TV

Why Strict Parenting Doesn’t Necessarily Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Jazmin felt she couldn't turn to her family for guidance.

By Lauren Mann of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Jazmin’s “16 and Pregnantepisode probably hit home with many viewers: Her super-strict parents had very specific rules about dating and having sex — as in, no sex allowed. But Jazmin and her boyfriend, Dell, were sexually active despite her family’s beliefs. Because of her secrecy, she felt she couldn’t talk to them about protection, and it wasn’t long before she and Dell would face the consequences.

Jazmin wasn’t taking birth control pills because she thought they make you fat and lose your hair. You know what also causes weight gain, among a dozen other side effects? Pregnancy. If she didn’t want to be on the pill, there are all kinds of other options she could have explored. Bedsider.org has a helpful tool that lets you sort methods by effectiveness, ease of use or privacy (for example, private enough that your parents won’t stumble upon them).

It’s difficult when you don’t have parents you can communicate with about being sexually active. But knowledge is power and being responsible about your body means you’re being responsible about your future. There are a few different places you can visit to get information about sexual health and birth control, without parent involvement. You can always talk to your doctor or visit a clinic to talk to a practitioner, but if your doctor is friendly with your parent or you’d need to ask a parent for a ride to the clinic, there are resources available online that are also really helpful — for starters, check out StayTeen.org or MTV’s It’s Your Sex Life website.