Having a baby isn't the best idea...

Is there any easy way to try to show a 17-year-old girl that having a baby so young isn’t the best idea and can ruin her future, as well as possibly messing up the child’s?

Here's some pointers on this subject:

1. Show her why teen pregnancy is a bad idea. Let her hear directly from teen mothers and fathers about how hard it has been for them. She needs real-life examples to help motivate her.

2. Talk to her honestly about love, sex, and relationships. Just because she’s young doesn't mean that she can't fall in love or be deeply interested in sex. These feelings are very real and powerful to her. Help her to handle the feelings in a safe way - without getting hurt or hurting others.

3. Telling her not to have sex is not enough. Explain to her why you feel that way, and ask her what she thinks. Tell her how you felt as a teen. Listen to her and take her opinions seriously. And no lectures!

4. Whether she’s having sex or not, she needs to be prepared. She needs to know how to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

5. If she asks you about sex or birth control, don't assume she is already having sex. She may just be curious, or may just want to talk with someone she trusts. And don't think giving her information about sex and birth control will encourage her to have sex.

6. Pay attention to her before she gets into trouble. She needs encouragement, attention, and support. Reward her for doing the right thing - even when it seems like no big thing. Don't shower her with attention only when there is a baby involved.

7. Sometimes, all it takes not to have sex is not to have the opportunity. If you can't be home with her after school, make sure she has something to do that she really likes, where there are other kids and some adults who are comfortable with kids her age. Often teens have sex because there's not much else to do.

8. She really cares what you think, even if she doesn’t always act like it. When she doesn’t do exactly what you tell her to, don't think that you've failed to reach her.

9. Show her what good, responsible relationships look like. She is as influenced by what you do as by what you say. If you demonstrate sharing, communication, and responsibility in your own relationships, she will be more likely to follow your example.


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