The month of May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Somehow, that escaped me and I did not put up a post on that. However, this is a post I made last year on this and it is still very relevant and follows the theme of the discussions we have been having, these last few weekends on sexual and reproductive health. Enjoy!
Are you a teenager? Are you able to have honest and open conversations with your parents, guardians or mentors about issues concerning sex or contraception? Do you feel comfortable telling them your thoughts on these matters? Would they be your first place to go if you were confused about something you heard your friends or peers discuss? Who do you ask when you’re confused about anything that concerns sexual and reproductive health? And this is a broad subject that includes sex, unplanned pregnancy, STDs, HIV/AIDS, Female Genital Mutilation etc.
Parents and/or guardians, would you even consider having a discussion about sex with your teenagers? Scratch that…let’s start with when your children were younger. Did you even tell them the proper names of their private body parts? Did you tell them the full implication of coming of age as happens in puberty? Did you indulge in those half-baked stories we heard a while ago about how girls would get pregnant if a boy so much as touched their hands…provided they had started menstruating? Do you think the teenager you were talking to believed you?
As the mother of teen and tween (that twilight zone before the real teens) 😀 daughters (update…daughter 2 is now a teenager :D), I absolutely confess that it wasn’t as easy to have that chat with my first daughter as it was to give it to other teenagers. It got easier though and with my second daughter, and now we can all discuss all aspects of reproductive health without cringing, mentally or physically 😀 My son still struggles…but we’re getting there 😀
The US Department of Health and Human Services points out that the following groups of teenagers are less likely to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant:
• Those who have supportive parents that they can freely communicate with
• Those who have healthy family and peer relationships
• Those who have proper understanding of sexual and reproductive health
• Those who have knowledge of contraception and the importance of abstinence.
Teenagers more at risk of getting pregnant include
• Those that live in unstable homes (financially or emotionally)
• Those who were born to teenage mothers
• Those who use drugs of addiction. Remember that using these messes with good judgement
• Those who have sex at a young age
• Those with low self esteem.
Now, remember that risk factors are just as the name implies…factors that increase your risk 😀 It does not follow that people who live in homes with conflict must have teenage pregnancies. No! It just means they need to be aware of their increased risk (loaded gun) and be sure not to pull the trigger…and get pregnant.
So, if you’re a teenager, who taught you about sexual health? Is this discussed in your school and can you ask your parents questions?
If you’re a parent, are you providing adequate information and a safe home environment where your children can thrive in all ways? Are you comfortable discussing these issues with your children? Are you aware that if you’re not providing this education yourself, you’re probably allowing your teenager to learn from his friends and/or the internet…where he/she may very well be learning all the wrong things!
I trust I have provided a lot of food for thought. Write in and let me know what you think.
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Have a great day y’all 😀