Credit: MTV

Week after week, we tune in as the stars of MTV's Teen Mom struggle with the challenges of becoming parents at the tender age of 16.

Although critics claim the show glamorizes and encourages teen pregnancy — we're looking at you, Sarah Palin! — the truth is that teen pregnancy rates have declined in recent years. Whether or not that can be attributed to shows like Teen Mom, better sex education, or easier access to contraceptives, it's safe to say we're doing something right.

But is there an even better approach?

According to an article published in Psychology Today, teens who talk about sex with their parents are surprisingly more likely to become pregnant than teens who don't talk about sex.

So, what sorts of things should parents be discussing with their kids? Basically the opposite of sex — school.

In a study done at the University of Texas at El Paso, Alejandra Diaz analyzed the kind of messages parents gave their young, high-risk teens before going on dates.

For girls who were successful at not getting pregnant, the research found that "mothers told their daughters that they fully expected them to finish school."

"Not a word about sex," the study continues. "Instead, they expressed their hope that their children would make great futures for themselves. The daughters understood this was a coded, culturally appropriate message that meant 'Don't have a child' until you can support it yourself."

What do you think of this approach? Do you think parents should talk to their teens about sex? Or is implying that you want your daughter to succeed in school and beyond enough?

Source: Jezebel, Psychology Today


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