How To Talk To Your Teens About Teen Pregnancy
I was a teen mom
Be open and listen.
It can be uncomfortable talking to your teenager about sex, protection, and teen pregnancies but is very important. Especially in today's world where shows like...16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom's impress our younger generation with the glamour of babies.
It is important to be open and listen to your child.
Try to talk to your teen in a way that is non-threatening. Such as...doing dishes together, playing a video game, or an action where the teenager's attention is more on the task at hand, then on the conversation.
Try not to become angry or judgmental. This may cause your child to clam up and not want to talk.
As odd as it sounds, use humor to find a way to get your points across.
In the story below is a conversation between my teenagers, myself, and their thoughts on teen pregnancy.
Talking to my Teens on Teen Pregnancy
I was doing dishes with my daughter one morning, and could see that she was clearly upset. I wanted to pry, but knew that in doing so she would just clam up, and that would be that. So, I continued on scrubbing the stack of plates in my sink, when she dropped the bomb on me.
“People are so stupid!” She exclaimed, as she polished the last bit of water off the plate in her hand.
“What do you mean?” I slowly prodded.
“A girl I went to school with was telling me about how she was pissed at her mom, because her mom wouldn’t let her go out see this guy.”
“Oh?” I squeaked. The topic of interest is going to be a serious one when my daughter starts to rant like this.
“Ya! I told her you piss me off all the time and I never do anything stupid like that.”
Luckily my daughter was so preoccupied with her dishes she was drying, that she didn’t notice the surprised look upon my face.
“So...what did she do?” I dared to ask. "And could we use a different word than just pissed?" I cautioned.
“She slept with that dumb guy just to piss...I mean make her mom angry. And…guess what she just told me today at the pool? That she is pregnant! I told her she was crazy and that this was going to be a huge mistake that would come back to bite her.”
“Easy killer!” I warned, "And watch your mouth."
“How can anyone be so stupid?" She said, throwing her arms in the air, "That is why they make birth control. DUH!”
“Well, honey, I wouldn’t go as far as calling her stupid…” I started to explain, as she cut me off to express more of her anger.
Her voice started to rise an octave. “Doesn’t she realize she can’t do anything anymore? Babies are a lot of work! They are worst than taking care of her dumb dog. Didn’t she stop to think about college…her future? What if her boyfriend dumps her? Then, what is she going to do? Her mother already told her they weren’t going to help her.”
It was oblivious her thought process was all over the map. I was still reeling from the shock that my daughter had brought this to my attention. In the past, I had always tried to keep the doors of communication open. No topic was left untouched. Until now, I wasn’t sure if either of my children would come to me in a situation like this. I had to tell myself, without sounding prideful, that I was grateful she did. Even if I was unsure how to respond at the moment.
Voicing their opinions
My daughter was just reaching the climax of her anger over her friends decision when my son walked in the kitchen. He grabbed the gallon of milk from the refrigerator and chugged a pint of it from the carton before putting it back.
“Use a glass, please.” I reminded him over my daughter’s ranting.
My son’s curiosity peaked. He paused to listen to his sister.
“Are you talking about Felicity?” He asked, “I heard she was Prego. Dumb move!”
“Now hold up here you two.” I said, as I wiped my hands dry on my daughter’s dishtowel. “What makes you two so quick to judge? Are you in a position to judge her? Do you understand, or know why she did what she did? Were you there when she made this decision?”
I had their attention now. Both of them stood there glaring at me...like...I just lost my mind.
“Mom, I love you to death,” my son told me. “ But, come on, we both know that if it was little sis here, you would be furious. You won't even let her date right now, and she is almost seventeen.”
“There is a reason for that.” I protested.
“She thinks I’m as irresponsible as Felicity.” My daughter snorted.
“That is not true!” I was quickly losing this battle, and needed to get the ball back in my park. “Did she even try to use protection?” I quickly counter.
“NO!” The troop protested in unison.
My jaw grew slack for a millisecond.
"What child in their right mind would do something as crazy as that?" I thought to myself.
What reason would a teenager want to get pregnant?
Then, I remembered back to my teen years. I had married young. I had had my children by the time I was twenty. I didn't do it to get back at my parents, but because I had wanted to start a family, while I was still young.
“Maybe she seen herself as a dud. Not going anywhere in life, and thought this was the next best thing for herself? But, come on, do you really think she wanted to do something like this on purpose?” I asked.
“Come on, Mom” My son stabbed back. "She is a moron who wanted to throw away her life just because she was pissed."
“SON!” My anger flared, “You just had your first warning to watch your language. You didn't answer my question.”
One of my lessons to my children was the ability to express themselves respectively. Once they crossed the line of disrespect though, I gave them three warnings to correct themselves. After that...a consequence for their action.
