Dads Make A Difference
Father’s Day is upon us. Teen pregnancy and birth rates are at historic lows. Parents—that includes you Dads—are one of the reasons why. Surprised? Don’t be.
For 15 years now teens have told us in survey after survey that parents (!) most influence their decisions about relationships and sex. Parents. Not partners. Not peers. Not popular culture. The only thing surprising at all about this is just how surprised parents continue to be about the role they play and the influence they have on the teens in their lives.
So…for Father’s Day…some encouragement and a few gentle reminders to Dads everywhere:
Most important. Over two decades of research confirms that parents—again, that includes Dads—are an important influence on whether their teenagers become pregnant or cause a pregnancy. In a variety of ways, parental behavior and the nature of parent/child relationships influence teens’ sexual activity and use of contraception. While parents cannot determine whether their children have sex, use contraception, become pregnant, or cause a pregnancy, the quality of the relationships with their children can make a real difference.
Get stuff here. For advice and videos and more resources than you can shake a stick at on how to talk to your kids about sex, please visit www.TheNationalCampaign.org/parents.
If you want to read more. In addition to the obvious stuff—talking to your kids about sex, love, and relationships—there are other things parents can do to make a difference in the lives of their teens. Consider the following:
- Spend time with your children and teens. Shared experiences build a bank account of affection and trust that forms the basis for future communication.
- Help teens gain a sense of self-confidence. Give kids opportunities to learn skills and gain confidence. Offer praise for jobs well done, accentuate the positive, emphasize the things your children do right. If they fall short, suggest ways to improve; don’t criticize.
- Encourage your teens to get involved in fun, safe, fulfilling activities.
- Help your teenagers set goals and understand that they have options for the future. Teens with long-term goals for education or work will be less likely to compromise their futures by engaging in risky behavior.
Father’s day may come once a year, but being a present, active parent is a 24/7, 365 job. You can do it—we know you can.
Bill Albert is the Chief Program Officer of The National Campaign. As Chief Program Officer, Bill is responsible for overall program planning and development, and for tracking program progress. In addition, Bill provides oversight to the Campaign’s media outreach and communication strategies, as well as the writing, editing, design, and production of Campaign’s numerous publications and materials. In addition, he oversees the Campaign’s popular, award-winning websites, the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the organization’s work with new media, and the Campaign’s marketing efforts.
Before his work with The National Campaign, Bill spent 12 years working in television news, most recently as the Managing Editor at Fox Television News in Washington, DC. His responsibilities included managing the editorial content of two daily news broadcasts, assigning, editing, and writing stories for air, conducting interviews, and overseeing the work of reporters and electronic news gathering crews.
Bill received his degree in Communications at American University and resides in Kensington, Maryland with his wife, Carol. His perfect 21-year-old son, Harrison The Boy Wonder, is a senior at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD to its friends).