Last week ImWaiting spoke in two teen parenting classes. It was actually follow-up to earlier presentations. We had a speaker come in and talk about his life, decisions he made, changes he had to make after becoming a parent.
Some might say that it would be pointless to have an abstinence-centered presentation in a teen parenting class. Some might also say since they’ve already had sex they are going to continue to engage in sexual activity. We say, no to the first, and not necessarily to the second.
When we do an ImWaiting presentation to a teen parenting class, which we do frequently, we modify it a little bit. We take out the teen pregnancy statistics. Since we don’t play the blame/shame game, we don’t need to remind teen parents where they’re at. They’re already living it. However, since sex isn’t just a physical act we are going to talk about the emotional and relational elements of sexual activity. We for sure are going to talk about STD risks. See what teen parents might not think about, because let’s face it they are still teens, every decision they make doesn’t just affect them, it affects their children also. We will ask them, what if you contract an STD that is life threatening, who is going to take care of your child or children? We will also go into depth about the effect on kids when the parent is going through an emotional crisis.
What about the thought that teen parents are going to continue to engage in sexual activity? They may, or, if told something different, they may decide, “I don’t want to risk becoming pregnant again while still a teen and making my and my child’s life harder than it already is, so I’m going to wait to have sex again until I’m married.” The Center for Disease Control in their 2014 MMWR report stated that nearly 1 in 5 teen pregnancies is a repeat pregnancy. Could it possibly be that teen parents think, and are told, that since they’ve clearly already had sex and had a child that they should just continue? Could it be possible that nobody has told them that engaging in that behavior puts both them, and the child they currently have at risk?
ImWaiting values the time that we are given in the teen parenting classes. Many of these parents themselves have had few positive role models in their lives and we are hopeful that the ImWaiting team, through our stories, can be a positive influence for them.
Teen parents are strong individuals. They have taken on a role at a very young age that is difficult financially, physically, and emotionally. ImWaiting desires to be a cheerleader in their corner encouraging them to be the best they can be for themselves and their children.
So the answer to the question in the beginning, in our way of thinking, is a very big YES. ImWaiting definitely has a place and a purpose in teen parenting classes.