March Is National Talk to Your Teen about Sex Month
Established more than 20 years ago, Teen Success, Inc. (TSI) provides a stepping stone for teen mothers to reach their full potential by helping them finish high school, avoid having a second child as a teen, and develop social and emotional competencies to thrive.
In the program, first-time teen mothers meet once a week for two hours at least 48 weeks a year. Child care is provided during group sessions. Group time provides an opportunity for members to learn important skills, discuss what is going on in their lives, and gain access to resources that will help them reach their goals. The group dynamic is a key element of the success of the program. Trusting, supportive relationships are formed that reinforce positive life steps and help guide members back on track when necessary.
TSI currently operates 20 teen mom groups across the Bay Area and Central Valley regions of California, serving close to 200 teen mothers. The program is in the midst of a three-year growth plan to significantly scale up the number of teen mothers who can participate in the program. TSI aims to reach 900 new teen moms by the end of 2014. More than 3,000 teen moms have participated to date.
Will this boy graduate high school?
The other day, on the subway in NYC, I saw this ad. It turns out there has been some commotion over it. (Approved and defended by Mayor Bloomberg, it is part of New York City’s recent campaign to raise awareness about teen pregnancy.) I would like to add my own two or three objections to the mix.
A nationwide survey released recently shows that most parents and teens talk about sex, but parents need to talk more about how their teens can prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Youth can make responsible decisions about sexuality, pregnancy, and parenting, as well as be effective parents, when they have complete, accurate, and culturally relevant age, gender, and developmentally appropriate information, skills, resources, and support. National Talk to Your Teen About Sex Month--observed every March--is a great time to participate in and encourage dialogue among teens and their parents, but providing an open line of communication is something to work on throughout the year.
Opportunity Knocks: Using Teachable Moments to Convey Safer Sex Messages to Young People is a Healthy Teen Network publication provided to help adults use teachable moments to talk to young people about safe sex. In addition to this resource, Healthy Teen Network has made available all the materials you need to conduct your own Opportunity Knocks presentation. The goal of this presentation is to educate and empower youth workers, unfamiliar with the field of sexual and reproductive health, to make the most of teachable moments with the young people they serve regarding safer sex and contraceptive choices.
For additional useful resources for Talk to Your Teen about Sex Month and year round:
Office of Adolescent Health provides tips and information to help parents talk to their teens on this section of their website.
Dr. Sheila Overton suggests five ways to become an approachable parent in a guest blog on Under the Currents, Healthy Teen Network's blog.
Advocates for Youth's online Parents' Sex Ed Center provides a wide variety of information and resources to help parents begin talking with their children about sex.
These videos from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy feature teens who tell parents in their own words when to start conversations about sex, how to start them, and what to say.
Healthy Teen Network has also compiled these web links for parents of teens.