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Teenagers, sex and pregnancy

What do two Princeton High School teens think?

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 1:43 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 1:45 p.m. CDT

PRINCETON — Though the numbers of teen girls having babies may be decreasing, it doesn’t mean fewer teens are having sex, according to two Princeton High School teens.

According to the 2014 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps data recently released, Bureau County had an average of 29 teen pregnancies per 1,000 females ages 15-19 during the 2012-14 years, compared to an average of 33 teen pregnancies per 1,000 females ages 15-19 in the 2010 year data information. The data for this measure came from the National Center for Health Statistics.

As part of President Barack Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI), the Center For Disease Control is partnering with the federal Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health to reduce teenage pregnancy and address disparities in teen pregnancy and birth rates. The month of May has been designated National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month.

In a recent interview at Princeton High School, two teens talked about the peer pressure teens face to have sex, how parents come into play in the sex discussion, and what they see as the possible reasons behind the statistics showing fewer teenage girls giving birth.

The peer pressure to have sex is higher than the pressure to drink or do drugs, one teen said. Some girls aren’t confident enough in themselves to make up their own minds about what they want for themselves. Some girls are looking for a father-figure, someone to love them, but they are looking in the wrong places. Unfortunately some guys will say whatever they have to say to get what they want, or they will take advantage of others at parties.

As far as their opinions as to why teen pregnancy rates are declining, the girls agreed better education has shown kids about their options.

Also, television shows, like “Teen Mom” don’t glamorize teen pregnancies but show the things that teens can’t do when a baby comes into the picture. At the end of every episode, the show talks about teens needing to talk with their parents about sex and about birth control.

Pregnancy rates and teen births may also be down because a lot of teen girls are taking birth control pills to help with their menstrual cycles, and therefore the dangers of getting pregnant decreases, the girls said. Also, it seems like more parents of boys are getting condoms for their sons.

The PHS girls did not think pregnancy/birth rates were down because more girls were having abortions. A lot of kids are completely against abortion because they’ve learned what the baby looks like at the various stages of pregnancy. They’ve also learned that there’s a lot of people who can’t have children and would love to adopt the child. Maybe if it’s a case of rape, then abortion could be a consideration, one girl said.

Kids may be more sexually active, but they are hopefully taking better protection, the teens agreed.

In their opinion, the best thing parents can do to help their kids through this time is to talk to their kids, and to talk to them a lot about the consequences of becoming sexually active, especially with unprotected sex. Parents need to pay more attention to their teen and their opinions. Some parents don’t realize all the pressure and stress which their children are under, they said.

As far as younger students, the girls said their advice for them is to talk to someone they trust; to do what they think is right for themselves; and to know the consequences of their choices.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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