The teen years can be fun, carefree, and one of the best time of life. On the other hand, depending on the decisions made, it can be the most frustrating, stressful, and worst time of life too. One decision that can have such an impact on teenagers is how they view sex.
I remember when I attended elementary school and sex education films and programs were implemented. Those poor teachers had to put up with our giggles, silly questions and wisecracks. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these types of programs must work because for the last 20 years, teen pregnancy have plummeted 40 percent! That’s amazing.
But the work is not over. As the CDC reported, there are still 1,100 teen girls who have babies on a daily basis in the U.S. – that amounts to four million births a year. What can be done? Taking control of this type of situation takes community effort – from health professionals, teachers and schools, parents and guardians as well as from the child.
Doctors have specific knowledge and insight as to what to do to prevent pregnancy and STDs. Schools and community resources can provide fun and healthy alternatives for teens. Programs that target at-risk teens and teach life skills are very good tools used when instructing groups about good sexual health. Parents and guardians are definitely the first bastion in the fight. It cannot be overstated that communication is crucial. Talking to your teen about sex ain’t fun but it’s necessary. Be present, which means meeting your child’s friends. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you feel you are over your head. Help may come from a community leader or the like.
Lastly, if you are a teen, you have a responsibility as well. Listen, learn and ask questions when you need help. The best persons to ask may be the hardest to confide in – your parents. If you just can’t see yourself opening up to your parents, it is best to find a trustworthy and supportive adult (like a teacher, school nurse, or counselor) who can accurately address your concerns. Ask them how to deal with peer pressure or whatever else is on your mind.