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Herald Review, May 12, 2006

May is Teen Pregnancy Month

Guest Writer

www.grandrapids-mn.com/placed/index.php?sect_rank=5&story_id=219328

Editor:

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, a time to remind parents and caring adults about the importance to talk openly and honestly to pre-teens and teens about the consequences of sex.  According to the 2004 Student Survey for Itasca County, 14 percent of ninth-graders and 47 percent of 12th-graders have had sexual intercourse three or more times. It is estimated that 98 percent of teen parents live in poverty. These are alarming facts to consider and be aware of.

Teens are affected by many pressures in our society. Television, computers, advertisements, video games, music, etc. continue to desensitize our children and affect their decision making. As parents, we need to limit the amount of media in their lives and use the situations as a teachable moment. If you feel that you are defeated, keep trying, you matter. Teens state that their parents are the biggest factor in influencing their decision to not have sex. Though difficult, talking to kids is so important. Make sure they receive accurate facts about sex from a trusted adult instead of the “facts” from their peers or media.

Most importantly, they need to hear your values and expectations. Kids want and need moral guidance from their parents, families or guardians. If you don’t talk to your kids about your values, how will they know clearly what those expectations are? Let your child know that having a physical relationship involves respect, maturity and responsibility. Listen to what they have to say, answer honestly, with the right words and in a way they can understand.

Most of all, seek information to assist you in talking to your children about sex. For helpful tips, on the Web, visit www.takingwithkids.org/sex.html or call the Itasca County Public Health Department at 218-327-2941 or toll free at 1-800-422-0312. We have videos available for checkout and a variety of pamphlets to assist you. Working together, we can make a difference in the lives of our youth!

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