Care About It
Teen Pregnancy Prevention
While South Carolina teen birth rates are on the decline, our state still has the 16th highest teen birth rate in the country. Anderson County is ranked number 21 among 46 counties.
You would talk to your kids about risky behaviors like alcohol or drug use, so why not talk to them about the risks of unprotected sex?
The majority of parents are very nervous about the topic. We feel we don’t have a model to copy or at least one that we would be happy to repeat. We may be so worried about getting “the talk” just right that we end up saying nothing at all.
You might be relieved to know that addressing relationships and sex should not come from One Big Talk that you have to get perfectly scripted. You might also be glad to know that talking with your children about sexuality will not make them go out and do it. In fact, talking about sex with young people has the opposite effect. And, as a matter of fact, it’s better to not have just One Big Talk, but a lot of little conversations. Repeated. Again, and again.
Too many teens still think, “It can’t happen to me.” Parents can show teens that they can control their futures and avoid risky behaviors. Parents are vital to helping teens think seriously about what they would do in a stressful moment of peer pressure.
Parents, you are the primary sexual health educators for your children. Here are a few tips on talking to your kids:
Start Early: Talk with your child early and often about important issues like love, sex and relationships.
Share Values: When talking with your child about love, sex, and relationships, remember to discuss YOUR family values.
Listen: Listening lets your child know they are important. This can lead to valuable talks about sensitive issues.
Be Honest: At every age, your child needs honest answers. Honestly will help build their trust for further talks.
Use Pop Culture: Use TV or music as a way to start talking with your child about teen pregnancy and relationships.
Want even more help? Host a Let’s Talk Party get adults talking to young people about the issue. A Let’s Talk Party is simply a gathering of a few adult friends who are “trusted adults” of teens or pre-teens who are willing to have open, honest and informative conversations with young people about relationships, love and sex.
A trained United Way staff member can serve as a facilitator for your Let’s Talk party or you can host on your own with a Let’s Talk kit. To host a Let’s Talk party or learn more, contact April Cameron at email@example.com or 864-226-3438 for more information.
More tips for age-appropriate conversations are at www.NotRightNowSC.com.
General Info about Teen Parents:
Child Well Being:
Because teen moms are less likely than their older counterparts to utilize prenatal care, their babies are more likely to be born premature or low birth weight.
Babies born to teens often have lower educational performance, score lower on standardized tests and are twice as likely to repeat a grade.
Babies born to teen moms are more likely to suffer from abuse and neglect than babies born to mothers that delayed childbearing.
Only 20 percent of teen fathers marry the baby’s mother. It’s common for the relationship with the teen mother to end, and when it does, many teen fathers don’t have much interaction with their children.
Young teens (under age 17) are 2.2 times more likely to have a child placed in foster care than mothers who delay childbearing until age 20 or 21.
Teen pregnancy and parenting are the leading cause of school drop out for girls. Only 40 percent finish high school and less than 2 percent finish college by age 30.
Teen fathers are also less likely to earn a high school diploma. The failure to graduate can be due to financial pressure resulting from having a baby to take care of.
Additionally, only around two-thirds of children born to teen mothers earn a high school diploma, compared to 81 percent of children born to adults.
Lack of education means a workforce that is ill-prepared to meet the demands of the modern economy.
Teen fathers experience earning losses of 10-15 percent annually.
Two-thirds of families that are poor were begun by teen parents.
25 percent of young, unmarried mothers go on welfare within three years of a child’s birth.
Criminal Justice System:
Children born to teen parents are more likely to be incarcerated.
Teen pregnancy in Anderson County costs taxpayers approximately $7 million per year.
Ways You Can Help:
Donate to the United Way’s teen pregnancy prevention program efforts. The United Way of Anderson County is the Lead Coordinating Agency for Pregnancy Prevention Efforts in Anderson County.
Join our Community Action Group, which is a group of community members who help establish strategic goals and objectives to support teens to delay the initiation of sex and use contraception correctly and consistently when having sex.
Volunteer for your local Community Health Education Act Committee. South Carolina passed the Comprehensive Health Education Act (CHEA) in 1988 to ensure that students receive an age-appropriate, comprehensive education program. This includes information regarding general health and wellness, reproductive health, pregnancy prevention and family life education.
This law also stresses local control of content—meaning each district must use a 13 member committee, appointed by the district, to assist in the selection of instructional materials. Each school district in Anderson County has a CHEA committee and you can be on this committee to ensure the school curriculum is up to date and evidence based.
Become a CAP. CAP is an acronym for Condom Access Point. Condom Access Points are locations in Anderson County where condoms are accessible to teens free of charge. Abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy; however, because we care about the health and safety of our youth, we choose to provide resources for them that are easy to find and easy to get. That’s why we have established locations that provide free condoms free of judgment.
We need more businesses or individuals who are willing to serve as CAP locations for our community. Condoms can be discreetly located in baskets under cabinets in bathrooms; they can be bagged in small paper bags under counters or in bathrooms, or we can provide wall dispensers if appropriate. Please consider being a CAP location to keep our youth safe against disease and their futures bright. Contact April Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-226-3438 for more information.