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Parent Power: What Parents Need to Know and Do to Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy (page 3)

— National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Updated on Dec 16, 2008

Habits of the heart

These tips for helping your children avoid teen pregnancy work best when they occur as part of strong close relationships with your children that are built from an early age. Strive for relationships that are warm in tone, firm in discipline, and rich in communication, and that emphasizes mutual trust and respect. There is no single way to create such relationships, but the following habits of the heart can help:

  • Express love and affection clearly and often. Hug your children, and tell them how much they mean to you. Praise specific accomplishments, but remember that expressions of affection should be offered freely, not just for a particular achievement.
  • Listen carefully to what your children say and pay thoughtful attention to what they do.
  • Spend time with your children engaged in activities that suit their ages and interests, not just yours. Shared experiences build a "bank account" of affection and trust that forms the basis for future communication with them about many topics, including sexual behavior.
  • Be supportive and be interested in what interests them. Attend their sports events; learn about their hobbies; be enthusiastic about their achievements, even the little ones; ask them questions that show you care and want to know what is going on in their lives.
  • Be courteous and respectful to your children and their friends. Avoid hurtful teasing or ridicule. Don't compare your teenager with other family members (i.e., why can't you be like your older sister?). Show that you expect courtesy and respect from them in return.
  • Help them to build self-esteem by mastering skills; selfesteem is earned, not given, and one of the best ways to earn it is by doing something well.
  • Try to have meals together as a family as often as possible, and use the time for conversation, not confrontation. Tips for parents

One final thought

Parenting is one of life's most rewarding and challenging responsibilities. Helping young people navigate the passage to adulthood, in general, and avoid such problems as pregnancy, violence, drugs, alcohol, smoking, and school failure, in particular, can be daunting. Research makes clear - and teens themselves underscore - that parents can do much to help. Parents should not be afraid to be more parental. They must not avoid the job that parents have always had - to teach their children about life's choices and the consequences of those choices. It's their time-tested role and responsibility.

In particular, parents should recognize that a close loving, relationship with their children can be the best protection of all. It's never too early to start or never too late to improve a relationship with a child or teenager. Don't underestimate the great need that children of all ages feel for their parents' guidance, approval, and support.

"Children have to know that there is someone out there for them always." - Miami father

Need more?

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy offers many additional resources concerning parents and teen pregnancy prevention, all of them low-cost and many of them available free of charge on the Campaign's website www.teenpregnancy.org. Visit the parent section of the Campaign's website for a host of materials for parents, including an online quiz, and for a selected list of other organizations' resources for parents.

Publications

  • Ten Tips for Parents to Help Their Children Avoid Teen Pregnancy
  • Consejos a los padres para prevenir el embarazo en la adolescencia (Tips developed by and for Hispanic parents to help their children avoid teen pregnancy)
  • It All Starts At Home: Hispanic Parents Speak Out on Preventing Teen Pregnancy
  • Talking Back: Ten Things Teens Want Parents to Know About Teen Pregnancy (also available in Spanish)
  • Families Matter: A Research Synthesis of Family Influences on Adolescent Pregnancy
  • Parents Matter: Tips for Raising Teenagers
  • Thinking About the Right Now: What Teens Want Other Teens to Know About Preventing Pregnancy (also available in Spanish)
  • Where Are the Adults? The Attitudes of Parents, Teachers, Clergy, Coaches, and Youth Workers on Teen Pregnancy: A Focus Group Report
  • What About the Teens? Research on What Teens Say About Teen Pregnancy: A Focus Group Report

Videos

  • A Walk in Your Shoes: Originally aired on The N, the Noggin network's nighttime network for teens, this special episode of the network's hit series, A Walk In Your Shoes, details a teen couple who "switches lives" with another couple who are teenage parents. Includes a study guide.
  • Mothers Too Soon and Fathers Too Soon: Based on a television series originally aired on Channel One, these videos provide a first-hand look at how teen pregnancy affects the lives of teens, their children, and families. Includes a study guide.
  • Jessica's Story: Based on the characters and story line from ABC's One Life to Live, this video examines the consequences of 18-year-old Jessica Buchanan's pregnancy. Includes a study guide.

