Often, teenage boys are a mere footnote in the discussion surrounding teen pregnancy, with most of the responsibility and shame heaped on the pregnant girl. Don’t get us wrong, we here at Liahona Treatment Center are not advocating for greater shame on struggling teens. In fact, we are here to encourage just the opposite for parents and guardians.
As May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, parents can use it as an opportunity to sit their teen boys down for conversations regarding sexual activity, family values regarding sex out of wedlock, and what their sons should be doing to prevent unexpected pregnancies.
Teen Boys Are Just As Responsible For Teen Pregnancy
It is not uncommon for teenage boys to be left out of the discussion surrounding teen pregnancy as it is the teenage girl that carries the visible signs and consequences of the pregnancy. However, when it comes to teen pregnancy, it takes two to make a pregnancy as teen girls aren’t candidates for the types of pregnancy that don’t involve a partner.
That fact alone makes it essential to discuss teen pregnancy with your son as well as any daughter you have. Along with the possibility, teenage sexual activity can result in other dangers such as sexually transmitted infections, some which have a lifelong impact.
Often, teenage boys consider pregnancy to be the only real consequence and may consider it a non-issue, as only the female partner will be pregnant. But, by understanding that they may be at risk for health issues due to sexual activity, your teenage son may be more willing to listen to you when you open the conversation.
Recognizing The Importance Of Fatherhood Helps Boys Grow
Risk factors aside, it can be incredibly valuable for your son to understand that the role of being a father is a vital one, and it is not one he should take on lightly in his teenage years. In fact, research over the years has shown that the lack of a present father can play a significant role in a child’s life, influencing various aspects such as:
- Showing aggressive actions or behaviors
- Greater levels of poverty
- Academic and behavioral problems
- Substance abuse
- Juvenile crime issues
- May experience more abuse and violence
Also, those children raised without a father are more likely to experience teen pregnancy as well, repeating the cycle. With how impactful a father can be, helping your son understand the serious nature of being a teen father can be one of the most important things you help him understand.
How To Help Your Teen Son Practice Pregnancy Prevention
Talking to your teenage son about teen pregnancy prevention can be difficult, especially if he does not acknowledge his role in the pregnancy beyond the sexual encounter. Some of the things you can do as a parent or guardian to help your son practice pregnancy prevention are:
- Make family values clear – Your family’s personal stance on sexual activity and reproduction need to be clear for your teenage son. It is best to cover what your expectations are, how your family views sexual activity, your stance on contraceptive use, and other family values which you want them to follow. It is best not to take it for granted that your teen will intuit the values—instead, make them clear
- Set rules regarding sexual activity – Even if you have clear family values of no sex before marriage, some teens will push the boundaries until the point is moot. To help your teen son control his natural urges, provide him with rules and guidelines regarding any sexual activity such as heavy petting and kissing. If your family does allow for sexual activity between your teenage son and his partners, be sure to go over sexual safety, the rules regarding sexual activity, and contraception.
- Use factual resources – With the internet at their fingertips, teens often will try to challenge the information you give them. So, as you discuss teen pregnancy and prevention methods with them, be sure to stick to factual resources if you cite things like contraceptive effectiveness. If incorrect information is shared, it is less likely that your teen son will believe you on other important matters.
Should your teenage son need a greater amount of help to change his actions and supervision to overcome troubling behaviors, Liahona is here to help.
Our residential treatment center for troubled teen boys have helped many troubled teen boys overcome their personal struggles, and we are ready to help your son become the boy you know he can become. Contact us to learn if your troubled teen son is a good fit for our program.