Starting in 1991 and up until 2005, the United States saw a downward trend in teen pregnancies. This was no doubt due to parents, community initiatives and agencies whose goal is was to educate teens in regards to sexual behavior. However, the following two years saw a reversal in this great momentum. In fact, teen pregnancy increased by five percent during this time period.
Happily, since 2008 the rate has once again dropped. When compared to teens of other western industrialized nations, the U.S. pregnancies, births, STDs and abortions numbers are higher, reports Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). OK, that’s the bad news, now what?
It Starts at Home
Nothing is going to beat your good example and open communication with your child. Scary? Yes and very. But it’s also important. So much so, that you are probably going to have to do your homework before paving a way for this type of dialogue with your child. Children may start asking simple questions about sex at an early age. Give simple responses. Don’t overcomplicate it. If you don’t know how to answer your child’s question on his or her level, just say mommy or daddy need to think about that for a minute. Believe me, they’ll remind you.
So sometimes children will take the initiative, but as they get older, you may find that you will have to. Pick times when you are both relaxed and comfortable -- while washing the car or doing the dishes. And very importantly, this is where the homework pays off -- plan what to say. But if your teen asks questions, adjust the conversation to his or her concerns. Remember to keep it simple, open and honest. Teens who talk with their parents about sex and relationships are more likely to:
• Begin to have sex at a later age
• Use condoms and birth control more often if they do have sex
• Have better communication with romantic partners
• Have sex less often
Don’t forget that you can ask questions too. They may think you’re prying but it’s just like anything else, they’ll thank you in the long run.