“Sorry mother.” He apologized for his blunder, then continued. “I know this girl. She decided to test the waters by dating pond scum, then just for the sake of being an adult, she slept with him. Hence, now she is pregnant.”
I stared speechless at my son. Who was this alien that invaded his body? Both of my children were quiet, as they waited for my response. This was a rare moment for me to be stunned speechless. I felt that I was treading in deep water, without a life jacket.
I could only stand there in awe...jaw dropped! Sex had always been an open topic when their dad wasn’t around. He would have protested that by talking about it in the open, promoted it as being okay. I just wanted to make sure that when the time came for my children to experience it, they were properly prepared, STD's and all.
The conversation takes on a life of its own.
Then my daughter took up the slack with an off the wall response. “To bad her mom didn’t give her some visual aids.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, as I slowly found my voice again.
My son had opened the fridge again and took out the gallon of orange juice. He poured it into a glass, proceeding to take a drink, when my daughter blurted.
“You know...” She then proceeded to list a few visual aids.
My son snorted orange juice through his nose, as he stiffled a laugh. After gaining his composure, he joined in the banter adding a few of his own.
I couldn’t help but blush. This conversation had taken on a life of its own. It was the last thing I expected.
I thought to myself, "How many parents could claim to have a conversation like this to their children?"
My son was now trying to shock my daughter into embarrassment. All he did was succeed in embarrassing me instead.
My daughter hammered back, holding her own.
I stood there speechless racking my brain for a way to get control of the situation that was getting out of hand.
“Hey guys,” I finally butted in, “We are getting off the subject. Do you remember what that was?”
“Duh, mother, we aren’t retards.” My son declared.
If your teenager became pregnant while still in school, how do you think you would respond to the situation?
“That is your second warning.” I told him. “Let’s look at this rationally. Not all teen pregnancies are massive mistakes. There are a few out there that decide to have children young for very good reason. Society may not always agree, but I am proof that some of these cases work. I decided to have you guys at a young age, because at the time it was what I wanted to do. I had the math figured out. Two kids by the time I was twenty. By the time I was forty, I was old enough to be a grandma, and young enough to keep up. If your children decided to have children by the time you were forty, I would only be in my sixties. Hopefully, your father and I will be around to enjoy our grandkids, great grandkids, and great-great grandkids. So, like I said, not all teen pregnancies are a huge mistake. Each person is different, and should be treated as so. If that was you, would you want people to treat you with such disrespect? How would you want to be treated?"
"You don't have to worry about me getting pregnant." My daughter bluntly informed me. "I haven't had sex yet. As him...didn't you sleep with three girls so far?"
"Hello..." My son argued "It was one...and we made sure to use protection. Neither one of us wanted anything bad to happen."
I choked on my cup of coffee, I had just began to drink. This was news to me!
"You DO remember our talk of waiting till you were married, didn't you?" I asked my kids.
"Ya, so?" They replied in unison.
Talk to your teens about sex and protection!
Talking to your teen about sexual topics is uncomfortable, but the outcome is helpful. It will help them to better understand how precious their body is. This is a sacred temple that shouldn't be given so freely. Images of sex are everywhere in the media. Life is hard enough for teens without the added pressures of sex. Just because you are addressing the issue, let them understand that you aren't promoting it, just merely expressing your concern for their protection. In time, they will come to appreciate that concern. They may be more apt to talk to you about their life, including the issues they are facing. Just remember to keep the emotions under control. It is our job to protect our children. If we don't, who will?
For information on the this topic, please feel free to read the hubs below from other fellow readers.
Sex Slavery (white slavery) among Children in the U.S. by Brie Hoffman
Sometimes it's hard to be a woman by Immartin (A must read for all women)
Sexting: What is it and Should I be Concerned by tripletmom
Sometimes parents don't always have the same views.
It was amazing how my children felt free to tell on themselves when caught up in a debate. As a Christian, I tried to teach them as I was taught; unfortunately, my husband often didn't see things in the same light as me, and tried to teach them to keep a more open mind. This was one topic, where our children would keep an open mind.
We bantered on for another half an hour on the topic, before each of my children went their own way. One to play the X-box, and one to Facebook, to chat with her friends.
I could only stand there in the kitchen and hope that our conversation would have a positive impact in their lives.
My children have graduated since this hub was written. Each has moved on with their own lives. My youngest now has two children of her own. She is beginning to have a clearer understanding of the conversations we had while she was growing up.
By the time she had graduated, nine girls from her class had one or more babies.
Teen pregnancy is still an issue in their school. The youngest couple to have a child so far were 13 and 14 years old.
It is important to talk to you teens about using protection. Encourage them to be open, even though as a parent, it is often times hard not to judge or get angry at their choices.