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1. Develop a Deep Relationship
Early sex and teenage pregnancy is less likely to happen when teens feel closely connected to their parents. Teens who experience parental caring, support, and concern are more likely to abstain from sex, wait until they are older to have sex, consistently use contraception, and have fewer sexual partners.
2. Be Vocal About Your Opinions
Parents often undervalue their own influence and overestimate the influence of their child's peers. Actually, teens say parents have a stronger impact on their decision to have sex than peers and other factors. Remember to speak your opinion, because your kids are listening.
3. Voice Your Values
Children listen to what you say. When parents communicate the value of waiting to have sex, children are less likely to have intercourse at an early age. Parents who stress the value of delaying sex and using contraception are more likely to have children who use contraception.
4. Monitor Without Hovering
Strike a balance between authoritarian and passive parenting. Overly strict parenting is associated with an increased risk of teenage pregnancy. Parents who monitor their children's behavior are more likely to have children who wait to have sex, have fewer partners, use contraception, and are less likely to become pregnant as teens.
5. Explore Media Messages Together
Television, movies, radio, and magazines can naturally initiate conversations about dating, relationships, and sex. Sex is often portrayed in the media as meaningless, abstinence and contraception are seldom mentioned, and partners are often not committed or married. Tell your children what you think about these messages. Encourage them to think critically. Ask what they think.
6. Keep An Eye Out for Age Differences
If you suspect that your child may be vulnerable to early sex, have an open and honest discussion. Watch for these risk factors of early sexual activity and pregnancy: 1. Close romantic relationships, and 2. Age difference of 3 or more years between partners.
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7. Be Direct—In Speech and In Action
Directly discuss sex, love, and relationships with your child. While many parents feel awkward starting these conversations, keep in mind that kids feel comfortable discussing if their parents feel comfortable. Educate your child about the risks of early sex and pregnancy. Simply talking is not enough. Becoming involved in your child's life is essential.
8. Defy the Double Standard
Many teens feel that boys receive the message that sex is not a big deal, while girls are taught to abstain from sex. Teach males about responsibility and respect for girls and women.
9. Talk to Your Teen About Relationship Abuse
Educate your teen about dating and relationship abuse. Young people who are raised in abusive families are more likely to be sexually active and not consistently use contraception. Also, teen mothers are also more likely to be in abusive relationships.
10. Take an Abstinence-First Approach
Educators and program leaders support an abstinence-first approach as the best, fool-proof way of preventing teenage pregnancy. Adults advocate abstinence during the teens years, but also inform about contraception options.