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More than 2,000 teenage girls get pregnant every day in the United States – and most never thought it would happen to them. But teen pregnancy is preventable if they have a plan.

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For some, that plan will be to not have sex at all – and that’s great, because not having sex is a 100-percent foolproof way to avoid pregnancy. Others will have sex, and they will take precautions to avoid getting pregnant.

It’s important for teens – girls and boys – to think about these options and plan for them before the heat of the moment. If he or she is going to say no, they should think about how they will do that, what words will they use and how they will stick to that plan. If they are planning to have sex, they need to think about what kind of protection they will use, where they will get it, how it works and how to use it properly. Even if it feels like the heat of the moment is very far away, it’s never too early to come up with a plan.

Teens may frequently find themselves in situations that could lead to sex and pregnancy. What they choose to do in those moments can have a big impact on their future. One way to get them thinking about the possible implications of their choices is to have them take the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy Quiz at www.stayteen.org. Encourage your kids to check it out – like the more than half a million teens who did so last year. And talk to them about it too. There’s a discussion guide for parents at the StayTeen site too.

Be an askable parent. Don’t assume your kids are doing it just because they are curious. Talk to them about love and relationships and feelings and consequences. Tell them how you feel about these issues, and more importantly, ask them how they feel. Help them make healthy decisions, and support them as they make their way through the confusing times of adolescence. The teen years are a wonderful time for so many things – friends, family, school, activities, hobbies, being silly, being serious, being quirky – but it’s not a good time to be a parent.

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. Make a point to talk to your kids about it today.

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