school, if possible. Talk to your sons as well as your daughters. The 820,000 teen girls who get pregnant each year in the U.S. don’t do it alone! Boys need to know that teen pregnancy has serious consequences for them too. Having sex doesn’t make you a man; waiting until you are responsible and ready does.