You and their mother do.
With that in mind, what message are you sending them about your values when it comes to a subject most of us find difficult to discuss?
October is National “Let’s Talk Month.” It is a month set aside to encourage parents to talk to their kids about sex and relationships. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy suggest Ten Tips for Parents To Help Their Children Avoid Teen Pregnancy:
- Be clear about your own sexual values and attitudes. Communicating with your children about sex, love, and relationships is often more successful when you are clear in your own mind about these issues
- Talk with your children early and often about sex, and be specific. Young people have lots of questions about sex, love, and relationships. And they often say that the source they’d most like to go for answers is their parents. Start the conversation, and make sure that it is honest, open, and respectful.
- Supervise and monitor your children and adolescents. Establish rules, curfews, and standards of expected behavior, preferably through an open process of family discussion and respectful communication.
- Know your children’s friends and their families. Friends have a strong influence on each other, so help your children and teenagers become friends with kids whose families share your values.
- Discourage early, frequent, and steady dating. Group activities among young people are fine and often fun, but allowing teens to begin one-on-one dating much before age 16 can lead to trouble.
- Take a strong stand against your daughter dating a boy significantly older than she is. And don’t allow your son to develop an intense relationship with a girl much younger than he is. Older guys can seem glamorous to a young girl. But the risk of matters getting out of hand increases when the guy is much older than the girl.
- Help your teenagers to have options for the future that are more attractive than early pregnancy and parenthood. The chances that your son or daughter will delay having sex, pregnancy, and parenthood are significantly increased if their future appears bright. This means helping them set meaningful goals for the future, talking to them about what it takes to make future plans come true, and helping them reach their goals.
- Let your kids know that you value education highly. Encourage your child to take school seriously and set high expectations about their school performance. School failure is often an early sign of trouble. Be very attentive to your child’s progress in school and intervene early if things aren’t going well.
- Know what your kids are watching, reading, and listening to. Television, radio, movies, music videos, magazines, and the Internet are chock full of material sending the wrong messages – Sex rarely has meaning, unplanned pregnancy seldom happens, and no one who is having sex ever seems to be married or even especially committed to anyone. Is this consistent with your expectations and values? If not, it is important to talk with your children about what the media portray and what you think about it.
- Helping your children avoid teen pregnancy works best as part of a strong, close relationship with them, that is built from an early age. Strive for a relationship that is warm in tone, firm in discipline, and rich in communication and one that emphasizes mutual trust and respect.
For more information or to download a copy of this resource click here: 10 Tips