Saturday, June 16, 2007

Equipping Our Kids to Make Wise Choices

I read an interesting article this week: “Adolescent Pregnancy: Current Trends and Issues.” It was authored by Dr. Jonathan Klein, and was published in the July 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In his article, Klein presents some startling statistics. He writes, “Currently, more than 45% of high school females and 48% of high school males have had sexual intercourse. The average age of first intercourse is 17 years for girls and 16 years for boys. However, approximately one fourth of all youth report having had intercourse by 15 years of age.” He continues, “Involuntary sexual activity (rape, assault, foundling, etc.) has been reported by 74% of sexually active girls younger than 14 years and 60% of those younger than 15 years.” And, perhaps, most shocking: “Current surveys indicate that 11% of high school females and 17% of high school males report having had 4 or more sexual partners.”

Klein argues that there a number of “predictors of sexual intercourse during the early adolescent years.” They include “early pubertal development, a history of sexual abuse, poverty, lack of attentive and nurturing parents, cultural and family patterns of early sexual experience, lack of school or career goals, substance abuse, and poor school performance or dropping our of school.”

Klein lists a number of “factors associated with a delay in the initiation of sexual intercourse.” These include “living with both parents in a stable family environment, regular attendance at places of worship, higher family income, parental supervision, setting expectations, and parent/child connectedness.”

Parents, you would do well to consider the information in this article. Let us equip and empower our kids to make wise decisions.