Whether you’re waiting until you’re older to have a family, you already have a child, or you’re unsure if you want to be a parent, you deserve the accurate resources and information to help you make the best decisions for you. Parents, friends, health care providers, and other folks you trust can help you make these decisions, but ultimately, the decision is yours to make.
What do the next five years hold for you?
You can make a difference in your own future by thinking about your goals and making plans to achieve them. This month, Planned Parenthood encourages you to Choose Your Future by thinking about where you want to be – whether it’s going to college or a trade school, getting a job, owning a home, having a family, moving to a big city on your own, or something else altogether – the future is up to you.
Let’s talk about sex.
Decisions about sex can affect your future if you’re not prepared. When you’re making decisions about sex, it can be helpful to talk things through with people you trust, and to consider how a pregnancy or an STD might affect your life and future goals.
Discuss with your partner(s) about using both birth control and condoms when you have sex. Be honest and direct. You should only have sex if you both feel ready and have talked through how to protect and respect each other. If you are both ready to have sex, use condoms to help prevent STDs and another method of birth control – like the IUD, implant, shot, or pill – to protect against unintended pregnancy.
Need to learn more about consent? Check out this great video series on YouTube. No one should be shamed, harassed, or judged because of their personal boundaries or sexual preferences. No one should be pressured, coerced, or manipulated into doing something they’re not comfortable with.
Parents of Teens
Contrary to common belief, talking about the birds and the bees does not have to be an awkward discussion. Having ongoing conversations with your kids about sex, sexuality, and healthy relationships helps prepare them with a better understanding of identity, consent, expectations, and other subjects that they will likely experience in their own lives. In fact, studies show that teens who report having good conversations with their parents about sex wait longer to begin having sex and are more likely to use condoms and other birth control methods when they do become sexually active.
This month, help your teen identify their plans for the future, consider the impact having a child or STD could have on those plans, and help them set short-term goals to meet their long-term goals. Encourage them to ask questions and explore learning opportunities together. Talk about your expectations of them and help them think through how to handle communicating with a partner, using protection, and peer pressure. Share with them the nine interactive digital tools that Planned Parenthood health centers offer to help young people stay healthy and better plan for their futures.