We all know what teenagers are like. Their hormones are all over the place, they rebel, they and experiment.
All of that is healthy for a person’s development, vital even. But it also comes with certain risks. Reading that sentence, one of the first things to come to people’s minds is teen pregnancy. And odds are you, as a parent, are willing to do anything to prevent it.
Here are our parent tips for avoiding teen pregnancy.
Be Clear About Your Own Sexual Values and Attitudes
The idea of talking about sexual topics with your high schooler may not sound comfortable. But if they don’t hear it from you, they’ll hear about it somewhere else. Nine times out of ten, it’ll be from their peers who learned about sex from God knows who.
Needless to say, it’s much better to give your input on this delicate topic than hope your child picks up the right kind of advice elsewhere. So be sure to convey the values and attitudes toward sex that will set them on the right course. Don’t be anxious about it, though: teen girls and boys will notice that negative energy and immediately shut themselves off.
Talk With Your Children Early and Often About Sex and Love
The subject of sex and love is complicated. Heck, even adults have a hard time understanding it. You can imagine how difficult it is for teens to tackle it. Not only is it difficult but an emotional rollercoaster to boot, one that can be devastating to a teen. But the sooner they start tackling these nuanced ideas, the better they’ll handle them in the future.
A good way to make the idea of love and sex more digestible for your kid is to start talking about it early (before they’re sexually active) and often. If you keep putting it off, your teen child will probably adopt misguided beliefs that become too well-entrenched to change. Most would recommend that you start talking about sex at around age 11.
Supervise and Monitor Your Children’s Activities
Teens are a handful, as you probably know already. You can give them the best guidance possible, but they’re stubborn creatures. They’re bound to engage in some sexual behavior or do what they generally think’s best for them at the moment.
It’s a frustrating fact about life with a teen kid: they’ll do certain things whether you like it or not. That’s why it’s best to keep a close eye on what they’re doing. A little supervision and monitoring is the only way you can pull it off.
Now, before you start hiding cameras in your kid’s room and tracking their phone, let us say that you needn’t go so far. That would be a major breach of trust, which is hard to mend. Rather, be a little more involved in your kids’ lives: what they do, where they go, what they read and watch online, whether they use birth control, etc.
Know Your Children’s Friends
Young people’s friends are perhaps the biggest points of outside social pressure. They want to fit in with their high school pals, making them more likely to do something stupid because their peers want them to. Whether you like it or not, your child’s friends are an immutable influence on how they grow as a person.
Sadly, that means they’re very much capable of leading your kid astray. For that reason, you should know your teen’s friends. After all, your child could be exposed to all sorts of bad ideas about love and sex without you having a clue about it.
Discourage Early, Frequent and Steady Dating
Teen sex can lead to teen pregnancy. There’s just no way around that fact. And one of the most surefire ways for teens to end up in the sack is if they date, especially if they steady date. And that’s not even mentioning all the potential sexually transmitted diseases.
While it’s important to get a taste of romance at that age, your teen shouldn’t be dating a lot so early on. Do what you can to discourage that kind of behavior. It’s just a statistical likelihood that they’ll end up knocked up if they expose themselves to that risk often.
Take a Strong Stand Against Teens Dating People Who Are Significantly Older or Younger Than They Are
Age gaps are tricky enough to navigate for adults, but they’re an even more unsurmountable chasm for teenagers. There’s practically no way a gap relationship your child is involved in would ever be healthy. That applies no matter if your kid is the older or younger one. It’s especially true for the former, though, as they’re much more likely to be manipulated by an adult. And teens are willing to do all sorts of crazy things when manipulated.
To prevent that from happening, you’d be smart to take a firm stance against your teenage child dating anyone significantly younger or older. Tell them that kind of relationship is a hotbed for emotional manipulation and abuse, and they should be extremely careful about being toyed with (or toying with someone).
Show Them How Bright Their Futures Are Without Kids in Their Teen Days
While today most would view their child as a blessing, few people who got pregnant as teens would deny their ordeal robbed them of some opportunities in life (especially teen mothers). This is what you want to make very clear to your teenager.
Make them realize how much they can accomplish without the burden of a child on their hands. They basically have the whole world as their oyster, and a teen pregnancy would strip them of any chance to enjoy it while they’re at the prime of their lives.
Strive for a Relationship That Is Warm and Affectionate
If you don’t have a good relationship with your teen, you probably aren’t such an integral part of their life (besides the satisfaction of material needs). You won’t really get through to them — not even with all the above tips — if you lack a strong bond.
That is why, besides being firm in discipline, you should also have a strong rapport with your teen. Teens and parents need to talk about their problems and feelings every now and again. Without that kind of connection, no parent guide will truly help you keep your kid from doing wrong.