The nitty-gritty

  1. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy analysis of Henshaw, S.K. (2003). U.S. teenage pregnancy statistics with comparative statistics for women aged 20-24. [Online]. Available: www.guttmacher.org/pubs/ teen_stats.pdf. New York: The Alan Guttmacher Institute. Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Curtin, S.C., Menacker, F., & Hamilton, B.E. (2001). Births: Final data for 1999. National Vital Statistics Reports, 49(1).
  2. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2001). Halfway there: A prescription for continued progress in preventing teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: Author.
  3. Albert, B., Brown, S., & Flanigan, C. (eds.) (2003). 14 and Younger: The Sexual Behavior of Young Adolescents. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
  4. Miller, B. (1998). Families matter: A research synthesis of family influences on adolescent pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
  5. Blum, R.W., & Rinehart, P.M. (1998). Reducing the risk: Connections that make a difference in the lives of youth. Center for Adolescent Health and Development, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN.
  6. Miller, B. (1998). Families matter:A research synthesis of family influences on adolescent pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
  7. Blum, R.W., & Rinehart, P.M. (2002). Mothers' influence on teen sex: Connections that promote postponing sexual intercourse. Center for Adolescent Health and Development, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN.
  8. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2002) With one voice 2002: America's adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: Author.
  9. The Kaiser Family Foundation. (2002). Sex smart. Communication: A series of National surveys of teens about sex. Menlo Park, CA: Author.
  10. Blum, R.W., McNeely, C.A., Rinehard, P.M. (2002). Improving the odds: The untapped power of schools to improve the health of teens. Center for Adolescent Health and Development, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN.
  11. Blum, R.W., & Rinehart, P.M. (1998). Reducing the risk: Connections that make a difference in the lives of youth. Center for Adolescent Health and Development, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN
  12. Miller, B. (1998). Families matter:A research synthesis of family influences on adolescent pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
  13. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2001). With one voice: America's adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: Author.
  14. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2002) With one voice 2002: America's adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: Author.
  15. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2001). With one voice: America's adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: Author.
  16. The Kaiser Family Foundation/Children Now. (1999). Talking with kids about tough issues. A national survey of parents and kids. Menlo Park, CA: Author.
  17. The Kaiser Family Foundation (2002). Sex Smart. Communication: A series of national surveys of teens about sex. Menlo Park, CA: Author.
  18. Miller, B. (1998). Families matter: A research synthesis of family influences on adolescent pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
  19. Blum, R.W., & Rinehart, P.M. (1998). Reducing the risk: Connections that make a difference in the lives of youth. Center for Adolescent Health and Development, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN.
  20. Resnick, M.D., Bearman, P.S., Blum, R.W., Bauman, K.E., Harris, K.M., Jones, J., Tabor, J., Beuhring, T., Sieving, R.E., Shew, M., Ireland, M., Bearinger, L.H., & Udry, J.R. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278(10), 823-832.
  21. Bruckner, H., & Bearman, P. (2003). Dating behavior and sexual activity of young adolescents: Analyses of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. In Albert, B., Brown, S., & Flanigan, C (Eds.), 14 and younger: the sexual behavior of young adolescents (pp. 31-56). Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
  22. Blum, R.W. (2002). Mothers' influence on teen sex: Connections that promote postponing sexual intercourse. Center for Adolescent Health and Development, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN.
  23. Blum, R.W., Beuhring, T., & Rinehart, P.M. (2000). Protecting teens: Beyond race, income and family structure. Center for Adolescent Health, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN.
  24. Albert, B., Brown, S., & Flanigan, C. (eds.) (2003). 14 and Younger: The Sexual Behavior of Young Adolescents. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
  25. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2002) With one voice 2002: America's adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: Author.
  26. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2002) With one voice 2002: America's adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: Author.
  27. Kirby, D. (2001). Emerging answers: research findings on programs to reduce teen pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
  28. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2002). With one voice 2002: America's adults and teens sound off about teen pregnancy. Washignton, DC: Author.
  29. The Kaiser Family foundation. (2000). Sex education in America: A view from inside the nation's classrooms. A series of national surveys of students, parents, teachers and principals. Menlo Park, CA: Author.
  30. Stanton, B.F., & Burns, J. (2003). Sustaining and broadening intervention effects: Social norms, core values, and parents. In D. Romer (Ed.), Reducing adolescent risk: Toward an integrated approach (pp. 193-200). Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage Publications, Inc.
  31. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. (2001). It all starts at home: Hispanic parents speak out on preventing teen pregnancy. A focus group report. Washington, DC: Author.
  32. National Campaign analysis of Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Curtin, S.C., & Mathews, T.J. (1999). Births: Final data for 1997. National Vital Statistics Reports, 47(18); Ventura, S.J., Mosher, W.D., Curtin, S.C., Abma, J.C., & Henshaw, S. (2001). Trends in pregnancy rates for the United States, 1976- 97: An update, National Vital Statistics Reports, 49(4); Day, J.C., (1996). Population projections of the United States by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin: 1995 to 2050. Current Population Reports.
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