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Research shows that there are parental factors/behaviors that will increase the likelihood their children will avoid early sexual activity and teen pregnancy.
Teens are more likely to delay sexual activity if they feel they have a close relationship with their parents. Closeness is defined as being caring and concerned, parental presence in the home, and sharing activities.
Attitudes and Values
Parents should be clear about the value of abstinence and the dangers of sex without contraception. Parents need to clearly express what their expectations are for their child.
Supervision and monitoring of adolescents makes a difference. However, “overly” strict monitoring by parents is associated with a greater risk of pregnancy. Monitoring where your child goes and who their friends are makes a difference.
Parents and Peers
Parents overestimate the influence of peers and underestimate their own influence. National surveys show that teens say their parents most influence their decisions.
In addition to having a close relationship, it is also important to be an "askable parent” and be a parent with a point of view. Create an atmosphere that lets your children know they can ask you questions and you will respond in a positive way and have a conversation. Tell your children what you think. Don't be reluctant to say, for example: “I think kids in high school are too young to have sex, especially given today's risks.”
To learn more, use the links below:
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- Teen Pregnancy
- Tips for Talking to Your Teen
- Additional Resources
*Information adapted from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.