Today, May 06, 2009, is the eighth annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. As the world-renowned DatingGenius (not to mention, the author of “How To Avoid Pregnancy” and “Donâ€™t Try The Rhythm Method!”), I feel it’s my duty to inform you how to keep your kids out of the Teen Pregnancy zone.
Boredom -> Pregnancy
Teens are BORED. Teens have nothing to do with their time. GIVE your kids something to do, or they will FIND something to do. Enroll them in Karate or Piano Lessons or a Dance Company.
Make them play Football or Softball or SOMETHING! This way, they’re having fun, they’re spending their time learning things and achieving goals and hopefully, at the end of the day, they’ll be too tired from all that physical and mental exercise to have sex! 😀
Give Your Kids Money
There are lots of things that teenagers WOULD do IF they could afford it. Last I checked, going to the movies in NYC costs around $12 for each person, and that’s if you want to sit there without popcorn, soda, etc the entire time.
This is why you need to give your kids money. If teens have money, they’ll go DO THINGS. They’ll go to a restaurant to eat. They’ll go to museums and learn about King Tut. They’ll go skating in a roller rink instead of in the street. Besides… In case none of these distractions work, they’ll have money to spend on condoms.
If you think I’m kidding, make sure you consider these two things:
- Going to the movies costs money
- Girls are free
If you ask your daughter how much that guy paid her to get some, (not like she’d tell you to begin with, but) she’s going to say “NOTHING”. If you ask that same teenager how much he paid to see Terminator Salvation, he’s going to say $12. Get the picture?
Same thing for the arcade. Same thing for the batting cages. Same thing for that video game he wants that costs $60 and he could play in his house ad infinitum. Same thing for going snowboarding. Same thing for buying roller hockey equipment. EVERYTHING costs money, except for chicks.. so if you don’t want your son out there in the streets scrambling to get on, make sure he has some ducats so he can do something PRODUCTIVE with his time.
Don’t Be Such A Jerk
We all know you need to ‘put your foot down’ as a parent in order for your kids to respect/fear you, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be so much of a JERK that your kids don’t want to talk to you when they have problems or issues. What you need is for them to see you as someone smarter and with more experience that can guide them if they can’t figure out something for themselves, or at least point them in what you think is the right direction.
What you DON’T want is for them to feel like telling you ANYTHING is going to get them punished, in which case you will experience a Media Blackout. You won’t find out ANYTHING about your son or daughter until the school, the cops or the clinic contacts you, and by then, it’s too late.
Make sure they know that you’re THE LAW, but also that you’re willing to hear them out and be fair about things. How many kids would have avoided teen pregnancy if they could have come to their parents honestly instead of getting their advice from other kids on the street? You have to be an ally. You need to be on their side of things, although you’re clearly in command. You need to be a General and not a Warden.
Be Nice To Your Kids
A lot of teens are out in the streets looking for affection they never got at home. While you’re so busy playing tough-guy and king-of-the-castle, your kids are spending time with people they actually LIKE and who act like they like THEM.
Figure out stuff you can do with your kids. Figure out ways to let them know they’re loved and build their self-esteem. Don’t send them out in the world looking for codependent relationships to “complete” themselves. Send them out the door knowing who they are and that they’re fantastic people and have a support system behind them and they’re not on their own in this world. Don’t have them running around trying to have kids so they have someone that will love them unconditionally. That’s YOUR job.
Handle your business before some teenager handles it for you.