Teenage pregnancy is a global health concern. The World Health Organization found in 2014 that around 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth each year. Due to their still developing bodies, these teens are more at risk of complications. Babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be born prematurely. These are just some of the repercussions of adolescent pregnancy. Early pregnancy has more than just health effects. Teenage parents also face economic and social consequences.
If you are a parent of a teen, especially of a teenage girl, you can save your child from these unlikely outcomes by educating them about sex and intimacy. Here are some pointers when discussing intimate relationships with your teens:
- Talk about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and their signs. Based on statistics, almost 46% of American high school students have had sexual intercourse. STD and HIV screening is recommended for people as young as 13. Protect your teen from worries or embarrassment by doing a fast and private STD testing at stdaware.com.
- Avoid being judgemental about the matters of the heart. The teenage years are the most exciting part of anyone’s life because this is when we start to feel romantic love. We all go to this stage of life. Just accept the fact that your teen is already in this stage and this is the time when your child needed your guidance the most. You might push your teen away if you are too disapproving about his romantic affairs.
- Maintain a positive relationship with your teen. Teens will not confide to their parents unless they have a good relationship with them. Just because your teen started asking questions about sex means he is thinking about it. When he confides to you, make him feel that you are available and ready to listen. If your teen has questions that you cannot answer, be honest about it. Share your values about sex but also respect the fact that your teen’s beliefs may be different from yours.
- Explain that there are ways to show affection without having sex. Reassure that being a virgin is totally fine. Peer pressure is one of the reasons why teens become sexually active. As the parent, you are in charge of talking to your teen about ways to handle pressure. There are means to prove love without sex. Examples are showing small acts of kindness and spending quality time together.
- Be confident when talking about intimate relationships. Your teen can figure out if you are worried or are too negative when you talk. Chances are they will not come to you if you yourself are easily put off by sex and intimate topics. If you can, use your humor when discussing sex. Your goal is to make your teen comfortable when dealing with such topic.
Your teen may find it awkward to talk about his privacy, especially if it deals with romance. Intimacy may be the most taboo subject at home. But as a parent, you should be the number sexuality educator of your children. Take a proactive approach and be ready to listen.