Fact Sheet: What Teens Want

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy asked their Youth Leadership Team two questions: (1) who or what influences you when it comes to decisions about sex? and (2) what could these individuals and organization do to help you avoid pregnancy? This is what they talked about and what they published in 2000:

What Teens Want...

from their parents. Begin the conversation about sex when we're young and maintain an open-door policy as we get older. Teach us by what you do, no just by what you say. Give us good, honest answers in a straightforward way. Support us in all of our endeavor, and, most of all, play and active role in our lives. Take responsibility for helping us reach beyond the best of our abilities. Finally, no lectures, please. Remember, we really care what you think, even if we don't always act like it.

from the media. We know that sex sells - it's everywhere. Stop making sex so glamorous. Be an active partner - show us the consequences of sex. We understand sex is common practice; make the consequences common sense. After all these years, why isn't James Bond a daddy? Be entertaining, but don't forget to be responsible. This is the information age; make sure you give us all the information.

from their friends. Respect the choices I'm making and offer me your support - not your judgment. We all need positive encouragement from our friends. Don't try to pressure me to act like you or anybody else.

from schools. The information you give us about our bodies and about sex, pregnancy, and STDs is really helpful. But we want more than "The Miracle of Birth" film. In other words, we wouldn't mind if you took things to the next level. For instance, we need to hear real stories from real people - like teen parents. We know that wen it comes to talking about sex, there is a lot that schools can't do. But teaching from the heart and not the chalkboard can make a real difference. A good teacher has compassion and cares about us and who we are, not just if we're taking notes.

from their faith communities. We may not always admit it, but we need guidance and answers just like everybody else. Be clear about the morals you expect us to live by, but be patient too - we're still learning. Practice what you preach. Be direct about sex and values but please don't talk down to us. We are searching for answers to a lot of tough questions. As we try to understand our spirituality, please try to understand us.

from the themselves. We understand that we can't ask of others what we aren't ready to do ourselves. We should seek information to help us make healthy decisions, rather than blame other people when something goes wrong. We should be responsive to, and respectful of, our parents. More than anything, we need to take responsibility for our own actions. We can't wait for change - we need to make it happen.

Trust Teens. Listen to Girls.

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