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Teen pregnancy - don't be another statistic

Every year around 750,000 teenagers will get pregnant. Nearly half of all 15- to 19-year-olds in the United States have had sex at least once. More than two-thirds of all teenagers who have a baby will not graduate from high school, and nearly a third of pregnant teenagers choose abortion. Out of all teenage pregnancies, 29 percent are terminated by abortion.

These are all scary, but real statistics. Why are so many teenage girls getting pregnant when there are so many ways these days that you can have safe sex? Condoms are one of the most known ways to solve this problem but they’re not always a hundred percent guaranteed to work. Then there’s birth control, and morning after pills, and even now these are more reliable then the traditional condom. But the only guaranteed way not to get pregnant is abstinence.

Kids in high school are not ready to have babies at their age; I mean, they’re still kids themselves. My brother and his fiance both were still in their teens when they found out they were pregnant. They had the baby, and they now have a beautiful baby boy, but they are out of high school and getting by.

There’s a lot of information available to parents who hope to raise children who chose to hold off on sex until after high school.

• Keep communication between you and your teen open so that talking about sex is easier to approach.

• Be approachable so if your teenager has questions about sex or relationships, you can be ready with answers.

• Teach your family values and help your teen see how much they are worth. Explain that no one should be able to make him or her feel like they have to be sexually active.

• Encourage safe and fun activities and sports. Show your children their strengths and keep education a top priority.

• Watch for warning signs of heavy relationships with the opposite sex. Also watch for signs of depression or a drop off in previously enjoyed activities. You may need to take further steps to help them avoid becoming sexually promiscuous.

• Teach your teenager the results associated with unsafe sex. Show him or her the diseases that can result as well as the threat of unplanned pregnancy.

• Know what your teenager is doing and where they like to hang out. Make your home an open place for your teenager’s friends and encourage fun activities at responsible and respected places.

Who wants to be another statistic in the world? Make a change and be someone, not just another number on a piece of paper. There are so many ways that we can keep from getting pregnant. Let’s practice those things and make it happen. Abortion is not a guaranteed option because you never know when that option is going to be eliminated. Plus, to me abortion is just wrong and an easy way out.

Parents, let’s get involved with our children’s lives, and children let’s allow our parents to be involved. Respect your parents for letting you know what happens when sex comes along. So I ask again, please don’t let your life become another statistic.

Shaina Gustafson is a junior at Clark Fork Jr/Sr High School. Reach her at [email protected]

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Shaina Gustafson Shaina Gustafson was a junior at Clark Fork High School and an outstanding four-sport athlete when she wrote for the River Journal. She is now attending college.

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