Recent data from a new government report documenting the welfare of children shows a drop in teen births going from “21.7 births per 1000 girls in 2008 to 20.1 per 1000 in 2009.” Other aspects of the report weren’t as positive: the number of eighth-graders who’ve used illicit drugs has risen; more children are living in poverty; fewer children are likely to live with at least one parent who is working full time. The report was compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, a “working group of 22 federal agencies that collect, analyze, and convey data on issues pertaining to children birth to 18 and their families.” The study is notably multidimensional, as it covers everything from teen pregnancy and drug use, to obesity, math scores, and poverty.
It’s May. Do you know what that means? It’s National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month!
There’s value in suggesting one can enjoy their teen years without the added stress of sexual relationships added to the mix, but that’s not always realistic. Adolescence means hormonal changes (puberty!), accelerated brain development, and of course a natural proclivity for recklessness. Puberty is confusing: thoughts are scattered and often vacillate between sexual urges to feeling depressed and shut down; we are, by nature, unpredictable during this developmental period. But you know what? This is also normal!
So, it’s not only important to talk about pregnancy prevention, but also the emotional and physical states that tend to lead us toward getting pregnant in the first place. The pressure to fit in and do what everyone else SAYS they’re doing can be overwhelming. Adolescents are also prone to having a tight relationship with hyperbole when it comes to their sexuality. Remember Jonah Hill’s character in Superbad and his exaggerated boastfulness about sex? Or how about the iconic scene in 16 Candles where The Geek borrows Samantha’s panties for 10 minutes so he can hold them up for his friends as proof of his sexual prowess? Anything to prove he’s not a virgin, right? Ironically, statistics prove otherwise and frankly make The Geek look pretty average. In fact, “nearly 8 out of 10 guys say there is way too much pressure on them to have sex”!
Here are some things to think about before things get hot and heavy. Better to be preparedthan placed in a position to struggle with your own maturation in tandem with a child’s.