Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pregnancy Prevention

Friends from across the country have called and sent e-mails about the Gloucester story. One friend – a mother of two boys – wrote, “What about that BAD Gloucester press? Stupid HS girls!”

The girls involved must accept some responsibility. But where were the adults in these girls (and boys) lives?

This is a fact: the part of the brain that helps us grasp future consequences doesn’t fully develop until we are 21 to 24 years old. That’s why parents/caregivers need to continually help young people understand the impact of their actions and guide them to make smart choices.

Young people tell me they need adults in their lives who will listen first, and then offer guidance and opinions. In essence, conversation.

In a survey conducted by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 88 percent of teens said it would be easier to postpone sexual activity and avoid teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open and honest conversations about these topics with a parent.

Some parents aren’t physically or emotionally present to have those conversations. Other parents/caregivers don’t know when or how to start these crucial conversations.

So, here in Gloucester, as in every community, it’s key that parents/caregivers have the information, the skills, and the words to talk with kids early on about sex, relationships, and values and kids’ futures.


Resources
Raising Healthy Kids: Families Talk About Sexual Health
Words Can Work: When Talking With Kids About Sexual Health

Related Issues and Answers columns
Parents as educators
Postponing sex
Self-respect
Talking with kids

Related columns for young people

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