I wonder, is the latest reality TV craze of highlighting the trials and tribulations of teen pregnancy actually helping teens in any way? Or are we once again stuck on the reality-television treadmill, watching someone else’s tragedy unfold, happy it’s not us? Getting pregnant as a teen is hard. The repercussions of the fly-by-night fancies of our youth are often life-changing. As parents, we need to know how best to handle that, and as teens, we need to be informed.
The issue here isn’t how our teen got pregnant in the first place. I think we all know the hows and whys if one is already in that position. The truth is, parents NOT speaking to their kids soon enough about the toughest, yet most important issues is where the trouble really starts. Issues like:
Sex, drugs and alcohol, violence, race, HIV/AIDS, information gleaned from the news and other media, accidents and disasters, sickness and death, and divorce.
Yes, these are tough things to talk about, but isn’t it better to be a teacher to our kids, rather than the one undoing the mess of misinformation? This is an opportunity to have a dialogue and provide a safe space for our kids to open up. When we take away the mystery, the subject of sex and even drugs are potentially less interesting. At least, that’s the goal. Here are some viable tips that might make talking to your kids about this a little bit easier:
- Start early
- Initiate conversations with your child, even about sex and sexuality
- Create an open environment
- Communicate your own values
- Listen to your child
- Answer honestly
- Be patient
- Use everyday opportunities to talk
- Have an open mind
- Talk about it again and again.