Kids never stay kids for ever. They will grow into teenagers and parents have the responsibility to guide them as they begin to explore their sexuality and sex. In this post I discuss teen pregnancy and how Moms and Dads can approach this subject with their teens, and I question the publicizing of Jamie Lynn Spears Pregnancy at 16 and the real risk of teen pregnancy for other young teenagers who aspire to be like her.
10 USA Teenager Pregnancy Facts
- 3 out of 10 teenager girls will get pregnant at least once before age twenty. Equating to nearly 750,000 teenager pregnancies each year.
- The number one reason that teen girls drop out of school is due to being pregnant. More than 50% of teenager Moms never graduate from high school.
- Approximately 25% of teen Moms have a second baby within 24 months of their first.
- Less than 2% of teenager Moms gain a college degree by age 30.
- USA has one of the highest teenager pregnancy rates in the western world.
- In 2011, the number of teens having babies fell to the lowest level recorded in almost 70 years.
- In 2008, the teenager pregnancy rate among African-American and Hispanic girls (ages 15 to 19) was over two and a half times greater than the rate among white teen girls of the same age.
- 8 out of 10 teen Dads don’t marry the Mom of their child.
- Sexually active teens who don’t use contraceptives has a 9 out of 10 chance of being pregnant within a year.
- 50%+ of all Moms on welfare had their first child as a teenager.
Teenagers Having Sex
On average, nearly half of teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 have had sex at least once.
Why exactly is this?
Teenagers rebel and will do what they want when they want much of the time. But, As parents, we are our child’s greatest influence. How are we to expect our children to wait until marriage to have sex, when as adults, so many live with their boyfriends or girlfriends and have children out of wedlock?
I know when I was a child, I based my judgment on right and wrong on what my parents considered right and wrong. I knew when I was doing wrong. And though I did not always make the right decisions, I was aware of my actions.
Jamie Lynn Spears Pregnancy
Upon learning about Jamie Lynn Spears becoming pregnant, it is shocking to me how many people are not taken back by this. This ‘child’ is the beautiful, really ‘cool girl’ on television that our Preteen-teen and young teenagers look up to and want to become.
How are we supposed to tell our own children that their virginity is something that should be saved until marriage, when a children’s television channel still airs episodes of Zoey 101 after learning of the teen’s pregnancy?
What we allow our children to watch on television greatly molds their minds into what kind of person they will become. We are becoming desensitized when it comes to the wrongs in the world, that we accept this as the normalcy and look upon good morals as odd. Jamie Spears’s mother, Lynne, even stated that her daughter was in a ‘committed relationship’, so that made it okay?
She was allowing her 16 year old daughter to live with her 19 year old boyfriend. And this is the woman who is writing parenting books? Not only is that wrong, but it is illegal (and for a good reason). What kind of message is this sending to our children?
Of course, her sister, Brittany, was not much help in influencing her. But for Dr. Phil to say that Lynne is a good mother, I no longer trust his advice. Was he paid to say that or is it his judgment that is skewered?
What Can Parents Learn From Jamie Lynn Spears Pregnancy?
We teach our children to have safe sex, but we do not tell them that sex before marriage is wrong. We teach them that once they are ‘in love’ or ‘in a committed relationship’ then it is okay. However, young teenagers may consider every relationship as being ‘in love’.
What these young people do not realize is that there are consequences. Sure, babies are cute. Especially the kind that you can give back to the parents when you are done holding them. But if that young person who has a baby, and she wants to go to college or have a career, it will not be easy. Whatever plans they have will most likely be put on hold.
When you have a child, you are then responsible for that person 24 hours a day. And when they are sick, you have to take care of them. You have to feed them and bathe them and diaper them and clothe them (which is extremely expensive). That child is priority over you.
When your friends are having parties or get-togethers, you will probably find that you’ll miss going to them.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many positives to having your own children. However, if you do not have a husband or partner (who you know will be there always) to share the responsibility and expenses with, your life will be challenged.
And many young people do not have the maturity to take on this responsibility. After all, how mature can they be if they are having unprotected sex at such a young age?
A Parent’s Responsibility
We need to teach our children right from wrong, and though they will make their own decisions, I want them to know when they are off course. We need to take a stand and screen what kind of things our children see on television. But most of all, we need to be influences on them and positive role models, rather than defending their wrongs.
10 Tips for Parents Talking to Teens About Sex and Pregnancy
- Start early and talk often
- Keep the language simple and appropriate for age
- Use correct terms for body functions and parts
- Utilize teachable moments to open a talk
- Find out what they already know
- Speak about more than the facts
- Provide age-appropriate resources
- Don’t act like you know it all
- Provide a safe environment for them to open up and talk
- Encourage your teen to talk about what they think
- Be clear on what is socially OK and socially not OK
- When your teen asks a question, do your best to answer it at the time
- Be a good listener, rather than doing all the talking