Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Working to Eliminate Teen Pregnancy

What's the buzz echoing over the airwaves? The media attention over the fact that Bristol Palin, daughter of Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin is pregnant at 17-years-old.

With the buzz, two questions are on our minds. If a teen finds herself pregnant are the parents to blame? Or should we point our fingers at the teen’s own bad choices?

We ask because the issue hits home. If someone like, Governor Sarah Palin, who has her act together well enough to be on the Republican ticket is facing her daughter’s teen pregnancy, what hope is there for the rest of us?

If you don’t want your daughter to be one of the one million teen girls who find themselves pregnant every year, consider this:

1. Be a Role Model. Our kids often follow where we lead. Consider your life. Are you living with integrity? Are you only having sex within the bounds of marriage? The saying, “Do what I say not what I do” never works.

2. Talk about what love is. Love is not sex. Going “all the way” with someone doesn’t prove your love. (No matter what they show on television.) True love is shown through life-long commitment and by valuing the other person. Remind teens that they are the one responsible for setting sexual limits on a relationship. Remind young women, “Sex won't make him yours. A baby won't make him stay.”

3. Remind kids it CAN happen to them. Having sex, even so called "protected" sex, can lead to pregnancy. It can happen even to kids from a good family. The only way to 100% prevent pregnancy is to not have sex.

4. Emphasize that even “good girls” get pregnant. Having a good report card, being a good person, having an important parent, or being conscientious will not protect you from pregnancy. According to teenpregnancy.org, 1 in 3 young women get pregnant at least once before they turn 20--good girls included.

5. Let your daughter know that most teens wished they had waited. Sex before marriage can not only lead to pregnancy, but there are other health concerns, such as STDs. There is also emotional baggage. According to teenpregnancy.org, 60% of teens “wished they had waited longer” to have sex.

6. Encourage your teen to plan her actions BEFORE the situation arises. Talk about set boundaries and not putting herself in situations that will cause her to compromise those decisions. Help her make good plans for her future and stick to goals.

7. Talk about media’s wrong messages. The media (television, radio, movies, music videos, magazines, the Internet) are chock full of material sending the wrong messages. Just because we see everyone in Hollywood having sex and having babies, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Babies are a responsibility, not a fashion accessory.

8. Encourage secondary purity. Teens can say “no” even if they’ve said "yes" before. Today your daughter can make the right choice and choose abstinence.

9. Realize parents can only do so much … but make sure it’s done! As a parent, you cannot be around your child 24/7. Yet, we can do our best to prepare our daughters. Don’t wait.

10. Let you kids know you are available to talk about every issue in life. It's also important for parents to open up a two way conversation, not a one-way lecture. Parents can do this by turning the above topics into questions such as: What are your boundaries? Do you think sex proves you love someone? What do you think of the messages media gives out?

Let your voice be heard...
Does the fact that vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's unwed teenage daughter is pregnant alter your opinion of her as a White House hopeful?
Answer here

Need help talking to your teens? My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson) is a book for teen girls, encouraging them to script their lives instead of being caught up in the drama and emotions of the moment.

A former teen mom, Tricia Goyer is also the author of Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom

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At Tuesday, 09 September, 2008, Blogger MInTheGap said...

11. Let your children know that life does not have to be the same for everyone. You don't have to put off marriage until you have 3 college degrees, a high paying job, and then tack on children as a perk. Prepare them in such a way that they may find that their path has them marrying earlier-- and don't consider that wrong.

At Tuesday, 09 September, 2008, Blogger Photoshop Girl said...

My parents explained to me many times that while saying "no" to sex outside marriage seems restrictive and confining, it's actually because God wants to protect you from negative consequences. That really made sense to me and helped a lot in my decision-making.

Even though my dad is the well-known pastor of a large church, both my parents assured me several times that if I (or my sisters) got pregnant before marriage, even though they would be brokenhearted, they would love me and support me.

They've seen too many cases where Christian families disown their daughters in the time of greatest need. Their unconditional love meant a lot to me.

At Tuesday, 09 September, 2008, Blogger Lymari Hughes said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Tuesday, 09 September, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Teen pregnancy prevention shouldn't be a burden only our daughters should carry.

Let's consider our sons too.

I often had arguments with my mother about this. In my Latin culture, girls are taught to remain virgin until marriage. If you don't obey, you are considered "dirty". Boys, on the other hand, receive condoms and blessings for being men. It is pretty close here in the US too.

We are living in difficult times. If we want our society to change for the better, boys and girls should be treated with the same level of responsibility, accountability, compassion and understanding.

At Thursday, 11 September, 2008, Blogger Tricia Goyer said...

What great comments!

Also, I TOTALLY agree that our boys need this message to. I preach it to my sons!

I write for teen girls, so I'm mostly focused on them :-)


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