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Teenage pregnancy

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Updated: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm Published: 1/14/2003 1:29 pm

The U-S Department of Health estimates that every 26 seconds, a teenager becomes pregnant, and that every 56 seconds, one gives birth. So-called 'safe sex' programs taught in schools have proven to be ineffective, while educational campaigns that stress abstinence, especially to kids who aren't yet sexually active, are shown to have better results. These programs have underlying messages of goal setting, decision making, refusal skills, and relationship building. Other programs stress responsibility of teenage males. Parents are encouraged to talk to their kids about sex, to send healthful messages about sexuality, and to be role models for the kinds of relationships they want their kids to develop with members of the opposite sex. If your teenage daughter becomes pregnant, remain calm, try to not be outwardly judgmental, and make sure she gets appropriate medical attention. It's also important that she understand the realities and responsibilities of parenting, that a child is not a doll or a pet, and the importance of doing what is in the child's best interest. If your teenage son has had a sexual relationship that resulted in a pregnancy, you'll need to help him face the consequences of his actions and decide about the level of commitment he'll assume. You may wish to seek help from a health care professional.

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