Nearly 3 in 10 teen girls become pregnant at least once by age 20 and fully half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported by women themselves as unplanned. Not too good.

By posting some intemperate thoughts about sex, love, relationships, pregnancy, childbearing, the media, public policy, our dogs, and other topics, we hope to spark a two-way discussion about how best to bring down the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in this country. And who knows…from time to time, we might even offer up a few cogent thoughts that will be helpful.

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Education, Parents, Teen Pregnancy
July 24, 2014

Back Off Baby image

Most of my friends are elementary school teachers.  I truly admire the work they do and can’t even imagine being in their shoes.  They love to tell stories—the good and the bad—about what happens at school, what Josh or Sue did today, and who got in trouble.  Recently, while out with some friends, one of my favorite stories came up.  A 5th grade student from England was explaining to his teacher why his dad was picking him up and not his mom.  It went something like this: “well my mom is having the surgery.  You know, to block the spermies from reaching the eggs.”  Awesome.  I love that his parents explained the surgery, why she was having it, and what it would do. 

Later that year the same student explained to his teachers, in his lovely English accent, how his father “was having the surgery…you know not on his penis but on those things, the balls.”   Again, more open and honest conversations must be happening at home.  A non-teacher friend was pretty horrified… His reaction was basically along the lines of “isn’t it too early for him to understand or know about that stuff?”  And the first thing out of my mouth was “you know England has a lower teen pregnancy rate.”  Hmm, he hadn’t thought of that.  Maybe having open conversations with children about their bodies, sex, and relationships can have an impact on the decisions they make as they get older.

I’m a big proponent, as are most sex educators, of talking early and often to kids about their bodies, relationships, sex, and all that goes with it.  You can start those conversations with simple information about their bodies and how they work.  So parents out there, take a look at The National Campaign’s great parent resources for tips on talking to your children about sex, love, and relationships.  And remember that having these conversations will help open the door to more conversations in the future.  You might also want to keep in mind that kids tell their teachers everything!

Authored by: Becky Griesse

Becky Griesse is the Senior Manager, State Support at The National Campaign. Becky works with the State Support team to provide assistance to state and local communities regarding teen and unplanned pregnancy. 

Prior to joining The National Campaign, Becky was the Adolescent Sexual Health Program Manager at the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD). There she provided technical assistance to CDC/DASH funded state education agencies to improve youth access to sexual health services. Becky also has experience coordinating a local teen pregnancy prevention coalition, the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) in Alexandria, VA. 

She attended James Madison University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences and George Washington University where she received a Master in Public Health with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health.  

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Bill received his degree in Communications at American University and resides in Kensington, Maryland with his wife, Carol. His perfect 19-year-old son is a sophomore at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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