While it is an uncomfortable conversation with our children, the sex talk and pregnancy prevention are important topics to begin discussing with your pre-teens and teenagers. We understand it’s not a fun conversation for us as parents or for our children, but education is critical to keeping our children safe and preventing unplanned pregnancies.
Teen Pregnancy Prevention - The Sex Talk
First and foremost, we need to ensure our children understand how pregnancy occurs, and this means having that talk…the sex talk. While there is no “right” age to have this talk, it is recommended to begin around puberty. You can bundle the uncomfortable conversations into one - explaining puberty and sex.
It’s not only vital that we discuss sex with our children, but they also should be aware of peer pressure they may experience, knowing that no means no, and safety. You can read more tips by reading our article, “Talking to Your Teen About Sex.”
Access to Contraceptives
While we may hope our children wait until they are more responsible to have sex, the reality is they may choose to have sex before adulthood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 38% of high school students reported ever having sexual intercourse in 2019.
Acknowledging statistics like this means that our children should have full access to contraceptives so if they are going to be sexually active, they will do it safely. Preventing not only pregnancy but STIs as well.
Lean on Your Doctor
Sometimes our children simply don’t want to talk to their parents. Your doctor, however, can be a highly valuable resource for your child to ask questions openly without fearing judgment or potential consequences. Let your child know that as doctors, we know our stuff, and they can feel free to ask questions. Our conversations are confidential.
Education is by far the best way to prevent unwanted teen pregnancies. This means ensuring your child has access to learn more about safe sex, STIs, pregnancy, and the very real struggle of being a teen parent.
Access to Healthcare - Schedule Their Regular Checkup
Be sure your child is getting in for their regular checkups to have the opportunity to chat with us about any questions they may have. As we said, sometimes our children are more open to someone like their doctor, knowing that the conversation is private and they will not face consequences for their questions or concerns.