Since 2009 there has been evidence that teenage pregnancy rates are rising for the first time since 1993. Babies born to teenage mothers are at a greater risk for abuse, neglect, poverty, not finishing high school and becoming teen parents themselves, so pregnancy prevention should be a top concern for parents of teenagers.
Educate Teens on Teen Pregnancy
The media's publicizing of celebrities' pregnancies and babies creates a glamorized view of parenthood. Teens need to be educated on the realities of life as a teen mom and the consequences that come with the role. Parents and teachers can help teens realize that being a mom is a full-time job and involves sacrificing individual hobbies and pursuits. Parents need to be sure that teens who think parenting is glamorous understand that having a baby is a life-changing event, not a job that can be assigned to family members or friends when it gets hard.
Educate Teens on Pregnancy Prevention
Teach abstinence. Abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method of birth control. It is also important that teens understand the importance of using birth control if they choose to become sexually active. Teens are often more embarrassed to talk to their parents about birth control than they are afraid of having unprotected sex. School health programs can provide teens with general information on birth control methods but parents need to educate teens on the importance of waiting to have sex until they are ready and being responsible enough to use protection.
Be an Involved Parent
Parents can help prevent teen pregnancy by being involved in their teens' lives and maintaining a close and open relationship. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy encourages parents to know where their teens are and what they are doing, to get to know their teens' friends and their families, and to talk to their teens often about sex. Teens should be encouraged to value their education and personal hobbies and should be taught to recognize future possibilities.