Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tells teens everything about sex?

From ABC News:

How much should we being telling teenagers about sex? New research suggests giving adolescents information about birth control may dramatically reduce the risk of teen pregnancy.

Researchers from the University of Washington examined results from a national survey of more than 1700 adolescents. Two-thirds of the teenagers reported receiving complete sex education, a quarter said they had received "abstinence only" classes, and 9 percent had no sex education at all.

Results showed those with the most comprehensive sex ed classes were 60 PERCENT less likely to get pregnant or impregnate someone than those who received NO sexual education. There was a modest trend toward reduced risk of pregnancy among kids who had abstinence only classes, but there were too few teenagers in these groups to allow for a meaningful comparison.

Another trend suggested teens who attended comprehensive classes were less likely to have sex - a finding researchers did NOT see for those who had abstinence only education. Experts say these results show that kids who have the MOST information about sex tend to make the best decisions.

This information is published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. What do you think? Should we be explaining the different forms of birth control to kids in middle school and high school freshman? Do you know any young girls who have gotten pregnant?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the overall teenage pregnancy rate for 2002 was estimated at 76.4 pregnancies per 1,000 females aged 15-19 years, down 10 percent from 2000.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Jennifer said...

I definitely believe in comprehensive sex ed.
The abstinence only message seems to focus solely on not getting pregnant and it seems directly responsible to the increased rates of anal sex and oral sex amongst teens. Sex that may not result in a pregnancy but that kids may not be ready for emotionally.

The lesson for my kids has been "Sex is wonderful, when you are ready for it. 'Ready' means you are in a stable, healthy, long term relationship; that you are capable of supporting a child (birth control is not infallible) and that you are in good mental and physical health.

Sexual feelings are natural, and, biologically, a part of life, so why shouldn't teenagers have a full knowledge of how their bodies (in conjunction with their minds and hormones) work?

Rixblix said...

I agree completely with Jennifer. My oldest isn't very old, but we've already had the talk. I also don't like that the abstinence only message tip-toes right up to the edge of religious indoctrination, and that has NO place in public education. said...

I just talked to another mom with teenagers and she said she isn't surprised that kids who are only taught abstinence education are more likely to get pregnant. So, do you as a parent want schools to be teaching more during sex education or do you think parents should be soley responsible for this information?

Jennifer said...

We have had frank discussions in our house and have always tried to be really open with our kids, we've never used pet names for body parts or tried to avoid the difficult questions.

I do think starting at puberty that schools need to have a role, first discussing all those "bodily changes" issues, and by late middle school, tackling sex ed itself. I do think parents should have the option to preview the materials used and to have their child opt out, but I do think it should be a part of the health curriculum of public school. It is a health issue, after all. (One of the biggest health issues, in fact, touching so many aspects of a teenager's life, social, physical, emotional, etc...)

In our home we have also tried to use as many "teachable moments" as possible, rather than having one "big talk." My kids are now 13 and 14, and while they have known the mechanics of sex for quite awhile it does seem like there are some issues I haven't addressed just because I haven't thought of them.

For example, we went to see "Juno" which brought up some of the realities of teen pregnancy that we hadn't discussed previously, such as the girl (unfairly but realistically) really being the one to suffer-she ended up facing social censure, while the dad recieved kudos (for having sex).

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