I was saddened to read that Gloucester High School in Massachusetts had a record number of 17 pregnant teens this year. Apparently this happened after a number of them, all 16 and younger, made a pact to get pregnant. According to the article some girls expressed that they felt their parents would be fine with it and would help them out.

My daughter’s Seattle high school newspaper’s recent cover story was on three teens who had their babies while at that school. Each story spoke about how wonderful it was to have a baby and how much the family pitched in to help. There was no mention of any downsides of having a baby while still being a teen.

However, there are a number of inherent difficulties because it’s hard for teens to be emotionally and financially prepared to deal with the challenges of raising a child. A few years ago I was eating dinner with a teen mom who kept telling her 2 year old “I love you; I just wish you weren’t here.” She told me how much she missed going out dancing and having fun with her friends. She resented having to take care of her son and just wasn’t ready for the level of commitment and responsibility he required.

It appears that many teens are not hearing messages from their parents about the serious consequences of pregnancy and raising a child. The parents of pregnant teens also pay a heavy price. For example, the U.S. Census 2000 figures show that 2.4 million grandparents had primary responsibility for raising their grandchildren.

This data motivates me to talk to my two teenagers about sexuality and the incredible responsibility involved in having a baby. Parents, if we want to enjoy our grandchildren some day but do not want to be responsible for raising them, we need to talk to our teens about this. There are many books which provide great suggestions on talking to kids about sexuality and associated responsibilities. You can find some of these books on www.PricelessParenting under the Resources link. Let the conversations begin!

Author's Bio: 

Kathy Slattengren offers an online parenting course called Priceless Parenting. Subscribe to Kathy’s blog at http://pricelessparenting.blogspot.com for discussions on handling parenting challenges.